The Loft is the restaurant inside the NYLO Plano at Legacy. Last night they hosted a media tasting dinner to showcase their new Fall menu. I attended as an invited guest. But, before we talk about the food, a bit of background:
The Location: Travelers in Plano cannot help but to have noticed the “new old” building at Preston and Headquarters. The NYLO opened in 2008 at the start of one of one of the most difficult economic periods for hotels. Now things have turned around, NYLO has come through it intact, and the Dallas-based chain of three hotels (two in the Dallas area and one in Rhode Island) is about to expand again. A big event is the opening of the NYLO Dallas South Side in downtown Dallas next week, complete with a rooftop pool. The Plano building is brickwork and metal girders designed to make it look like a converted old warehouse.
Jump for juicy details.
The What: My take, is that NYLO is like The W for half of the price. Rooms run from $99-$199 per night. The management of NYLO (apparently a ‘contractionym’ of New York LOft) is a group of former Starwood (W, Westin, Sheraton) executives who set out on their own. Their plan is to grow nationally at a controlled pace. The target customer is the business traveler who wants to stay in something different from a ‘people warehouse’ without breaking the expense account.
The How: When you walk into the NYLO you see the architectural bent everywhere. The elevator door have a design painted on them that looks like a 1960s rock album cover. Lobby chairs come suspended from the ceiling in a multitude of shapes. Wall colors are gray but with maybe some yellow in the blend as they don’t look cold. They form a neutral backdrop to art on the walls. And the art is by local artists. Not stars, but starving – reflecting a propitious conjunction of artist assistance and the economics of running a mid-priced hotel. Want to know where the A/C, electrical wires or access points are? Just look up, the utilities are bare as the loft starts right in the lobby.
The restaurant and bar has Perspex tables stuffed with wood shavings and apparent director’s/beach chairs by the tables. The open kitchen is at one end, from which everything from hot breakfasts, to lunches and dinners are delivered. A polished wood bar dominates the middle section of the room and at the far end from the kitchen the space opens up into what is geometrically just a square open area. However, clever use of comfortable furniture, with tables for various-sized groups and stuffed bookshelves around the walls give meaning to its name ‘The Library’. Outside, an immaculate lawn leads to lap pool and a fireplace. It struck me that this would be a great place for outside events such as weddings, receptions, etc. and Sales Director Ava SolCruz Maynard informed me that it had already been discovered by Planoites.
Aside from the ubiquitous emphasis on style and design NYLO nails it so far as the tech. savvy generation is concerned. Free WiFi is everywhere. TV’s adorn several public areas. I did not get a chance to see a room, but I hope the electrical sockets are at table-level and the TVs are large, flat and have 120+ channels.
The Food: Chef Sean Cahill trained at Johnson and Wales (same place as Scott Gottlich at Bijoux) and worked at, among other places around town, The Mansion and The Mercury. He has been at NYLO for about a year. The food is familiar new American with a bit of French bistro thrown in. So we started with a mussels meuniere, moved through a straightforward roasted beet salad with warm brie and a creamy and heartwarming brown butter and sage pappardelle pasta. Our first main dish, and my favorite of the meal, was coq au vin resting on roasted fingerling potatoes. The chicken was succulent and precisely cooked and the pearl onions and potatoes provided ideal flavor accompaniments. I would just wish for more work on thickening the sauce. Since man cannot live by chicken alone we had a beef main course as well. Filet of beef au Poivre was plump strips of tenderloin on top of sliced and toasted French bread. The meat was wonderfully tender and tasty, although I would have liked, say, béarnaise sauce in a pot on the side to present more flavors in the dish. We also tried a croque monsieur that was the most synergistic set of ingredients of the night. The smoked ham and salty cheese was just luscious. If you stay at the hotel, demand the croque monsieur for breakfast. Cahill is a cheese enthusiast (appropriate, given his name) so maybe The Loft will start to offer some interesting cheese plates. With the renewed interest in artisanal beers, cheese has a promising future.
For dessert we had a crème brulée trio that left us full and satisfied. I did not get a chance to see the wine list but the bar has a cocktail program.
The Take: Overall, NYLO is a visual feast, an ergonomic comfort zone and a Plano hotel where you can eat well without leaving the building – however old it really is.