Before getting to the tasty part, let me introduce Downling’s, The Carlyle Hotel’s famed restaurant. Dowling’s at The Carlyle is named after Robert Whittle Dowling, the former owner of the hotel and a prominent urban planner known for his fervent efforts to revitalize Manhattan decades ago. In the 1940’s, Dowling acquired the hotel and converted it into the place it is today as well as placing it on the map as a fashionable destination for celebrities, politicians, royalty and tastemakers.
When walking into the newly opened Dowling’s at The Carlyle, you’ll first enter an art deco style space containing red banquette booths, where one can sit and enjoy a cocktail prior to getting seated for dinner. After sipping the cocktail, you’ll enter a main dining room where you’ll be surrounded by an eclectic culmination of artwork punctuating the walls, delectable dishes, and most importantly, great service by longtime Restaurant Captain Charles Wojciechowski. The intimate 80-seat dining room space was designed by Creative Director William Paley of New York-based interior design firm tonychi studio, bringing the glamor and glitz of the 1930’s and 40’s eras to the restaurant.
The menu is brought to your palate by Executive Chef Sylvain Delpique, formerly of 21 Club. Delpique curated a menu showcasing his own twist on contemporary staples of iconic New York favorites, while at the same time including throwback dishes from other eras. In the menu, you’ll find mouthwatering American and European-style cuisine items with the sophistication of tableside preparations. If attending for breakfast, you can order items such as a Truffle Eggs Benedict or Brioche French Toast, a variety of salads, a Fontina and Heritage Bacon Sandwich, and a Roasted Eggplant with Romanesco Cauliflower for lunch. As I attended the dinner service, my options were endless and my decision was difficult. The dinner service menu contained items such as tasty East Beach Blonde oysters with a ginger-sake mignonette, Tuna Tartare with whipped crème fraiche and sauce gribiche, the immortal Wedge salad with blue cheese, among other items.
With Wojciechowski being the Captain for dinner, candid and entertaining conversations occurred with him while he explained every detail of items on the menu. Wojciechowski has been working at The Carlyle since the 1980’s and is one to charm every patron with his knowledge on all things food and beverage and most importantly, his hospitality.
Prior to ordering, Wojciechowski brought warm buttery Brioche bread and a side of butter to the table, which I ate while sipping on a freshly made hot latte. Since it was still restaurant week, I decided to order the three course menu, which had items that didn’t disappoint. It was cold out, so I was craving a bowl of soup to start. Therefore, I ordered a warm and creamy Lobster Bisque, which contained lumps of savory lobster. For my main course, I ordered a mouthwatering Steak Diane dish, which consists of the steak being flambéed with Remy Martin Cognac by Wojciechowski right in front of your very eyes. The steak comes with a side of whipped mashed potatoes where one can feel the butter and potatoes melting in the mouth. Of course, this menu came with a dessert. I went with the Creme Brulee, because you can’t go wrong with the creamy, pudding-like, baked custard.
As mentioned, Dowling’s at The Carlyle is open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with Brunch services provided on Saturdays and Sundays. When coming by any time of the day at Dowling’s, make sure you ask for Wojciechowski.