>Todd English’s The Plaza Food Hall: 1 W. 59th st. (in the Plaza Hotel downstairs) New York NY

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> This might be the most perfect place to meet a friend for lunch that I’ve found in my culinary adventures thus far. It’s basically a combination of a fancy cafeteria with table service and a interspersed gourmet gift market. Kind of a mini Eataly. (please see my review of Eataly if you haven’t already) Todd English’s restaurants have always been my favorites, and this one is a fantastic combo of all of his best ideas in one place.
The Plaza Hotel, in it’s smack-in-the-middle of Manhattan location, makes meeting here pretty convenient no matter where you are coming from. The hostess will give you a buzzer so that you can stroll around the shops while you wait to be seated, about 15 minutes for us. There’s plenty to look at
 and we were seated before we knew it. Knowing what I   know now, I think it would be worth waiting an hour for a seat if need be, especially if you are with people who all have different tastes….Or not. It’s REALLY great when you’re with someone who likes the same things as you AND likes to share. Yup, perfect for that.
The menu is extensive, but not overwhelming. We were seated at the sushi bar, which was fun to watch but not what we felt like eating. We were happy to find out that you are not at all restricted by the area in which you are seated. Our waitress was very friendly and knowledgeable and made some great recommendations when we asked. The only negative was that they seemed to be understaffed and the wait between courses and trying to get our check was a little annoying. No biggie since we were just there socially and had nowhere to scurry off to, but it would maybe be an issue if this was a work-day lunch break. My friend and I (who both spent a long time living in the Boston area) were SO excited to see a sampling of the pizzas from Todd’s Massachusetts pizza restaurant, Figs. We both had drool-worthy memories of it and couldn’t WAIT to order the famous fig pizza. Ahhhhh. It was just as incredible as we both recollected. A crunchy rosemary crust, sweet figs, tangy Gorgonzola and salty      prosciutto. I also remember the golden potato one

 
 well and intend to go back very soon for it.
We also shared a Greek salad which was excellent. With an oregano dressing, flavorful olives, creamy feta and fresh veggies, it was the perfect accompaniment to our pizza.
When we finished everything, we were still a little hungry and chatted with our waitress about a 3rd little dish. They have so many tasting-sized, awesome sounding options that I can’t wait to go back to try more. We were tempted by the stuffed dates, the baby beets with pistachios and manchego and the lobster/artichoke pasta, but decided to take our waitress’ very strong recommendation for the risotto ‘tater tots’. YUM. This is not what one would call a little light snack, even though it’s a reasonable portion. Creamy, cheesy fried risotto balls with a creamy dipping sauce were SUCH a treat. I would have preferred a stronger flavored sauce- maybe with a spicy, mustardy kick to it, or a tomato/ketchup-type sauce, but they almost didn’t even need a sauce at all. Full of flavor and texture, I think these along with a salad would make a great lunch next time I’m in the area. Oh, who am I kidding!?!? There’s no way I would order the same thing I’ve already had when 90% of the unexplored menu is begging me to try it. Maybe I’ll see ya there…I LOVE that this is only a 30 minute walk from my apartment. I think it’s going on my heavy rotation list immediately.

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