Located on the ground floor of Chelsea's Hotel Indigo, Blu Restaurant shares the same dedication to understated elegance as the hotel, incorporating Asian and Mediterranean influences into its menu of refined continental cuisine. The chefs man their stations from sunrise to moonset, whisking together meat- and vegetable-filled omelets in the morning before devoting their evenings to the seasonally rotating dinner menu. In addition to grilling dry-aged new york strip steaks and roasting free-range chicken, they also introduce palates to subtle trans-Pacific flavors by glazing tuna with teriyaki sauce or infusing salmon with ginger.
To accent meals, the bartenders can either mix one of their signature cocktails or telekinetically uncork a bottle of wine from the 50-bottle-strong list, which emphasizes small-production wineries from Spain, France, Italy, and the United States. The 20th-story Glass Bar NYC affords guests panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline amid a modern Mediterranean atmosphere of palms and illuminated sculptures. Here, patrons sip flavor-forward cocktails prepared by quizzical mixologists, and, on friday nights, mingle at the bar's swanky slumber parties.
Before deciding to open his own kosher Chinese restaurant, Sholom Witriol did a bit of research. He ate at restaurants throughout the city, judging each one and considering how he could improve upon every dish he tasted. Sholom eventually used all of this inspiration to found China Glatt and begin serving kosher Chinese cooking based on traditional recipes with the occasional bit of local flair.
Influences from each hemisphere are evident throughout the menu. In addition to cooking regional classics, such as crispy Szechuan-style beef and tender duck with black pepper sauce, the chefs incorporate New York flavors from time to time?matzo balls float in the chicken noodle soup, and the kitchen stuffs some egg rolls with pastrami. Another departure from Chinese cuisine? A sushi menu, complete with more than 40 rolls.
Clean white linens adorn the tables that fill China Glatt's long, narrow dining room. Chinese-inspired artwork adorns the walls, catching light cast by the sconces, ornate ceiling lamps, and bioluminescent servers. Earth-toned molding and wainscoting further complement the space's warm, cozy ambiance.
"It sounds like an NYU student’s dream come true," Time Out New York said about Cafetasia, "a sleek eatery on 8th Street serving dishes for less than $10." Indeed, the eatery stands out as a Greenwich Village haven for patrons seeking an innovative dining experience that nonetheless manages to feel inviting and deeply familiar. This sense of déjà vu is most likely triggered by Cafetasia’s cafeteria-style wooden tables—imported from Europe one splinter at a time and reassembled here. These communal tables invite guests to share elbow space as well as a bit of conversation with their fellow diners, much like in a college dining hall.
And much like a dining hall, the menu emphasizes the power of choice by offering a spread of tapas-style small plates; however, the chefs' skills with pan-Asian flavors elevate the cuisine above any cafeteria buffet. Borders don't constrain the chefs' ambition, and they jump from Japan and China to Thailand and Vietnam as they forge their shareable plates. In addition to curries tinged with aromatic doses of basil, pumpkin, or roasted chilies, the menu features teriyaki-glazed chicken, spring rolls with a pineapple-vinaigrette dipping sauce, and ginger-kissed chicken gyoza, which New York magazine called "addictive."
Cafetasia's dining room's décor also aims for a balance between the modern and the familiar. Suspended electric candlesticks seem to float above the tables, casting their gentle light across the rich wooden walls and ceiling. A burnished Buddha statue and a leafy potted plant lend a bit of traditional flair to the restaurant's warm and inviting ambiance.
Sushi Nagasaki fuses the cylindrical sensations of sushi with the spicy servings of Thailand, creating an alluring Asian-cuisine mixture. Appease even the most cantankerous of tongue receptors with the eel-and-cucumber-stuffed dragon roll, the California roll crested with fish roe, or the spicy tuna hand roll twined with lettuce and cooling cucumber (all priced at $8.95). Thai creations such as the evil red curry ($7.75), a sinful mix of bamboo shoots, green beans, coconut milk, and basil leaves. Or try the less devious yellow curry ($7.75), a combination of savory Thai spices, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, coconut milk, and onions that can readily fill torso purses with the sustenance needed to reach the paradoxically parallel high and low branches of the world tree. And the stir-fried broccoli ($7.75) places enough green stalks on your plate to create a micro-forest for a kind-hearted troll. All curries come with a choice of beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp for $1 extra.
Shogun Palace owners Peter and Kevin Sun place a premium on presentation. Besides bedecking their restaurant with eye-catching d?cor details?from glowing paper lanterns to an arched wooden bridge?they also hired a chef skilled in style sushi, an inventive method of plating fresh fish. Under his skilled supervision, Shogun's specialty rolls are artistically piled in towers, drizzled in sauces, and transformed into edible art. In addition, hibachi grills located in the center of the restaurant give guests up-close views of chefs flipping utensils and stoking flames as they prepare hot meals from shrimp, scallop, steak, and lobster. Patrons looking to round out meals can ask the fish in the indoor koi pond for recommendations from among Shogun's seven Chinese dishes.
Star chef and restaurateur Peter Xaviar Kelly opened his first restaurant, Xaviar’s in Garrison, when he was 23. Since then he has battled Bobby Flay, cooked at the James Beard House, introduced Anthony Bourdain to the Hudson Valley's bounty, and opened more restaurants. At his latest, Xaviars X2O on the Hudson, the Zagat-rated menu mixes Asian embellishments with Italian and Spanish touches and traditional French techniques. Thai barbecue, for example, spices the grilled portuguese octopus appetizer, and a brown-sugar-cayenne crust plays off the béarnaise sauce that tops aged-and-grilled cowboy rib eye steaks. In the Dylan Lounge, chefs slice sushi rolls into edible artworks such as jalapeño hamachi with pumpkin-seed oil.
An active turn-of-the-century Victorian pier hosts Xaviars' dining room on the Hudson. Vaulted 25-foot ceilings take support from three walls of glass that grant sweeping views of the Tappan Zee and George Washington Bridges, pepper dinners with sunsets over the Palisades, and allow guests to keep eyes out for approaching giants. Inside, dark-wood furniture, mod lighting, and stark white tablecloths set an elegant stage for edible performances.