I. M. Pei, architect of the Four Seasons Hotel in New
York City, likes granite blocks, symmetrical spaces and soaring heights.
When he designed the hotel's restaurant and bar, he deemed that the rooms for
drinking and eating should bear a relationship to the entire building. Fiftyseven
Fiftyseven, dramatic and sweeping in size, is filled with eye-catching
details–inlaid tables and floors and mosaic patterns in the fabric, plates and
on the walls.
Despite the restaurant's formal look, many of the patrons are casually dressed.
The menu, however, is a study in serious eating featuring both prix fixe and à
la carte dinners and begins with a lovely assortment of breads, the best of which
are addictable house-made Parmesan crisps. A starter of sautéed melt-in-your-mouth
foie gras with tender portobello mushrooms and sweet caramelized onions, accompanied
by glasses of white port wine is the signature appetizer and one that Executive Chef
Susan Weaver is justly proud of. We were also impressed with the marinated gossamer
slices of swordfish napped with sour cherry citrus vinaigrette. The slightly saline
fish combined well with the sweetness of a dried cherry garnish, a most imaginative
For entrees there were meaty racks of lamb and veal served with interesting side
dishes like hearty potato pot pies made of flaky pastry encircling slices of creamed
potatoes. Lamb in a red wine reduction was paired with crispy onions and sauteed
spinach. Flageolet beans and roasted sun-dried tomatoes were plated with the veal.
Warm fig tart with apple caramel sauce and lemon crème brulée were satisfying
and not overly sweet finales. Cookies from the restaurant's own kitchen hit the spot,
Fiftyseven Fiftyseven Restaurant and Bar, 57 East 57th Street, New York,
NY 10022. Tel. 212-758-5757. Open 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for breakfast, lunch
and dinner. A three-course prix fixe dinner is reasonable. A la carte menu is