Sitting subtly on the western edge of probably one of the world’s prettiest public parks, you enter the Tavern on The Green and the overwhelming whirlwind of Central Park and New York City is instantly left behind. Guests are scooped up into this enchanting modern tavern, seemingly able to forget that they are in the beating heart of one of the world’s most popular destinations.
Originally transformed from an 1800s sheep fold to a 1934 restaurant, Tavern on The Green was officially reopened in 2014 by restaurateurs Jim Caiola and David Salama with a focus of American-New York style food.
The first thing to mention is the large lounge bar where we were invited to sit and enjoy a drink before being lead to our table. The service, beginning from the host checking if our table were ready to meeting the executive chef, Bill Peet, was exceptional. The chef personally questioned us on our meal and our response described how truly faultless it was.
The bar had a warm, rustic atmosphere however, it was hard to not let our eyes travel to the main dining room area, think grand conservatory meets classic afternoon tea, where floor-ceiling windows allowed the afternoon sunshine, outdoor courtyard and tourists passing-by be seen. The dining room was stylish yet elegant, everything was an off-white colour and filled with laughter and conversation. We were eager to get to our table.
From the bar, be sure to try one of the signature cocktails named after one of the surrounding boroughs, all for under $20. A favourite was the Staten Island; a concoction of Owney’s rum, coconut water, pineapple juice and lime juice.
Once seated at our table, we were given this season’s lunch time menu. To start with, we chose a mixture of appetisers including the grilled flatbread of the day which was topped with garlic roasted mushrooms, cheese and spinach; the jumbo lump crab cake and wild mushrooms on toast. The grilled flatbreads were big enough to share, even being classed as a pizza. Following the starters, we were recommended to try the shaved sirloin steak sandwich, dripping in melted cheese. It was a messy yet immensely satisfying choice. In true American style, the portion sizes of everything ordered was definitely on the generous side.
After our server’s recommendation to try a slice of the famous Birthday Cake for desert, we began to indulge. It was exactly what a slice of birthday cake should be, a sweet treat that leaves you wanting more. A further indulgence is the peanut butter chocolate lava cake with a melting middle of pure, warm peanut butter, one to definitely satisfy a sugary craving.
After visiting this restaurant on a Monday afternoon in autumn, it would be worth a trip on a summers evening, as the park begins to fill with softball games, picnic planners and people trying to escape the city craze; To sit in the charm of the courtyard as the sun is setting and the outdoor lights gleam, creating a glowing, friendly, warm ambiance.
The Tavern on The Green is the perfect choice to drink, dine and celebrate the magnificent fairytale that is New York. Also set in this truly picturesque location, is the must-see tiny, unique gift store on the way out.
The whole experience was set in a perfect location and was full of delights that made me believe every afternoon could be a Sunday afternoon.
For more information visit Tavern On The Green.