I’m no stranger to food halls. Europe has fantastic ones like Galerie Lafayette in Paris, Stockmann’s in Helsinki, KaDeWe in Berlin and Harrods in London. They are like an upscale cafeteria with gourmet eats and I like that you can quench your cravings with a variety of small plates from around the world. So I was excited when The Plaza Hotel invited me to check out the Todd English Food Hall.
I had an idea of what to expect from my food hall experiences throughout Europe. Typically you pick up a tray and you can choose from a variety of stations offering different cuisines. Sometimes there is a cash register at each station and you pay like you’re visiting a bunch of different restaurants under one roof.
But the Todd English Food Hall does it better.
We toured by a variety of the stations as the host guided us to our table. I’ve written about how I wanted to be a chef at one point, so I always love show kitchens and watching the chefs prepare art on a plate. Each station has bar seating, so you can sit and watch at your favorite one.
There’s a menu with all of the selections available from the various stations. The only problem is choosing from all the delicious sounding items available.
Our conversation over the menu went something like:
“Ooh, lobster mac and cheese.”
“I haven’t had tacos in ages. Chicken or steak?”
“Dumplings! We must have dumplings!”
Thankfully our server had some wonderful suggestions and you’re invited to get up and go check out what’s happening at each station. I like seeing what other diners are ordering and what looks as good as it sounds.
The wine selection is also excellent with a variety of reds and whites from around the world. There are also some specialty cocktails and beer available if wine isn’t your thing.
Our server brought each of our menu selections one by one, giving us plenty of time to enjoy each dish while it was freshly made.
We started with a baby kale salad. I know, I know. It sounds a bit boring to come to a food hall and order salad, but this was an excellent starter. It had toasted hazelnuts, cranberries and apples. Pretty much Fall on a plate with a spicy kick from the vinaigrette.
I love dumplings and lemongrass, so couldn’t resist an order of the chicken and ginger dumplings with lemongrass pesto. They were even better tasting than their description on the menu made them sound.
Next, Peking duck buns arrived. They were like mini tacos with the duck, hoisin sauce, scallions and carrots inside of steamed lotus buns.
I can never resist lobster and the Todd English Food Hall has no shortage of it on the menu. It was tough to choose between the lobster guacamole, lobster mac and cheese, a lobster cocktail…I can’t even recall all the ways you could enjoy lobster.
At our server’s suggestion, we went with the lobster sliders. They were basically mini lobster rolls on buttery slider buns with a bit of mint mixed in to the chunks of lobster. So good I didn’t want to share!
I had every intention of skipping dessert, but it was like our server knew the way to my heart. “We have macarons,” he told me. Well, if you’re going to twist my arm with macarons…
You might even meet Todd English himself. He pops in regularly to check up on his restaurant and he happened to be there on our visit. He was out and about the whole time checking in with guests and ensuring everyone was having a great time.
The Plaza Hotel is a New York institution and the Todd English Food Hall is a great way to enjoy a visit there. It’s upscale, yet casual enough that you can pop in after a day of touring the city and not feel undressed. There are selections to please even the pickiest of eaters. And the portions are perfect for sharing a bunch of plates between friends. Definitely a must when visiting New York City.
Know Before You Go
Our meal at Todd English Food Hall was provided by The Plaza Hotel in order to bring you this story. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own.