Big Bling in the Big Apple

As the top tourist destination in the US, visitors to New York City come to see iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building. They also come to dine in the city’s, if not the world’s, best restaurants that make New York a highly prized incentive option. Visitors such as 1,250 associates on a reward program in April with the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain.

“Our goal going in was to give our folks an experience they can’t get on their own,” says GJ Hart, president of Roadhouse, who booked everyone into the The Waldorf=Astoria New York for the annual Managing Partner’s Conference. “We did it with iconic places in New York City like Ellis Island and Rockefeller Center. I am convinced that the little bit of extra, like giving them an experience in New York City, will give us that little extra in the restaurant. This is non-negotiable. They are working with our guests and we have to take care of our business, and our people run our business.”

The highlight was getting everyone to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island by subway and ferry for a grand banquet in the Main Hall at Ellis Island.

“I would tell anyone, go into New York City with all the creativity you have and you will be surprised at what you get,” says Hart. “The people we worked with in New York were open to whatever we wanted to do.”

Matt Zolbe, director of sales/marketing at the 1,416-room Waldorf=Astoria says the level of professionalism in New York means that events that might seem difficult can always be accomplished with aplomb. “The experience that GJ had is typical for a group. He said the experience he had in New York City was the best he’d ever had, and I’ve heard that before.”

Another big success was the Big Apple dinearound. Groups chose from a list of restaurants including Smith & Wollensky’s, the legendary Chinese restaurant Shun Lee Palace and the landmark Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station.

NEED ME SOME OF THAT BOMBOLONI Inside the new modernist, 391-room Trump Soho Hotel, the 150-seat Quattro is quickly becoming a neighborhood favorite after establishing a strong foothold in Miami Beach. Italian native/owner Fabrizio Carro says the reason for that is because he imports as many ingredients as possible from Italy to create what he says Quattro is all about: “a true Italian restaurant.”

His fave compliment is when diners say they feel like they’re in Italy at Quattro. “When someone says, ‘I went to Italy and this was just like what I had there,’ that’s what I like to hear. Every time I cook I remember where I came from.”

One result of that is the Soffice Burrata antipasti with an imported creamy mozzarella-like cheese, which translated means “butter.” The Vitello Tonnato is thinly sliced veal in a creamy tuna sauce with capers, that while rich, is not too much for a starter. You also can’t really say no to the Arancino Di Riso All Siciliana, a risotto ball of beef ragu with peas and mozzarella.