The Grill Is the City’s Only Four-Star Ode to the Past

I will never forget the day Julian Niccolini, the silver-haired owner of the old The Four Seasons in Midtown, personally served me in the landmark Grill Room, the institution that invented the power lunch.

Philip Johnson’s bead curtains sparkled in the sunlight. Rudy Giuliani — who had not yet transformed into a spitfire caricature of himself on cable news shows — was quietly holding court just a few tables away. Niccolini noticed that my companion and I were sharing one bowl of asparagus soup. He offered to split it, removed it from our table, then returned in no time with two bowls of asparagus soup. How kind. A few weeks later I looked at my receipt, and saw that I had been charged for three bowls of asparagus soup.

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