Charlie Palmer’s Métrazur was an obvious Restaurant Week choice for my boyfriend and me: we’ve passed by it a million times inside Grand Central, we’re interested in Palmer’s restaurants in general, and I wanted the Sichuan spiced pork tenderloin on the Restaurant Week menu.
As far as atmosphere goes, not much beats Métrazur. Located on Grand Central’s East Balcony, it overlooks all of the chaos of commuters rushing to their trains, but the immense space overhead captures all of the noise and leaves the restaurant cozy and quiet. It was definitely unlike any other restaurant’s decor.
I made Kamran pose like this, just so you don’t think he often sits around in public with his mouth agape.
Crab and lobster cake, mango, shaved frisee and radish salad, brioche “Melba”, lemon butter nage
Crab is literally the only seafood that makes my mouth water, and this was one of the finer crab cakes I’ve had. The breading on the cake was thick and crunchy, as was the brioche. The nage (or broth) was super intense and basically overwhelmed all of the other flavors, but it was a lemony, buttery, and rich as all get-out. The cake was good enough on its own that it didn’t need the nage, but lemon and lobster go so well together.
Roasted butternut squash soup, pumpkin seeds, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, créme fraiche
Hands down the best butternut squash soup I’ve had, but how could it not be with all of the bacon hiding on the bottom of the bowl? After one bite of this, I understood why everyone makes such a big deal about squash soup, and I was still thinking about it two courses later and wishing I could have more of it instead of my dessert. And I don’t not eat dessert.
Sichuan spiced pork tenderloin, gingered butternut squash puree, baby bok choy, maple soy glaze
When I ordered this, the waiter asked me how I wanted my pork cooked, and I said to him, “No one has ever asked me that in my life.” HOW DO I WANT MY PORK COOKED?! I WANT IT COOKED THROUGH, THAT’S HOW. I asked for medium well so it wouldn’t come out grey, but it came out completely pink, and I didn’t die, so I guess the chef knows best. There was definitely not any bok choy on my plate, and the squash puree was more texture than flavor, but the maple soy glaze was sweet and yum-MY. And the pork itself was spiced to perfection.
Lamb shank, sweet potato gratin, Brussels sprout leaves, black trumpets, red wine jus
Maybe you can’t tell from the photo, but this was a giant portion, especially for Restaurant Week. My boyfriend had to share part of it with me, and even then, he was packed full. Now, if you really love the sort of gamey taste of lamb, this was not the shank for you, but if you love a slow-cooked beef roast, this was the best lamb shank you’ve ever had. My boyfriend found one big pocket of lambiness, but the rest of it was delightfully mild enough to showcase the other flavors on the plate.
Bittersweet chocolate torte, passion fruit, candied orange, clubber cream
The best things about this for me were the smear of super-sweet passion fruit and the whipped cream (whatever “clubber” means). The torte itself was creamy, slippery chocolate with a crispy cookie crust, and it was nice, but it was another in a long line of desserts meant for non-gluttons.
Key lime pie, tropical fruit compote, chocolate nibs crisp, Italian meringue
This was a light, refreshing finish to a rich, heavy dinner. I don’t usually care for light and refreshing and am a huge chocolate person, but this was the superior dessert. The pie was very well done, with a nice key lime custard and a crunchy shell. The crisp tasted like sesame seeds to me, oddly, but maybe my palate was still recovering from the passion fruit in my dessert. I did really like this pie in the end, but I didn’t feel like the same care that had been put into that crazy-delicious soup was evident.
Aside from our completely indifferent and slow server, we were extremely happy that we finally tried Métrazur and that the food exceeded our expectations. I’d go back for the atmosphere and the squash soup any time, and with their every day $44 prix fixe menu that includes a bottle of wine, I can.
Charlie Palmer’s Métrazur
404 Grand Central Terminal, East Balcony
New York, NY 10017 (map)