Breakfast at Tiffany’s is back in NYC
Break out the blue balloons – after a four-year absence, breakfast at Tiffany’s is back.
There’s a ton of turquoise in Daniel Boulud’s new sixth-floor Blue Box Café — the latest bauble to debut as part of the renovation of the luxury jewelry store’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue. But thankfully the restaurant isn’t a replica of its fourth-floor predecessor, which looked better than the food tasted.
Despite what Truman Capote’s 1958 novella and famous 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn promised, there was no such thing as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” until 2017, at least not in the officially sanctioned sense.
Instead, the title refers to Texas-bred party girl Holly Golightly’s penchant for munching on pastries as she peers through the windows of the iconic Fifth Avenue store — a moment that put the phrase on the map.
And while I found Hepburn’s volatile character in the Oscar-winning film annoying and Mickey Rooney’s racist portrayal of Holly’s Japanese landlord reprehensible, I won’t let old grudges get in the way of a scrambled egg from heaven – the gorgeous star of the Blue Box prix-fixe breakfast menu ($58).
With the great Boulud at the helm, each of the seven items created by chef Raphaëlle Bergeon tasted just fine—a far cry from the country club offerings of sandwiches and salads in the original Blue Box, which closed in 2019.
But beware: a meal can be as expensive as in some of Boulud’s great restaurants. But this is Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue, not a suburban discount store, and you don’t expect the pleasures to be cheap.
In addition to the morning feast, the menu also includes an elaborate, traditional afternoon tea service ($98), as well as a la carte “seasonal” main dishes ($18 to $42). Desserts ordered separately are $18 each; a cup of coffee costs $8. For penny savers and skinnies, a $39 “Holly’s Favorites” option, which includes a croissant and a madeleine, fresh juice, and coffee or hot chocolate. You can choose one of the menus at any time.
The breakfast set arrives on a three-tiered tower I saw on most of the other tables, all occupied by fashionably dressed women who on one visit outnumbered my lone male self by 30 to 1.
The scrambled eggs, in a shell topped with caviar, were deliciously decadent. Other treats included a small but ridiculously perfect croissant fresh from Boulud’s baking kitchen downtown, a madeleine with dreamy cream and jam, and raspberry parfait with yogurt and granola.
A summer pineapple-strawberry rosette might have been more at home on the afternoon tea menu. So is the fruity, apricot danish. I’d love it if Boulud added a waffle or French toast to the “breakfast.”
I also ventured into the a la carte area to try a wonderfully unpretentious cheeseburger, its Wagyu blend beef perfectly medium rare and topped with cheddar.
The room, designed by architect Peter Marino, looks more like an upscale lunchroom than the jewel-like setting it’s supposed to be, despite hundreds of tiny turquoise jewelry boxes hanging from the ceiling.
The boxes add a welcome touch of whimsy, but the 46-seat dining room with comfy vinyl chairs and seven-seat bar craves more accents than ceramist Molly Hatch’s hand-painted stoneware plates arranged on walls in brooch-like shapes.
The floor is a curiously drab concrete tile, with multicolored stains – like a child’s finger painting.
The service is warm, but not yet sparkling like the jewels in Tiffany’s display cases. They asked twice if we were still working on glasses of orange juice that still had enough OJ in them.
Not what we expect in a place in Boulud, but it’s only a few days old and we’ll give them some slack.
Blue Box has a waiting list of 1,200 names for reservations, but you can grab your chance as a walk-in. At least you get to see the rest of the shop – proof that the city is back, in all its over-the-top, shiny glory.