Hotel Chantelle is named after a French World War II safe house, is retro in design. Chef Seth Levine is a newest appointee to helm the kitchen of this bar/restaurant and he already has a full plate taking care of other New York City restaurants like The Stand and Wine & Roses, as well as Georgica in East Hampton, is known for his whimsical plays on modern American cuisine.
When my dining companion and I arrived to Hotel Chantelle’s rooftop, it’s full of the attractive, late brunching/partying crowd who are still reveling in the large punch bowls – even though it’s transitioning to dinner service. Part of me does question, how serious is this place about the food? Overall, not so much. If you’re around the area for drinks on a lovely rooftop setting, this is a pretty good spot. If you need some sustenance with your cocktails, you would have to order carefully to feel happy with your buzz and stomach.
The cocktails we’ve tried were their popular The Bramble that’s fruity (blackberries) and sweet with a tinge of gin. The Sage Against the Machine was a bit imbalanced from the tequila that rolls in with the herbaceous sage sticking out as an end note. The Writer’s Vice was unexpectedly good from the caramel overtones from the sweet pineapple and Jack Daniel’s Honey whiskey. Pineapple Express initially tasted like a brooding cocktail from the jalapeño infused tequila that finishes with sweet pineapple. Overall, not too bad.
Moving on to the actual food, the roasted bone marrow ($14) was executed beautifully. The marrow wasn’t overcooked, the crunchy herb crust worked wonderfully, and there was a fair amount of marrow to share with another person.
The Plateau for Two ($55) was unfortunately, the lowest point of the meal. The seafood was barely passable to be considered edible (storage/freshness was an issue) – please skip it.
The tomato & watermelon salad ($14) was simple but very good. The flavors of the sweet watermelon and tomatoes were balanced between the salty feta cheese and sweet balsamic glaze. This dish would have been sublime if the tomatoes were better sourced and/or riper.
The Burger Bash Sliders ($19) were generally fine. We did like the fine bacon encrusted sliders that were still juicy and still able to retain a slight pink-ish center. However, the rest of the sliders’ accompaniments of underripe plum tomato slice and romaine lettuce kind of ruined patty.
The French dip dumplings ($14) were pretty good despite having its quirky/whimsical filling of provolone and chopped beef. The truffled tater tots ($9) were crispy and hot but it’s faint of truffle.
The black truffle duck pâté jar ($17). This was a warm duck liver pâté served with blueberry preserves and toasted rustic bread. While I thought it wasn’t a bad, it should be aptly named mushroom and duck pâté enhanced with truffle oil.
My companion was very curious of their truffled mac n’ cheese ($12). This mac n’ cheese is decent, as it’s fallen short on texture. It lacks a crunchy, golden brown exterior and the cheese could have been heated better that it doesn’t have this unappealing waxy, plastic-y texture from the cheese.
Service was great and cordial. The volume of the music played on their speakers varied dramatically from tolerably loud to brink of deafening. The cocktails were good and the rooftop it’s a good place to hangout. If the kitchen had sourced and cooked their ingredients better (and not abuse the truffle oil), the experience would have been a lot more enjoyable.
To view more photos of this meal, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set):