Room Service Hacks from Restaurant Greats

How do you sample the fare at a top restaurant without reservations? Check into a hotel.

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Photo By: Francesco Tonelli ©2013 Francesco Tonelli - All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Francesco Tonelli ©2014 Francesco Tonelli - All Rights Reserved

©Juan Fernando Ayora @juanfayora

Photo By: Francesco Tonelli ©2013 Francesco Tonelli - All Rights Reserved

©Andrew Meade

Photo By: Magnus Lindqvist ©GLINTstudios

How to Beat the System

Scoring reservations at top tables is often a heated competition between diners. It can be months before you can land a Saturday night reservation at all, or one that isn't at 5:30 p.m. or after 10:30 p.m. But fortunately, we have discovered a way to hack the system: Check into a hotel. These top restaurants from renowned chefs happen to be housed in hotels and, lucky for guests, also provide the room service program. All that is required is to pick up the phone, place your order and relax in the comfort of your own room — until there's a knock on your door.

New York City: The Nomad at The Nomad Hotel

When executive chef and co-owner Daniel Humm first introduced the lustrous chicken for two at The Nomad, it quickly became the talk of the town. The eye-catching, aromatic and perfectly golden chicken stuffed with brioche, black truffles and foie gras is gorgeously presented in an iron skillet. This signature dish, along with the rest of the sophisticated menu and top-notch service, makes a table at The Nomad restaurant one of the toughest to nab. But, check into The Nomad Hotel and you can order this beautiful bird on demand and eat it in bed.

The NoMad Bar

Los Angeles: The Bazaar at SLS Hotel

In 2003 beloved Spanish Chef José Andrés turned D.C.'s dining scene on its head with the opening of Minibar. Six years later, he headed west to open The Bazaar (with opening Chef de Cuisine Michael Voltaggio), bringing his modern style to the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. Dining on the menu in the comfort of your room will not disappoint, and breakfast is also given special attention. No one would think an egg white omelet would be one to remember, but leave it to Andrés to make it stylish and satisfying. 


Photo courtesy of SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills

The Bazaar

New York City: Fuku+ at The Chambers

There's an elusive sandwich in New York, and, no, it's not the McRib. It's the Spiced Chicken Sandwich at Fuku+, a Momofuku outpost located within NYC's Chambers Hotel. This coveted sandwich — packed with crispy, deep-fried and marinated chicken thighs coated in buttermilk and spices, and served on a steamed Martin's potato bun layered with flavored butter and pickles — comes by way of coveted Chef David Chang. What many people don’t know is this commonly Instagrammed sandwich can be ordered from The Chambers' in-house restaurant, Fuku+. Rather than invest time downstairs at Fuku+ (or hours on line at the East Village outpost, Fuku, where the sandwich was born) guests are one phone call away from this slam-dunk sammie.  


Miami: Pubbelly Station at The Langford

It's hard to score a table at a popular eatery; it's even harder when the dining room holds just 16 seats. Miami's Pubbelly, the aforementioned sensational Asian gastropub, recently opened Pubbelly Station inside the newly opened Langford Hotel. We have no doubt it'll be as tough to get a taste — unless you are staying inside the boutique property. PB Station offers PB To-Go, a selection of items prepared to order and packaged in elegant disposable containers. The food is delivered to your door by a bellman or conveniently available for pickup. The chefs explain the PB To-Go program eliminates the need for expensive tables and equipment, and, another bonus, without the cumbersome dishes and carts, those working the kitchen can get the food upstairs faster and fresher.

Pubbelly Station

New York City: The Mark Restaurant at The Mark Hotel

Dining at any Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant is pure pleasure. But add to that formula white-glove service, a linen-draped cart with fresh flowers, and exquisite dishes designed by fashion illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme in a plush hotel room and the experience becomes one of luxury. That's what guests staying at The Mark Hotel can enjoy by ordering room service from The Mark Restaurant by Vongerichten. Signature items include sushi grade hamachi sashimi with avocado, soy-yuzu dressing, fresh angel hair pasta with seasonal vegetables, profiteroles swimming in a deep dark chocolate sauce, adding decadence on top of what is already pretty decadent.

The Mark, New York

Dallas: Knife at The Highland

When the minds behind The Highland Dallas wanted to create the hotel's centerpiece restaurant, they turned to James Beard-nominated chef John Tesar, who created Knife. Scoring a reservation at the steakhouse can be tough these days, even for registered guests. The solution? Order from Tesar's menu, straight out of Knife's kitchen, for in-room dining. Guests can order anything the restaurant offers, including the240-day dry-aged rib eye, a rack of lamb, the much-touted bacon tasting or even a 2-pound butter-poached lobster.


Miami: Driftwood Room at Nautilus South Beach

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is the latest celebrity chef to open a restaurant in a Miami hotel. The difference with this chef's sexy spot is you can indulge in its offerings without even having to get dressed. Alex's Driftwood Room focuses on fresh, local Floridian ingredients, which can also be ordered poolside from the hotel's Nautilus Cabana Club — think Lemonfish crudo with piquillo peppers and Roma tomatoes blended with olive oil and basil, a roasted mushroom crostini, and indulgent items like the oozy passion fruit-filled yeast doughnuts.


Photo courtesy of Nautilus South Beach

Driftwood Room

Louisville, Ky.: Proof on Main at 21c Museum Hotel

You won't have to make a reservation to get a bite of the famous Proof Bison Burger at Proof on Main if you're a guest at the 21c Museum Hotel. A staple on the menu, the burger, topped with Tillamook cheddar, smoked bacon and jezebel sauce, is available for room service. Oh, and that bison is pretty special too; it's sourced from Woodland Farm, which is owned by 21c founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, who supply Proof on Main and other ingredient-driven Louisville restaurants with their sustainable, hormone-free and grass-fed bison.


Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels

Proof on Main

Washington, D.C.: Art and Soul at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel

Executive Chef Douglas Alexander and James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef Art Smith's Art and Soul is a reason not to leave your room at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel. Available as part of the in-room dining program, Smith and Alexander's Southern-inspired menu features unadulterated, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Stay in the room to dine on dinner favorites like the roasted Scottish salmon on a bed of white beans, kale, Meyer lemon, pancetta and smoked olive tapenade, or nosh on the housemade charcuterie and one of the seasonal cocktails — you will be happy you did.


Photo by Ronald Flores

Art and Soul

Portland, Ore.: Imperial at Hotel Lucia

It's not easy to score a table at Imperial restaurant, with Iron Chef America champion and James Beard Award-winning chef Vitaly Paley and Top Chef finalist Doug Adams manning the stoves. If you have a hankering for Adams' famous fried chicken, it's not necessary to check in with the restaurant hostess. Instead, you can check into your room at the hotel, where the chicken's honey is sourced from the rooftop hives and the hot sauce is barrel-aged in-house. Be sure to also tack on an order of the restaurant's buttery Parker House rolls.


Photo courtesy of Provenance Hotels


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