The Four Seasons, NYC 2

April 23, 2019

Opened in 1959 in the Seagram’s Building on Park Avenue, The Four Seasons introduced for upscale New York restaurants the idea of menus in English, changing quarterly with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. These advances seem normal now, but were cutting edge in that era. In the 1960’s and ’70’s I used to go frequently to the Brasserie, which was The Four Season‘s second restaurant, with a side entrance to the Seagram’s building. The space is now The Lobster Club. But The Four Seasons eventually went downhill. My blogpost on our dinner there in 2007 made it sound pathetic. The Four Seasons lost its lease in the Seagram’s’ building in 2016. It reopened in nearby 49th Street in mid-2018 with renewed high ambitions. Linda and I went for dinner on April 6, 2019.

The dining room is in the back on the ground level with windows onto 48th Street.

The décor is not in the same league as the old restaurant. As you can see, the lighting for my photography was not great.  

We started with glasses of Henriot Brut Souverain Champagne. The menu offers fairly conventional choices at midtown expense-account prices, many of them holdovers from the old Four Seasons. We ordered a bottle of 2014 Domaine Lucien Boillot “Les Caillerets” 1er Cru Volnay.

It was excellent. 

The amuse-gueule was little cup of pumpkin soup.

Linda’s first course was
Spring Vegetable RISOTTO.

This had a luscious flavor.  Springtime ingredients were bits of asparagus, red pepper slices, peas and, on top, pea shoots and whisps of frisée lettuce.  Nice small portion. 

Mine was
OCTOPUS à la plancha
mushroom purée, endive.

The octopus had little flavor and was not crisp, as if it had been parboiled before searing on the plancha.

For our main course we shared a
red wine cherry sauce.

The carving trolley was wheeled up to our table with the herb-decorated roasted bird. The techniques borrow from those of Peking Duck, air drying the skin for days so it comes out crisp and delicious. Our server was accomplished in its carving and serving. There was a little pot of wild rice and a smaller one of red wine cherry sauce.

Here he is finishing Linda’s plate.

This was my plate with more sauce.

The plentiful skin was very delicious and perfectly crisp, but moist. The meat itself was somewhat dry, but went well with a piece of skin or a cherry from the sauce. The wild rice was somewhat gummy. Overall, we enjoyed this. 

For dessert we shared
pine nut brittle.


A happy event to watch was sous-chef Will Walker’s birthday being celebrated a few tables from us. He was dining with his mother, we learned, and, when his small birthday cake appeared, a stream of chefs from the kitchen began to appear one or two at a time to wish Walker well and to meet his mother.

Walker is on the right. Next to him is Executive Chef Diego Garcia.

I am glad we went to see and try The Four Seasons, but I do not think we will be rushing back. Most of the cuisine was good. The service and pace were good. The ambiance would be okay, but was spoiled by a choice of music suitable for a beach picnic with an incessant idiot base beat.

To see our blogpost from 2007 click here.


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