A recipe for entrepreneurial success requires this one ingredient
This story originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com as part of coverage of the 2016 Chase for Business Conference. [Note: this will only appear within the article on Chase.com]
What’s the key to entrepreneurial success? The answer depends on whom you ask. Some will say you need a great idea. Others will say financing is most critical. Others still will tout the benefits of building and working with a strong team.
They’re all right. And, yet, the one thing almost everyone agrees successful business owners must have is passion.
Take it from Sarabeth Levine. In the late 1970s, Levine was an insurance salesperson who wasn’t particularly fond of or interested in the work. It paid the bills and put food on the table. Up until then, Levine had worked a string of professions—house cleaner, waitress, oral surgeon assistant—but none ever gave her much satisfaction.
It was around that time she told her mother, Dore Blume, that she “felt like a nobody,” Levine recalled during a panel discussion at the recent Chase for Business Conference in New York City. “She told me, ‘You are a somebody, you just haven’t found her yet,’” Levine said.
Levine’s perspective changed in 1981 when she and her husband, Bill, opened a small bakery-kitchen in Manhattan called Sarabeth’s. Levine had a passion for making homemade orange-apricot marmalade, among other baked goods and specialty foods. Levine was hungry for something substantial that would spark her interests and desires.
With Sarabeth’s, Levine found herself, she said. She found her passion.
It’s that passion, as well as the popularity of her “magic marmalade,” that made Sarabeth’s into the thriving operation it is today, Levine said. In 1996, Levine was honored with the prestigious James Beard Award for Pastry Chef of the Year and since then, the company has been focused on expansion. Sarabeth’s consists of 16 restaurants, with three more opening soon, including one in Dubai. The company also owns a 15,000 square foot factory in the Bronx where the marmalade is jarred, and her spreads are sold in department stores and specialty shops throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada, Japan and South Korea.
By loving what she does, Levine in turn makes others happy. After all, pleasing people is at the core of a succesful hospitality business. “I have a path,” Levine said. “I have to love what I’m doing. If I don’t love it, then it becomes work.”
Levine also recommends:
Hire people who share your passion. Even though Levine already was an accomplished home baker, she hired “very talented” bakers to help her grow the business. “The more I learned about people, I learned how to get the best out of my employees,” she said. “The payback, for me, is to see the quality of our bakers and our chefs and how they care.”
Always be consistent. “You’re only as good as the last meal that you send out,” Levine said. If the quality of your works slips, you’re bound to hear it from your customers -- and they won’t be happy. “If I give one bad meal, or one bad croissant I’ll hear about it,” she said.
Danielle Duboise and Whitney Tingle have a similar story, which they also shared during the panel discussion. In 2012, the pair co-founded New York City-based Sakara Life, an organic meal delivery and healthy living company that helps clients achieve health and a sense of well-being.
Before launching Sakara Life, Tingle worked in finance but long hours, stress and poor eating habits began to take their toll on her body and her spirit, she said. Similarly, Duboise’s pursuit of an acting career left her feeling stressed and unhappy about food.
Tingle and Duboise wondered if food could actually be at the heart of a happy and healthy life. So they started Sakara Life with a “mission to make as many people as possible know that food is medicine,” Duboise said. As their website reads, “We believe that what you put into your body forms the building blocks for the rest of your life and affects your relationships, career, happiness, and ability to create.”
What started with Tingle and Duboise cooking food in their kitchen in Manhattan and delivering it by bicycle quickly generated a following, including celebrities. Soon, they were delivering their healthy foods in Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami. All the while, it was their passion for healthy eating that fueled their growth. Earlier this year, Sakara Life announced a $4.8 million funding round and that it was expanding its delivery service nationally.
“You’re all in when you decide to become an entrepreneur,” Tingle said. “Making decisions that either grow or hurt your business, it requires all of your passion and ultimate focus, 24/7.”
Here are two more lessons they shared:
Don’t wait for the perfect time to start. “If we would have waited until we had all the answers…everything perfectly in place and all the knowledge at that point, then we would have never started,” Tingle said. “We started just by getting going, by making the food the best way we knew how even though we’re not chefs.”
Capitalize on organic marketing. It wasn’t long after starting up that their customer base began to grow client by client thanks to the power of word-of-mouth. “When you’re creating a product that changes people’s lives, they want to tell their friends,” Tingle said.
