Dining and hospitality has taken a huge hit due to the beer bug. Restaurant week has no doubt have been less profitable for Restauranteurs recently than in the past. It’s been hard to come by a new experience to talk about when it comes to indoor dining, as I’ve been home ordering food off of Grubhub and drinking wine courtesy of WInc. Straight up, 2020 and beyond hasn’t been kind to Hospitality industry. So, for this post, I want you all to walk down memory lane with me back to 2018, when I went to Asiate at the Mandarin Hotel in NYC. I was a student on an assignment with a classmate then, attending NYC College of Technology for its Hospitality Management program.
Asiate is the name of the restaurant of the Mandarin Hotel, it is best restaurant with a view and a fine dining establishment both in food and in presentation. Just like any other hotel, their restaurants are free for anyone to call in, schedule and dine, provided you follow the restaurant’s dress rules and decorum.
-Random aside before I get into the views of the restaurant: I ALWAYS check a fine dining restaurants’ bathroom. Honestly, I check the bathrooms of all the restaurants I eat at. It gives me a good idea of the overall cleanliness of the establishment, and whether I should eat there. But fine dining restaurant bathrooms are especially ornate and fun to visit for some reason or another (Let me know in the comments If you do the same!) -
As you enter Asiate from it’s small yet comfortable waiting area, the very first “view” you see is of Asiate’s massive wine cellar. It’s the picture in this blog post. Never before have I seen such a large, organized and beautiful Wine Cellar. The cellar is made mostly of glass, allowing you to see all the wines Asiate has on shelf. It was lighted, which to me, was reminiscent of hanging lights around your backyard at night. The light reflected off the bottles and how it shone it the dining room was mesmerizing. Watching FoH (front of the house, for those not in the know) get bottles that their clients request from its display cellar was mesmerizing. I really appreciate this level of design and dedication, and it has stuck with me for almost 3 years. This lighted display of wine alone can make Asiate a great candidate for ‘Best Restaurant with a View’ but then I still haven’t spoken about the NYC skyline at Columbus St.
Setting aside the marvelous cellar view that Asiate has, the actual dining room fans out down and to the right as you enter it. Descending a few short steps to get to you dining table faces you away from the cellar display, and towards Columbus Street. I was fortunate enough to get a table in the center of the dining room, so I could pick a sight to look at as I waited for waited for my courses. The Columbus St. Skyline is the tried-and-true cityscape, the wide and bright horizon, the tall concrete buildings, and the buzzing cars and tourists, when seen at night, are very reminiscent to a sea of stars. There’s something very surreal about a cityscape, about the tall, dizzying buildings that pierce night sky. Above all, it’s the energized pace and motion of the city that draws me to it. And I believe that NYC is one the best at creating that surrealistic feeling.
My meal just as big a star player in my experience as the views were. I had the Seared Fois Gras and Braised Short Rib, which earned a spot in my top 3 food experiences ever (the first being Jean Georges, maybe I’ll tell that story someday) with a free desert, a courtesy from our server to college students. I remember that the first time I’d ever eaten Fois Gras was at Asiate. It’s without question an acquired taste. It paired really well with the kumquats and brioche. The Braised Short Rib was an aged cut of beef that had deep, slow cooked beef flavors, and the delicious fat of that short rib glosses your entire palate before melting in your mouth. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the wine I ordered that day. I don’t think I was as heavily invested in wine then like I am now. It’s a shame. But now I can go back there when it opens and have a good look at Asiate’s wine menu.
I don’t think the term ‘View’ has to be about the shot of the sea or major landmark near or around the restaurant. The establishment itself can create a memorable view that you can derive fulfillment from. Asiate, to me, fits that bill. Asiate is one the best restaurants NYC has to offer and shows why almost immediately after you’ve let into the dining room. When Asiate re-opens, I hope you get the opportunity see why I hold Asiate in such high regard.