One of New York City’s most iconic restaurants is reinvented into a jaw-dropping spectacle for the eyes and palate.
Major Food Group’s Rich Torrisi, Jeff Zalaznick, and Mario Carbone.
The former Four Seasons Restaurant has been lavishly rebooted to capture its past luster and reinvigorate Manhattan’s luxury dining scene. Major Food Group—a New York-based restaurant group founded by Mario Carbone, Rich Torissi, and Jeff Zalaznick—has opened three unique venues in the space, with one more on the way (an as-of-yet-unnamed Japanese restaurant). “This is the greatest restaurant space of all time,” says Zalaznick, “and we’re doing everything we can to honor that.” Here’s a rundown of what to eat, drink, and see.
The Grill’s new menu includes grilled foie gras with pickled red pearl onions.
“The room is a total historical restoration,” says Zalaznick, who enlisted the expertise of architects and designers to recapture the legendary visuals. Chef/ partner Mario Carbone oversees a throwback menu inspired by steakhouse classics while captains in Tom Ford tuxedos serve up plenty of flourishes, including spit-roasted prime rib trolley service.
Two to taste: Carbone’s bold menu includes foie gras, grilled and accompanied by a Worcestershire green onion sauce and sweet pickled red pearl onions, and venison Cumberland, dressed with a huckleberry and walnut puree and served with his take on the classic port-inspired sauce.
Two to toast: Beverage Director Thomas Waugh revisits the classics and offers his unique spin with variations like the Alaska, a classic gin martini that swaps yellow chartreuse for vermouth, and the Scarlett O’Hara, prepared with Southern Comfort and housemade cranberry juice.
See and be seen: Request a balcony table to catch a glimpse of the A-list crowd as well as the full impact of Marie Nichols’s signature rippling sheer curtains and Richard Lippold’s ceiling sculpture.
Diners enter The Pool through a hallway featuring a lush plant sculpture by Paula Hayes and restored wine room, which now glows golden with the world’s largest collection of Chateau d’Yquem, Bordeaux’s famous Sauternes. Design touches include custom-made, ocean-inspired appetizer plates by Japanese ceramics manufacturer Nikko, Riva flatware from Brazil, and Georg Jensen bowls.
It was a very good year: Art that harkens from 1958 (the year the Seagram Building was erected) surrounds the entryway, including works by Miró and Twombly, while Alexander Calder’s 1973 mobile 3 Segments gloriously hovers over the bustling room below.
Two to taste: Chef/partner Rich Torrisi’s globally inspired seafood menu offers pristine preparations like thick-sliced, cured Alaskan king salmon, topped with crushed black peppercorns and accompanied by boiled La Ratte potatoes with aioli, as well as the show-stopping black bass for two, broiled in a bath of white wine and minced shallots, served tableside and finished with oregano oil.
Behind the scenes: Request a kitchen tour where herringbone-planked floors divide entirely independent work spaces and salvaged equipment from ocean vessels is now used as heating lamps.
THE POOL LOUNGE
The Pool’s former private dining room has been converted into a 70-seat lounge, complete with mother-of-pearl bar. “When we were designing The Pool Lounge, we wanted a one-of-a-kind space for New York and for the world,” says Zalaznick. The William Georgis-designed space features onyx and nickel cocktail tables, floor lamps produced by Italian glassmaker Seguso, and a palette that Zalaznick describes as a “luxurious underwater cocoon.”
Two to toast: Waugh crafts fruit-forward cocktails based on single ingredients. Inspired by a mojito, the Watermelon combines white rum, fresh watermelon juice, and a touch of vanilla with Japanese shiso leaves in lieu of mint. The Jalapeño riffs on a martinistyle cocktail, featuring tequila, crushed cucumber, sea salt water, and dry fino sherry. 99 E. 52nd St., 212-375-9001; thegrillnewyork.com
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHY BY EVAN SUNG