For a special event like Mother's Day, or even for an ordinary Saturday afternoon, a reservation for tea at The Palm Court means taking the most pleasure in some of the finest moments New York has to offer. Although far from inexpensive, The Palm Court exudes a perfectly cultivated and sophisticated air that could bewitch anyone.
Afternoon tea at The Palm Court reminds me why I work. When I sit down in a rich, green velvet seat in formalwear and listen to my silverware clink against the china tea cup and watch tourists sneak pictures through the palm fronds of the high maintenance space and its guests, I remember that one of the perks of employment is being able to treat myself to such an indulgent, luxurious, and restful afternoon lunch.
As the culinary director of the hotel, Geoffrey Zakarian launched an ever-so-updated menu last October, one that still reflects an old New York, but with more modern touches of flavor and elegance. Of course there is a menu dedicated to our darling Eloise, full of girly pink details like a raspberry macaron and bright cotton candy, but the New Yorker Tea menu has the tradition most look for, and yet is anything but ordinary. From the bite-sized lox on a bagel with cream cheese, house cured pickles, and alfalfa sprouts, to the New York style cheesecake slice and the silver leaf speckled pistachio macaron, the food is everything one expects from a Manhattan institution as storied as the Plaza.
For a tea menu that embraces indulgence even more, the Champagne Tea comes with sandwiches and savories like the Foie Gras Torchon, with sweet and sour shallots, cracked hazelnuts, and fig jam on a piece of toasted brioche, and the Confit New Potato, with a chive crème fraiche topped with American sturgeon caviar. Flavors are delectably rich, intensely fresh, and of the highest quality, presenting a subtle level of innovation not found in a tea menu anywhere else. The Champagne Tea can also be ordered without the champagne for $20 less than the menu advertises, allowing one to explore all the elegant flavors without the punch of bubbly.
Beauty and elegance aside, the expert international staff is happy to let you spend a few long hours sipping your tea (the Rooibos Des Vahines red tea is undoubtedly my favorite, with a nutty almond and vanilla flavor that perfectly complements the sweetness of the pastries), while you relish an exquisitely New York experience.
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