Archive for October, 2008

Inside Park at St. Barts

October 18, 2008

Inside Park at St. Bartsst-barts

Opening Date: September 23, 2008

Address: 109 East 50th Street (entrance on Park Avenue)
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 593-3333

Location: Located in one of New York’s most treasured landmark churches –
St. Bartholomew’s Church. Just a few steps up from the sidewalk along stately Park Avenue, guests are seemingly miles from the hustle and bustle in one of the world’s greatest cities.

Operator: Sodexo

Executive Chef: Matthew Weingarten

Pastry Chef: Miran Shim

Cuisine: Contemporary American

Concept: The restaurant is housed in the former Great Hall of the Community House at St. Bartholomew’s Church, a New York City landmark building. Its design, food and service pay tribute to the idea of “a sense of place and time”, while welcoming diners to a comfortable venue in which to “escape”, break bread and share a fine dining experience
with their friends, family and business associates.

Menu Highlights: Chef Weingarten’s menus reflect his longtime allegiance to a respect for responsibly-sourced ingredients, seasonality, sustainable practices and lost culinary arts. Selections from the Autumn Dinner Menu include:
Simple Plates: Air Dried Beef; House Smoked Black Cod; Chiogga Beets; Sage and Hooligan Taxis; Sizzled Rouget
Appetizers: East Coast Oyster Pan Roast; Smoked Country Sausage; Braised Octopus; Autumn Squash and Roasted Apple Chowder
Entrees: Heritage Breed Pork Chop with Mushroom Fricassee and Caraway Dumpling; Black Sea Bass with Preserved Cherry, Mustard Greens and Rutabaga; Pastured Chicken with Roasted Artichoke and Farro; Hand Cut Pappardelle, Mountain Style Rabbit Ragu; Black Sea Bass, Preserved Cherry, Mustard Greens and Rutabaga.

Desserts: Autumn Tarts; Hand Stretched Strudel with Heirloom Apples, Walnuts and Cultured Cream; Mulberry and Pecan Bread Pudding; Lavender Goat Cheese Soufflé; Artisanal Cheese Selection

Price Range: Simple Plates, $4.50-$9 (three for $18); Appetizers, $10-$16; Entrees, $24-$32; Featured Dish for Two, $62-$70; Sides, $7; Desserts, $9-$12

Wine/Beverages: The carefully chosen “One Hundred Wines” List includes New World and Old World selections with 20 to 25 wines by the glass. Specialty cocktails are served from the Full Bar, as well as artisan beers, D.O. Jerez-Xeres sherries and dessert wines.

Design/Décor: Designed by Conant Architects, New York City, the 3,100-square-foot dining room, with its soaring 30-foot ceiling, was designed to be a contemporary space while respecting the majesty of the original Great Hall where it is located.

The intricate Byzantine-like stenciling appearing on the ceiling, pilasters and balcony beam has been painstakingly renovated true to its original colors and motifs by master Old World craftsman, Charles Wilkinson of Antico Effetto. The original floor has been renovated and stained a rich, dark brown. Salvaged from St. Bart’s Community House are a gothic refectory table and a buffet.

New to the space is the seating and tables, most of the lighting, a staircase leading to the brand new modern kitchen, a bake shop, a 20-foot screen with projected images of old and modern New York City parks on the wall of the 600-square-foot raised gallery, and air-conditioning and heating.

Kitchen Design: The immaculate, white-tiled 2,400-square-foot kitchen, designed by Pascoe-Jacobs Associates in collaboration with Chef Weingarten, is located under the Terrace of the church. It is completely new and its highlights include: a customized butcher table; all stainless surfaces; a meat walk-in with a 2,000-pound load rail to accommodate the chef’s whole animal approach to cooking; and a large Cookshop smoker to finish the process. In addition, a new 250-square-foot annex bake shop has been built where an existing kitchen was off of the dining room.

Seating: 140 including the raised gallery, which also functions as a semi-private dining area. Bar seats 12.

Inside Park Terrace: Open mid-April through mid-October (weather permitting), the Terrace is a very popular Manhattan retreat for casual dining. Festooned with umbrellas and sporting a large round bar area that seats up to 20, the Terrace seats up to 200 people and is an ideal alfresco spot to enjoy specialty cocktails or a glass of wine at the end of a busy day.

