At one of the city’s best addresses, the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South opens a new restaurant that makes the most of its space.
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It’s been nearly a year since BLT Market closed on the ground floor of the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, so anticipation for the new restaurant, Auden, has been high…and we’re glad to say it’s been worth the wait.
Unlike its predecessor, Auden is run by the Ritz-Carlton team, which perhaps explains its success at integrating the hotel’s timeless elegance. The open layout includes a bar and a dining room that spill into an adjoining lounge. Floor-to-ceiling windows line Sixth Avenue, and the combined space seats up to 120 patrons on leather banquettes and at wooden tables. A separate, private event space with the same decor is available.
In the kitchen, executive chef Mark Arnao, who previously led the culinary program at the Ritz in Los Angeles, is honing a simple, seasonal menu that showcases fresh ingredients from the hotel’s partnering farms in the Hudson Valley (plus a few fine imported meats and fish).
Every dish addresses some craving. The autumnal roasted beet and apple salad, which balances the zing of horseradish chèvre with the soft, warm flavor of toasted pine nuts, makes a fine introduction. A more decadent option (appropriate, given the setting) might be the crisp oysters with smoked gouda–creamed spinach and chili hollandaise. Main dishes tend toward classic uptown fare, with a twist: free-range rack of lamb served with couscous and dried cherry black pepper sauce; grilled filet of Meyer beef with truffle pecorino green beans and red wine sauce; pan-seared Scottish salmon with sautéed kale and coriander citrus jus.
Not that Auden is fussy, mind you. The restaurant turns out an admirable burger and fries, but even with comfort fare the kitchen makes the details count. Those fries are served with homemade brown sugar–sweetened ketchup, and short rib sliders are topped with delicate crisped shallots. Once you sop up warm apple cobbler with honey lavender ice cream instead of vanilla, you might just settle in for the night.
Auden at the Ritz-Carlton: 50 Central Park South, 212.521.6125