Chef Talk: Power Dining at the Regency Bar and Grill

Executive Chef Catherine Medrano
Executive Chef Catherine Medrano

The Regency Bar and Grill may be best known as the spot for the city’s “Power Breakfast” (a concept and term that started here) but there’s a lot of high-level dining at lunch and dinner too–Midtown machers love the restaurant’s cool luxe and convenient Park Avenue location. Recently the restaurant appointed a new Executive Chef, Catherine Medrano, to oversee the restaurant and the Loew’s Regency New York’s in-room dining (the restaurant is in the hotel). Medrano, previously with the Stanhope Park Hyatt in New York and the Park Hyatt in Chicago, says her cooking style focuses on locality, seasonality and minimizing the carbon foot print, which syncs seamlessly with the restaurant’s long-standing emphasis on New York produce (working with regional and organic farms and supporting ecological fishing practices) for its modern American menu.  We recently caught up with Chef Medrano, to hear how she plans on keeping her one-percenter clientele happy this fall. And yes, part of that plan involves desserts!

Salad Days
Salad Days

What changes did you make to the menu and why?

Our goal was to position ourselves as a restaurant that sources products responsibly. At the same time we knew we needed a menu that not only catered to our local clientele, but appealed to guests from an approachability perspective. We wanted straight-forward, simple food that is executed at the highest level.

Mushroom extravaganza
Mushroom extravaganza

People are very particular about their diets these days—how are you accommodating that?

We have the ability to flex based on unique customer requests and/or dietary restrictions.  Our menu is crafted in a fashion that allows us to omit or substitute certain ingredients, lending to customization for each diner. For example, we readily have gluten-free and non GMO products available at all times.

What new dish you are particularly excited about?

Our signature dish is the Chicken Paillard. It’s a creative twist on a classic: lightly breaded, cage-free chicken topped with a salad of arugula and parmesan.

What are the best vegan options on the menu?

The Roasted Cauliflower and Tomato Soup are popular dishes.

Joan's salad.
Joan’s salad.

Tell us about some new vegetable dishes on the menu.

Our sides feature some great seasonal vegetables that include asparagus, mushrooms, pea shoots and tendrils.

Who are some of your favorite purveyors–for bread, cheeses, and fruits?

Hot Bread Kitchen has some of the best breads around—we feature them on our house burger.  Baldor produce is an excellent partner, supplying some of the best local fruits and vegetables.

Are there new desserts on the menu?

We want desserts that people know and love – great portions with enough to share! Our desserts are classic favorites–carrot cake, chocolate cake and ice creams to name a few.

Are people still ordering them the way they did five years ago?

No, we find that guests are not as indulgent. Our desserts are designed to share so we hope to entice more diners.

Have you seen a decline in the request for meat entrees?

We haven’t.  Our clients consistently enjoy a grilled steak with a great glass of wine.

What’s your favorite dish to make at home?

Linguine with clams–comfortable, fresh and always satisfies.

When entertaining what do you serve?

A fantastic cheese spread, charcuterie and assorted olives.

Which restaurants do you go to besides the Regency Bar & Grill?

ABC Kitchen is one of my favorite places right now.  I appreciate their attention to detail and the creativity of Jean-Georges

Favorite Regency Bar & Grill cocktail:

The Blake.  It’s a mix of vodka, St. Germain and grapefruit Juice. The cocktail is great with most anything on our menu.