A couple of weeks ago I had the delight of finally having Afternoon Tea at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. And if you know me on a day-to-day basis, you are probably sick of hearing about this experience.
Afternoon Tea at the Plaza not only lives up to expectations, but it far surpasses them. From the casually sheik atmosphere, to the elegantly understated service, to the divine food preparation, not one aspect of this tea disappointed.
Tea: The tea selection is not huge, it boasts 13 delicious selections. The teas were seasonable, and obviously well thought out.
Scones: We were each served one traditional scone and one lemon scone tucked inside a napkin blanket to keep them nice and warm. The scones were that perfect medium size, not too big and not too small. The consistency was moist, but still that edge of flakiness that is the signature of a good scone. They were served with Double Devonshire Cream, lemon curd, and berry preserves.
Sandwiches: I upgraded my tea to the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages ($60), while my sister-in-law opted for The New Yorker ($50). The upgrade was worth every penny. The smoked salmon with creme fraiche and wild sturgeon is one of the single best bites I have ever eaten. I still contend that even someone who doesn’t eat seafood would have liked this tea treat. The Deviled Quail Egg Salad was served in a pastry cup that was very obviously freshly made and had the perfect hint of truffle. The cucumber sandwich was traditional in the fact that it was cucumber and butter based, but contemporary in its double layer presentation that was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Desserts: As is usually the case, I was entirely too full to take part in the beautiful display of desserts. However, everything was obviously fairly fresh from the baker’s workshop. I also appreciated that the two different tea services received two different selections of sweets. Later in the evening I managed a bite of the profiterole, and it made me very sad I hadn’t left room for more desserts. It was one of the best dessert bites I have had in ages.
Pricing: I love that The Plaza offers several different selections for afternoon tea. The Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages ($60) and The New Yorker ($50) where our selections. Also available were The Chocolate Tea ($62), which the table next to us ordered and it looked amazing, and The Eloise Tea ($35 for children, $50 for adults) that would be perfect to introduce your little one to the fantasticness that is Afternoon Tea. And let me tell you, this tea is worth every, single penny and then some.
If you are “into” Afternoon Tea, or even if you have just considered dabbling, I can not be enthusiastic enough about this being the one tea you need to experience in your lifetime.
- Renee Hirschberg