There’s a mini-boomlet in ski-themed bars and restaurants, including the Haven Rooftop in the Sanctuary Hotel, and the Hudson Lodge at the Hudson Hotel, both in midtown. The Minus 5 Ice Bar is scheduled to open in the Hilton in March 2013—odd timing, to say the least.
The Après-ski Chalet at Café Select has less glitzy ambitions. It occupies a charmless back room behind the kitchen, gussied up rather sloppily with outdated ski equipment and old posters. The staff said it’s used as an oyster bar in the summertime, though it’s about the last place I’d go to eat oysters.
Three of us paid $22 per person, or a total of $66, for a fondue crock with melted cheese, a bowl of bread cubes for dipping, and some crudités. In contrast, three of you could share the Grande Fondue at Artisanal, which I’m pretty sure is no smaller than Café Select’s version, and is almost certainly better, at $42.
You can add to the basic fondue package, and you should, with plates of meats and sausages, which are more sensibly priced. Still, it’s a lot of money for what felt like about eight dollars worth of food, in a room that doesn’t feel like any kind of Chalet.
The fondue at Café Select won’t change your life. There’s nothing wrong with it either. But there’s a sense of romance implied in the name “Après-ski Chalet” that this spot doesn’t live up to. If you’re suddenly in that fondue mood, go uptown to Artisanal and grab a seat at the bar.
Après-ski Chalet at Café Select (212 Lafayette St & Kenmare St, Soho)
Food: Unmemorable but acceptable fondue and accouterments
Service: Fine, but cash-only
Ambiance: A storage room hurriedly re-decorated as a 1970s chalet
Rating: Not recommended
Why? If you want fondue, there are better and cheaper options