Yes, Hill Country is a restaurant, but no hostess will seat you and no server will come by to take your order. Instead, arriving patrons are given a meal ticket, which they carry into a Texas-style market. At one counter, they order meats by weight, watching as pitmasters pull their selection from smoking pits fueled with Texas post oak and the menus of lesser barbecue restaurants. The menu includes the signature moist brisket—juicy, fatty morsels that New York Times’ reporter Pete Wells is said to order a pound of every time because it shows “Hill Country’s rotisserie barbecue pits at their finest.” Whatever meat guests choose, it’s carved onto sturdy sheets of butcher paper they carry with them as they stop at additional counters to collect sides and desserts.
Though all meat is served with white bread or crackers, a lineup of sides includes corn pudding, Longhorn cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese, and sweet potato bourbon mash. The dessert case displays temptations such as banana pudding, which Wells gushed is “built upon a custard so thick with eggs and cream it brings Paris to mind.” Guests can return to the counters as many times as they like; each item ordered is noted on their ticket, which they turn in to the cashier at the end of the meal. The menu has some devoted culinary fans—renowned food critic Frank Bruni named Hill Country one of his five favorite restaurants, for instance—but the eatery attracts a musically inclined audience as well. Downstairs in the Boot Bar, a state-of-the-art stage hosts nationally touring blues, alt-country, and honky-tonk acts that have included Dale Wilson and Roseanne Cash. The shows take place Tuesday–Saturday nights, and are often free of charge.
It starts with a buzz. When patrons approach Raines Law Room, they’re not met by a surly doorman, just a silver doorbell. After gaining entry, guests might feel as though they’ve entered another era. In true speakeasy fashion, the windowless space is filled with plush Chesterfield sofas, the only light coming from the candles and wood-burning fireplace reflecting off the tin ceiling. In the lounge, tufted sofas and chairs recall an upscale living room. In the parlor, privacy curtains shroud four seating areas equipped with wall buzzers that can summon a server. The no-standing-around policy means parties must check in for a seat; if there aren’t any available, guests can leave their cell number and come back when they receive a call that a table is ready or a new brood of chairs finally hatched. Once seated, guests rifle through the drink list, which is divided into categories such as Bright & Crisp and With a Bitter Edge. Meaghan Dorman and her team of expert mixologists carefully blend drinks such as the South Side Rickey, a concoction of gin, lime juice, simple syrup, and club soda infused with mint plucked from the onsite garden. Raines ranked as a top 10 finalist for World’s Best Cocktail Menu at the 2012 Spirited Awards, so most patrons will probably be tempted to sample more than one spirit, meaning their visit will end as it began—with a buzz.
Hudson is in the heart of New York, walking distance from Time Warner Center and Columbus Circle. This 4-star hotel is close to Broadway and Times Square.
Make yourself at home in one of the 866 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Cable programming and iPod docking stations are provided for your entertainment, while complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected. Bathrooms have designer toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include safes and irons/ironing boards, as well as multi-line phones with voice mail.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Take advantage of recreation opportunities such as a fitness facility or take in the view from a rooftop terrace and a garden. Additional features include complimentary wireless Internet access, babysitting/childcare, and a pool table.
Take advantage of the hotel's room service (during limited hours). Relax with a refreshing drink at one of the 2 bars/lounges.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a business center, audiovisual equipment, and currency exchange. Event facilities at this hotel consist of exhibit space and a meeting/conference room. Parking (subject to charges) is available onsite.
No one would argue that getting a drink at Milk & Honey is easy. It can be tricky to find your way inside the unmarked bar, and even then, you'll be stopped at the door without a reservation—that is, unless you're a member, or possibly an untamed hippo. (Interested parties who apply for membership and pay an annual fee gain access not only to Milk and Honey New York, but also to an award-winning family of clubs that extends to London and the French Alps.) Once admitted, visitors must follow house rules that encourage dignified behavior: conversational tones, responsibility for your guests, and a ban on men introducing themselves to women (but not the other way around). The cocktails are as serious as the decorum. Bartenders begin the day by squeezing fruit for fresh juice and hand-carving a twice-frozen mineral-water ice brick into jagged chunks that chill with minimal dilution. Come cocktail hour, they pluck glasses from a -40-degree freezer and fill them with artisanal drinks such as a Florodora with gin, lime, raspberries, ginger, and soda water. A grazing menu complements the drink selection with small plates of meatball sliders, scallops, and bruschetta with spiced eggplant.
Inside Mason Jar NYC, Southern charm comes in edible form. Appetizers such as cornmeal-crusted fried pickles and cheesy grits evoke a down-home vibe that’s present throughout the entire menu. Racks of house-smoked baby back ribs and tender slices of beef brisket come slathered in housemade sauce and flanked by hearty sides. The barbecue sampler is a meat-coma-inducing feast that includes pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and turkey. Desserts such as the peach upside-down cake provide a satisfying end to the meal, and perhaps a nice start of a journey to the bar; the eclectic selection of craft beers and bourbons is what keeps diners long after they’ve torn through their final napkin. The beer menu at Mason Jar NYC is vast and includes Belgian ales, stouts, and ciders from brewers both large and small. But thanks to the beer flight, which includes three 3-ounce samples, customers don’t need to settle on a single choice, and instead can trade off sips of Chimay Tripel and Stone Arrogant Bastard. Whiskey lovers will be equally drawn to—and overwhelmed by—the selection of aged bourbons and rye whiskeys. But there’s plenty of time to decide in this lively eatery, where flat-screen TVs broadcast the latest games, and friends admire one another’s barbecue-stained shirts over spirits.
Stars twinkle faintly in the smoggy New York sky, barely visible to the guests on Le Bain's rooftop bar as they recline on pink waterbeds and gaze upward. Fortunately, celestial bodies aren't the stars at this bi-level 18th-floor playground, which opens its rooftop in the spring and maintains a steady flow of high-profile clientele throughout the year. Regardless of season, topless models splash in hot tubs and tall windows offer panoramic views of downtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. Bartenders sling cocktails in the lower-level lounge as guests dance to a lively mix of hip-hop, electronica, and rock. Others line up at a vending machine peddling colorful bikinis and board shorts, eager to take a swim in the lounge's heated pool.
A graffiti-splashed staircase leads to the rooftop, where the cool night air offers reprieve from the rollicking party below. White-clad waitresses float across the AstroTurf lawn, carrying trays of cherries and fruity cocktails. Well-dressed guests take off their shiny heels and custom-tailored hot-dog suits while marveling at the view, relaxing on waterbeds, lawn chairs, and pristine white towels. Come daytime, sunbathers replace the late-night revelers, basking in the sun and nibbling on smoked-salmon crepes.