This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
As a restaurateur, celebrating holidays with my family has always caused some challenges. Since many holidays are also very busy restaurant days, my options are few. I must be at my restaurants to cook for guests which are celebrating the holiday with a special dinner out. However, I must also celebrate with my family the significance of the holiday.
For the past three-plus decades, whether it be Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day or Easter Sunday, to name a few, my family celebrates on Monday. For this past Easter Monday that meant a trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and dinner at the legendary 21 Club in New York City. While we were a day late in celebrating this very special holiday, the spirit of the day was very much present.
St. Patrick’s, which has under gone a tremendous renovation under the leadership of Cardinal Timothy Dolan beginning in 2012, is stunning both inside and out. The Cathedral where so many Popes have visited and said Mass is solemn yet brightly festive dressed for spring.
Strolling from the Cathedral to New York‘s 21 Club for dinner with my wife and son along the same route as the Easter Parade, we only missed the festive bonnets and larger than life Easter Bunnies.
Dinner at the 21 Club in the legendary “Bar Room” is an experience every New Yorker should partake in. The restaurant ,which opened prior to Prohibition, is a New York institution where movie stars, presidents and titans of industry have eaten under a ceiling of “toys” that represent everything from Air Force One to a football helmet signed by Brett Favre.
The 21 Club is not a hipster kind of restaurant; it is a restaurant where a jacket is required, a deep wine cellar is maintained, hospitality is offered, and the menu is classic in its presentation.
The beauty of celebrating all holidays on Mondays is that reservations are always easier to come by.