Dec-Mar: Mon-Fri, noon-4pm; Sat-Sun, 9:30am-4pm; Apr-Nov: Mon-Fri, noon-4pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm; Sat-Sun, 9:30am-4pm and 6pm-9:30pm
6 at 68th St.-Hunter College
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
It was only this spring that I belatedly discovered the dramatic makeover financed by its newest owner, Dean Poll, an ambitious restaurateur from Long Island. In the past, a Boathouse table was basically about inhaling nature—never mind the food. Today the kitchen sends out thrillingly pure crab cakes, and a lush salmon-and-oyster tartare. What was once tented dock is now a solid structure—winterized for special events and out-of-season rendezvous at the tall windows overlooking the lake. Even though the swans are gone, there are still ducks and turtles, an occasional egret or vagrant raccoon, and the same dude, Andreas Garcia, poling a restored gondola. Though it feels like no one is in charge as we come in, we spy the maître d’ in the distance and score a lakeside table to watch darkness creeping in as we share a hearts-of-palm salad with an impressive cargo of lobster on top. Properly grilled filet pleases our meat-and-potatoes guest. And my roasted salmon with porcini-asparagus risotto is cooked minimally, as I like it. After dividing a well-made rhubarb crisp and suitably decadent chocolate raspberry cake, we wander outside to find the house trolley waiting to drop us at Fifth Avenue.Prix-Fixe
Available for groups of 15 or more.
Year-round, a complimentary trolley picks up patrons from a stop at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street and drops them off directly at the boathouse. Between Nov. 4 and Apr. 14, the trolley only runs on Sat., Sun., and holidays.
This time-honored space is set just off the lake in the heart of Central Park; it features wraparound French doors that open onto an English garden and a wooden deck facing the water’s edge, where you’ll see rowboats and the occasional gondola pass by, and where swans and ducks often linger. The boathouse’s event space holds up to 230 seated guests with a dance floor. From $165 per person. No outside catering except kosher.