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Linda-Marie Singer is The Live Wire

Linda-Marie Singer - Click to Enlarge
Would Madame Care for a Cigar after Dinner?
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The Bull And Bear -- Waldorf-Astoria midtown Mecca's secret
The Bull And Bear, Waldorf-Astoria midtown Mecca's secret
NEW YORK: "Would Madame care for a cigar after dinner?" asks James B. Clarke, host of the Bull and Bear restaurant located downstairs in the fashionable Waldorf-Astoria. "Madame doesn't smoke," I tell him as we head into the restaurant's richly paneled dining area. "This used to be an all-men's club," he points out. "Now our society ladies lunch here," along with famous guests like Senator D'Amato and Meryl Streep. My eyes crane around the room, but no movie stars or pols this evening.

Celebritydom isn't everything, especially when the Bull and Bear boasts a celebrated bill of fare created by Chef Eric Kaplan. I'm seated comfortably with my teenage daughter who is very picky when it comes to her taste buds, and Merry Clark, a New York food critic.

My thirteen-year-old studies the varied menu and pronounces judgment on the Caesar Salad Appetizer ($8) and Charbroiled Filet Mignon ($31). Our food critic studies the list as though it were a midterm. She says the Maryland Crabcakes ($13) are a must, while the Poached Lobster with Mango, Avocado, Potatoes and Corn ($27) looks like a winner. I settle for Beef Stew With Bacon ($24), a Traditional House Favorite.

Since every tourist knows the name Waldorf-Astoria, many out-of-towners may not know that within the confines of the grand hotel is one of New York's best-kept secrets, the Bull And Bear. A midtown Mecca for New Yorkers, the ambience is decidedly clubby, the menu affordably priced. But the biggest plus is finding a dining establishment located at a famous address with remarkable food.

"Great hotels should have great restaurants," decrees Merry Clark, our food reviewer. And she should know. So should Chef Kaplan who makes the rounds this evening discussing the entrees with the guests. When he comes to our table and sees an adolescent, he can't help but ask her opinion. Usually a devout macaroni and cheese fan, she tells him that the Filet Mignon is "yummy." He smiles at the description, letting us know that steak is their most popular selection.

"What's for dessert?" she asks. The chef signals the waiter who rhapsodizes about each "non-caloric" treat. There's melt-in-the-mouth Crème Brule, and now I ask where I'm going to put the delectable slice of creamy Cheese Cake. Merry Clark raises her hand. That's when I feel a tap from under the table. It's my thirteen-year-old. "Hey, Mom, don't forget me!" she cries. I never do.

The Bull and Bear restaurant is located downstairs in the Waldorf-Astoria, 301 Park Avenue. 

For reservations call: 212-872-4900

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Linda-Marie Singer "The LIVEWIRE" for Travel Watch. Former President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, and created the national writers conference, "The Days of Wine & Proses." She is a travel and entertainment reporter living in the San Francisco Bay Area. (More about this writer.)

Email: lindamari@aol.com - Web: http://www.i.am/lindamarie  


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