Mandarin Oriental may have a certain aesthetic flair, but in this fine dining restaurant high above the city streets in New York’s stunning property, Asiate proves an elegant, if gently whimsical, approach to the restaurant experience.
While gilded ceilings, a theatrical arborous chandelier, painterly abstract fabrics in shades of magnolia and magenta, and an impressive glass wall of wines may initially appear bold, Asiate, designed by HOK, retains a restrained elegance. With crisp white linens, an intimate seating area and stellar floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows, the space is bright, clean and sophisticated. The mood provides an afternoon reprieve complete with a luxe lunch, resonating equally well in the evening when its velvety textures bring forth the drama. The interior sets the tone for the cuisine – another exercise in delicate class.
Defined as American modern cuisine, it has a distinct Asian slant under Executive Chef Cyril Renaud and Chef de Cuisine Mazen Mustafa, who change it seasonally. While the menu may read squash soup, glazed short ribs or tuna tataki, there are playful and complex flavours which delightfully and unexpectedly come into play. The soup has hints of saffron and curry powder and is garnished with Massachusetts scallops; the ribs are served with a broccoli puree with Poblano peppers, pumpkin seeds and a black garlic reduction; and the tuna is seared with miso, plated alongside avocado mousseline and fresh, with fennel chips, baby radish and espelette peppers. The dishes are artful and layered, appealing to the eye as much as the tongue. The menu offers a concise selection, but it still leaves a tantalising selection for any palette, and maintains it by that seasonal menu – consider interest piqued for what inventive flavour combination – and beautiful plating – is next.
Asiate is a soothing escape for a meal, and while it holds its own against five-star neighbouring hotels and venues such as Jean-Georges through its prix fixe concept and tasting menus, it is a special spot for a daytime meal. With simple elegance awash in sunlight, it makes lunch much more than a simple meal – an experience that Dubai’s Jumeirah shore will soon experience firsthand, as Mandarin Oriental is due to open a property in early 2019 with dining outlets encapsulating the hotel’s fine dining ethos.