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Café Gray

Note: Café Gray closed on June 21, 2008. Click here and here for later reviews, and here for my parting thoughts.

A friend and I had dinner at Café Gray on a Friday night in November of last year. It was a 5:30pm pre-theatre dinner, but we reserved only on Monday. Even when we left at around 7:00pm, the restaurant was not yet full.

At first, we were seated near a family with young children. (I can’t comprehend taking small children to such a place, but one sees it all the time.) They were well enough behaved, but to be on the safe side we asked to be moved. The staff offered us a nice table for two right next to the kitchen area, and this worked out perfectly. Service overall was top-notch.

So many people have recommended the mushroom risotto and the braised short ribs, so I ordered them. These dishes are indeed delicious, but they are also the most expensive items on the menu. After each of us had had a martini, a glass of wine, an appetizer, an entrée, and a cup of coffee, the bill had come to over $200 with tax and tip. This is not an unreasonable sum to pay for dinner at a nice restaurant in New York, but the city has better bets for that amount of money.

Some people love the space at Café Gray, and others hate it. After reading so many of the “hate it” posts, I’d expected something a lot worse. Café Gray is lovely, although the point of exposing the kitchen still eludes me. We had a nice time, but we were not transported. Putting such an elaborate place in the middle of a shopping mall looks like a gamble, and I’m not yet prepared to say whether it has paid off.

Café Gray (10 Columbus Circle, 3rd floor of the Time Warner Center)

Food: **
: **
Ambiance: **
Overall: **

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