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The Early Word on Todd English's Hotel Resto, Ça Va

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Krieger, 7/27/10

Not resting after opening the Food Hall at The Plaza in June, Todd English launched another hotel restaurant earlier this month - Ça Va inside the InterContinental. You may be more familiar with this hotel as the one with the Shake Shack midtown location. His newest venture is a French brasserie set in a sleek, swanky space that's divided into an 80-person dining room, 56-person private lounge, and a spacious lounge/bar. It's only been open for two weeks but folks, English fans included, are already chiming in with their opinions. To the early word:

The "Fangirl-Sounding" News: Yelper Lisa K. hasn't even eaten there but that doesn't stop her from filing this gusher of a review. "Todd English is like Leo DiCaprio of the master chef world!!! I cant believe he opened both the plaza food hall and now this huge French brasserie this summer!!! I havent yet to eat in this place, but the interior design and ambiance was gorgeous and spacious. The marche products looked fresh too. and I love how this place is RIGHT ACROSS from BDC so you have a full view of it from studio 1 :) Ca va gets four stars just for its decor and Todd English."

The "Good All Around" News: Yelper Lorenzo T. files a more restrained but positive review though he does admit to being a fan of the decor. "Clearly it would be churlish to rate a eating establishment on decor alone. But I will admit that the place looks GREAT!" He does, however, doles out high praise for the service, specifically that they "were working ever so quickly around the table to hand us menus, pour drinks, and present bread" and that the "water glass was never more than half empty and at times without notice my plate or silverware had been changed and my water glass refilled." Of course, no review is complete without mention of the food. "From steak to the duck wellington. Everything was spot on."

The "You Can Tell You're in a Hotel" News: Chowhounder edible n has a fine enough breakfast, but finds the space and price point off-putting: "I was at Ca Va for breakfast on Sunday. I have mixed feelings and am unsure on whether I'd return. The food was very well prepared - I had the french toast and a pain au chocolat. Both were excellent. The service was also very good, prompt and attentive but not overdone. My issues with the place are things that likely can't/won't be changed. I have a fundamental problem paying $5 for a cup of coffee at breakfast. Second, the atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired. It's too open and as a result flows into the hotel area too much. I feel you need a seat way at the back to feel away from the hotel. I think the price point and the open style are things that would make me hesitate before heading back, which is too bad because I really enjoyed the food." [CH]

The "Lackluster Todd" News: The Wall Street Journal files a "Lunchbox" post and finds the whole concept to be a bit watered-down: "But if his scope is grand, Mr. English's ambitions are more modest at Ça Va, which as the name suggests, is just fine without offering many flourishes. The brasserie serves up a businessman's comfort food in a modern international hotel setting: brown leather chairs and wooden floors in a sleek dining room that comfortably seats 80. A mirrored wall reflects traveling deal makers, as well as tourists and a few curious locals." [WSJ]

The Twitterific News: Self-described "paranormal romance novelist" Addison Fox has a message of encouragement: "Todd English....kudos. You've nailed it with Ca Va" and saucy senior Gael Greene can't feel Todd's signature presence: "Dinner at Ca Va on 44thst lasngt: No sign of Todd English himself. Doesn't even look like a place Todd might be seen, wintry menu". [Twitter]

The Bad News: A text message from a friend of Eater there at a recent dinner: "Total shitshow! The 'Todd English' cassoulet is like bad canned chili. The cassoulet has liquid smoke in it!" Not exactly a great choice for a summer menu. [Eater Tipline]
- Zachary Feldman and Gary Wong

Ça Va

310 W 44th St., New York, NY 10036

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