New York, New York

Unique, sur­pris­ing lo­ca­tion for de­signer spa­ces that com­bine food and shop­ping is NYC’s most ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Wendy Long

A unique, sur­pris­ing lo­ca­tion for de­signer spa­ces that com­bine food and shop­ping is NYC’s most ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment

De­cem­ber 2011, New York in blis­ter­ing win­ter and there I was, lov­ing ev­ery freez­ing minute of my trip to my all-time fa­vorite city in the world. I made a brunch reser­va­tion – at least a month in ad­vance, de rigueur for any pop­u­lar restau­rants in NYC – at Balt­hazar and was look­ing for­ward to catch­ing up with friends who have re­cently moved back to New York after liv­ing in Sin­ga­pore. “Bal­tahzar’s too touristy! Come, meet us at our neigh­bor­hood; let’s have brunch at Bubby’s….” Wait a minute; I’m giv­ing up Balt­hazar for Bubby’s? What and where is Bubby’s? I had to keep re­mind­ing my­self to stay calm and re­mem­ber it’s the com­pany that mat­ters. So I looked up the ad­dress but could not quite get my bear­ings right. It did not look like Soho or any­where re­motely down­town. It did not even look like it’s in Man­hat­tan! DUMBO, where is that? It’s in Brook­lyn! Right up till then, de­spite many trips to NYC, I had not stepped foot in Brook­lyn, not even for the leg­endary Peter Luger Steak­house. But I de­cided to go with the flow, be ad­ven­tur­ous, and hopped into a yel­low cab to ‘Down Un­der the Man­hat­tan Bridge Over­pass’, which pre-Uber, meant that frus­tra­tion. I had to open up my ap­ple iPhone map, and helped di­rect the cab driver to Wash­ing­ton Street, DUMBO. Hey, even a New York cab driver had dif­fi­culty mov­ing around­inDUMBO. Fast for­ward to 2018 and DUMBO has been com­pletely gen­tri­fied, and is now heav­ing with trendy spots. (Re­mem­ber when the paragon of all things cool, Soho House, opened up in Meat­pack­ing Dis­trict, and what was pre­vi­ously a gritty ‘hood’ sud­denly be­came an ‘It’ lo­cale?) So, when they de­cided to set up shop in DUMBO, nam­ing it DUMBO House, you know that neigh­bor­hood is now a bona fide hot venue. Nes­tled right by the East River with prime wa­ter­front po­si­tion, DUMBO House of­fers a stun­ning vista of the Man­hat­tan sky­line. As with all their clubs, it is mem­bers-only. How­ever, Cec­coni’s on the ground floor is open to the pub­lic and their out­door ter­race is a per­fect place for al­fresco din­ing in sum­mer, not least be­cause of the gor­geous river­front views. Based in Lon­don, Cec­coni’s has out­posts across the globe from Lon­don to West Hol­ly­wood, and even Istanbul and now Brook­lyn. With an all-day ci­c­chetti (Vene­tian small bites) menu to­gether with the pas­tas, sal­ads, carpac­cio, Mi­lanese veal chops, and an el­e­gant, dark wood cen­tral bar counter with leather stools and shiny crys­tal chan­de­liers, this is a sexy space for all-day win­ing and din­ing. Even if the venue lacks a view – we’re talk­ing a base­ment space with no win­dows at all – fret not as there is al­ways a high-pro­file ar­chi­tect to come to the res­cue. The newly opened The Lob­ster Club, by New York-based F&B player, the Ma­jor Food Group (of Car­bone, sad­delle’s, The Pool, The Grill and many oth­ers), at

the iconic Sea­gram Build­ing, was de­signed by Peter Marino, who is also re­spon­si­ble for de­sign­ing the bou­tiques of ma­jor fash­ion houses Chanel, Dior and Fendi. This is his first restau­rant de­sign project in Amer­i­can, and he cer­tainly did not dis­ap­point. Every­thing in the restau­rant, from the uni­forms to the plates, chop­sticks, fur­ni­ture, leather cur­tains, yes, leather cur­tains!, was de­signed and se­lected by him. The mod­ern Ja­panese brasserie fea­tures a wide se­lec­tion from clas­sic sushis, sashimis, han­drolls, and tem­puras to yak­i­tori and ro­bata, much like a Nobu, Zuma shar­ing style reper­toire. The seafood is flown in di­rectly from Tsuk­iji mar­ket, and with Chef Tasuku Murakami, for­merly from Tribeca’s Sushi Az­abu at the helm, you know you will be get­ting the high­est qual­ity food. There is some­thing for ev­ery­one, and with the col­or­ful Jet­son-ish in­te­ri­ors, this is a stylish space for a date night or just a fun time with friends. Another de­sign fo­cused F&B con­cept that has re­cently joined the New York din­ing scene is La Mercerie Café, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween ac­claimed fur­ni­ture and de­sign com­pany Ro­man and Wil­liams Guild and Starr Restau­rants. It’s a match made in de­sign heaven, judg­ing by their other project, the highly In­sta­grammed, gor­geous and suc­cess­ful Le Cou Cou. La Mercerie in Soho is just the kind of all-day café that well-heeled and fash­ion­able ladies will want to be seen lunch­ing in. The airy space with lovely fo­liage is pretty and light, just like the menu of smoked salmons, caviar, bli­nis, beau­ti­ful sal­ads and fluffy pas­tries. Every­thing in the café is for sale. It is a re­tail restau­rant con­cept where din­ers have the op­tion of pur­chas­ing the table­ware, fur­ni­ture and even the flow­ers. The ad­join­ing re­tail space houses every­thing from fur­ni­ture by Ro­man and Wil­liams Guild to house­hold wares like Swedish linens, Ja­panese ce­ram­ics, spe­cially cu­rated and sourced by Ro­man and Wil­liams own­ers, Stande­fer and Stephen Alesch. Guests are pre­sented with an il­lus­trated menu card, list­ing the items that are for sale. They are also en­cour­aged to ex­plore the re­tail space and grab any­thing from hand-blown glass vase to Ja­panese chop­sticks, to­gether with their take-away crois­sants. It’s tak­ing grab-and-go to a whole new stylish level. Where pre­vi­ously it was de­sign-fo­cused restau­rants, the trend is evolv­ing to­wards re­tail, de­sign and restau­rant. In fact, Ital­ian life­style gi­ant 10 Corso Como is slated to open in New York’s his­toric South Sea­port dis­trict by end of 2018, in part­ner­ship with the Howard Hughes Cor­po­ra­tion. Like its other branches, it will have a huge life­style sec­tion cov­er­ing every­thing from art to books, ac­ces­sories, and fash­ion with an on-site café. As they say, if you can make it in New York, you can make it any­where. So per­haps the re­tail restau­rant trend is slowly but surely tak­ing over the world, one square-foot at a time.

THEMAINDININGROOMATCECCONI’SATDUMBOHOUSE

ART­WORKS DOMINATETHEWALLS ATTHE LOB­STER CLUB

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