Production was moved to Budapest instead of New York for many reasons, chief among them being that many Gilded-era locations do not exist in New York anymore or are extremely altered. One of the most iconic New York City locations production designer Mara LePere-Schloop needed to recreate was Delmonico’s. In the show, Delmonico’s is where detectives Lucius (Matthew Shear) and Marcus Isaacson (Douglas Smith) introduce Dr. Kreizler (Daniel Brühl), John Moore, and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning) to new fingerprint identification technology as they enjoy a post opera meal in Episode 2.
When the family that owned Delmonico’s opened their establishment in 1827 at 23 William Street, it was New York City’s first a la carte restaurant. At the time the The Alienist takes place, there would have been a Delmonico’s at 23 William Street and another at Fifth Avenue and 26th Street. The latter may be the location in the show, as it would have been closer to the Metropolitan Opera House at the time. In 1897, another location would open at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, even closer to the opera house. The location of the scenes at Delmonico’s were filmed at the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library in Budapest.
Boasting French cuisine, private rooms, cloth-covered tables and a menu designed by “star chef,” Charles Ranhofer, Delmonico’s offered a refined and extravagant dining experience that New Yorkers literally could not get anywhere else. Some of the restaurant’s most famous culinary creations, like the Lobster Thermidor and Baked Alaska, are served in the scene. Famous patrons of Delmonico’s include Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. For the show, prop master Ellen Freund created an authentic three-course meal based on the restaurant’s book Dining at Delmonico’s.
Known for their eponymous rib-eye steak, the restaurant has changed hands and locations over the years. The Delmonico’s at 56 Beaver Street today is not connected to the original family owners, but many of the original dishes are served and the interiors are reminiscent of the original restaurant’s Gilded Age decor.
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