54 Below: A Class Above the Rest

Mom & Me at 54 Below
I recently had an invite to the space under the former Studio 54, 54 Below.

I love the idea of combining two of my favorite activities into one: the performing arts and food!

On the evening I attended, I was warmly welcomed and seated right away. The waitstaff is very attentive and quick to serve the tables because the evening entertainment begins shortly into the dinner service.

Grilled Shrimp
The menu is classic American fare, although you can tell that the chef likes to play a little bit in the kitchen. Of note was the grilled shrimp with avocado crema and the fresh mozzarella burrata. Both were delicious, delicate and reminiscent of Chef Marrero's culinary background at places such as db Bistro Moderne, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Perry Street Restaurant and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The seared fluke was also my favorite entree. Not overly seasoned and lightly golden brown, it had just the right amount of time without overcooking. And yes, during the show, you can have dessert and coffee delivered to your table -which I had an off-menu item that let me just say: NEEDS TO BE AVAILABLE when I go back...

There are no bad seats in the house, and I was fortunate enough to see the incredible Marilyn Maye perform. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I seriously didn't know who she was prior to seeing her on stage - but since that night, I'm a big fan. She's a powerhouse -and much to my surprise, she's also 85 years old! I thought they were joking because her career has been so expansive and she's appeared on Johnny Carson more than any other performer... but no joke. She's 85 and you'd never know it.

Her loyal fan base was at 54 Below and even Tommy Tune was in the audience that night!

Mozzarella Burrata
Overall, the experience is what you get at 54 Below. The space is just beautiful as it is historic. When you walk in, you feel like you've entered another time. Each guest is ushered to their table like a VIP and your drink order can be placed right away. If you are a smaller party, you'll most likely be seated with others at a table, and this really adds to the event as a whole.

Just so you know, you're also not rushed to order dinner in any way -the waitstaff simply works really tight with the kitchen and the front of the house so that they stay on schedule. From my understanding, they do about 3 seatings each night: Monday through Saturday, and two shows on Sundays - but that varies month-to-month. Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and attentive to the entire table. They have class acts, too: Rita Wilson, Doc Severinsen & Jonathan Tunick, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Bebe Neuwirth, the Broadway cast of "Once", Patti LuPone - the list is fabulous.

I wanted to also note that it's not a cabaret -but more of a nightclub, and depending on the act, it could have the jazz club vibe as well. I would argue that the space and level of entertainment is in a class all its own.

54 Below has the recipe of being a legendary venue -because it's now a place for performances that are classy and the clientele feels that welcoming energy the moment they walk into the room.

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