Bryant Park Grill was built in 1995 as part of the restoration plan for the park itself, and it provides more outdoor than indoor dining with the café (300 seats), patio (200), and roof garden (140). The more formal indoor restaurant seats 180. Chef Gadi Weinrich oversees an enormous kitchen beneath the main building with four runners (they are extremely fit!) on each shift whose only job is to carry the completed dishes upstairs.
The Burrata Mozzarella appetizer is light and refreshing with organic greens, seasonal tomatoes, and balsamic nectar, which is an essence lighter than vinegar. Gazpacho with lime-marinated cucumbers and mint is a favorite summer appetizer. A deeply flavorful entrée is the Moroccan-Style Lemon Chicken with tiny roasted potatoes, capers, tomatoes, and preserved lemon slices. Given the setting and population of the surrounding office buildings, this is a popular destination, so you need to book well in advance. There is a large selection of salads, and sandwiches are served with a wedge of watermelon. Try the Citrus Marinated Fresh Tuna Salad with cucumber and tomato on a seeded roll.
Pastry chef Ann Marie Noonan offers a knockout take on the traditional lemon meringue pie called Upside Down Lemon Meringue. The “pie” is a ring of tender crust standing upright on the plate. At its base is a delicious tart/sweet lemon curd on top of a mound of chewy meringue with a drizzle of blackberry merlot sauce. Mmm, mmm!
Monday to Sunday 11:30am to 11pm; weekend brunch 11:30am to 3:30pm. -- Marian Betancourt