Adding to the growing list of reasons to visit New York's beautifully restored Grand Central Terminal, chef Charlie Palmer of Aureole is opening a restaurant there today.
Named after a commuter train that runs along France's Côte d'Azur, Metrazur joins the new shops, bars and dining spots that have recently opened throughout the busy train station. Located on the east balcony, overlooking Grand Central's main concourse, Metrazur lies opposite Michael Jordan's Steakhouse, which is on the west balcony.
Palmer has run Aureole -- one of the top restaurants in New York and a winner of Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence -- since 1988. Last year, he unveiled two high-end restaurants in Las Vegas: Aureole, located in the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, and Charlie Palmer Steak, in the Four Seasons Hotel. For the Metrazur venture, Palmer teamed with restaurateur Tony Fortuna (with whom he opened the Lenox Room on New York's Upper East Side in 1995) to do something more casual.
Metrazur encompasses a variety of dining experiences, including a raw bar, a lounge, a 20-person communal table and a private dining room in addition to the 100-seat main dining area. "The plan was to do something very straightforward ... very fresh and clean," Palmer said. "I look at the space as an American brasserie, someplace cheerful and fun, not a place where the food is so complicated that it becomes tedious."
At Metrazur, Palmer has assembled main courses such as grilled sirloin glazed with bone marrow, wood-grilled chicken in a wild mushroom garlic jus and fire-roasted lobster in a Thai carrot reduction. The menu emphasizes seafood, with appetizers such as tuna tartare with lime zest and ginger, and a salad of bay shrimp and spicy chorizo. Appetizers are priced from $7.50 to $13, while entries range from $19 to $32.
The lounge features a smaller menu with offerings from the raw bar, wood-oven flat breads and "lounge plates" -- a selection of three small dishes from a list that includes smoked brook trout with chive cream, shaved Serrano ham with balsamic-glazed figs, and lobster spring rolls. Palmer said he likes the flexibility that the lounge menu allows diners, and he expects the selections to change almost daily.
Master sommelier Steven Geddes developed Metrazur's 65-selection wine list. Geddes, who assembled the impressive 2,000-selection list at Aureole in Las Vegas, said he sought out lesser-known varietals and winemakers in order to provide Metrazur diners with excellent wines at lower prices.
On the list are several selections under $30 and only six costing more than $100. Among white wines, Geddes offers three Austrian Gr|ner Veltliners, an Albariqo and four Rieslings along with Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir, reds such as Barbera, Dolcetto, Malbec and Nebbiolo grace the list. Metrazur offers 11 of its wines by the glass, ranging in price from $6 to $16.
404 Grand Central Terminal
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 687-4600
Open: Lunch and dinner, daily
Learn more about Charlie Palmer's other restaurants:
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