Todd English Food Hall in New York City

New York City’s Fifth Avenue is famous for its luxury shopping and flagship stores, but just within walking distance on 59th street is the Todd English Food Hall, a European-inspired food hall offering fresh gourmet food from nine diverse food stations. Located on the concourse level of The Plaza Hotel, the hall serves an assortment of foods made with locally sourced ingredients, and boasts a communal atmosphere with an open kitchen concept that lets guests interact with the chefs.

The Todd English Food Hall has an upscale, yet casual environment. It’s very spacious, with communal tables set up throughout the space, and a private dining room that holds up to 175 people and is equipped with audiovisuals and tables for chef demonstrations. Don’t be surprised if you dine here and see Chef Todd English – he visits the hall about four times a week and surprises guests with food demonstrations of his own.

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Whether you choose to dine in or take out, you can order from any of the nine food stations: the ocean grill and oyster bar, noodle and dumpling bar, sushi bar, pasta bar, pizza, the grill, charcuterie and cheese, taqueria, and the wine bar and patisserie. Although many of the menu items remain the same, Todd English Food Hall changes some of the selections based on the season and tests new foods to find out which are most popular among the diners.

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Because the meals at Todd English Food Hall are meant to be shared, I recommend ordering a few appetizers and main dishes for the table. For starters, try the lobster guacamole made with chunks of Maine lobster. It’s a different take on regular guacamole, and the lobster adds a certain level of freshness to the dish.

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Another option is the prime rib sliders, which is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Made with shaved cooked prime rib, fontina fondue (heavy cream and fontina cheese), onion and TE sauce (mayo, ketchup and diced pickles), these sliders are a tasty choice for either lunch or dinner.

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From the noodle and dumpling bar, try the pork dumplings with orange cilantro plum sauce. These homemade dumplings are light and flavorful, and the cilantro adds a bit of a kick to the plum sauce.

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For your main course, don’t miss out on one of the signature homemade pasta dishes. I recommend ordering the artichoke ravioli, made with roasted peppers, olives, capers, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. The ravioli is so light, almost to the point where it melts in your mouth. It’s a well-balanced dish with simple flavors, and the olives add a slightly salty taste to the dish.

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The staff highly recommended the branzino for a second main course, and it was an excellent choice. Cooked with garlic and parsley, and served with a side of confit tomato and rocket greens, the branzino is delicate and light with a crispy skin. Below is the branzino filleted, but depending on your preference, you can also order it whole grilled.

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If you still have room for dessert, try the flourless chocolate cake with a salted caramel macaroon. This is a fine, rich dessert, and the fresh fruit adds bright colors against the dark, chocolate cake to create a beautiful presentation.

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Veena Bissram

Veena's two biggest passions are writing and traveling, but after living in Strasbourg, France, she acquired a third passion – food.Veena combined her three passions to create FoodAvecFlair.com, her own food website where she now writes about the meals that make an impression on her. She is also a freelance writer who previously wrote for Mashable. Follow Veena @FoodAvecFlair.