I stopped by the Palace Gate last week, the new 75-seat outdoor spot that’s been set up in the courtyard of New York’s Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue.
The Palace Hotel has outfitted the space as a lounge/cafe offering up cocktails and small bites. I’m sure it’s a lovely spot for a drink and a sit down.
But the night I was there, it was raining cats and dogs. So the whole scene moved inside the hotel, the former Villard House, an over-the-top pile that’s festooned with carved moldings and lots of gold leaf. You might have thought an Italian palazzo had plopped down in the middle of Midtown.
Palace Gate, Palace Hotel, New York.over-the-top 19th century pile adorned with intricate ceiling moldings, plush furnishings and lots of gold leaf.
Still, even with Palace Gate’s temporary weather-induced indoor locale, I got the basic idea. Or at least I got the idea of the food and the drinks, which are supplied by Gilt, the high-end eatery at the hotel. There were cocktails–many of the classic variety. I sipped a Pimm’s Cups No. 1, which is a refreshing drink made with lemonade, Granny Smith apples, ginger beer, and cucumber. Very tasty. As I later learned, the English aristocracy imbibe this particular concoction at Wimbledon and at regattas and such. It was all very posh.
My favorite small plates were French fries laced with truffles. To be honest, with the economy in the doldrums and so many people out of work, the idea of a snack food made with pricey delicacies was a wee bit off putting. Still, who am I to turn down a truffle? I scarfed down a bunch of fries, and they were yummy.
Even with the upscale ingredients, you don’t have to break the bank to take a seat at a table in this new courtyard lounge. If you limit yourself to a couple of dishes–other items include a Gilt burger and thin crust pizza– and a drink or two, the tab isn’t stratospheric, especially for a Midtown spot. Prices are mostly in the low teens for the small plates.
And if I’m looking for a place for nibble before hitting the 70 percent off sale at Saks–one can only hope!–Palace Gate would be a great place for a rest stop.
455 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
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