Visit the Chase Business Resource Center for valuable tips and resources to help drive business growth.
Winter Fancy Food Show
January 22 to 24, 2017
Sarabeth’s booth #436, North Hall
Sarabeth’s Taipei in the Sogo Department Store is the first branch of the New York based brunch restaurant to open in Taiwan, following successful Asia launches in Japan and South Korea.
Sarabeth's New Raspberry Apricot Spreadable Fruit
Sarabeth shares one of her breakfast recipes with Eater.com from her new book, Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook: Breakfast, Brunch and Baking.
Best Restaurants in New York - Featured on Best at Travel
Go Nuts For Desserts - Feature in New York Magazine
Sarabeth's featured in LIU Magazine
Sarabeth's on Oprah's Favorite Things List
Warm up with savory soup, just in time with the chilly weather. Sarabeth's soup named one of Oprah's Favorite Things, was chosen winner of the "Best Soup" award at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food by the Specialty Food Association and is 100% natural with no preservatives. The biscuits are freshly baked at Sarabeth's bakery.
Sarabeth's summer salad tips with the Wall Street Journal
Summer, with its plethora of fresh ingredients, is the perfect time for entertaining with salads as the star of the dinner party. "When it's hot out, I don't want to eat hot food," says Sarabeth Levine, owner of six Sarabeth's restaurants in New York City and Key West, Fla. "I don't want to eat heavy food." Ms. Levine calls herself "a real salad person" who likes making a meal of it year-round. But she finds herself particularly inspired to make them the backbone of a dinner party when she is entertaining in warm weather. "It's the ease of it, the ability to make your guests feel not overly fed. And it's very, very healthy."
New Sarabeth's Location opens, Park Avenue South
New York, NY (February 25, 2013)
If Sarabeth Were Your Mother, You'd Always Be Home For Dinner
Sarabeth's new location on Park Avenue South will cater to the bar and dinner crowd
Remember when you were a kid and your mom would shout "Dinner!" from the kitchen? Running downstairs, your stomach would begin to growl as you anticipated something wonderful. That same childhood experience can now be relived as you leave the office after a long day of work thanks to Sarabeth's Park Avenue South! Acclaimed pastry chef and restaurateur Sarabeth Levine's new restaurant location at 381 Park Avenue South is the area's destination to enjoy mouth-watering classic American cooking and fresh, locally-sourced fare, complemented with a full bar, extensive range of wines and craft beers, and a creative cocktail list - a grown up version of a soul-satisfying home-cooked dinner!
The 9,360 square foot space is Sarabeth's largest New York restaurant. The bright and welcoming space invites patrons to relax and stay a while as both the dining room and bar area offers plush beige and multi- colored striped banquettes. The sleek bar, located upon entry of the restaurant, offers a view of the bustling Park Avenue South sidewalks. Additionally, the venue offers private dining rooms to book for those looking to host a corporate or holiday party, cocktail or fashion event, dinner or lunch gathering, birthday or religious occasion and more. Large chalkboards with daily specials are featured throughout the restaurants and guests can purchase items like Sarabeth's famous jams, freshly made bakery products and other retail items at the hostess station.
Poised to cater to the area's bar and evening crowd, fans of Sarabeth's will be pleased to learn that the location will house many of the favorites they have come to love as well as a few new savory dinner dishes. Under the direction of Chef Freda Sugarman ? who left P.J. Clarke's Las Vegas to join the Sarabeth's culinary family in June of 2011 ? the establishment offers innovative but uncomplicated takes on classic dinner plates, crave-worthy bar bites, an extensive signature cocktail menu and range of wines and craft beers. As if that wasn't enough, Sarabeth ? who is the Pastry Chef for all Sarabeth's locations and was honored with the esteemed James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year award in 1996 ? will have patrons running to the new space just for her tempting desserts.
Sarabeth’s now has 11 restaurants, a jam factory, bakery café, best-selling cookbook and a line of retail products. This mom may be busy, but dinner will never be late!
381 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
Price Range: Appetizers $9-$12; Sandwiches $15-$24; Entrees $17-$36; Desserts $8.50
Signature Dishes: Chicken Pot Pie; Seafood Cobb Salad; Stone Oven Pizzas
161 West 23 Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10011
Phone: 212-684-1955 | Fax: 212-684-1955 | email@example.com
Sarabeth's opens in Tokyo
New York, NY (November 11, 2012) – On November 1st, Sarabeth Levine (www.sarabeth.com) opened her famed restaurant, Sarabeth’s, in Tokyo, Japan. Sarabeth’s Lumine Shinjuku is the first international location for the brand which consists of nine restaurants, a 15,000 square-foot jam factory, a state-of-the-art bakery café, a best-selling cookbook, retail products and a popular mail-order business.
