I love finding a hidden gem, and there are a few good hidden gem restaurants in New York City. One of which is an elegant restaurant inside The Morgan Library & Museum. It is an upscale lunch-only American restaurant, and you do not have to pay for the admission for the Museum in order to dine here.
What is so incredibly cool about this restaurant is that we get to dine in the original Morgan family (none other than THE family of J.P. Morgan) dining room, located in the restored 19th century brownstone. The funny thing is that I have been a customer of JPMorgan Chase Bank for many years, so I somehow felt close to this family, even though I am not connected to this family in any way…
It is described that The Morgan Dining Room’s menu is created with inspiration from early 29th century New York City cuisine. We went for Brunch, with a reservation for four. From their Brunch menu, my husband chose Vegetable Baked Eggs & Brie ($20). It is made with Beech Mushrooms, Autumn Vegetables, and Crispy Parsnips. It comes with Country Bread on the side.
I liked how it came in a hot, sizzling skillet. The portion was not really big, but it was filling as it had two eggs and lots of veggie and cheese. The eggs were cooked just right, runny enough to be drizzled over the others. We used the bread to dip as well. It was really tasty, high quality and very well done. The flavor was great, without too much seasoning.
I chose Maine Lobster & Smoked Pancetta Quiche ($26). It is made with Baby Kale and Gruyère. It is served with Petite Salad. It came with two quiches, and they were not large potion, but a good size for a brunch item.
It had some good chunks of lobster meat in it, which was nice. The exterior was soft yet crunchy, and the quiche itself was almost creamy. It had warm and elegant flavor and was very appetizing. I enjoyed this one very much. The salad was very fresh and crisp, without too much dressing which I also liked. I don’t like my salad to be swimming in a pool or ocean of salad dressing.
Another main dish that was ordered by one of our companies is The Pierpont Salad ($21). It is made with Chicken Paillard, Smoked Bacon, Vermont Cheddar, Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, and White Northern Beans, with Honey-Dijon Dressing. It was super fresh with vibrant colors. All the ingredients are chosen at their perfect peak of their time. The bean helped to make this salad more filling and satisfying.
For dessert, we ordered Confectioner’s Sampler and Pumpkin Cheesecake. However, our server came and told us that they have ran out of the cheesecake… So, we ordered Confectioner’s Sampler and Chocolate Lava Cake from their very small dessert menu. Confectioner’s Sampler ($9.25) is a Cookie Plate, and came with assortment of cookies and a macaron. They were all really good, much more so than I expected. Who would’ve thought that a plate of cookies can be so satisfying and enjoyable?
Chocolate Lava Cake ($8.95) comes with Medjool Date Purée, Passion Fruit Sorbet, and Caramelized Macadamia. The portion of this cake was rather small, well, really small. And the way they plated this dessert made me think of a snail with a deep red body and a chocolate for shell.
The cake itself was pretty fabulous. Rich and dense, chocolate-y without being overly sweet. The date purée flavor went nicely with the chocolate. The sorbet was nice and refreshing, but I wish if there was more of it. When you are sharing among four of us, it gets really small…
But then, our server came with a smile and additional plate in his hand, and told us that they “found” another Pumpkin Cheesecake ($8.95)! How or where, we don’t know, but who cares! And what was even more wonderful about it is that they gave us this dessert on the house! This one comes with Caramel Sauce, Toasted Almonds, and Chocolate Gelato.
This was an interesting dessert, it was like a white dome with a surprise in the inside. The pumpkin cheesecake was actual inside the white dome, and had more of a moist crushed cookies than cheesecake texture. The white cream part was really creamy almost “runny” like melting ice cream. It felt like having a cheesecake with pumpkin spice crust, but the crust is in the inside, and the cheesecake was some sort of runny cream. It did have nice pumpkin spice flavor, but I actually liked the Chocolate Lava Cake better…
I ordered Hot Tea ($3.95) from one of my favorite tea spot, Harney & Sons (you can read about it here: http://www.foodlovergirl.com/harney-sons/ and http://www.foodlovergirl.com/harney-sons-2/ ) to accompany the desserts. My husband ordered Cappuccino ($4.25) instead. They were both really nice, a perfect drink to have the desserts.
After the brunch, we paid the admission and visited their current exhibition. We had really nice time viewing everything, they have interesting unique artworks that you can’t see anywhere else. After that, we went to see the “Library” part of the museum. It is quite incredible, every inch of the space had some kind of history attached to it. If you are interested in the history behind it, you should definitely rent the audio guide.
Here is the short and sweet version of it. John Pierpont Morgan, the most influential financier in this country’s history was also an avid collector. It is described that “He bought on an astonishing scale, collecting art objects in virtually every medium, including the rare books, manuscripts, drawings, prints, and ancient artifacts that are the core of The Morgan Library & Museum’s holdings.”
In 1924, his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. gave his father’s astonishing library with its collection to the public. The original library started at Madison Avenue and 36th street, and as the collection grew, so did the library. There have been several additions to the library building, and the Annex was added on the site of Morgan’s home. In 1988, the mid 19th century brownstone on Madison Avenue and 37th Street, where J. P. Morgan, Jr., lived was also added to the complex. This is how we are able to dine in the in the original Morgan family dining room.
Each library room was so different, with many books from all over the world, century and topics. They had more than just books and manuscripts, so many interesting things that I have never seen before. The most interesting or unusual part of the library was The West Room Vault. Yes, it is a real, serious vault with steel doors! It was built to house works of particular value. How incredible!
We had a nice light brunch, tasty and high quality, relaxing and elegant. The service was good, polite and friendly, a bit slow but there was a huge group party who came in shortly after we arrived, so they got busy with them on top of all the other customers. We enjoyed the meal and the exhibit, it was a perfect to way to view all the artworks and collections, with full, happy tummy! If you are planning on visiting The Morgan Library & Museum, consider having a lunch here before or after seeing the exhibit!
The Morgan Dining Room – 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016