Checked out The Clocktower for lunch on Friday. It’s the buzzy new restaurant in the recently opened New York EDITION Hotel by Marriott/Ian Schrager in the Met Life Bldg at Madison Sq. Park. Interiors by Rockwell Group in collaboration with Schrager. The chef is a Brit, Jason Atherton.
Let me start by saying the restaurant staff is phenomenal – I was so well taken care of, good recommendations (especially on dessert) and at the end, they gave me a complete tour of the second floor restaurant and bar area! However, a great restaurant experience entails 3 essential elements: ambience, food, service. If any of those 3 are lacking, a restaurant won’t get into heavy rotation with me nor will I usually recommend it to friends.
See below for my review and photos of the space and the food.
Clocktower delivers extraordinarily well on service but less so on food which is entirely too contrived – always 3 or 4 too many distracting ingredients or techniques at play. The ambiance is a total mess – way too gilded and fussy while, at the same time, the dining room tables and flooring are really barebone and bring to mind any number of Midwest chain restaurants. I’m a huge fan of the Rockwell Group (especially what they did with Neuehouse) but this project confounds me.
One service quirk that I found particularly annoying is having the food runners bring the food on a tray to the door of the restaurant where they then stand and wait for a server to bring it to your table – it’s super awkward, you literally see your food getting cold or get stressed (as I did) that the runner will drop the big heavy tray. I was told this is a British service tradition.