The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, “the queen of hospitality and luxury,” is a total immersion in Art Deco glam. I look in the three-paneled mirror in my dressing room (yes, I have a dressing room) and am surprised not to see Bette Davis looking back. Nope, it’s just me.
This Park Avenue landmark was the first hotel to offer room service, a game-changer for the industry. Visiting luminaries as diverse as Herbert Hoover, Marilyn Monroe and Bugsy Siegel stayed here. The great Cole Porter wrote his jazzy standard, You’re the Top (“you’re a Waldorf salad”), here in 1934.
We make our way to Balaboosta restaurant in “Nolita” and order everything from the small plates menu – plus a few specials. The do-it-yourself hummus arrives in mortar and pestle. We get busy crushing the whole chick peas on top. The crispy cauliflower with lemon, currants and pine nuts wows us with flavor-texture contrast. A tasty bruschetta of grilled Halumi cheese with roasted peppers and tart arugula gets a solid rave. The shrimp-avocado ceviche was hot and cool, smooth and silky. We ate so much we had no room for the legendary boneless organic half-chicken under a brick with Israeli couscous and dried apricots – but we’ll be back.
Our girl’s night out included several glasses of nicely paired wines and a tray of decadent desserts. Let’s just say the chocolate volcano did not disappoint. Service was attentive but not smarmy. From start to finish we felt welcomed, appreciated and abundantly comfortable. Highly recommended.
All this and a taxi back to the Waldorf, a schmoozy unwind in the piano bar, and a great night’s sleep. S’wonderful. •