restaurants
The Polo Bar
1 East 55th Street
212 207 8562

The extremely enjoyable Polo Bar may have once been the setting for La Cte Basque, but every inch of this spot now exudes Ralph Lauren's DNA. If the celeb and upper east side set had a "Cheers", this would be it. A doorman greeted us by name before we could say a word (hey, have you been googling my picture...), and this sense of "you belong" was repeated at the upstairs and downstairs hostess stands. Walking through the narrow upstairs bar with its bistro two-tops is not unlike arriving at the Ralph runway show where cocktailers are peering to see who is entering and with whom. This is no surprise given the name-checking that's already happened. Rihanna, Chris Hemsworth, Taylor Swift, Drew Barrymore, Derek Jeter. Really, who hasn't been by. Well, apparently most of NY if the reviews are to be believed. But we had a wonderful time and suggest that it's not so impossible to have dinner here. It's just very, very popular. But also very, very nice. Our congenial waiter showed up at all the right times and hit all the right notes. Busboys smiled and, in general, the staff was very happy. And why wouldn't they be; our dining neighbour was the ever-social Eric Ripert. Loving his dinner. We liked the classic pan-seared Dover sole with traditional butter sauce and the wild salmon with sugar snap peas and green beans. Though things such as kale (as the green in the Caesar salad), quinoa (in the slow cooked farro) and caviar service do make appearances on the menu, it's mainly the true-and-tried classics such as the corned beef sandwich, crab cakes, pigs in blankets, or the rib eye, that remind you that at the end of the day, Ralph may be just like you and me; he just wants a really great burger. And theirs, is.

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