It might have taken a few months for Heritage by Madison to settle, but when it did, it settled beautifully. Through half a dozen visits in as many months, I have witnessed a restaurant slowly come into its own. Mr. Austin Hu brings together a loose patchwork of curious-minded ideas, united by a gentle Asian bent and an unbridled spirit.
Just as Shanghai is bemoaning the sudden departure of Botanik, The Nest group has taken over the newly vacated rooftop haven with a new concept, aptly named Perch by The Nest. Mr. Freddy Raoult has brought an entirely different sort of cooking to this familiar setting, showing off a creative streak previously unseen at the group’s other operations. A distinct contrast from Botanik’s knowledge-laden dining experience, an evening at Perch is, more than anything else, just a very good time.
There is no other restaurant in the world that I know as intimately as Taian Table. From that first encounter in 2016, two months into the restaurant’s life, through dozens of visits stretching over the next three years, Taian Table steadily grew to be my favorite restaurant in Shanghai. And if the past, entirely unexpected 17 months of working with the team have changed my view in any way, it is only to offer new perspectives and insights into this restaurant that I have loved from the first.
Modeled after Mr. Atherton’s former London restaurant Sosharu, Hiya is inspired by the Japanese izakaya. There is something in that with the vivacious crowd and the loose, laid-back vibes. Yet izakayas don’t usually perch 27 floors above the ground. Nor do they sit in chic boutique hotels like The EDITION. Nor is their cooking often as inspired or as finely tuned.
seul&SEUL delivers a tasting menu format at a relatively friendly price, but with more ceremony than quality. Whether we are willing to pay for that format, or prefer places that sit in the same price range but offer higher standards with less ceremony – that is a decision each of us will make for ourselves.
A veteran on the Bund of 10 years, Napa Wine Bar and Kitchen is known not just for their extensive wine cellar, but also for their stellar wine-focused cuisine. Chef Francisco Araya uses seasonal ingredients to create elegant and compelling dishes, and manages to give pleasure without going out of his way to please.
Directly across the alley from Gaggan, Asia’s best restaurant according to The World’s 50 Best, is Gaa, the latest addition to the Gaggan empire. 29-year-old chef Garima Arora, a former Gaggan sous-chef and Noma alumni, manages to make Gaa her own with what she calls “eclectic cuisine”, using global techniques to prepare locally sourced ingredients.
It is rare to have the chance to watch a restaurant find its voice and grow into its ambitions. When that happens, the experience can be fantastic and thrilling. I found that thrill at Taian Table. Over the nine months since it opened, it has been a pleasure watching the evolution of each menu, and seeing the restaurant get into its rhythm.
New York as a city is hard to define. New York as a school of cuisine is practically non-existent.
Enter Contra, a deeply personal vision of two young chefs, whose style of cooking manages to capture New York’s identity: modern, opinionated, and expressive, with a kind of elegant efficiency and practicality that only New York can pull off.
Over the course of an evening at Florilège, I witnessed a truly fearsome combination in Chef Kawate’s cooking: a clear and precise vision of what each of his plates is meant to evoke in us, an astute understanding of what flavors to call upon to evoke those feelings, and the impeccable skills to make each of those flavors do exactly what he tells them.