1 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022
Daily from 5 PM
We Say: If you like Clubby, Wood and Leather, with Classic American Cuisine, then this is the place for you. The staff is still getting the hang of breaking in their saddles. There is no question Ralph hit another home run with this one. It may take a few months to hit their stride. You should be a part of it! Ralph’s Kale Ceasar Salad, Ralph’s Corned Beef Sandwich, the Polo Burger, plenty of Steaks, Chicken and Dover Sole. Then my favorite, Ralph’s Coffee Ice Cream with a Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookie. Oh yes, and lets not forget the Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sautéed Garlic Spinach, Mashed Potatoes with Salted Vermont Butter, and Hand-Cut Fries. They do have a Vegetarian Menu as well. If you just want to sit at the bar, relax and enjoy and people watch, have a drink and some snacks, he has everything from Oysters, to Caviar with Fingerling Potatoes. Now, this is my kind of place.
The New York Post Says:
Resplendent in a double-breasted, gold-button navy blazer, Ralph Lauren popped by our table. “How do you like it?” he beamed, his white mane tinted amber by horsy-heaven Polo Bar’s shaded wall sconces and table lamps.
Honey, we just got here! But for a restaurant open all of three days, the house is running on all hooves.
Good thing: A place launched with so much expectation invites a trip to the glue factory if opening buzz finds the food dull or the waiters clueless.
But megabucks Polo Bar, at 1 E. 55th St., around the corner from the new Ralph Lauren Polo Fifth Avenue store, is fielding a well-drilled squad from the opening ball toss.
There’s not a trace of snoots, waiters know the dishes and the kitchen’s timing is as precise as a chukka clock’s.
Of course, whether Polo Bar is a home run or a fiasco one month or six months from now is another story.
There are no sure things in New York. But Polo Bar pleases at first blush and taste.
The gorgeous dining room, a flight down from the 36-seat bar/lounge area at street level, doesn’t feel the least subterranean. Its 132 seats, some in cozy nooks, offer grand people-watching.
Not that it was wall-to-wall boldfaces Tuesday, when the crowd boasted lots of well-coifed ladies and their dandy dates — but not celebs like Charlie Rose and Ivanka Trump seen last week.
There was “Law & Order” actress Stephanie March at a corner table, dining with a gentleman, not her husband Bobby Flay. But relax: It was a meal between friends, and March had been in with Flay before.
The town-and-country, sporting-life fantasy seamlessly weaves reclaimed pine trim, green wall covering, white linen and tan leather banquettes equipped with plump, plaid Polo-branded pillows. Equine imagery dominates most every surface, even above the men’s room urinals.
Yet for all its painstakingly tailored evocation of the landed-gentry lifestyle, Polo Bar wants the patina of age to soften bolder flourishes. Shiny gold toilet sinks?
“I prefer my Donald Trump two blocks north,” cracked my gorgeous pal in chic suede. “But I love all the leather,” she said of the surfeit of skin that encases even the menu.
The lineup inside it disappointingly includes no beef from Lauren’s famous, 17,000-acre Colorado ranch.
“We didn’t have enough of it,” confided roving Ralph, adding, “Although we did some in Paris.” Fine, but how about New York?
Chef Sepp Stoner stakes out a sensible middle ground between steakhouse classicism and modern-American invention. But “autumn vegetable salad” in mid-January?
Pricier steak will wait for a later tasting. But most everything I tried was terrific.
Lush crab came sandwiched in a crackling, thin phyllo dough crust and tinted with mustard-bell pepper sauce. Sensuously fine-shredded beef anchored silk-smooth “ranch house” chili.
The best main course was a corned beef sandwich with melted Swiss on marble rye. We proclaimed the pleasingly salty, ultra-thin-sliced beef “half Irish, half Jewish” — a crowd-pleaser that’s Lauren’s own favorite dish. The only comparative dud was a giant, moisture-deprived burger.
Polo Bar’s boozy spirit is reflected in an 11-page list. “Prince of Wales” justified its $21 tab — a potent elixir of rye, cherry, pineapple and Champagne. But we sent back the $18 “Prohibition Spice,” an astringent rum- and aperol-based affair.
The room was still hopping past 11 p.m. on winter’s coldest night. But the crowd thinned enough to let Ella Fitzgerald’s classic American songbook interpretations come through.
This is a place where Cole Porter would feel right at home.
The Polo Bar, 1 E. 55th St.; 212-207-8562