Japan has been one of the brand’s strongest retail markets, and Sarabeth’s Shinjuku is poised to bring even greater exposure for the company, opening next to the Shinjuku RR Station, one of the busiest rail road stations in the world, accommodating approximately 4.5 million travelers per day. The new location includes design elements from Sarabeth’s restaurants and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in addition to offering take-out.
Sarabeth on NY Live
NY Live goes behind the counter of Sarabeth's in Chelsea Market
Sarabeth Levine has been canning, baking and cooking up general deliciousness for over 30 years at Sarabeth’s Kitchen, the chain of nine restaurants in New York and Florida she owns with her husband, Bill. Her shortbread cookies are quite easy to make... Levine says these cookies were the first sweets her grandchildren ever ate and are still their favorite.
To celebrate our loyal customers for Mother’s Day, this year we held a contest: Every purchase made on our website from April 22nd to April 30th received one chance to win a Deluxe Gift Box, a delicious assortment of some of our favorite baked goods and Spreadable Fruits.
Congratulations to our winner, Jennifer G. of Mechanicsville, VA! Here’s what she had to say:
I just wanted to thank you so very much. Sarabeth’s Kitchen has made my day and we are so excited to try all of these goodies! What a blessing. Many thanks :0)Jennifer G.
Sarabeth appeared on the Martha Stewart Show on Tuesday, Feb 8 at 10am/9am Central on The Hallmark Channel, preparing special Valentine’s Day treats with Martha, and giving away free copies of her new book to the studio audience. Watch the video on marthastewart.com—select “Triple Chocolate Pudding” from the More Video Clips list.
Sara Moulton, famed Food Network chef and author, showed off her favorite cookbooks on her show on ABC this week. In her Top Cookbooks of 2010, Moulton talked about Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands To Yours:
This is for the aspiring baker, the serious baker. Great photos, great how-to, really a lovely book.Sara Moulton
Sarabeth Levine appeared on ABC7 News on Monday morning, October 25 to talk about her remarkable journey, and her new book.
In 1981 a charming, homey cafe opened on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and before you could say “almond croissant and a cappuccino” discriminating brunch-seekers were patiently queuing up for a seat at tiny Sarabeth’s.
Read the full article…
Sarabeth will only be personalizing copies of Sarabeth’s Bakery purchased at Williams-Sonoma. Proof of purchase required.
Join us at your local Williams-Sonoma store for a special launch party and book signing with Sarabeth Levine. She will be signing copies of her new cookbook, Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours.
|Date:||Tuesday, October 19, 2010|
|Store:||Williams-Sonoma 59th and Lexington
121 E 59th St., New York, NY 10022
Our book signings are a unique opportunity to meet leading chefs and authors, get signed copies of the latest cookbooks, and take home fresh new ideas for cooking and entertaining.
We hope to see you there!
View all of Sarabeth’s upcoming book signing events at williams-sonoma.com.
We are delighted to announce that Sarabeth’s new book Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours is being released on October 19, but you can pre-order your copy today! Pre-order customers will each receive an autographed copy when the book is released, and the shipping is free within the USA.
Mastering the art of baking, presented step-by-step through recipes from the legendary New York City baker. Sarabeth Levine offers an irresistible array of scones, muffins, croissants, cookies, and other classic desserts. This important addition to the baking book canon has been anxiously awaited by the extraordinary baker’s countless fans. It features more than one hundred inspiring recipes for her signature baked goods, ranging from unique English muffins and luscious banana cream pie with vanilla bean pastry to creamy chocolate pudding. Recipes for the perfect accompaniment to her buttery pastries– her legendary spreadable fruits–are also included. Step-by-step instructional photographs teach the baking techniques that make Sarabeth stand apart. Tips on such topics as making a decorative piecrust edge are also discussed in this user-friendly primer. The exquisite photography shows the home baker creative ways for sharing these wonders with friends and family.
Sarabeth and Bill Levine accept the sofi™ award. From left to right: Ming Tsai, Celebrity Chef, Bill Levine, Sarabeth Levine, Ann Daw, President of NASFT.
