The annual lighting of the giant Norway spruce in Rockefeller Center falls this year on Nov. 30. If you plan to attend the official launch of the Christmas season and are looking to double down on the festivity by grabbing a meal nearby, here are some possibilities.
Sushi Lab Rooftop (132 W. 47th Street) at The Sanctuary Hotel offers two options on the omakase theme, though choosing to order à la carte reveals an equally compelling side of the kitchen’s creativity. You can kick off your meal with an order of avocado fries with shiso ranch dressing and yuzu zest, then proceed to washugyu beef — American waygu, shrimp tempura, avocado, and crab. Basque burnt cheesecake marks a departure from more predictable Japanese desserts.
It’s been six years since the venerated Carnegie Deli served its last mountain-high sandwich, but a new diner has picked up the mantel and even a name — Carnegie Diner & Cafe — that evokes memories of the legend. The pastrami and corned beef sandwiches at CD & C are each made with a half pound of meat, but if that seems skimpy by the original Carnegie Deli standards, you can always opt for the “Wow Pastrami,” which weighs in at a pound and two ounces. Naturally there is New York-style cheesecake listed among the desserts, but if you feel underfed you can always summon a slab of the 24-layer chocolate cake. The Carnegie Deli & Diner is located at 205 West 57th Street, at the corner of Seventh Avenue.
At Osteria La Baia (129 W. 52nd Street), meanwhile, updated versions of Italian classics are the order of the day. Whole branzino stands in for the steak in an “alla pizzaiola” presentation which also features roasted sweet peppers, smoked tomato, and capers. For saltimbocca, the house swaps in Dover sole for the veal. If you linger at table long enough, you may see Mayor Eric Adams stop by for one of his late-nightly visits, which often run past closing hours.
The branch of the Mexican mini-chain Toloache at 251 W. 50th Street is ideal if you watch the tree lighting as part of a group. The “trio de guacamoles” and a tasting of the house’s four ceviches are good communal starting points for a meal of, say, tacos made with the kitchen’s handpressed corn tortillas. We are partial to the spicy lobster variant, with morita salsa and avocado, and the suckling pig with cactus salad, salsa tatemada, and chicharron.