Le Train Bleu
I had no idea there was a restaurant on the sixth floor of Bloomingdale’s built to mimic a dining car. The rectangular room complete with overhead racks and pretend scenic windows is mildly fun in a stodgy way. I imagine this is the sort of place you’d take a hypothetical elderly aunt, but the only aunt I even vaguely see on a regular basis, which is almost never, is in her forties. Actually, that might be perfect; out-of-towners of all ages might relish eating on a fake train inside a department store.
It’s very possible that this fusty peculiarity is just an unknown to me because I’ve only shopped at Bloomingdale’s once in my life. When I worked in the neighborhood two jobs ago I briefly popped in looking for an interview suit so that I could move on to a different office-centric neighborhood. Unsurprisingly, I found what I needed at an Edison, New Jersey’s Macy’s after applying for a credit card to get the 20% discount (and after an I.Q. test and four interviews, I remained job offer-less).
As might be expected at certain old Manhattan lunchy-shoppy places, the food tends to be pricier than it needs to be, hardly exciting, though rarely wretched. Hotel-like fare that gets the job done and will fade from memory within weeks (ok, days, but I have an elephantine memory).
Sweet, rich and gamey are pluses to me so the pheasant pate containing pistachios and dates made for a decent sharable starter. You don’t expect Bar Boulud charcuterie wizardry. The Cumberland sauce (typically a tangy jellied affair based on red currents and orange zest) gave the potentially French dish a heavier Britishness.
A burger is a burger.
The togarashi-spiced tuna on soba was my attempt at something non-heavy. The noodles were a bit mealy and kind of overwhelming, but thankfully the tuna was kept rare and the wasabi aioli squiggles added a little punch. Plus, it’s not every meal that you get your lemon wedge wrapped in yellow seed-stopping mesh.
Read my balanced take at nymag.com
Le Train Bleu * 1000 Third Ave., 6th fl., New York, NY