Review by David Walters
The Space – Walk into the main entrance of the Hilton on 26th between 6th and 7th, bear to the right of the elevators, descend the curved stairway and you’ll emerge into the delightfully columned and draped lower level of Chelsea Table + Stage. It’s a high-ceilinged, long and narrow music venue/eatery that delivers splendidly on both.
I attended a Sunday brunch concert with the jazz collective Funk Shui NYC on stage that made me realize how much I’ve missed the live music scene and how happy I was to be back experiencing it while simultaneously enjoying a good meal. They run a “Badass Brunch Series” every other Sunday as well as other shows on different days and times during the week. Check out the schedule here. The music cover cost is reasonable and varies depending on the artist(s) (a bargain price for the talent on stage); food and drink is also reasonably priced. Every seat is a good seat, with a few at the bar if you’re not interested in dining, but I urge you to check out the food offerings, if only apps, and complete your experience. Go a little early to get your order in as the music starts on time and you don’t want to miss any part of the show, even while ordering. Parties can reserve on a raised platform at one end.
The Food – We chose two items off the brunch menu recommended by our waiter, the shakshuka and the strata, and paired them with the bar’s designer prosecco cocktails. Both menu items were distinct, flavorful, and well presented in a not too austere, but still comfortable way with a small, dressed side salad. The food complimented the space and the music perfectly. (They also serve a bad-ass-looking hamburger, bigger than anyone’s mouth could fit.) The service was very friendly and prompt.
The Music – In a music venue the food should taste good and look appealing to the eye, but you want the music to top the food (no denigration to the chef) and have you thinking as you bounce out about the delights to the ear more than the delights to the tongue, saying, “Oh right, we had a good meal too.” 2PM on a Sunday is early morning for a jazz musician and Funk Sui NYC woke everybody up, canceling the snooze button and blowing it outta there. An SATB of sax, dueling trombones, a trifecta of trumpets, two guitars, drums, and percussion. They are a 13-member band, composed of some of NYC’s most well-known free-lance musicians who have known each other for many years and play together with that harmonic glue that solidifies only with time. They played mostly original pieces giving an incredible performance and showing a large versatility of style. It was clear that they were having a lot of fun playing together and that spirit on top of the great music made for a fantastic intermission free 90 minutes.
When you haven’t eaten for 48 hours and you have something as simple as a taco, it tastes like the most incredible food you’ve ever eaten as you’ve not had anything in what seems like forever. I wondered about that as I’m just starting to venture out to live performances after a long covid sequester and considered that perhaps I loved everything about my experience at Chelsea Table + Stage only because of the live music fast I’ve been in. I considered it just for a short time though as the smile on my face, the comfortable warmth in my stomach, and the nodding of my head told me that I really enjoyed my whole experience and would have had the same feelings had I been back in my normal swing of seeing a different show every other night. This was a badass show, in a striking club-vibed venue, topped off with a delicious meal.
Bring your id and vaccination card.
CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE opens the doors to hospitality, entertainment, and enjoyment every night, featuring state-of-the-art sound and lighting, a 10-seat in-theatre bar, lofted VIP mezzanine for private groups, and table seating for the perfect date night. The ever-changing menu and entertainment schedule means guests never have the same night twice. CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE is located at 152 West 26th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), downstairs inside the Hilton New York Fashion District. Find upcoming schedule and purchase tickets here: chelseatableandstage.com @chelseatableandstage