Weekend Update: New York City
Stephen Starr, NYC: Why trek to his just-opened Chelsea Market outposts when you could get gorgonzola tempura right the hell here? Because it’s the spectacle that counts: Morimoto NY is iconic Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s first restaurant, and Buddakan is by far Mercer Kitchen designer Christian Liagre’s most impressive. (It’s breathtaking.) And because the
Stephen Starr, NYC: Why trek to his just-opened Chelsea Market outposts when you could get gorgonzola tempura right the hell here? Because it’s the spectacle that counts: Morimoto NY is iconic Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s first restaurant, and Buddakan is by far Mercer Kitchen designer Christian Liagre’s most impressive. (It’s breathtaking.) And because the NY Morimoto sports a big sake list, with the best nigori (unfiltered) sakes we’ve had. 88 10th Avenue, 212-989-8883 (Morimoto); 75 9th Avenue, 212-989-6699 (Buddakan).
See-and-be-seen brunch: Believe the hype and reserve early for Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s elegant yet neighborhoody new 60-seat West Village outlet Perry St., which JG apparently opened after a nasty GQ profile assailing his absenteeism and ambitious empire-building left him bedridden and soul-searching for days. 176 Perry Street, 212-352-1900; jean-georges.com.
Ridiculously relaxing spa experience: The 35th-floor Mandarin Oriental spa, quite possibly the most faithful approximation of heaven on earth, has started a new series of ritual massage/exfoliation treatments that are, like, to die for. The unlimited hangout time your $430 buys you in the amethyst crystal steam room, the “vitality” pool and the tea lounge is the next best thing to getting a room at the top of the new Time Warner Center. 80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, 212-805-8880; mandarinoriental.com.
Pre-show supper: Squeeze into our favorite new Columbus Circle gem, the aptly named eclectic BYOB The Nook (746 9th Avenue, 212-247-5500; nynook.com). Or for something fancier, head a few blocks east to the newly renovated Peacock Alley at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where chef Cedric Tovar offers a reasonable pre-theater dinner, while the Art Deco and live pianist evoke old New York glamour. 301 Park Avenue; 212-872-4895.
High-design hotels: We contemplated staying at the latest “budget” boutique project from hotel emperor André Balazs, the Hotel QT (125 West 45th Street, 212-354-2323; hotelqt.com), for its minimalist chic. But it was booked, so we opted instead for the year-old, David Rockwell-designed Alex Hotel, down the street. Its highly underrated restaurant, Riingo, from Aquavit chef Marcus Samuelsson and his adorable protégé Johan Svensson, won us over (212-867-4200; riingo.com); everything from sashimi to roast hen to the grilled strip with French toast and bacon was sublime. Back at the hotel, rooms are so preposterously luxe (flat-screens in the bathrooms, Frédéric Fekkai toiletries, Miele dishwashers) that you don’t want to leave. Most, anyway, are big enough to host a cocktail party. Dinner-overnight packages (with a bottle of wine) start at $355. 205 East 45th Street, 212-867-5100; thealexhotel.com.