Edited by: Michael Y. Park
& Stella Shon
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I planned a trip to New York in late August to cover the U.S. Open and all of the great activations that American Express and other card issuers and travel companies were putting on.
In light of my visit to the city, I embarked on a daring quest to secure a coveted reservation at the illustrious Centurion New York. Nestled in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, this prominent establishment stands as American Express’ prestigious members-only haven.
Centurion New York is known for its exclusive dining experience, and securing a reservation can be quite challenging. However, I was determined to make a reservation and indulge in the opulent dining provided at this celebrated establishment.
Let’s get into the specifics of how I managed to get a reservation (and how you can, too) and my experience at this exclusive club that American Express established in the heart of New York City.
The Centurion New York is a highly esteemed members-only club in New York City, designed by American Express to cater to select cardholders. The exclusive club, specifically created for Centurion cardholders (also known as the “Black Card”), offers a variety of luxurious services and amenities.
These offerings include a carefully curated selection of food and beverages, such as premium wines and spirits, as well as access to lounge areas, private meeting rooms, and stunning views of New York City.
Centurion New York is on the 55th floor of One Vanderbilt, a 93-story tower at the intersection of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue that’s one of Manhattan’s newest skyscrapers. The building opened in 2020.
Centurion New York operates every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re looking to dine at Centurion New York, you should know that it’s only available to cardholders of the Centurion card and, during certain times, cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
Cardholders of the Centurion card enjoy a range of exclusive benefits, including priority access to dining reservations, private dining and lounges, the assistance of an on-site concierge, and invitations to member-only events. Subject to capacity, Centurion cardholders can walk in and bring guests, although reservations were advised.
A table reservation must be made in advance for Centurion New York. Reservations can be made through Resy or by calling 212-597-9070, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. Centurion cardholders may also call the number on the back of their card for reservation help from a Centurion concierge.
If there are no available reservations for Centurion New York through the Resy platform, you can add your name to the Resy “notify” waitlist, and a representative will contact you when one does become available, or you may call between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
I used the phone number to make a reservation because I couldn’t find a spot via the Resy platform. There were no reservations available for my preferred day, nor were there any open spots for the following month. So I called the reservations line on Friday at 10 a.m. to check if there was a table for dinner the following Sunday. Even though I knew that calling just 2 days before my desired date would probably not work, I still felt it was worth a shot.
After 7 attempts, a helpful phone agent answered my call. I informed her I was looking for a dinner reservation for Sunday night and that Resy was showing none were available. To my astonishment, she informed me that plenty of reservations were available for dinner that night and asked me if I wanted the prix-fixe menu at The Gallery or The Studio’s à la carte menu. I chose the first option and opted for an 8:30 p.m. reservation time because Centurion New York is reserved only for Centurion cardholders for dinner service between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.Hot Tip:
Having trouble making a Centurion New York reservation online? Call the Centurion concierge! The number’s on the back of your card. Note that there is a $100 cancellation fee if you nix the reservation within 24 hours of the appointed time.
I requested a table for 8:30 p.m. on Sunday because I just have the Amex Business Platinum card. The phone agent politely confirmed a table for 2 (Centurion cardmembers and eligible cardholders were able to bring guests) for Sunday night. I hung up the phone, overjoyed at having secured a dinner reservation at Centurion New York, and an email confirmation arrived a few minutes later.
Chris Dong, a friend and fellow Upgraded Points contributor, joined me at One Vanderbilt at 8 p.m., 30 minutes early. Centurion New York check-in is at the Madison Avenue lobby of One Vanderbilt, between 42nd Street and 43rd Street.
After passing through the turnstiles, I noticed 2 reception desks in the ground floor lobby, one of them emblazoned with the word “Centurion” in gold. I went there and said that I had a dinner reservation.
To enter One Vanderbilt, visitors must show a physical government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to the lobby attendant. This is to validate reservations, receive check-in codes, and complete guest registration.
The desk clerk called Centurion New York to double-check our reservation, and we were escorted to the corresponding elevator, which took us to the 55th floor.
The emblem inscribed on the tiled marble and the Chrysler Building staring right at my face via the dimly illuminated corridor made it clear I had arrived at Centurion New York as soon as I walked out of the elevators.
After the elevator whisked us up to the 55th floor, the doors opened to a dimly lit corridor with breathtaking views from the floor-to-ceiling windows on either side. Once we took in the view for a moment, we walked down a contemporary, wood-lined hallway to the front desk.
A host confirmed my reservation and directed us to one of the 3 main areas on the 55th floor. These areas were strategically positioned so that they were visible from the outside. Since the club wasn’t too busy and she had time to spare, our host actually took us on a tour of all the spaces inside the club.
We started in the lobby at The Salon, which resembled an elegant living room where guests socialized.
The host told us that we could take pictures as we walked around The Salon but to avoid taking shots of any guests, as the club’s sole purpose is to offer its members peace and privacy. I was still able to get plenty of pics.
The Salon is the only place where laptops were allowed (and only before 6 p.m.). Unsurprisingly, members often use it for informal business meetings during daytime hours, our host told us.
Designers Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu of Toronto- and New York-based studio Yabu Pushelberg helped to design and furnish the space.
The designers collaborated with their longstanding friend and business partner, Jamie Stagnitta, founder and curator of the Toronto-based gallery Hanabi: Art and Artists, to create a collection of photography, works on paper, paintings, and sculptures. The collection focused predominantly on New York-based artists.
