In addition to the recent resurgence around Times Square, another major hotel chain with a host of restaurants is opening in New York, where tourism, Broadway and office space converge. The Hard Rock Hotel New York, under construction for four years, opens its doors today at 159 West 48th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues.
Music is, of course, the common thread throughout the sprawling property, with multiple live performance spaces, memorabilia from icons like Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga prominently displayed, and subtle design touches like microphone light fixtures that pay homage to the hotel’s address along Music Row.
But the food should be as much a focal point as the music, according to executive chef Oscar Gonzalez. Rather than a single restaurant, three of the venues offer distinct dining options: a steakhouse with unexpected twists, a rooftop bar offering small bites of global influence, and a lobby restaurant starring a traveling cart of bagels and lox.
“I see it as an epicurean destination where you walk in and you have different elements,” says Gonzalez, who brings more than 20 years of experience at high-end hotel restaurants like the Four Seasons.
The 446-room hotel has five kitchens with 40 chefs. Gonzalez says he spent months creating the menus from scratch and building relationships with nearby farms to offer local, seasonal produce.
If there’s one featured culinary act, it’s NYY Steak. Located around the corner from the hotel’s main entrance, just past the swag-filled Rock Shop, the steakhouse seats up to 130 diners. There, Yankees memorabilia, dry-aged beef, and a vegetarian tasting menu come together for a nostalgic, modern feel.
By having a butcher shop and dry-age room on-site as well as sourcing beef from the farm within two days of being slaughtered, Gonzalez says it’s a way NYY Steak sets itself apart from grocery chains. steak houses. The menu includes tenderloin cuts as well as long bones (a 56-ounce steak for two) and sirloin steaks.
Offerings like steak tartare and bone marrow may seem expected, but the veteran chef says he aims to modernize the classics. For example, there’s a dish of scallops with hand-ground Carolina grains that requires 12 finishing steps, including an elaborate fennel pollen and burnt ash.
“It’s a technically driven kitchen, so it’s not your average steakhouse opening down the street,” he says. “What sets it apart is that we do a lot of fermentation, a lot of pickling… We do a lot of flavors and essences and dashis that we pickle proteins with. It goes to the next level. »
Hard Rock has also partnered with the Yankees, so the presence of the famous baseball team dominates the decor, from the walls paneled with the autographs of former players to the leather seats in the signature Yankees blue. It’s also something of a homecoming for NYY Steak, which opened near Rockefeller Center for about five years before closing in 2018.
This time around, there’s a three-course meatless tasting menu ($65), which will draw inspiration from produce grown specifically for Hard Rock by a Pennsylvania farm. Gonzalez says vegetables have recently become “the center of attention on the plate” and it was an unexpected decision to dedicate an entire menu to the change. Being a steakhouse, diners can add a protein to each dish or keep it vegetarian.
Another steakhouse staple that Gonzalez experiments with is the Caesar salad. At NYY Steak, the classic salad will be prepared at the table by servers using a custom-created double-sided cart by RCP Design in Brooklyn.
“I call it the Lexus of food carts,” he says. “You actually have water filtration going through it to keep the lettuce fresh as it moves through the dining room. And there’s a whole host of options there – mustards, oils, salts, anchovies – and then our egg yolks are pasteurized in house where the waiters prepare the dressing in front of you, they cut the salad at the root there, mix it all together, plate it, shave the parmesan cheese at the table.
The custom cart theme is also a central part of the experience at Sessions, the Hard Rock’s all-day restaurant and lobby bar, thanks to a brightly colored cart dedicated to bagels and lox that Gonzalez says allows customers to “pimp your bagel”. Accompaniments include five different spreads, two types of caviar, and caramelized bacon in brown sugar.
Thirty-four levels up, RT60 Rooftop Bar & Lounge, is all about sharing plates that incorporate Japanese techniques and spices from Peru and Chile. For example, grilled shishito peppers are topped with puffed rice for crunch and a crème brûlée, and blooming royal trumpet mushrooms come with both pesto and guajillo furikake.
“We put it all together and it created a really fun opportunity for our clients,” Gonzalez says.
In this way, he says the hope is to provide a range of dining options that suit after-work crowds, theatergoers on their way to a Broadway show and, of course, people visiting and staying in central New York.