Great betting restaurants in Midtown as tourists return to NYC


Travelers are now heading back to Midtown because international travel is green light – and some restaurants are betting big on the hollow district.

David Morton, the fourth-generation restaurant owner of Chicago’s famed Morton Steakhouse Dynasty, will open his first New York spot next month – a 10,000-square-foot, upscale behemoth known as The Landing. They expect their customers to include trickling-back office workers and tourists who go to concerts and games at nearby Madison Square Garden.

“There’s still a little bit of dining options here,” Morton tells Midtown-area side Dish, noting that Danny Meyer’s restaurants in Midtown West are crowded. “They’re all slammed,” Morton said of the area’s hot spots.

Landing’s sister grab-and-go eatery, Office Hours, opened Monday. Both are directed by James Beard-nominated chef Brian Huston and are located in Penn 1 – the 34th and seventh renovated office tower that is part of the proposed redevelopment project for the Vornado Realty Trust District.

Caviar Russe
Caviar Russe has plenty of seating and an area to go.
James Keaum for the New York Post

Although the Midtown office towers are almost empty, new ones are coming. According to a recent survey, only 49 percent of the city’s one million office workers are expected to return to their desks by the end of January. Andrew Rigi, director of the New York Hospitality Alliance, has warned that new openings and the return of tourists are a good sign – but not enough to cause an epidemic massacre for some restaurants.

“November and December should be our best months because January and February are always dead,” Rigi said. “And the good news is that the international travel ban has been lifted. Many foreign tourists don’t have enough time to plan a trip to New York for the holidays.”

Pierfection and Morning-Glory Signature Cocktails in the Chemistry Room.
Pierfection and Morning-Glory Signature Cocktails in the Chemistry Room.
Courtesy of Sanctuary Hotel

The city seems to be pulling out all the stops to justify the restaurants. Incoming Mayor Eric Adams stepped out to support the opening of a new restaurant last Thursday – postponing a three-hour dinner at Midtown’s Osteria La Baia, the Post reported.

Another restaurant owner is betting on a midtown opening this week: Caviar Russe’s Bar at 538 Madison Ave., near East 55th St., which has 2,000 square feet of floor space below the main Michelin-starred Caviar Russe in 1997.

Like Caviar Russe, the new champagne and caviar bar is directed by Executive Chef Edgar Pancharnikov. The 43-seat eatery will have a more casual – and upscale – menu. (Cheap bites are $ 25 Salmon Skin Chips.) For $ 65 lobster roll topped with caviar, $ 670 raw bar with caviar, and $ 10,445 for an even bigger spender, 500g Almas Osetra Caviar.

“Midtown is quiet, but our restaurant is back and busy,” said Ilya Pancharnikov, managing director. “People are excited to go out, dress up, drink champagne, eat a little caviar and celebrate life again.”

Before the epidemic lockdown, more than half of their customers were international, with 40 percent of them being local hedge funders and real estate moguls, things were not yet normal, Pancharnikov said.

“A lot of our local hedge fund and real estate clients were coming in for lunch and dinner with customers. It was amazing. It certainly didn’t exist at the time of the epidemic, and it’s starting to creep in now because people are starting to move back to Midtown,” said Panchernikov.

Seating area and bar in the chemistry room.
Seating area and bar in the chemistry room.
Courtesy of The Sanctuary Hotel

Other new Midtown locations include the Parlor Room, the new “Whiskey Centric” bar and restaurant, directed by Executive Chef Justin Otterwanger. It is scheduled to open on November 22 with over 400 craft whiskeys. There are also top chefs Laurent TourandellSkirt Steak, a new, no-frills steak house opened on November 9 near Madison Square Garden.

And the Chemistry Room at Sushi Lab recently opened at the Sanctuary Hotel, Sixth Avenue, 130 W. 47th St. – a lobby-level omakase restaurant in addition to the hotel’s sushi lab rooftop.

Another sushi lab outpost will open in the East Village at 320 E. 11th St. next month, SideDish may reveal. At the height of the epidemic in July 2020, the original Sushi Lab Rooftop was opened at the Sanctuary Hotel.

Tuna flight in a sushi lab.
Tuna flight in a sushi lab.

Jeremy Poon, vice president of the Sanctuary Hotel, said the chemistry room’s counter seats have already been reserved until Christmas, as foreign tourism has returned.

“People are booking in advance, planning their time for the holiday season – and we’re just open,” Poon said.

These restaurants may be risk-takers, but they are

They say they trust New York in it for the long haul.

Nothing, not 9/11 or the global epidemic, will put New York down, says Pancharnikov.

“Our customers are with us at the best times and worst times,” he said. “We believe in New York.

Brasserie 8 1/2 is also coming back, though with a new name – Cucina 8 ½ – at the Iconic Solo Building on December 1 – behind CIA Chairman Augserodini, Rachid Abdelovaad, Daniel and award-winning chef John Villa, formerly of Tao Group and Portuguese Cuisine Pico.

In addition, the beloved Gabriel Bar and Restaurant – power brokers such as Warren Buffett and Bill and Hillary Clinton – has been in the new, large space at 40 Central Park South since it first opened in 1991. All these openings are good signals for Midtown.

***

We hear Citymills on Wheels’ 34th annual Power Lunch returns to Plaza Hotel this Thursday – its first major personal event since Lockdown.

CityMeels hopes to raise more than $ 1 million, which will help homebound aging New Yorkers. This year’s meal honors Lizzie Tish for her long-standing support for the organization, co-founded in 1981 by food critic Gail Green.

Chef Daniel Boulud and actors Jane Krakowski, Kathleen Turner and Ellen Burstyn are scheduled to take part. Since the lockdown, CityMeals has distributed more than 4 million meals to around 20,000 people – an increase of 10%.

.

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