The Travelling Prince: Uptown Dining (Part 2)

Mimi ON Nov 18, 2008 AT 2:26 pm

The Travelling Prince

The Travelling Prince

The atmosphere in the restaurant was fabulous with that Saturday night vibe and with the Prince being a new face in town; occasional stares wafted across the room from inquisitive bejewelled widows, intrigued socialites and blushing debutants alike.

Another striking reference to the 21 Club, something most apparent are the long serving staff, for instance the waiters, their energy, agility and intricate coordination radiantly well rehearsed bringing a certain flair to the way they acknowledged each others personal space on the floor.  It was clear one could only achieve such choreography with vast professional experience, in fact Joseph Beccarelli, the most Senior Captain has set the president at 21 for over 40 years and Pietro Milani, the Senior Waiter joined the team one month later.  Rather like me, they were all part of a unique tradition where working in service is not only highly regarded by the ones we serve but with it comes an unmistakable code of honour too.

There is no doubt 21 offers a truly superior experience, 10 private rooms on various levels and one sophisticated fine dining room on the first floor. But the most intriguing location has to be the secret cellar room below ground and after petits fours and chocolates had been served with peppermint tea his Highness was invited to take a peak.

Club 21 Wine Cellar

Club 21 Wine Cellar

A quick stroll through the kitchens and down to the cellars of the building; his Highness was then shown a perceptible empty brick wall recess, into which our guide placed an 18” long meat skewer through a crack in the wall.  The Prince was invited to push the wall and with much concerted effort slowly the wall began to move backwards.  Behind this perfectly camouflaged two and a half ton door, in the days of prohibition, would have once been hidden a treasure trove of 2000 cases of wine.  Still today, various bottles are kept in the cellar on behalf of loyal customers past and present; the Prince read out some labels which caught his eye, Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Hugh Carey, Ivan Boesky, Eva Gabor, the Hilton’s, Aristotle Onassis and Sammy Davis Jr, the list was endless.

Rather like walking into a movie scene, we stepped down into the main room where a solid oak table for twenty guests awaited celebratory/private dining parties.  This room was no doubt for those in the know and we were extremely pleased to now be part of that community.

The Travelling Prince

The Travelling Prince

The Prince left the 21 Club truly satisfied having indulged further than one could have possibly anticipated; leaving with a clear appreciation of the exceptional food, wine, service and heritage of this establishment.  Being that I was personally under the influence of a little too much wine that night, I was very much relieved that our apartments were only a short British teeter away. 

THE TRAVELLING PRINCE – REALITY CHECK
TASTING MENU: $140 PER HEAD
’21′ CLUB, 21 WEST 52ND STREET
NEW YORK, NY 10019    
WEBSITE: WWW.21CLUB.COM
TEL:   212 582 7200

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