Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Helmsley Hotel Thanksgiving mystery

December 12

I had dinner at Mindy's, the restaurant at the Helmsley Hotel that is featuring New York products. After the meal I had a chat with the chef, John Walsh, and the topic of holiday business came up. He said they had an insanely successful Thanksgiving. They had reservations for 70 people on the books at the beginning of the day, but they ended up with a total of 225 covers. That's 155 walk-ins, on Thanksgiving. And they weren't lonely traveling businesspeople. They were mostly local neighborhood families, walking in, on Thanksgiving, as if it had just occurred to them at around 11 o'clock that morning that a turkey dinner with all the trimmings might be in order.
You would expect people to, you know, make plans for Thanksgiving — to buy a turkey or make a reservation or finagle an invitation to someone else's home. Maybe not months in advance, but at least by Sunday.
Indeed, the chef said the invasion by walk-ins left everyone at the Helmsley scratching their heads — happy, but scratching their heads.
The hotel's bar was really busy that night, too, and no one knows why.

What I ate:
Baby green salad with roasted puple onions, Parmesan crisp, slow roasted tomatoes and balsamic scalliion vinaigrette
Duck Walk Sauvignon Blanc, North Fork, Long Island

New York lobster ravioli with shellfish butter sauce and tarragon pesto
Swedish Hill Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes

Wallkill Valley pan-fried trout with lovage and parsley, toasted almonds, boiled fingerling potatoes, baby vegetables and lemon butter sauce.
Collina 48 Merlot, North Fork, Long Island

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream
Polaris late harvest Riesling, North Fork, Long Island

Pumpkin soufflé
Brotherhood Ruby Port, Washingtonville

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