I CONFESS: I never was a regular at the former Four Seasons restaurant. Circumstances took me there just often enough for me to realize the food was too expensive—and too unrewarding—to make me a regular. Even the most occasional of patrons, however, knew two things about the Grill Room: First, it was a destination for lunch, not dinner; and second, no one ever went there for the food. In the room’s current incarnation, however, neither statement holds true any longer.
The Seagram Building space has been taken over by Major Food Group, the restaurateurs behind places like Carbone and Sadelle’s, which detractors have accused of being akin to expensive culinary theme parks. Foodies familiar with the group’s antics worried: How would the venerated institution be transformed by these brash young bloods?
Surely I’m not the only diner who bore a morbid curiosity on her initial visit to The Grill, expecting to resent what the space had become. I’m equally certain I’m not the only one to be quickly won over.
Say what you will about Major Food Group, but they know how to make dining an event. And rather than rejecting the room’s rich history, they’re playing off of it as a modern pop star would an outdated song she’s covering—the melody and lyrics remain the same, but it’s given a flashy new twist. In Major Food Group’s hands, The Grill has morphed into an opulent, retro-luxe extravaganza with a meat-heavy menu that reads like something straight out of the middle of the last century—which is to say, when the Four Seasons first opened its doors, in 1959.