What’s more fun than a world-renowned magic show that has been performed for everyone from Warren Buffet to Woody Allen? Making it a full day with brunch at Villard and spending the daylight hours of St. Patrick’s Day getting the royal treatment at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. While hoards of Celtics-clad folks stumbled around Midtown, we turned our attention to much more pleasing shades of green on the table in front of us at Villard: the juice in our juice flight (like a beer flight, but with fresh juice), the avocado on our toast, and the “Reserved Seating” signs on our chairs at magician Steve Cohen’s show.
The Daily Meal was invited to experience a brunch that included farmhouse pancetta and gruyere popovers, banana and bacon beignets, thick-cut Billionaires’ Bacon, and country shrimp and grits with shaved black truffle, all very much Insta-worthy and absolutely decadent. Conceptualized by chef de cuisine Oscar Granados, the menu blends fresh flavors with international influences such as French, Asian and Latin flavors — though it’s safe to say that while the flavors of the banana and bacon beignets were all America, their petite size (fortunately for my waistline) definitely were not. However, it’s more than enough to satisfy.
Speaking of magic, $150 for front row seats to the 90-minute Chamber Magic show is pricey, but they don’t call him The Millionaire’s Magician and require you to wear fancy cocktail attire to the performance for nothing. It’s worth it if you’re looking to do something special, like having your own mind read and watching others do the same. You’re never too old to appreciate a good card trick, especially when you’re the one holding the cards. By Cohen’s own observations, the wealthy can be a particularly discerning and critical crowd in general, so you have to be that much better to impress them. (As the only one laughing super loudly and shouting things like “No way!” and “What!” in surprise, I kind of showed my hand there.)
With gold interior decor and tuxedos at every turn, you’ll want to make sure you’re in the mood to feel fancy before booking an afternoon like this—and if you plan to brunch before the show, wear a dress that’s forgiving around the middle.
Brunch is served every weekend at the hotel, and Cohen performs (and lives!) there on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 and 9 p.m., plus a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturdays. This is just the one of the many restaurants where you can get an entertaining meal.