Special Events: A unique midtown venue for meetings, receptions, weddings and other special events for large and small groups. Additional meeting space is also available. For more information, please contact Catering Manager Amy Szyarto at 212-593-3333, Ext. 202 or

Credit Cards: All major

Dress: Casual business

Hours: Inside Park at St. Bart’s
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday, 5:30 to 10:00 pm
Bar: Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
Monday to Saturday, 5:00 to 10:00 pm

Inside Park Terrace
Open mid-April through mid-October (weather permitting)
Lunch: Monday to Friday, 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
Saturday, 11:30 am to 5:00 pm
Dinner: Monday to Friday, 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Reservations: (212) 593-3333
Recommended for Inside Park at St. Bart’s.
Inside Park Terrace seating is first come, first served (weather permitting), unless group is 6 people or larger.


Review By Nancy Walman


New Fine Dining – Stunning, Majestic Venue


Eight steps up from the sidewalk on Park Avenue at 50th Street, across the famous Terrace at St. Bartholomew’s Church, through the doors into what was the Great Hall of the church’s Community House, and now you’re inside a transformed, brand new space that includes a raised semi-private gallery dining area.

Intricate Byzantine-like decorative stenciling, true to the immense room’s original colors, motifs, and craftsmanship, have been painstakingly replicated on the soaring 30-foot ceiling, as well as on the walls, overhanging balcony, and border around the raised dining gallery that is lit by original Great Hall hanging fixtures. Simple, but elegant, 15-foot-high yellow and white stained glass windows remain as beautiful elements of the 86-year old room.
Inside Park at St. Bart’s is a gathering place that invites guests to come enjoy themselves and share dining experiences in a very special, unique New York City setting. The restaurant’s design pays a deep respect to the look and details of the Great Hall that it has replaced, as well as to the comforts and pleasures of contemporary diners.

Executive Chef Matthew Weingartenst-barts-chef

A longtime supporter of local farmlands, sustainable culinary practices, and responsibly sourced ingredients, Matthew Weingarten always strives to create menus that reflect a sense of place and time. At Inside Park at St. Bart’s, Weingarten’s artisanal approach to cooking is highlighted by his passion for culinary traditions and the lost culinary arts of curing, pickling, preserving and “whole animal cooking” – all of which help to better sustain our culinary and cultural knowledge for future generations.

He was previously the chef de cuisine at Peter Hoffman’s celebrated Savoy restaurant in New York City, working under the tutelage of one of the country’s forerunners of “locavorism”. Prior to Savoy, he was chef at the highly touted, but short-lived Porcupine. Weingarten’s first job after graduating with a Blue Ribbon from the Institute of Culinary Education was at An American Place with legendary Chef Larry Forgione. He also worked as chef de cuisine at Quilty’s, cooking alongside Executive Chef Katy Sparks, and was executive chef at Tuscan.

Pastry Chef Miran Shim along with Executive Chef Matthew Weingarten share an avid interest in Old World classics and strive to update these specialties to appeal to modern day palates. She oversees the baking of fresh breads and all housemade desserts from her own kitchen baking annex. Shim’s Hand-Stretched Strudel with Heirloom Apples, Lavender and Goat Cheese Soufflé and Chocolate Dacquoise garner yums, ooohs and ahhhs! on a nightly basis. Her complimentary, old-fashioned handmade caramels in various flavors are the perfect touch to the end of any meal.

Prior to joining the culinary team at Inside Park at St. Bart’s, Shim owned her own bake shop, Sweet Potion, in Hackettstown, NJ. She was a pastry assistant at Strip House and an extern at Café Boulud, both in New York City. Shim is a graduate of The French Culinary Institute. Before pursuing her love for pastry arts, Shim’s first career was in the design industry as an award-winning computer animator.

With such culinary Joys as appetizers like a delicious and light East Coast Oyster Pan Roast with Bacon and Cream or Crispy Breast of Lamb on Black Walnut Chutney and soaring entrees such as Grass fed Beef Ribeye, Market Shell Beans, and Squash Fries; Steamed Montauk Swordfish, with Pink Peppercorn and Porcini Broth; and a stunning rendition of the classic Limousin Veal Roast with Chanterelle Preserves and Potato Puree, the veal de-boned and rolled around fresh herbs and kidneys and desserts like Hand-Stretched Strudel with Heirloom Apples and Lavender, as well as a fine list of 100 wines, with a huge selection by the glass and excellent service, Inside Park at St. Bart’s, 109 East 50th St. on Park Avenue, is an undiscovered joy and rates A Major on The Walman Report.

