Planet Hollywood: Star-Studded Times Square DiningNovember 10, 2009 - by Richard Jay Scholem
For great food, famous collectibles, and out-of-this-world events, there’s no place like the Planet. Thrill to the magic of Hollywood surrounded by the largest movie memorabilia collection in the world.
Food is not an afterthought here. A kitchen crew of about 60 churns out the dishes offered on a voluminous menu dominated by huge portions of American comfort food with a sprinkling of Mexican, Italian, and Asian favorites mixed in. Sliders, potato skins, and Buffalo wings start things off, while entrées like sizzling shrimp fajitas and teriyaki salmon combine with steaks to form a diverse array of mains. Add an ample contingent of pizzas, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and sides and few diners will fail to find a favorite.
We had no problems. World famous chicken crunch with Creole mustard sauce; Kalbi short ribs with Asian slaw; a stack of crisp Texas tostados crowned by barbecued chicken, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo; and three juicy Kobe beef sliders with cheddar, tomatoes, cucumber, and caramelized onions on a sweet roll left us smiling and full. Nevertheless, we gave our all to a Tomahawk Steak so tender, juicy, and flavorful it could have put any top steakhouse to shame.
Music envelops the thousands of people who each week pass through to an energetic world of motion picture, Broadway, and sports memorabilia. Mobiles of model planes rotate above, two cars hang hood-first from the ceiling, and TV screens flash music videos to often-awed diners surrounded by the paraphernalia of movie stars. Star clothing (Sofía Vergara’s dress from the Diet Pepsi ad was behind us), pictures, and movie music pervade the premises.
Planet Hollywood itself is much like a big Technicolor musical. The spaceship from Independence Day dangles above, along with a parachute, while the TV screens switch to Marlon Brando in a scene from On the Waterfront or Gene Kelly doing his Singing in the Rain dance sequence. All of this fuses into a visual and audio extravaganza that can easily cause patrons to forget that this is, after all, a restaurant—and a very good one.
1540 Broadway at 45th St., 212-333-7827; www.planethollywoodintl.com
Richard Jay Scholem was a restaurant critic for the New York Times Long Island Section for 14 years. His A La Carte Column appeared from 1990 to 2004. For more “Taste of the Town” reviews, click here.