Michael’s Restaurant, New York, USA
If you like to see expensive, ugly outfits and dresses, go to “Michael’s” in New York. Tasteless but certainly posh combinations of grey and light blue, unsuitable suits, tight rose sport coats with beige trousers… and most of the guests aren’t young and beautiful either – wealthy bankers, elder show hosts and politicians – a sophisticated New York cosmos which, as an outsider, you might not experience very often. “Look, there’s the former Secretary of the Treasury! And he’s having lunch with …” Michael’s restaurant is a sort of institution in New York, which most inhabitants have heard of but perhaps have never been to. As a foreigner, you wouldn’t even know about it. It is located in a midtown business district.
I like the design of the restaurant: a few steps down from street level, but still light, bright and mostly white – a smart mixture of conservative and longstanding modern. The tables are too narrow and close together, in my opinion – but the owners want to make money so every centimeter is utilized. It is too loud, like almost every other restaurant in New York and the US. This is so ridiculous, but perhaps the best weapon of any spy in attendance.
This all said, the most important, of course, is the food. We were there for lunch, although they probably serve the same food in the evening. My dish was surprisingly really excellent and unique.
The Kale Caesar Salad is a great salad. Made of green kale, beans, and some other bitter greens. A decent amount of parmesan and a modestly strong vinaigrette. Usually a Caesar salad is filling and is the heaviest salad you can choose. Due to the bitterness of the greens, this one has lighter and particularly fresh taste. For the main course, I chose one of the daily specials: risky – a pork cutlet. A wonderful piece of meat, crispy outside, inside luscious and tender. To be sure, one of the best pieces of pork I’ve had in a long time. How many cutlets are too dry or too tough – this one was not even very fatty but so rich. Some herbs and greens plus half of a sharp peperoni on top. No side dish – exactly the right sized portion for still being able to work in the afternoon. The salad and cutlet were both well presented.
The other dishes of my companions also looked very nice. I guess pretty much the same conclusion: nice, satisfying but not heavy – even the ossobuco.
The service was good. There is an extensive wine list – with a tendency toward Italian wines. I assume that no one I saw in this restaurant has any problem paying the bills, because it is rather expensive. Otherwise, I must really say, the food was very good; the aforementioned meat presumably comes from a very good farm – all the ingredients are likely from good sources, and therefore good value.
Although this restaurant does not belong in the list of top 30 New York restaurants – keeping in mind that this is probably the city with the best restaurants in the world – it is a very good place for a business lunch or an unglamorous but satisfying dinner – so, not suitable for a romantic occasion. It closes by 09:30 pm, so clearly it’s not a place for a nighttime visit.
It is recommended to make a reservation. Here is the link to their webpage: http://www.michaelsnewyork.com/
By the way: they have another branch in Los Angeles.