It was snowing gently the night my husband and I dined at the Box Tree in Midtown Manhattan’s Turtle Bay District. I had heard about the elegantly eccentric décor. The restaurant was designed over the course of a few years, with each antique carefully collected in the spirit of King Ludwig of Bavaria, the mad king who dedicated much of his life to building castles filled with opulent treasures.
Recently, the restaurant has become kosher under the auspices of OK Kosher Certification. Restaurateurs Serge Gorge and Rafi Bitton chose to have their establishment adhere to the highest kosher standards. “My goal is to raise the standard of kosher dining to a whole new level,” says Mr. Gorge, “to show the world that kosher dining can be a first class experience.”
And first class it is! We left the clamor of the New York City night, and stepped into the elegant foyer of the Box Tree restaurant. The amicable staff took our coats and asked us to sit down for a moment while they found us a table. While we waited, we relaxed on overstuffed leather armchairs around a crackling fireplace and took in our surroundings. The restaurant, which is situated in two brownstones, is decorated like a European country manor, with polished wooden floors, stained glass windows, and an eclectic collection of objects d’art and antiques. We were struck by the sheer surrealism of the place, by the charming old-world touches of a bygone era… right in the middle of the concrete jungle.
After a few moments, we were taken to our table in the main dining room. We passed by a number of stylishly furnished rooms and a magnificent white staircase that led upstairs to more dining rooms. Most of the rooms seat 20 diners, although some seat 10 or less, offering patrons privacy while dining. After dinner we asked if we could see the other rooms and the staff graciously complied. We viewed the Louis Tiffany Room, the Music Room, the Blue Room, and the Versailles Room. The Versailles Room was especially impressive, with sparkling chandeliers and gold leaf detail on the ceiling and walls.
The room in which we dined was softly lit with deep forest-green walls, creating the effect of a fairytale grotto. Tiffany-style stained-glass windows portraying trees lined the room. The ceiling was painted gold with collectible plates mounted high above our heads.
A bow-tied French waiter brought us the menu and a delicate sliver of bread with chives and pureed salmon, compliments of the chef. I ordered the Box Tree Rib-Eye Steak, and my husband ordered the Ahi Tuna, a spicy aromatic fish dish.
The food was unmistakably European, delicious, and magnificently presented.
When we saw the confections the waiter brought to other diners in the room, we decided to try a few desserts. We ordered a fruit sorbet, crème brulee, and a wicked looking chocolate mousse. The pastry chef, Mark Dalpe, is a real artist; every dessert looked like a work of fine sculpture and tasted superb.
Ever since the Box Tree opened a number of years ago-first in Westchester, then in Manhattan-it has enjoyed an excellent reputation. The restaurant combines magical ambience with good food, while the various dining rooms offer patrons as much privacy as they require. In the past, this combination proved irresistible to celebrities and other members of high society, with names like Kennedy and Nixon among them. The restaurant has also received rave reviews from Forbes magazine among others. It is a highly upscale, top-notch restaurant, perfect for a very special occasion.
With the help of OK Kosher Certification, a kosher agency with valuable experience in certifying restaurants of the highest caliber, ‘impeccably kosher’ has now been added to the Box Tree’s accolades.
The Box Tree
250 East 49th Street, NYC
Glatt Kosher – Under OK Supervision