When you get right down to it, there are woefully too few days in a New York City summer where the planets align to create weather that’s both seductively warm and miraculously free from precipitation, making for the perfect scenario for a rooftop dining experience. We enjoyed just such a cosmic occurrence one evening last week, when we were fortunate enough to snag a prime table at Upstairs, the luxurious rooftop restaurant and bar located on the Penthouse level of the Kimberly Suites Hotel. Unlike similar venues that may flaunt coveted Rooftop views of our fair Metropolis while phoning it in when it comes to service and consumables, Upstairs backs up its bragging rights with an impressive menu of gourmet eats and signature summer cocktails that will add significant value to your evening of memorable views.
With its retractable glass ceilings and walls (just in case the clouds roll in) and mix of old Hollywood meets Modern Penthouse Garden design, Upstairs is a place to see and be seen. We spotted the very handsome Fabio Viviani of Top Chef Fame seated with a lively group at a table close by, and it’s likely that other local celebrities might have been mingling in the considerable crowd. But make no mistake, the atmosphere is chill and attitudes are checked at the door. People come here to relax, unwind and enjoy some seriously delicious food.
Truffled Mac & Cheese (All Food Photos By Anne Raso)
We brought our heartiest mid-week appetites which were satisfied by orders of rich and fragrant Truffled Macaroni & Cheese baked en casserole to a golden hue ($12), and Crispy Baby Artichokes tossed with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Lemon ($14).
Crispy Baby Artichokes
Curious to sample as many dishes as possible, we added Spiced Duck Cigars (heavy on the curry and hot pepper) with Pomegranate Dipping Sauce ($13) and a trio of juicy Kobe Beef Sliders topped with Cheddar, Tomato & Pickle ($15) complimented by a side of extraordinary Crispy French Fries accompanied by a dish of luscious Chipotle Mayonnaise ($7).
Spiced Duck Cigars are Studded with Toasted Pistachio Nuts
Kobe Beef Sliders: Tiny But Tasty!
For seafood lovers, Upstairs offers a wide offering of delectable dishes including a generous portion of Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with Spicy Avocado and Ginger Olive Oil ($18), Lump Crab Cakes with Ginger-Mango Salsa and Spicy Chili Sauce ($17), crowd-pleasing Crispy Calamari ($15) and the popular Lobster Sliders ($21), among other selections. We can enthusiastically recommend everything mentioned here. Order several small plates and you’ll find that all appetizers are large enough to share between two people, leaving you comfortably stuffed.
And stuffed we were – yet we couldn’t resist being tempted by dessert. We sampled the petite Strawberry Soufflé with Whipped Cream and Tarragon Strawberry Salad ($11) – which is the perfect size to top off your meal, even if you think you can’t swallow one more bite.
Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich
We also indulged in the Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich (Vanilla/Caramel parfait Ice Cream between Two Chocolate Wafers) served with a side of Salted Vanilla Carmel sauce for dipping or drizzling on top and Fresh Blackberries ($11). Both were delicious and unique.
Service at Upstairs is attentive and gracious. Our waitress stopped back at our table often to make sure we had everything we needed, and even Executive Chef David Andrews (formerly of Gotham Bar & Grill) stopped by for a brief chat about his delicious creations. Having worked with Chefs such as Marcus Samuelson and Angelo Sosa, he is very down-to-earth when he talks about his food, and he has the most adorable, subtle Tennessee accent. The impeccable combination of food, service and location make Upstairs an ideal destination to impress your out of town friends with a taste New York hospitality, but it’s a self-indulgent retreat for locals as well; because, really, where else can you take in the best views of the Chrysler building in town while sipping a cocktail named after Yoko Ono?
Upstairs is located at the Kimberly Hotel, Penthouse Level 145 East 50th Street (East of Lexington) in New York City (Take the 6 Train to Lexington and 51st Street). For reservations please phone 212-888-1220. Hours are Monday – Wednesday 5 PM-1 AM, Thursday – Friday 5 PM-2 AM, Saturday Brunch served from 11:30 AM-3:30 PM, (Upstairs will be open 6 PM-2 AM, Sunday Brunch served from 11:30 AM-3:30 PM, (Upstairs will be open 3:30 PM-11 PM). Proper Attire is Required, so dress to impress and leave the sneakers and cut-offs at home!