Can the Hudson Yards Restaurants Get New Yorkers to Go to a Mall?
(Bloomberg) -- Just about every major chef in New York City was offered a space in Hudson Yards.
In the end, 25 food and beverage concepts said yes to space in the 1 million-square-foot, seven-floor building, whose official address is 20 Hudson Yards. Related Cos. founder Stephen Ross and Related Urban Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Himmel induced a couple of out-of-towners, Spanish-American chef mogul José Andrés and Anya Fernald—who’s made ethically sourced beef enticing at Belcampo Meat Co.—to be part of the project. Everyone else, apart from Neiman Marcus, was already in New York.
This raises the question: Why travel to the far West Side, to what’s effectively an indoor mall, when it’s easier to eat at existing restaurants from the same chefs without fighting for space with tourists fresh off the High Line?
But there’s a case to be made for going to Hudson Yards, and its central argument lies in the food and the spaces, too. A tour of the property in early March revealed restaurants working to develop distinct personalities—some of which even come with views. Here, in order, are the places I will head to when Hudson Yards starts accepting diners on March 15.
Chef: Costas Spiliadis
The new restaurant has a lot in common with its Midtown Manhattan Milos flagship, including the name and a menu of pricey, pristinely fresh seafood, like lavraki (Greek sea bass). But owner and chef Spiliadis takes advantage of his new home. His sweeping, 12,500-square-foot restaurant has a terrace that seats 50 and overlooks the Vessel and the Hudson; they’re the best seats in the building. He’s also installed an immense glass-walled cooler, nicknamed the Fish Eye. “Diners can watch the fish get prepped in real time before it goes out on display on the ice,” says Marc Healy, Milos’s chief financial officer. The room will also broadcast video of fishermen in the Mediterranean catching tomorrow night’s dinner.
Downstairs, via a winding staircase, the Milos wine bar will accommodate visitors who won’t be dropping hundreds of dollars on fish upstairs. There will be a Greek yogurt bar that dispenses exceptionally thick, creamy samples. Spiliadis will also offer about 100 Greek wines as well as oysters, tartares, cheeses, gyros, and souvlakia. The 4-ounce wine pours start at $7, while small plates will average $8, which means people trailing through the mall can eat for around $40, a fraction of what the dining room bill might be.
Chef: José Andrés
The Washington, D.C.-based, save-the-world chef Andrés has finally set up shop in New York. His 35,000-square-foot market, developed in partnership with the Spanish chef brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià, will have 15 different food and retail kiosks, including one dedicated to churros and rich hot chocolate. Bar Celona will offer Spanish cocktails such as Ibérico ham-infused Negronis. Andrés also has three restaurants in the space, including Leña, which will specialize in grilled meats and paella, cooked over wood fire. “This market is a little crazy, it’s so big. But I wanted to show New Yorkers what Spain is all about,” says Andrés. “I said, ‘Let’s bring the biggest imprint of Spain to New York that we can.’ ”
Chef: Eunjo Park
For his Hudson Yards space, Momofuku founder David Chang chose not to roll out another pork bun and ramen outpost. Instead he tapped Park, who’s cooked at both Michelin three-star restaurants and the Baekyangsa Temple in her native South Korea. Like most of New York’s Momofukus, Kāwi has no windows, but there is a giant painting by Chang’s buddy, the graffiti artist David Choe. The 130-seat space has a long counter looking into Park’s kitchen and banquettes along the walls. A specialty on Park’s menu is house-made rice cakes, served in a long coil—like a giant sausage—and cut into small pieces with scissors so they’re luxuriously chewy. As compelling is the adjacent Peach Mart, seemingly inspired by groovy 7-Elevens in Tokyo, where the specialty is to-go snacks like kimbap, the Korean sushi roll.
Chef: Thomas Keller
Keller, co-curator of the Dining Collection and the first to sign up for the Hudson Yards project, according to Related’s Himmel, is creating a glamorous, throwback dining experience. His handsome bilevel space has a bar with a fireplace on the bottom floor. The upstairs dining room will have so much tableside service, it’s hard to imagine the carts won’t constantly be bumping into each other; even Champagne gets a dedicated trolley. Wild dover sole meunière doused in butter and lemon will be served, as will roasted chicken with thyme, plus TAK’s classic Caesar salad. TAK Room is the other Hudson Yards restaurant with coveted outdoor seating—it has 24 spots, across the garden from Milos.
Chef: Michael Lomonaco
The name is dull. But Lomonaco made Porter House New York destination dining at the Shops at Columbus Circle, even when some of his neighbors, such as A Voce, didn’t fare as well. In the long open kitchen facing the dining room, Lomonaco has installed a rotisserie with baby pigs slowly roasting underneath pineapples that drip juices onto the bronzed meat. His all-purpose menu also includes grilled pizzas, prime rib with bone marrow toast, and nigiri and maki, courtesy of sushi chefs who trained under Masa. What makes this place compelling are the enormous booths that make up 90 percent of the 275-seat restaurant. The magnificent, curved and square-shaped tables, which hold around 10 people each, promise a Henry VIII-style feast.
Chef: Alex Pilas
Neiman Marcus is bringing three dining concepts, one for each of the store’s three levels, scattered among the Chloé dresses and Chanel purses. The most charming is the seventh-floor Zodiac Room, which features a menu that comprises customer favorites from their restaurants across the country. Along with popovers delivered from a dedicated cart and accompanied by strawberry butter, there are composed salads and caviar, plus martini-style drinks in glasses the size of a swimming pool.
Chefs: Tien Ho and Peter Jin
Wild Ink is the first U.S. outpost of the hospitality group Rhubarb. In the coming months it will undoubtedly become better-known for the giant bar and restaurant it’s opening 1,300 feet up in the sky at 30 Hudson Yards. But Wild Ink has a menu overseen by culinary director Ho—formerly a star with Momofuku—and Jin, one that’s stocked with addictive Asian small plates including pork and wagyu sliders with XO sauce, crispy mapo tofu, and seared diver scallops with lardo.
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