VISITING New York for fashion week earlier in September was the definition of over sensory. Experiencing their second wave of summer – one day it even reached 36 degrees, amidst the busiest New York SS24 schedule since pre-Covid times, and with two vital train routes down across the very weekend in question led to a very hot headed Lily Rimmer.
When the opportunity arose, therefore, to spend a night enjoying the culinary delights and undefeated New York sights at The William Vale, I accepted with glee.
Westlight, The William Vale
It is testament to the lure of the Brooklyn based hotel that when speaking with my guest, she revealed to me that when she first moved to New York many moons ago and was in the initial Air Bnb sofa surfing initiation to the city, that she treated herself to a nights stay at The William Vale for a break from it all. It holds a special place in her heart as a result.
And although I didn’t technically experience the quiet that is held within the four walls of a room at The William Vale, experiencing their restaurant on the ground floor, Leuca, and then their rooftop bar, Westlight, was enough to paint a picture of the standard the building is working towards.
Leuca at The William Vale
We began our evening at Leuca, the Southern Italian restaurant that sits in the lower ground floor fo the hotel and pays homage to its named origins, Puglia. Think rustic dishes that echo the elegance of Italian flare.
Dipping into sheep’s milk ricotta glazed by hot honey and garlic, carving into the tomato watermelon salad with smoke chilli vinaigrette, and building delightful morsels of their tuna crudo with green olives and crisp farro welcomed us to the refined comfort of chef Andrew Carmellini’s take on the menu.
Washed down with Mezzanotte in Brooklyn, a twist on a mexcalita, this time with lemon and La Miraja vino aramatizzato, and the warm embrace of the sunset lit restaurant was complete. After a plate of mafaldine with almond pesto and bucatini Calabrese with Manila clams and desert was sadly out of the question.
Staying true to the consuming ability of Italian food, Leuca leaves you with little room to consider a sugary addition.
Tuna Crudo at Leuca
Mafaldine with almond pesto at Leuca
Saying that, we also knew we had a sweeter finish waiting for us on the rooftop of the hotel, Westlight, which has become renowned for its panoramic skyline views and the fashionable crowds that it attracts.
It’s a very slick addition to the William Vale, offering New York loft-esque industrial interior with steely balcony furniture glistening under the fairy lights that frame the exquisite backdrop – an unobstructed view of New York City, a rarity to find my friend tells me.
Stand outs from the menu include the Sbaliato Bianco, a twist on the Italian Hugo drink with Elderflower switched for Suze Gentian Aperitif instead; the Mezcal Julep, a fruitier take to my drink at Leuca, with peach and lime harmonising against the smoky mezcal to create a fusion of flavours; and finally the Zapotec Highball, which my friend described as a kiss to the taste buds, namely from the delicate butterfly pea flower and xila liqueur.
After spending the previous 48 hours queuing in crowds, waiting in traffic or squeezed onto benches for shows, the William Vale Hotel, Leuca and Westlight, brought with it a sense of escapism I hadn’t realised I needed.
It also proposes a new appreciation of the city, one that can be enjoyed without any distraction. A must visit for those travelling to the ever giving and ever taking wonder that is New York.
by Lily Rimmer