Tea Time at Lady Mendl's

It's every little girl's tea party dream come true! First off the grown up tea party checklist: dress up! I took a turn to the Victorian with my high-collared lace couture gown, while my girlfriend went the way of the fancy tea robe, this lime green funky jumpsuit. I went with pearls, she went with gold pendants. (Insert girly squeal). Second off the list: ambience! Remember the movie My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn? We walked up the steps to a classic NYC brownstone and into a gorgeous sitting room. Every lamp, chair, fireplace, carpet, even to the bird decorations on the walls, was utter luxury, in perfect taste and in perfect juxtaposition. It was a sanctuary for the feminine, right in the middle of NYC. Add to that all the Royal Albert china patterns known to man and it was ultimate girly-girl heaven! Third: sweets! And five courses of them! The first course was honeydew with feta topping. The honeydew was exactly ripe, and the feta was just tart enough for a nice contrast. The second course was the tea sandwiches: smoked salmon with crème fraiche on brioche with wasabi caviar, cucumber with mint crème fraiche on pumpernickel, roast beef with horseradish puree, and butternut squash and arugula with maple balsamic reduction on crispy baguette. My favorite was the butternut squash. The third course was the scone, with clotted cream and preserves. Standard butter scone, but I prefer the scones at Alice's Tea Cup. The fourth and fifth courses were served at the same time. We had vanilla mille-feuille, chocolate covered strawberries, macarons, and shortbread cookies. Sugar coma! Just a small disappointment: the tea. There were only six choices, two of which were earl grey and English breakfast. As a McNulty's regular, I was expecting more from a tea parlor. We tried the lychee red, and the lychee flavor was a bit too subtle for my taste. We spent two glorious hours here, at $59 per person. The waitstaff were sensitive to our needs and let us have our fun. All in all, it was a cute experience.

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