Tips On Tables

Tips on Tables - Robert W. Dana - October 28, 1947

Maisonette Still Tops at The St. Regis

Since the middle ‘30s the St. Regis’ most popular dining-and-dancing room has been one flight down from the lobby and has retained at least part of its name through several changes. For four years it was the veddy smart Maisonette Russe, with Prince Serge Obolensky and the cream of society Dorothy Shay Cartoonlending their august presence to the gay scene. In 1939 it became the Hawaiian Maisonette for a shorter period than I should set down here. From then on it has been known as just the Maisonette.

Informality has had its way in recent years, and about the only thing august about it now is its very clever headwaiter, August Prete. The social folk still come down the stairs, but they don’t feel they have to wear such a formal air with their clothes.

Picked Dorothy Shay.

Much of the reason for the change in social climate dates back to the hotel’s booking of an unknown singer - at least to the tony folk - named Dorothy Shay, who has become widely known as the Park Ave. hillbilly. She looked like many of the post debs who frequented the room and soon won their hearts with her natural air of gentility and infectious singing.

Other fine entertainers came along and the food and dance music helped fill out the evening. Then, last year, the decor of the room was changed with startling completeness, a completeness that is still being argued pro and con.

Jean Pages, a Frenchman, created a series of gray-and-black murals showing classical ruins including bits of Greek and Roman architecture. Saint Regis Hotel PostcardStanding on gray plains, the ruins give a sense of great distance with the strong feeling of perspective. As for the rest of the room, there are crystal chandeliers, red banquettes and a black carpet. Table linen is soft gray to blend with the murals. The only white comes from gentlemen’s shirt fronts.

Russian Dishes.

 The St. Regis kitchen is well known for its excellence. In addition to the established French cuisine, there are several Russian dishes that go back to Maisonette Russe days. My captain was George Scalabrino, a topnotch man. For those who like wine, there is a splendid list of imported and American vintages.

Featured in the current floor show are Evelyn Tyner, accomplished pianist, who has been much in demand at parties in the Washington social whirl, and Beryl Davis, the English singer, who is becoming a budding star in the American entertainment world. Dance music is played by Milt Shaw and his orchestra and the orchestra of Laszlo and Pepito.

Menu Memos: St. Regis Maisonette, Hotel St. Regis, Fifth Ave. and 55th St. Open for dinner, and supper, with entertainment at 9:15 p. m. and midnight. French cuisine, with some Russian specials. Dinner, 6:30 to 10 p. m.; table d’hote, $4 up. Supper menu from 10 p. m. to 2 a. m. weekdays, to 3 a. m. Saturday’s; a la carte, entrees from $1.25. Cocktails from 75 cents. Closed Sundays.