Those retro TV dinners with the pre-formulated portions aren’t just for Eisenhower-era loners anymore; the factory-made frozen meals have been cleverly revived for big city sophisticates dining at the Regency Hotel's 540 Park restaurant. The first Swanson TV Brand Frozen Dinner sold for 98 cents in 1953; at the Regency it’s been brought up to date for $30.
Chef Andrew Rubin is offering three iterations on the classic, each one served on that famous, sectioned tray, symbol of a more orderly time. Rubin’s haute versions include a pot roast slow-braised in Burgundian Pinot Noir, accompanied by red cabbage, baby potatoes, broccoli and chocolate pudding as dessert. His wild salmon comes with sushi rice, seaweed salad, and caramelized green tea crème brulee. A third dinner stars fried chicken with cornbread, peas and cherry cobbler.
The only downside is that the dinners are not delivered to the table with a black and white television set; to really affect the middle-class nostalgia trip you’ll have to book a room at The Regency, turn on some Honeymooners reruns and summon the TV dinner to your room.