From the new restaurant row to media-elite eateries, the cheat sheet behind the city's upfronts power tables.
If you can, steal away from the TV upfronts (May 14-17) and check out New York's latest food hot zone: a corridor between 28th and 39th streets, from Park Avenue to the Hudson River, and overlapping with Hudson Yards, the 28-acre mini-city that will house HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner Broadcasting. New restaurants abound, including upcoming outposts from Thomas Keller and David Chang. Says Cindy Tenner, HBO vp special events, "The West 20s and 30s are definitely experiencing a restaurant renaissance."
Longtime Indochine maître d' Jorg Rae presides over this Mediterranean room within the new Mondrian Park Avenue Hotel (it opened in November). Adrian Grenier, Debbie Harry, Malin Akerman, Scott Caan and Giuliana Rancic have all dined at the slick space, which features tagines, wild salmon skewers and lamb shawarma.
Chloe Grace Moretz is among those who have enjoyed dishes at this well-received venture, with offerings ranging from hackleback caviar to slow-cooked halibut.
"Your eye moves around this room nonstop; it’s full of mirrors and nostalgic photos," says David Korins, the Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen set designer who won a 2017 Emmy for Grease: Live. "The light fixtures are innovative, created from everyday objects they made cool."
"There is a bonus speakeasy downstairs," adds Tenner.
Simmered pork belly and matcha pudding are standouts at the 46-seat ramen bar — with counter seating featuring privacy-promoting partitions — that opened in April. "I love the atmosphere because I can enjoy my ramen in peace," says Pat Flicker Addiss, producer of the new musical Desperate Measures.
BLT chef Laurent Tourondel’s first Italian spot serves up pizzas and meats, fish and vegetables prepared in a wood-burning oven. Don’t miss spiced tuna crudo with meyer lemon yogurt and charred broccoli sprouts. "I love this place," says Tenner. "It has delicious Italian food, and we’ve done events upstairs on the second floor."
Jessica Seinfeld claims Legacy Records "is my new life!" on Instagram. With ceilings designed by Ken Fulk, it opened on the bones of an old recording studio.
NBC hosted a party for TV show Rise, offering up Tuscan fried chicken and burrata flatbread to Rosie Perez, Josh Rador and Auli’i Cravalho, while Starz feted the cast of Sweetbitter with steak and cacao e pep gnocchi.
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The hopping spot in the Moxy Hotel has set the backdrop for Serena and Venus Williams, Amir Arison, Bryan Greenberg and Molly Shannon. The lobster bake and seafood towers are showstoppers.
Says Danny Abeckaser, who'll appear in Martin Scorsese's Netflix film The Irishman: “Legasea has become my go-to spot before and after a Knicks game. It has some of the most unique dishes in the city, especially the spicy crab beignets.’’
Melissa Rivers held the launch party for her Joan Rivers book at this classic steakhouse that has served Marisa Tomei, Martha Stewart, Deborah Norville and Gayle King. It’s known for generous portions of steak, lobster and sides — and its long marble bar. "Even this vegetarian loved it," gushed Sarah Silverman.
Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Cuba Gooding Jr. have all gathered at this clubby maze of cozy rooms — a regular spot for SNL afterparties. Small plates such as ahi tuna flatbread with champagne onions and truffle are the culinary highlights. Every Monday is an open mic night, and the rooftop, with a prime view of the Empire State Building, will open next month.
Matt Damon, Ridley Scott and Kristen Stewart dined at the Meatpacking District's Scarpetta, and now hotelier Allen Gross hopes to draw more A-listers with this outpost at his James New York-NoMad. "We sought out dynamic restaurateurs to partner with us and the limos followed," says Gross.
Justin Timberlake broke the place in by dancing all night at its lounge, Seville, while Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborah Lee Furness feasted on the signature spaghetti with tomato and basil (with a glass of champagne). Scott Eastwood celebrated his birthday and the release of Pacific Rim Uprising by feasting on roast branzino and apple tart. And Rita Ora gobbled up creamy polenta when she stepped out for Republic Records Grammy week bash.
Says talent manager Jason Weinberg: "Scarpetta is so good, I've added it to my shortlist."
All waiters are professionally trained actors, singers or dancers who perform at the raw fish eatery in the Tuscany hotel. Don’t look for authenticity (sushi pizza!) but spot such diners as Samira Wiley, Jordin Sparks, Chuck Liddell and Karina Smirnoff.
“This place matches the vibe of the city – it makes you feel pumped up and alive,’’ says Max Adler (Glee, Sully). “You get to watch dancing and singing and there is awesome music. My favorite thing there is the Godzilla roll with spicy tuna, snow crab, mango and cucumber, wrapped in soy paper.’’
Adds Garcelle Beauvais, “The signature rolls are yummy, and the staff surprises you by breaking out in song and dance."
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This story first appeared in the May 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.