It's autumn in New York, It's good to live it again ...
-- Vernon Duke
The Rainbow Room is sparkling.
After five years dark, the landmark on the 65th floor of 30 Rock is back, renovated and refreshed, from the retrofitted rotating dance floor to widened windows for wide-eyed visitors. And there's a very buffed brunch buffet that suits the setting.
It's open on Sunday for brunch and on Monday night for dinner. The rest of the week is for private parties.
Tishman Speyer, the building's new owners, and architect Michael Gabellini bring dazzle to the classic restaurant and dance hall, which opened in 1934 during the Great Depression and shut in 2009, upended by the recession and a landlord-tenant conflict.
Now, the glitter is greater, starting with strands of crystal that glisten and refract light, becoming the dining room's new curtains where fabric used to be. Recessed ceiling lights deliver rainbow hues. The shimmering place is dressed in soothing gray. Brass railings and crystal posts gleam.
And the panoramic views seem even grander with those broader, floor-to-ceiling windows. Turn south, and the Empire State Building punctuates the city skyline and beyond; look north, and Central Park unfurls amid the spires of midtown.
Only someone whose mind is made up before exiting the elevator could act unimpressed. The 45-second ride takes you to that rare spot where lifelong New Yorkers may enjoy feeling like very contented tourists.
The location does provide more than one show. So, consider the $95 brunch tab a cover charge, too. Brunch is $65 for children less than 12 years old; free for children under 3. The price doesn't include alcohol, tax or tips. But there is live music, on a recent Sunday from a band fittingly fond of Porter and Gershwin. Every first Monday, expect a concert and dinner, at $250; on other Mondays, the dinner-and-dancing fixed-price starts at $175. Near the dining room is a new addition, a cocktail lounge dubbed SixtyFive, open Monday to Friday evenings, when the Empire State Building should be in full glow.
If all this has built up your appetite, try that brunch. There are nine stations from executive chef Jonathan Wright that cover a few continents and will carry you from breakfast through lunch. The buffet is set on the compass-rose, parquet dance floor, which, if it were to move, clearly would be the world's largest Lazy Susan.
Highlights: Ibérico ham, smoked fish, a raw bar headed by oysters and tuna tartare, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, Amish chicken, Benton's ham, barbecued pork steam buns and other dim sum, sushi, ceviche, a chicken-and-black truffle potpie. The baked goods are fine, except for a very pale, bland bialy. The dessert section includes hazelnut macaroons, chocolates, fruit tarts, and ice cream.
And some children may be partial tothe crust-trimmed, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich triangles, but not the dry beef sliders. Mini-milkshakes in tiny bottles: very cute. For adults, cocktails start at $16.
The Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th floor; 212-632-5000, rainbowroom.com