At Michael’s, the Midtown media elite get a new menu.
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It’s an unspoken rule: You become a media mogul in New York, you start taking lunch at Michael’s. The 24-year-old restaurant owned by Michael McCarty sits on a somewhat nondescript stretch of 55th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, and from the exterior it doesn’t exactly scream power. But step inside and you’re likely to spot the world’s top publishers, agents, anchors, producers, and more, all hobnobbing over classic American cuisine and creating fodder for Page Six.
None of that had changed for years, but McCarty recently decided his power-lunch formula was due for a little freshening up in order to attract a new generation. He hired executive chef Kyung Up-Lim to shake up the menu. The duo added a raw bar, more appetizers, and a slew of small plates to cater to guests who increasingly like to share their nibbles. The concept isn’t that new or foreign, and here it’s executed perfectly. Delicate items like warm scallop carpaccio and sashimi of hamachi are available alongside trendier and heartier ones like kale Caesar salad.
Among the duck confit sliders and Korean hanger steak tacos are still some classic entrees, such as a roast half chicken with tarragon jus, a Long Island duck breast with seared lentils and port jus, grilled branzino over melted leeks, and a juicy rib eye burger. Even with the classics the portions are now slightly smaller than they used to be, and less expensive. (The perennial Michael’s favorite, Cobb salad, used to be enormous and $36; now it’s smaller and $25.)
Although lunch is still the most popular time to see and be seen here, the restaurant is also open for breakfast and dinner. You might not bump into Graydon Carter sitting at Table One in the evening, but the odds will be better that you can sit at Table One yourself.