Mon-Sat, 11:30am-9:30pm; Sun, closed
6 at 51st St.; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
The grandly vacant community hall of a famous midtown church is certainly a novel location for a fancy restaurant. But it can also be an unfortunate one. That was the consensus at the table as my guests and I peered around Inside Park at St. Bart’s, which operates in an annex hall of Saint Bartholomew’s church on Park Avenue. The big space used to be the site of church pageants and socials, and when empty (or mostly so), it exudes an eerie, doomed feel. Flapper music echoes eerily over the speaker system as waiters gamely perambulate trays of food to and fro among the sea of white tops. “We’re on the Titanic,” someone said. “I hear the sound of the waves. I feel the tables listing gently off to the right.” Chef Michael DeJesus’s menu ranges from bistro-style dishes (French onion soup gratinee, steak frites) to Italian starters and pastas (truffle risotto balls, orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage) to New American standards (a grass-fed burger, herb-roasted lamb chops).Historical Note
The church lost a Supreme Court battle in the nineties to build an adjacent high-rise, and since then it has run this unusual café to support its landmark neo-Byzantine building, built by Bertram Goodhue in 1919.
The restaurant serves brunch on Sundays during the summer. Call ahead for hours.
The vacant room brightens at lunchtime, when business folk fill the tables and a decent burger is served.