Watch the video coverage of the sofi Awards, including an interview with Sarabeth and Bill Levine.
Gold Winners for the 37th sofi™ Awards were announced at the 55th Summer Fancy Food Show on Monday, June 29 for the outstanding foods and beverages of the year. This year, Sarabeth's own Blood Orange Marmalade was a sofi Gold Winner, in the Outstanding Classic category. Presented by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) the awards honor the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year in 33 categories. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation. The awards were presented at the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. You can see a full list of this year's Gold Winners in every category on the sofi website.
BEYOND JAM: Bill Levine sees the evolution of Sarabeth’s Kitchen from jam shop to gourmet-food brand as “just putting one foot in front of the other.”
Gourmet food maker cooks up new products
By Elizabeth MacBride
Stuck at the top of Bill Levine's to-do list for the past few months has been figuring out how to deliver tomato soup to his customers. The intricacies of frozen-food packaging and delivery are no cakewalk, but Mr. Levine, who along with his wife, Sarabeth, owns Sarabeth's Kitchen in Hunts Point, Bronx, figures it's time for the longtime food manufacturer to expand—again.
The soup is just the latest step in the company's 28-year evolution from a jam-and-jelly shop to one of the city's top gourmet-food brands. Sarabeth's started with jams, later began delivering its food through restaurants in addition to grocery stores, expanded to baked goods, and now is adding the soup to its product mix, its first foray into prepackaged meals. Chef's clothing is next.
Mr. Levine thinks of this progression as “just putting one foot in front of the other.” Small business experts like Ira Davidson say that it's an example of a company's ability to expand into different market niches—crucial to succeeding in this or any other economic environment.
“Small businesses aren't going to be able to compete on price, or access to real estate or professionals, or anything else,” says Mr. Davidson, director of the Pace University Small Business Development Center. “What they have is the ability to exploit a market niche fast.”
He recommends small businesses either find new customers for their existing products or—more along the lines of what Sarabeth's has done—sell new products and services to existing customers.
“Must be fearless”
The key to Sarabeth's brand was discovering long before others that New Yorkers, for all their city slickness, crave food that brings to mind the taste and atmosphere of country kitchens. At their first storefront, opened soon after the company was founded in 1981, the Levines made jam in front of customers, using Sarabeth Levine's family recipe.
An important turning point came when the company ventured into restaurants. Making that leap, to what is essentially a different distribution model, is unusual, observes Mr. Davidson. “That guy must be fearless,” he says of Mr. Levine.
Sarabeth's, which has about 75 employees, runs two of its own restaurants and licenses four more. Eight licensed eateries are slated to open in Lord & Taylor stores by the end of 2010—the first debuted at the Fifth Avenue department store in November.
The manufacturing operation supplies food to the restaurants, which should mean further sales expansions as more restaurants open. Total revenue for the brand was $22 million last year, up 10% over 2007.
The restaurants also gave the Levines the idea for selling the soup. Many customers have asked for the recipe over the years. “Tomato soup is almost iconic in our restaurants,” Mr. Levine says. “Twenty-eight years we've been serving that tomato soup.”
LORD & TAYLOR ENTERS AGREEMENT WITH SARABETH’S KITCHEN
New York, May 13, 2008. Lord & Taylor announces today it has entered into an agreement with Sarabeth’s Kitchen to operate its restaurants. Over the next 24 months, all restaurants at Lord & Taylor stores will convert to “Sarabeth’s” restaurants. A grand opening is slated for Fall 2008 in the Fifth Avenue flagship with others scheduled to follow in Lord & Taylor branches.
Jane Elfers, Lord & Taylor’s President and CEO said: “This partnership represents perfect synergy for our brand. The high quality product and upscale service Sarabeth’s offers, is a perfect complement to our commitment to enhancing Lord & Taylor’s in-store services and amenities.”
Lord & Taylor has created news in the fashion industry with an on-going branding campaign. Aimed to project the Lord & Taylor’s unapologetically classic style revamped for the 21st century, the campaign showcases the results of the ambitious strategic initiatives established by Elfers to reposition the store.
The partnership with Sarabeth’s Kitchen is the latest step in this endeavor.
QUOTE FROM SARABETH:
Sarabeth says: “We are delighted to have been selected to be part of the Lord & Taylor family of brands and we will do our utmost to provide a great dining experience for the stores’ customers.”
