There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the opening of Centurion New York by American Express, and earlier this week I wrote a post about what it is, who can access Centurion New York and how to make a reservation. I’m jealous to report that my partner, Jason, dined at Centurion New York on opening night, so here is a first look and review of his experience.
Location & arrival
Centurion New York occupies the 55th floor of One Vanderbilt in Manhattan. Check-in is in the lobby of the building and took about 10 minutes in total. Jason and his guest were both asked to present a government-issued ID.
There are several areas that make up Centurion New York that all sound quite similar and might be confusing. Here is how American Express describes the spaces and their functions:
- Gastronomic Small Bites in the Salon – walk in only, not reservable, but always available
- Snacks (small complimentary bites available)
- Extended bar service to the salon area on Fridays and weekends
- The Studio Bar (Main Bar) enjoys signature and hand crafted cocktails, walk in and reservation for Centurion
- Seasonal innovative cocktails and perfectly crafted classic cocktails
- Impressive Revelations wines by the glass
- Light bites and snacks
- Casual and lite fare at the Studio – Reservations Centurion members only
- Seasonal and market driven menu constantly evolving
- 4 large scale seasonal changes
- Opulent dining in the Gallery – walk in / reservations for Centurion members
- Lunch and Dinner
- Carefully curated tasting menu with wine pairings
- Creative signature dishes
- Sommelier Old World Classics
- Two Private rooms, Carbon and Obsidian
- Wine Vault guided by Sommeliers
This review will be focused on the fine dining experience in the Gallery.
Upon arrival on the 55th floor, the service was warm and very attentive. There were several hostesses in the greeting area, and Jason was immediately taken to his table. He and his guest arrived almost an hour early so they asked if they could start with drinks before sitting down for dinner. The team was very accommodating and moved him to the Salon. One aspect of the experience that is absolutely stunning is the view. WOW. Jason was there right at sunset and the views over looking the city were spectacular.
Here are some photos of the menus from the Salon:
Food & beverage
Back at their table in the Gallery, there was a 3-course prix fixe for $165 per person. Here are some photos of the menus:
Jason had the Tandoori Hamachi Sashimi for his first course, followed by the Maine Lobster for his second and the Champagne Mango for dessert.
Jason said the starters from the Salon and appetizers in the Gallery were tasty, but the main entrée and dessert were just okay.
Meal service sounded a bit disorganized. After being seated for dinner, 4 different people asked about their preference for water but no one seemed to be able to bring the water to their table. After finishing their entrées, their waiter reset the table for bread and appetizers. A little confused, Jason and his guest politely pointed out their next course was dessert. Their table was cleared but no one came back to the table for about 20 minutes until they decided to ask somebody for their desserts. Everyone was super polite and accommodating, and I think it’s safe to say these were probably just opening night wrinkles that I’m sure will be ironed out over the coming weeks.
At the end of the meal the bill was brought, and to my surprise… you can’t use Membership Rewards to pay! 😉
Overall, it sounds like the experience was not the typical American Express polished experience. The space is thoughtfully designed and the views are stunning, but the food and overall experience wasn’t compelling enough to seek out over some of the incredible options in New York such as dining at Daniel (Daniel Boulud’s actual restaurant in New York).
I was also surprised to hear there wasn’t anything complimentary for Centurion members (especially on opening night) such as a celebratory glass of champagne. In the Centurion Airport lounges, Centurion Members get a complimentary drink (at SFO it’s a glass of Veuve). I think offering a similar complimentary signature welcome drink would be a nice touch to Centurion New York experience.
In a city with a plethora of restaurants, activities, arts and music, only time will tell if members will choose Centurion New York over other options.