You take an old fashioned train car, park it on top of a New York high rise and you’ve got one of the city’s best kept secrets that’s been there for decades!
Recently, I’ve undergone a new philosophy – and that’s to break out of my normal pattern and find new places to eat, drink, visit, and dine. Working in New York City, my options are just about endless. I’ve ate and drank everywhere from a log cabin, to a trailer home, and now a railroad car parked high in the sky! We’ve shared many of these experiences in my blog and I’m happy to share another with you!
Le Train Bleu is parked on top of the 6th floor of the Bloomingdale’s flagship department store at 59th St. & Lexington Avenue in New York City. The restaurant is named after an actual French luxury train that would travel from Calais via Paris to the French Rivera from 1886 – 2003.
Le Train Bleu as seen from an overhead view via Google Maps.
While the restaurant is listed on Bloomingdale’s web page, only a few little signs inside the store actually list its existence. Zoom in on Google Maps and you will see the strange train parked on the roof of the original building.
The Bloomingdale’s flagship offers multiple dining options on various floors. The most notable are Magnolia Bakery and a David Burke restaurant, with other side cafes and a Starbucks. But, I was looking to try this unique train car experience.
A co-worker and I ventured over for lunch – and it was that, an adventure!
To access the restaurant, you will want to enter on the Lexington Avenue side and take either the elevator or escalator to the 6th floor.
One of the few signs directing hungry guests to Le Train Bleu.
Upon arriving on floor 6, there are no signs directing to the restaurant. We had to circle the floor for a few minutes (and this store his HUGE, so it did take a little time) and finally started smelling some yummy food, so we knew we were close.
Stairway up to the platform where Le Train Blue awaits hungry Bloomingdale’s New York City shoppers.
Indeed, that yummy was coming from a coffee shop area at the rear of the floor. But, right near the coffee, is a big sign on the ceiling pointing to a carpeted stairway. We walked down an aisle of a zillion Keurig K-Cups and arrived at the steps with a sign displaying the menu for Le Train Blue.
Upon climbing the steps, you actually arrive on a train station platform with a waiting train car!
While there are two sets of doors, the restaurant uses one as an entrance and the rear doors as the exit. So, we followed the paper sign, entered into the train car, and were promptly greeted by a hostess.
This must be a replica train car, but that doesn’t mean that the inspiration for the interior pieces aren’t from a real vintage train. If they’re not, there’s no way to tell. The car is wider than a standard train to allow for two rows of tables and a center aisle. There are doors at both ends, with one leading to the kitchen (the restaurant has its own kitchen up there) and the other leading to the platform exit.
The inside is decorated in early 20th century wood that features two long overhead racks, just like in a passenger train where shoppers can place their coveted Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bags. The walls are covered in green velvet and the tables with white linens and cloth napkins.
Overhead racks, just like those found in a real train cars, are ready to hold shoppers Big Brown Bags at Le Train Blue at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City.
This restaurant is a little upscale, as is the Bloomingdale’s flagship store, but not like dining at the White House. We were both dressed appropriately in our work clothes.
Could this be outdoor seating? A spectacular view of New York City, Upper East Side high rise apartment buildings.
We were seated at a table by the window which offers a view of the neighboring high rise apartment buildings and a little roof porch. Maybe at one point, they offered outdoor seating?
While, the train could hold probably 200+ diners, only one other table was taken at 2pm and with that, only one other group arrived for lunch. With so few diners, the wait staff was basically waiting around, but was spot on with attention.
The Le Train Bleu menu.
I feel bad that I don’t remember the name of our server. But, she promptly greeted us and it felt like she’s worked there for decades. Her attitude was electric and she was like your New York City mother that makes sure you’re taken good care of. She loved to joke around and definitely enjoys her job and the unique location.
The lunch menu features everything from simple burgers, crab cakes, and salads to upscale continental cuisine such as steak frites, pecan chicken, grilled sea scallops, and sautéed calf’s liver. Sounds like the menu on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen TV show, right?
You can also opt for the Prix-Fixe menu which includes an appetizer, entrée, and desert for a flat $42. They also offer an extensive menu of wines and other limited adult spirits, along with a kids menu.
Butter… Le Train Bleu, style.
We decided to go al a carte. I ordered a Caesar salad and the Sirloin burger. After taking our order, she was right back with a basket that contained several types of bread, and offers us a choice from the basket. She also gives us a large bowl of butter with the restaurant’s logo embossed in wax paper on the top. Classy!
The Caesar salad arrived and it was huge! It featured large slabs of Parmesan cheese with toasted rye bread croutons. It seems like there was almost a whole head of lettuce in there!
While starting on our appetizers, I noticed our waitress was attentively waiting off to the side and was right there the second we needed anything, including refilling our water.
Le Train Bleu burger.
About 20 minutes later, our burger entrees arrived. These are not your typical greasy spoon platters. Each featured bacon, sauteed onions, and Gruyere cheese. They were accompanied by a generous helping of steak fries and a hidden bonus underneath – beer battered onion rings!
All of the food is hand made to order. There’s no reheating a food service bag, here. Those were honestly the best onion rings I ever had. I could have done with an entire plate of those!
The burger was awesome and cooked to medium-well perfection. There’s definitely a blend of spices inside and the burgers were huge.
I was barely able to finish the meal, but it was so good, I was disappointed when it was over.
We got the check and were on our way back to work. Lunch was quick and the whole experience took around 50 minutes.
Bloomingdales opened their first New York City store in 1861. They moved to the present Upper East Side location in 1886 and eventually grew to take over the entire city block. The store is huge and encompasses several interconnected buildings, one as high as 10 floors.
The store is a throwback to the grand old days of downtown department stores. Before malls, stores like these were a destination, where families could shop for hours – hence the need for restaurants. This location is also known for their over the top Christmas display windows that draw large crowds every year.
There is another unrelated upscale Le Train Bleu restaurant located inside the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris.
Interior of Le Train Bleu, situated on the 6th floor of Bloomingdale’s flagship department store, New York City
Name: Le Train Bleu
What: restaurant located inside a train car on the 6th floor of Bloomingdale’s flagship department store
Address: 1000 3rd Avenue, New York, New York, 6th floor
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:30am-5pm; Thursday 10:30am-7pm; Sunday 11:30am-4pm
Website: Bloomingdales.com (New York City, Upper East Side location)
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:
What a great, unique experience!
I asked other New York friends if they knew about this place and only one, did. This is a great experience for both tourists and locals and I will definitely make another visit. The hours are limited, so make sure you check their schedule, and remember they are not open late into the evening.
The total cost of my meal: $36.99 and was absolutely worth it for the experience. If you’re looking for a fun place to splurge in the Big Apple… this is it!