As soon as the warm weather settles in, I’m constantly in search of places to dine al fresco, but preferably not where my conversation is interrupted by honking taxis or the aromas from the kitchen compete with the smells of passing garbage trucks. So to say the spacious backyard garden/patio at Luxe, a new eatery at Midtown’s Wingate Hotel, is a welcome oasis is an understatement.
What’s even better is that the eatery’s name is slightly misleading – in a good way.
Owned by the same team behind Upper East Side favorite Lex (coincidentally just three blocks from my apartment), Luxe has a neighborhood-like feel, with an emphasis on simple yet ample preparations of Italian and European favorites, and prices guaranteed not to break anyone’s budget.
Still, great care has gone into what emerges from the kitchen, beginning with the basket of addictive focaccia, accompanied by a rich tapenade-like spread. Ingredients for the large variety of salads are fresh-as-can-be, and make a dependable beginning to the meal or fine light entrée. If you’re seeking something a tad heartier, consider a pair of meaty crab cakes, which pair well with any number of the house’s white wines.
Entrees range across a variety of categories, from pastas through chicken, veal, fish, and red meat – so you can come back night after night and never got bored. Fine spinach-and-ricotta filled ravioli in a pleasing marinara sauce could easily become a once-a-week favorite, while a heftily-portioned yet lightly fried veal Milanese (topped with a generous arugula salad) is a special treat.
And speaking of special, the homemade chocolate-studded brownie is itself worth a visit although such other desserts as tiramisu and cheesecake will surely have their partisans.
No matter how you order, we’re lucky to have Luxe.