Sarabeth’s Kitchen, was founded by Sarabeth Levine who, in 1980, began making and selling her Orange-Apricot Marmalade from an old family recipe, opening her first retail shop and bakery in 1981. The following year Sarabeth expanded her line of jams, preserves and baked products and began serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Currently, there are 4 “Sarabeth’s” restaurants in New York City, including one at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Sarabeth’s Bakery and café expanded its wholesale and retail operations by moving to the Chelsea Market in 1998. In 2005, the first Sarabeth’s, outside of New York City, opened in Key West, Florida.
About Lord & Taylor:
Lord & Taylor is an upscale specialty department store, with 12,000 employees in 47 stores in nine states and the District of Columbia. Lord & Taylor has built a reputation for attentive customer service and high-quality merchandise focused on apparel and accessories. Founded in 1826, Lord & Taylor is America’s oldest department store and one of America’s premier retailers.
New Sarabeth's location
Sarabeth's restaurant in Key West opened on July 15, 2005. Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch and Dinner is now being served. See Press Release below and click on Restaurant icon for further information.
amNY's "Best of New York" Guide, Oct.22-24 named Sarabeth's "Top Breakfast Place" based on a reader website survey.
Sarabeth's Key West opens!
For Immediate Release:
A New Classic in Old Key West
Sarabeth's, 530 Simonton St. at Southard
Sarabeth and Bill Levine announced today that they have opened their first restaurant outside of New York City, in Key West, Florida. The restaurant opened on July 15th, 2005.
With the experienced team of Sarabeth's New York City General Manager of 15 years, David Case as co-owner, and Eric Aguilar, formerly the Chef of Sarabeth's at the Whitney, as Chef, continuity of recipes and quality is assured.
Sarabeth's new home is in an impressive 19th century clapboard historic landmark in Old Town. Having undergone an extensive renovation and redecoration by Key West Interior Stylist Victoria Lesser, this handsome and historic site served both as a private home and as the original and only synagogue on the island for a half-century. At 49 seats, the new restaurant has both indoor and garden dining areas.
Without Sarabeth's traditional bakery counter, Mr. Case focuses on the classic Sarabeth recipes, selling, as well, her line of internationally known "Legendary Spreadable Fruit" and cereals. Sarabeth's signature baked products, including her pumpkin muffins and scones are prepared and baked fresh daily. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is served. There is a Beer and Wine License.
The design of the space incorporates 120 year old features such as the original pine floors and volume sanctuary ceiling, as well as new clean crisp lines with bright colors, bold fabrics, lazy ceiling fans and abundant light. The Garden Dining is accompanied by trickling water features, pergola and broad-leafed palms.
It seems a natural, as Mr. Case was brought up seasonally in the Keys, and his family still lives on Key Colony. The active restaurant scene and the Arts community were a draw for Mr. Case and Sarabeth, while Bill Levine looks forward to taking an occasional break from marketing Sarabeth's products by golfing in the sunshine of Key West.
"What could be sweeter", Sarabeth said, " Sarabeth's in Paradise!"
Contact: David Case 305-293-8181 or
Bill Levine 718-589-2900
BEST FOR BRUNCH
AOL'S survey of the best brunch places in New York ranks Sarabeth's 2nd behind top ranked "Balthazar", the much hyped celebrity hangout in N.Y.
Sarabeth's Central Park South opens!
Sarabeth’s Opens Branch on Central Park South
Yes, There’s Brunch, but Also a Bar, New Dinner Menu, and Garden-Glam Interior
May 7, 2005 — Sarabeth’s, the quintessential New York eatery, announces the opening of its new restaurant at 40 Central Park South (bet. 5th & 6th Aves.; 212-826-5959). Three times the size of its largest sibling, this 200 seat Midtown location offers well-priced, high-quality contemporary American food in a part of town conspicuously lacking it.
Now tourists, business diners, families, and local Sarabeth-loyalists have an inviting, all-day restaurant where they can enjoy Sarabeth’s classics such as pumpkin waffles ($9.95), cream of tomato soup ($7), chicken pot pie ($14.50), and strawberry shortcake ($8).
In addition to her signature dishes, founder Sarabeth Levine and Executive Chef Stephen Meyers have added new options exclusive to this branch, particularly at dinner. Examples include: butter-poached lobster salad ($14); Muscovy duck breast with sunchoke puree, mustard greens, and apricot truffle jus ($22); and seared halibut with smoked corn, fava beans, rock shrimp, and lobster broth ($24).
