New York’s Gilded Age lives again at this Fifth Avenue restaurant, which evokes the grandeur of a socialite’s Manhattan mansion.
Cafe Carmellini is located on the ground floor of the newly opened Fifth Avenue Hotel, inhabiting a double-height space, once the meeting point for Manhattan’s high society and businessmen. Designed by eminent New York architects McKim Mead and White in 1907 for the Second National Bank, the neoclassical building has been transformed into a grand 153-room hotel for Flâneur Hospitality CEO and founder Alex Ohebshalom.
Ohebshalom enlisted PBDW Architects and Perkins Eastman to convert the historic landmark into a 153-room boutique hotel by adjoining the original five-storey bank – now known as The Mansion – with a modern 24-storey glass tower.
The Swedish designer has drawn on the building’s illustrious past for his restaurant design, with the main dining room cultivating an impression of ‘light and reflection’ thanks to its sizeable windows and huge circular chandeliers studded with individual bulbs. There’s an abundance of mirrors and rich wood panelling, which reflects the warm glow of orb lighting, daubing the space in a soft golden glow.
Downstairs, guests settle into deep horseshoe-shaped booths and velvet armchairs, while those seated on the mezzanine level can observe the comings and goings of the dining room from behind the balcony’s golden balustrade. To further emphasise the height of the space, Brudnizki has planted a pair of trees in the middle of the restaurant.
James Beard Award-winning Chef Andrew Carmellini has put together a French-Italian menu that’s as classic as the decor, with a few seasonal twists. The drinks list is also expansive, with 1,800 wines chosen from around the world by Master Sommelier Josh Nadel.