Had to head downtown today to pick something up. In keeping with tradition, I decided to have a big lunch before the monthly student council--excuse me--condominium board meeting tonight. Of course RL is the restaurant attached to the Ralph Lauren store at the corner of Michigan and Chicago. Lots of stylish people lunching in the dining room and outdoors on the sidewalk terrace. And with stylish people come stylish children.
I had never been in the restaurant, but it is exactly what I expected. Its decor is right out of a 1920s men's club. It looks exactly like the Lauren flagship store on Madison Avenue in NYC. Lots of dark wood and wainscoting. Above the wainscoting were a multitude of framed drawings, photographs, and sketches. I did't check the signatures on the photographs, but I would bet quite a few were by Yousuf Karsh, except the blurry image of Mick Jagger. The waiters were plentiful, friendly in an impish way, and dressed in white.
For lunch, I went with the obvious, steak salad for $23 and ice tea. The salad was tasty, but not very inventive even by upper Eastside standards. Five pieces of beef tenderloin, nicely salted, and a little darker than pink (I did order medium, so that was perfect). No iceberg lettuce, but aside from greens, grape tomatoes, a few croutons, and paper-thin potato slices, nothing else. If you want a good steak salad in this tradition, head to Smith & Wollensky on the river at Marina City (the two corncob-like structures).
Because I was not full, I did something I rarely do: I ordered dessert: Bunky's macaroons. Stupid me. I was thinking Passover macaroons. Instead, I received a plate of those fancy French macaroons that should long be out of fashion, having first started appearing a half-a-decade or so ago. Green, red, dark brown, coffee, and yellow. I ate three, and brought the remaining two home as a gift for someone. At $10 for the five, the macaroons struck me as a bargain, but I would have preferred the old-style coconut variety.
So at the end of the day, I had a $48 lunch (including tax, and tip), and still feel hungry. Oh well: RL has been a celebrity hangout for many years. It was about time I checked it out. No reason to head back.
Copyright 2016, Jack B. Siegel. All Rights Reserved