Right next door to The Salon was The Studio, a casual restaurant with an à la carte menu and a long bar.
Once we passed through The Studio, we were in the main dining area, The Gallery. Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, whose flagship restaurant DANIEL has 2 Michelin stars, created a prix-fixe menu for diners here.
After giving us a tour of the dining areas, our host led us to a spectacular speakeasy lounge featuring breathtaking direct views of the Chrysler Building. This area was separate from where other guests were enjoying their meals.
Finally, there was wine cellar private dining adjacent to The Salon, with sweeping views of Manhattan.
The room had a spacious table that could accommodate large groups. We could see it as an excellent option for hosting a special wine tasting or a private meal in a secluded setting.
The bathrooms were decorated in dark tones and stocked with luxurious toiletries.
It was refreshing to see that Centurion New York offered a range of spaces to cater to different preferences.
Centurion New York offered 2 dining rooms and 1 speakeasy lounge, all with distinct atmospheres. The dining rooms ranged from casual to a more elegant ambiance, the latter complete with white tablecloths. Both dining rooms had menus curated by Chef Boulud.
The speakeasy offered patrons libations amid stunning views.
The Studio had a relaxed atmosphere, offering a more informal setting compared to its fancier sister dining option, The Gallery. However, it managed to maintain an air of sophistication, albeit without the spotless white tablecloths.
It had its own bar in the lovely dining area and served a delightful assortment of food and cocktails.
When we visited The Studio, there were no patrons in the dining room. This allowed me to capture some fantastic photos of the tables and the views from those dining tables.
Every angle offered breathtaking views, ensuring that no table had bad vistas. The views seemed to stretch on forever from the 55th floor.
The restaurant offered a good variety on its à la carte menu, starting off with appetizers such as tomato and burrata ($22) or lobster salad ($29).
Main courses included dishes such as Maine sea scallops ($45) or a 45-day dry-aged, 10-ounce prime striploin ($65).
The menu at The Studio offered a range of price points.
Although we chose to have a prix-fixe dinner at The Gallery, I would dine at The Studio next time. I found the menu there to be exquisite and reasonably priced for a high-end dining experience.
My dinner reservation was for The Gallery, the formal dining option with 5-course or 3-course tasting menus.
As I took my seat, I found it difficult to contain my awe at the breathtaking views that surrounded us from our table.
It was now time to choose our 3 courses from the $165-per-person prix-fixe menu.
For starters, Chris ordered the hamachi a la plancha, while I opted for the basil-cured hiramasa, both featuring popular wild-caught fish commonly used for sashimi. When we found out they had run out of hamachi, we both decided to have the hiramasa (otherwise known as yellowtail kingfish), which was refreshing.
For our entrees, we both chose the Maine lobster with coconut-infused garlic and smoked duck eggs. The lobster was the standout dish.
To cap off our culinary experience, we had the deconstructed cornbread, which came with a velvety, popcorn-infused cream and decadent blueberry and Tasmanian berry sauces.
Besides the lobster, the dishes were satisfactory but lacking in distinctiveness.
The bill appeared in its little black wooden box once we had finished dessert. After taxes and tip, a dinner for 2 with 1 glass of wine and 1 mocktail came to $530. Chris and I split the bill, and we each used our American Express® Gold Card to earn 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar on this dining experience.
Centurion New York offered an exclusive speakeasy discreetly tucked away from the dining rooms. It’s apparently a favorite spot for many to enjoy a quiet drink before dinner.
The lounge boasted an impressive top-shelf bar. The menu featured a variety of handcrafted cocktails and international beers and wines, as well as nonalcoholic beverages.
The genial bartender whipped up a special Centurion cocktail for me named the Vanderbilt. It was a delectable combination of Japanese whisky, oleo saccharum, jasmine, and pink peppercorns.
I enjoyed the speakeasy immensely. I was thoroughly impressed by both the quality of my cocktail and the breathtaking views of the Chrysler Building from my seat at the bar.
Centurion New York provided us with extraordinary service, as one might expect from a high-end, members-only club. I felt like a VIP the entire time I was there, from entering the lobby to our tour of each room to the excellent restaurant service.
The staff was always courteous and professional, attentive without being intrusive. The service was quite simply impeccable.
Dining at Centurion New York, with its stunning views at every turn, the meticulously prepared food and drinks, and the exceptional service, left an indelible mark on my mind. I will make every effort to make another reservation the next time I visit New York City with my wife or friends.
Although securing a reservation at Amex’s exclusive members-only club can be challenging, I managed to obtain one through persistence and calling. However, with some advanced planning, holders of the Centurion card or even the Amex Platinum card or Amex Business Platinum card can get into this top-notch lounge through the Resy website or app.
The information regarding the Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and was not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
Centurion New York operates every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There was a smart casual/chic attire dress code at Centurion New York. Athleisure, offensive clothing, and other unsuitable apparel were not permitted. Men were encouraged to wear jackets at dinner. It was not as formal at lunch, and the requirement was collared shirts.
A table reservation must be made in advance for Centurion New York. Reservations can be made through Resy or by calling 212-597-9070 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. Centurion cardholders may also call the number on the back of their cards for help from a Centurion concierge.
Holders of the Centurion card, Amex Platinum card, or Amex Business Platinum card can bring up to 5 guests with them when making a dining table reservation at Centurion New York. You’re permitted up to 3 guests for walk-in access.
Children under 13 were not permitted at Centurion New York. Children from 13 to 17 were permitted only before 5 p.m.
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