15 January 2008

Gordon Ramsay and Maze at the London

The London New York City Hotel
151 W. 54th Street
New York, NY, 10019

With major hotel renovations that resulted in the London NYC, there also emerged the restaurants of Gordon Ramsay. With his first restaurant project in the United States being in Manhattan, Ramsay took on a formidable task - convincing skeptical New Yorkers to partake in his contemporary versions of classic French cuisine.

The decor of the bar/cafe area is very contemporary with a bit of Austin Powers set design. The formal dining room is just that with Continental Classic decor.

Prior to booking at the formal dining room - Gordon Ramsay at the London, we tried Maze by Gordon Ramsay (previously called the Bar) at the London, after we read about the common kitchens and prep-chefs (see the New Yorker magazine article).

We were pleasantly surprised with the excellent tapas style menu with its excellent execution. We ordered 10 small plates that we shared, and each one was outstanding. It is clear Ramsay and company are using the Maze menu to test compositions, (very much like Nougatine does a Jean Georges) as well as provide lower priced teasers for customers. Our only problem was the waiter. The headwaiter, sommelier and the bus boys were great, but our waiter and the nearby waiter were both poor.

We then celebrated a special occasion at the formal Gordon Ramsay at the London restaurant. The menu was exceptional. Ingredients and sauces were outstanding. Everything was wonderful other than slightly over cooked fish main courses, which we find is typical of European preparation but is not what we expect at a top Manhattan restaurant.

Service was very professional as expected.

The restaurant's wine list, as at Maze, is excellent but very high priced.

Overall both venues were just short of exceptional. The more casual Maze offers good value and the formal restaurant offers a perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.

Gordon Ramsay and Maze at the London - Highly recommended

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