Side Bar

If you sample all of the 13 “Simple Plates” with bites of such remarkable offerings as House Smoked Black Cod, Whole Hog Rillette and crispy frog’s legs served with a devastatingly luscious potato pancake, filled with local cheese, you can put together a terrific tasting dinner. Too unique to be called Tapas; too classy to be called Bar Food, here is something truly unique on the New York restaurant-food scene.



Inside Park 2

October 16, 2008


The Rink at Rockefeller Center

October 4, 2008

The Rink at Rockefeller Center Rink at Rock Center



The Rink is located in Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. The Rink is in Rockefeller Center’s famous sunken plaza with the gilded statue of Prometheus by Paul Manship.

The Rink is the world’s most famous ice skating rink, and is a quintessential New York City winter experience. Today, more than a quarter of a million skaters enjoy the Rockefeller Center rink every year from October through April.

The Rink can accommodate approximately 150 skaters at a time and it is 122 feet long and 59 feet wide.

Over 200 couples get engaged on the Rink every year as part of the Engagements on Ice program. During the busy holiday season, up to 6 couples a day are engaged on the Rink.

Underground piping of glycol is used to keep the Rink ice-cold. Glycol is a type of anti-freeze which is kept at 3-4 degrees. Water is layered on top of the rink floor to create the layers of ice.

The zamboni resurfaces the ice 9 times per day.


The Rink at Rockefeller Center first opened on Christmas Day in 1936. The Rink replaced the complex’s original shopping concourse. It was built to be the premiere artificial outdoor skating pond built in New York City, complete with modern amenities: night skating, a heated house for changing skates, piped-in music and rink-side dining.

The Rink was originally referred to as the Rockefeller Plaza Outdoor Ice Skating Pond.

Over the years, thousands of spectators have been entertained by the razor-sharp blades of figure skaters including Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, Kristi Yamaguchi, John Curry and Brian Boitano, among many others that have skated at The Rink.


You can rent ice skates, or bring your own, and you don’t need reservations to skate at the The Rink.

Pricing for ice skate rentals and admissions are charged per session and vary pre-season and holiday season. The Rink also offers Ice Skating Lessons. For information, please visit or call 212-332-7655.


The Rink is managed by Patina Restaurant Group, one of America’s leading restaurant groups with fine restaurants and world-class catering

The rink is flanked by The Sea Grill on the south side and Rock Center Café on the north side.


Review By Nancy Walman

The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center will open on Columbus Day, October 13th, to kick off the 2008-09 winter season. It is the world’s most famous ice skating rink, with more than one quarter of a million skaters visiting each year between October and April. This year’s Rink opening marks the beginning of the festivities leading up to the 76th anniversary of the beloved Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

The Rink will open this year with a special “Chefs on Ice” show from Ice Theater skaters. Three skating chefs will offer cookies baked by Rock Center Café and The Sea Grill’s Pastry Chef Michael Gabriel to all visitors on opening day. The skating chefs will perform from 9 am-4 pm, and a special press reception will be held from 9-11 am.

“Attracting skaters of all ages and levels, The Ice Rink is a tradition we are proud to be a part of,” said Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, which operates The Rink and its surrounding restaurants, The Sea Grill and Rock Center Café. “Visiting The Ice Rink and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has spanned generations and lasted throughout the decades, with more memorable years to come.”

The Rink first opened on Christmas Day in 1936 as the premier artificial outdoor skating pond built in New York City, complete with modern amenities: night skating, a heated house for changing skates, piped-in music and rink-side dining. Over the past 72 years, The Rink has become one of the most visited sites in NYC – and even the world.

The perfect destination for both families and lovebirds, The Ice Rink has several programs planned for the upcoming skating season: “Engagements on Ice” will be available throughout the season, which offers couples private time to propose marriage on the Ice Rink, followed by a champagne toast at Rock Center Café. “Breakfast with Santa” will begin late November and last through Christmas Eve for children to spend quality time with St. Nick, enjoy a delicious breakfast at Rock Center Café and partake in a skate session. For those looking for a unique morning workout, Olympic gold medalist Jojo Starbuck hosts a morning “Cool Workout Sessions” program. Finally, back by popular demand, “Skate-a-Date” will begin January 2009. The program includes dinner for two at Rock Center Café and VIP skating on The Rink.

Besides the regular menu, there is a special mushroom menu till Oct. 31 and a $29.00, bargain 3 course menu through Oct. 12. The food, wine and service are surprisingly excellent and the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center and Rock Center Café rate A Major on The Walman Report.

The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center is located on 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. For schedules and skate rental information, please visit