March 17th: Instead of spending St. Patty’s Day trying to cram into noisy, dirty pubs with belligerent frat boys, we spent the evening mimicking the elegant, sophisticated lifestyle of the Upper East Side bourgeoisie. Like any girl between the age of 12 and 79, we yearn to live the glamorous life portrayed in Gossip Girl. Park Avenue Winter allowed us to do so – for free! The only cost was to give up our dignity by dressing up in a schoolgirl outfit. But really, why save dignity when you can get a free meal?
In case you missed it (for shame!), this week’s episode of Gossip Girl featured Park Avenue Winter when our beloved Chuck Bass intercepts an Eyes-Wide-Shut-esque rendezvous. To celebrate being featured on the show, the restaurant executed a huge publicity stunt where they offered free dinner to those who dressed up like schoolgirls, every night this week from Monday through Friday. We would’ve gone on the first night, but hello, we are loyal fans who sat at home on our butt-imprinted couch Monday night eagerly awaiting the new episode.
Though known for their decadent tasting menu, the deal was from their a la carte menu which included sides to share, an appetizer, the main entree, dessert, and two drinks. You can see our options from their dinner menu here, which should be making you salivate right about now. I opted for the sashimi of hamatchi sprinkled delicately with passionfruit, cashews, and black truffle, and my main dish of filet mignon. I stole bites of the miso-glazed lobster (so I conveniently didn’t have to crack the claws and create a mess), as well as the dover sole fish that melts in your mouth.
Park Ave received a lot of press for their Broccoli & Cheetos creation, so natch we ordered it to satisfy my cheese cravings, along with the potato latkas. After we were already too full to function, executive pastry chef Richard Leach served up miraculously presented desserts. Maximizing our options, we each chose a different dessert: the Hot Buttered Rum Puffs; the Warm Walnut Gingerbread Cake topped with a fancy sugar sculpture; the Winter White Citrus Confection burst with lemony flavor, also topped with sugar spikes; and The Chocolate Box, which we had been pressured to order by the waiter, rightfully so because it was delicious with its chocolate mousse interior. See our fancy pics in the gallery below!
We were one of the last tables to leave, so the waiters and waitresses sighed with relief as they were done with night #2 of 5. As I’m sure they expected the mayhem, they handled the chaotic stream of schoolgirls with finesse and professionalism, so at the very least remember to tip properly.
The estimated 250 schoolgirls also includes two males dressed up in skirts and knee-high socks that we caught a pic of below. We’re not sure if they got their meal comped since they’re not school”girls” per se, but technicalities, schmechnicalities! There was also a table of two older women that were probably once legit schoolgirls in the 19th century sporting pigtails that could’ve fooled anyone in thinking they were 40 years younger than they were.
We had to wonder how much a publicity stunt like this would be worth to the restaurant. They estimated the meal to be $75 per person, but by our calculations it amounted to well above $100. So, 250 people x $100 per x 5 nights = $125,000 – Whaa?! We tried to guess that maybe they had help with sponsors (the CW network? Psshh, not likely), but the more likely conclusion is our hypothesis that the owner knows that people (re: women) will do anything for expensive things.
Someday I hope to come back to Park Ave for all their glorious seasonal menus and be a real paying customer, but until then that day, I will gladly look ridiculous for food.
Park Avenue Winter
100 E. 63rd Street @ Park Ave