How Mario Batali Does Room Service

The celebrity chef has rolled out his first-ever room service menu at the Maritime Hotel in New York

How Mario Batali Does Room Service

Illustration by David Wilson

With the opening of La Sirena, his trattoria in New York City’s Maritime Hotel, Mario Batali has launched his first room service menu. Which got us wondering...

What can we order upstairs?

Along with some of La Sirena’s sophisticated dishes, we’ve added some heartwarming staples—indispensible room service standbys—and have given them our own spin. Our drive-in-style burger is two patties of dry-aged beef, caramelized onions, and house-made pickles on a potato roll. And for the ultimate morning-after hangover cure, you can have mezzo rigatoni carbonara alongside a hot shot of espresso, while you’re looking out at the Manhattan skyline in your pj’s.

What if I want something sweet?

I can’t take credit for the chocolate cream puffs, but they are a revelation. Our pastry chef, Michael Laiskonis, is a Zen master of sweetness and texture. The cream puff is just like what you’d have in Lyon, France—it’s exactly what you’d imagine in your mind’s eye.

Any personal pet peeves about in-room dining?

I hate it when a tray comes without hot sauce. At the Maritime Hotel, we always send up Tabasco.

What’s the last delicious thing you ate in a hotel room?

I was in Shanghai recently to film an episode for a new series with Emeril Lagasse. When I arrived in my room at the Peninsula, there were hot dumplings waiting for me. It was room service to the nth degree. It sat alongside white burgundy on ice. A curious pairing, perhaps, but they are two of my favorite things.

Your biggest room-service surprise?

Last year, the Four Seasons in Orlando sent up a cake—an homage to my dog, Willie. It was decorated with photos of the great Willies: Nelson, Wonka. It was an exemplary and delicious hospitality experience.

It’s 2 a.m. You’re jet-lagged and hungry. What do you order?

If I were at the Maritime Hotel, I’d order the dry-aged burger. If I were almost anywhere else, I’d order a grilled cheese sandwich with any sort of local bread and local cheese. And hot sauce. Lots of hot sauce.

>>Next: Making a Better Meal—at 36,000 Feet

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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