Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Pershing Square
90 East 42nd St., New York, NY
212-286-9600
Review by SuSu, TullySue, Partner

In retrospect, it seems an obvious and logical thing to have a restaurant under the Pershing Bridge overpass which routes Park Avenue South traffic around Grand Central Station, through the Helmsley Building and onto the glamorous part of Park Avenue. This area beneath the bridge was a gathering place for homeless men and women for a time, or a storage area for various city construction projects. Then in the 1990s when the city started to revitalize, that space was filled in to become a 5-and-dime type of shop, mainly due to the cheap rent and lack of facilities. As real estate values climbed, that area was renamed "Pershing Square" and in the summer, the little street heading up from Grand Central Station to Park Avenue South proper was cordoned off to become a dining and walking mall. Ice cream vendors and food stalls would set up and people could use the area like a food court.

Eventually, the developer of the River Café in Brooklyn, who had "recovered" space from beneath the bridge to create a romantic restaurant with breathtaking views of Manhattan, saw an opportunity for Pershing Square. The place is a like a very grand, very wide railway car, with booths lining the edges of the place, and a central area with tables. The decor was striped canvas in almost a gypsyish, circusy manner, but très elegant. In the front by the door was a little kiosk which serves as a take-out café with little café tables for those who simply want a little pastry and coffee.

It's one of the few places that serves breakfast; they open at 7am, and midtown tends to have a few of these places. They tend to be uniformly okay; Pershing Square was very much the same as other places. They claimed to "have the best pancakes in town, hands down!" Well no, I have had much better pancakes; *I* make better pancakes, whether buttermilk or blueberry. The omelette was fine. But the environment here is beautiful and comfortable and a good place to do the "meet for the first time" and "business power lunch." It's very "men's club" or "university club" without needing to have attended one of those expensive institutions. Plus being under a bridge is a bit cozy.

Since this is a custom space, everything about it is customized, from the polished wood rails to the non-rectangular, non-squared windows. It's meant to evoke the station across the street, as a logical extension; if it doesn't depict the gaslight era, it does carry the magnificance of New York used to be. They did a fantastic job with the space, and I look forward to eating here some other time. But as breakfast was so-so, maybe I'll simply recommend it to someone who loves to be in love with whoever they are with, in a beautiful surrounding, instead?


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