Friday marked (drumroll please) my last official day at Billy's Bakery before I leave for business school in July. So to celebrate, my coworkers MB and CC and I met for lunch at the Plaza's downstairs food court.
If you've never been, the space is really cool-- it kind of reminds me of Harrod's food halls in a way. There are different "stations" around the room, all intermixed with seating; you're seated anywhere and can order from any of the vast number of options populating the menu. Pizza? Sushi? Raw bar? Tater tots? You got it. Usually such a melange of different foods in one place spells disaster, but here it actually works.
MB and CC shared three dishes, starting with the prosciutto and fig pizza, about which they raved. It has a very thin crust, charred in places, but if you like that style this will be right up your alley.
Also a favorite was the mac & cheese, complete with pulled pork, caramelized onion, and gobs of melted cheddar. It came in a whimsical cast-iron pan and looked alluringly cheesy. Though this was positioned as a side, it's more than enough for a shareable appetizer or even a small individual meal.
Less successful were the chicken dumplings, which were reported to be bland. They were also, curiously, not served with any dipping sauce; rather, there was a tiny squirt of pesto decorating the plate (not sure if that's supposed to be for dipping or just for garnish). They did, however, come with a complimentary dish of super-spicy kimchi on the side.
My choice-- don't laugh-- was strawberries. And darn it if these weren't some of the best strawberries I've ever had. They were ENORMOUS but rather than being the flavorless, mealy kind of enormous strawberries, they were fragrant, juicy, and succulently strawberry-y. Plus it was quite a generous portion.
We were also graciously comped a sampling of the desserts, which (being three employees of a bakery) we demolished. I loved the red velvet cake, particularly the admirably tangy and thick cream cheese frosting. MB and CC preferred the extra-chocolatey chocolate torte. The apple tart was somewhat less successful, although I did eat all the beautiful apples off the top, so who can complain?
Plaza Food Hall
One W. 59th Street, Concourse Level