When I was growing up, New York City was one of my favorite places to visit. I was lucky to have parents that traveled frequently and let me tag along. We would typically stay at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, with its chic glass elevators and dine at the most glamorous place on earth, Tavern on the Green.
Back in its day, it was one of those places you dream only exists in the movies. You got dressed up. You either took a limo or horse and carriage through the park to make a grand entrance. It was the epiotome of a night on the town. The restaurant itself was huge, with long winding hallways, glass walls and of course the infamous Crystal Room, where colorful chandeliers dripped from every inch of the ceiling. I even remember our waiter’s name on one particular occasion—Rudolph. That was over twenty years ago, so you understand the impression that was made.
When Tavern on the Green closed, it felt like someone had slammed the door on my childhood. So, of course when it reopened a month ago after extensive renovations, I couldn’t wait to visit.
It was…different. So completely different. Everything has been modernized. And those amazing chandeliers were gone! It’s not that it isn’t beautiful. It’s just no longer glamorous. It’s a place you might go on any given Saturday and sit on the patio for views of the park.
As mentioned we DID go for brunch, so that’s admittedly a more casual time of day. But, the food. Oh no…the food. They need some help here. You are encouraged by the menu to order the $50 prix fixe, as there are only 3 items a la carte. This includes alcohol, which nobody really wanted, so we each ordered one entree and split the grits with chorizo. Anneke and I both got the Egg Strata and it was just not very good. On the plus side, the iced latte was very delicious, so at least I got my coffee fix.
*Please make note that I read zero reviews of the reopening. I didn’t want someone else’s opinion of what is/isn’t cool etc. to damage my own experience of past and present.
Full of food, and dare I say, full of disappointment, we made our way out to the back patio and back into the park. What did I learn? “You can never go home again.” Right? We learn that lesson over and over. I’m sure to anyone that doesn’t have a history with Tavern on the Green will find it lovely. And to be fair, I’m comparing my memories of dinner to brunch. Lighting is everything and it was a bright sunny day. The sun beamed through the (still glass) walls, which creates a completely different mood than the one that was set so many years ago.
We made our way to the boat house and watched the romantics laughing in their row boats.
And we walked on. Over the bridge, where we stopped to take photos, hoping to capture this moment, knowing how in twenty years we’ll look back and say…’remember when we were young and would go to New York, brunch at Tavern on the Green and walk hand-in-hand through the park as the sun shone on the water and the lovers rowed their boats?’
Those were the days…
Tavern on the Green. 67th Street & Central Park West. New York, New York 10023. 212-877-8684