Mon, 6:30am-11am and noon-2:30pm; Tue-Fri, 6:30am-11am, noon-2:30pm; Sat, 7am-12:30pm; Sun, 7am-12:30pm
F at 57th St.; E, V at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
Small cards on each table here mention a titillating fact about the namesake murals. The storybook-style images of Sir Walter Raleigh were painted in the late 1930s by the popular American illustrator Dean Cornwell for the hotel's owner, media magnate William Randolph Hearst. When a dispute arose about Cornwell's compensation, the artist snuck in some details "at the time considered obscene." The murals' warm colors are picked up in the dining room's décor, with russet upholstery on the banquettes and oversized cream shades hanging from the red ceiling. The menu pitches squarely to businesspeople and hotel guests with American standards and the occasional French dish that's been fully assimilated into hotel-restaurant culture: Niçoise salad, grilled salmon, a sirloin with creamed spinach, and the like. But the execution is too often careless. The oven-roasted chicken, for instance, has the fatigued dryness of being overcooked and then over-reheated. The French fries, on the other hand, are underdone and flaccid. Even the hamburger disappoints; why settle for this fatty patty when the Burger Joint is just a few blocks away? Better bets are the beefy French onion soup and the eggless but anchovy-rich Caesar salad. And about those hidden naughty bits in the murals? Well, let's just say they're genitally graphic. The mischievous Marion Davies, Hearst's mistress, might have laughed over these details—but you may wish you had a stiff drink.Prix-Fixe
Three-course prix-fixe dinner, Tue.—Sat., 5 p.m.—11 p.m., $32Recommended Dishes
French onion soup, $8; Caesar salad, $8