Further emphasizing dinner, the CPS location offers a full liquor bar (in lieu of the familiar take-out pastry counter) and a value-oriented wine list, with 10 wines by the glass. More than half of the bottles are priced under $40.
Paying homage to both old New York and Central Park, designer James Kieran Pine has created an interior that harmoniously integrates glamour and garden elements. "I wanted to create a space with greenery from every vantage point; wherever you’re sitting, it feels like you’re somewhere in the park."
Indeed, both the awning-covered sidewalk seating area and interior front room face Central Park, and offer views of trees and passing horse carriages. Farther back, a glass-enclosed boxwood garden serves as the restaurant’s eye-catching architectural centerpiece. The horticultural theme continues in the large rear dining area, which features a bright skylight, trompe l’oeil ceiling paintings of the sky, and windows that look out onto elaborate courtyard gardens. Chocolate-colored zebra-print banquettes provide comfort (and visual appeal) throughout the 200-seat restaurant.
The CPS location of Sarabeth’’s is open seven days a week, serving breakfast (8 AM–3:30 PM), lunch (11:30 AM–3:30 PM), afternoon tea (Monday––Friday, 3:30––5:30 PM), dinner (Monday––Saturday, 5:30––11 PM; Sunday, 5:30––10 PM), and weekend brunch (8 AM––4 PM).
The New York Times Diners Journal 9-16-05
September 16, 2005
By Frank Bruni
It is not uncommon for a restaurant check to have the words “thank you” written on it. It is somewhat less common to find a smiley face, drawn by hand, next to those words.
But at the end of a recent dinner at Sarabeth's on Central Park South, there it was, one of those insistently mirthful marks, simultaneously beaming at me and, to some extent, distilling the Sarabeth's spirit. Like its siblings, this new Sarabeth's traffics in warm and fuzzy and strives in part to be a fluffy afghan of a place.
I know people who find the Sarabeth's restaurants magically sweet. I know people who find them cloying. The dividing lines seem to be just how invested a person is in brunch, just how fast pancakes and preserves make his or her pulse race, and just how much patience he or she has for twee.
Not that Sarabeth's is just for brunch or breakfast. Not for many, many years now, and certainly not on Central Park South.
This Sarabeth's, which opened about four months ago, is by far the biggest of the brood, with more than 175 seats. It has the most upscale dinner menu. And where its siblings have prominently placed bakery counters, it has a prominently placed bar.
It is seriously courting evening - in addition to morning and afternoon - business. So that's when a group of friends and I went.
The menu doesn't promise adventure. It promises heartiness and hominess. And much of the time it delivers.
A restaurant like Sarabeth's should have good braised beef short ribs, and so Sarabeth's did. What's more, the portion was generous, and the price $23.
A restaurant like Sarabeth's should know how to treat a chicken breast, and Sarabeth's treated it just right, so that the skin was crisp, the meat moist. A puck of grilled corn pudding beside it represented a pleasant fringe benefit.
Should a restaurant like Sarabeth's produce a great fillet of salmon? I'm not sure, but Sarabeth's produced one that wasn't even particularly good. Dry and devoid of flavor, it was an out-and-out disappointment, as was a side order of soggy fries.
Other entree choices included chicken pot pie, rack of lamb, seared sea scallops and a burger.
Appetizer choices included shrimp cocktail, a classic Caesar salad, a so-called carpaccio of roasted beets. We had a very satisfying mushroom risotto with Serrano ham and truffle oil, a pleasant salad of baby spinach and fried green tomatoes, and a letdown of a lobster salad, which had tough lobster.
Dessert options encompassed chocolate mousse cake, strawberry shortcake and the "CPS banana split."
Sarabeth's has been designed and laid out so that no matter where a diner sits, he or she should get a glimpse of greenery: perhaps the trees in Central Park across the street; perhaps an atrium with shrubbery and small trees; perhaps the building's courtyard, with ivy and more trees.
Above our table, on the ceiling, was a trompe l'oeil painting of the sky. And right below it hung a lattice of white-painted wood, which looked a bit like a picket fence that had taken flight. It was a very Sarabeth's kind of touch.
Sarabeth's, 40 Central Park South, between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas; (212) 826-5959. Dinner appetizers, $7.50 to $14. Entrees, $16 to $32.