Ca Va Brasserie, New York City, NY
Twice a year, my friends from town and I, take a day off from work for a day-trip into New York City. We usually plan it around the bus trips offered through the area towns in the spring and fall months.
Each time we plan one of our trips, we begin by deliberating which show to see and where to have lunch beforehand. Any other ancillary items (e.g., shoe gawking at Saks Fifth Avenue, waving to Kathy Lee & Hoda from the NBC Studio windows or picking up take home treats at Cake Boss Bakery, to name a few) are included in the agenda as time permits.
There are so many wonderful restaurants in NYC that it makes it difficult to choose one. Our selection criteria include a location close to the theater, an array of food that everyone will enjoy, good reviews and reasonably priced – for NYC.
For our May trip, we opted to dine at Ca Va Brasserie – a Todd English restaurant. I follow them on twitter and have noticed photos showcasing their amazing food.
The restaurant is attached to the Intercontinental Hotel. It’s located on 44th street, in the heart of the New York City theater district – making it convenient for our lunch pre-theatre and meeting one of our criteria.
A brasserie is a type of French restaurant with a relaxed setting. This type of restaurant is expected to have professional service, printed menus and white linens – unlike a bistro which is much more casual. Ca Va filled all the Brasserie requirements.
Upon entering the restaurant, you immediately notice a beautiful lounge area filled with comfortable seating and a cozy fireplace.
The restaurant has a great selection of lunch items, making it difficult to pick.
While we perused the menu, the waiter came with a very nice bread plate. It included two French baguettes, butter and a whole-grain mustard for the bread.
For an appetizer, the group decided to share the Courgettes Frites, which are zucchini frites that came with a dill-lemon aioli and warm tomato marmalade dipping sauces.
The portion was large enough for sharing among the four. The zucchini frites were delicious and hot from the kitchen. We tried both dipping sauces, but all decided we liked the dill-lemon aioli best.
For my lunch entrée, I was debating between the gnocchi and the short-rib Panini. I consulted with the waiter who recommended the Panini, “definitely ma’am.” So Pat, Susan and I all ordered it for our entrée.
The short-rib Panini came with a small salad of mixed greens. The short-rib was amazingly tender and served over grilled rosemary focaccia bread, with caramelized onions and melted fontina cheese in an open-face style. We all thought it was “every bite delicious.”
Sheila ordered the Salad de Betteraves and the Gnocchi a la Ricotta, which was the second entrée I was considering. The salad had petite greens, roasted red and golden beets, goat cheese with walnuts and walnut vinaigrette. It was very good.
The gnocchi were served in a light herbed tomato sauce drizzled with arugula pesto. The gnocchi were delicious tasting and very light for a potato-style pasta.
Since we had a little time before we needed to head over to the theater, the group decided to order two desserts for sharing. We chose the trio of crème brulee and the warm pistachio madeleines.
The trio of crème brulee included a dark chocolate, toasted coconut and caramel flavors of the dessert.
The warm pistachio madeleines came with Grand-Marnier chocolate fondue for dipping the petite cookies.
Both desserts were visually beautiful, but not to the taste. Next time, I would recommend skipping dessert.
The wait staff service was very friendly, courteous and attentive.
To top off our wonderful dining experience, we also had a celebrity sighting at the restaurant. Singer-songwriter John Legend and his wife, the supermodel, Chrissy Teigen were seated at the table next to us! I was completely star-struck.
After lunch, we headed over to the theater, which was just two short blocks away on 46th street. We had tickets to see “If/ Then”, a new musical that opened in April at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
The star of If/Then is Idina Metzel. You may know her from Rent, Wicked or the singer for “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, to name a few of her accolades. In this play, she is reunited with her original Rent co-star Anthony Rapp, with whom Sheila had a walking conversation down 7th avenue after the show.
Idina Metzel stars as Elizabeth (or Beth/ Liz), a woman rebuilding her life in NYC where she discovers a world of infinite possibilities. The play was fantastic. There are several songs that showcase her amazing voice. We would highly recommend seeing the show!
The stage setting is very cool – a split set is used and moved throughout the performance.
Yes, our seats were this close to the stage – orchestra center section, row C. When Idina was at the tip of the stage, we felt like we could reach out and touch her. We will admit, “We are orchestra seat brats!” and will not sit anywhere but in the orchestra section.
The tickets to Broadway shows are pricey, but this is our bi-annual treat to us. We are all busy working mothers and deserve it!
Sheila keeps a diary of our trips, detailing what shows we’ve seen and where we’ve eaten. This is a tradition we’ve now had for four years and I hope we continue it for many, many more!
Do you have a favorite place to eat in NYC?
Have you been to a Broadway show lately? There are so many good ones to choose from!