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Jan 26, 2007 02:04 PM

Asiate - RW Review

Went to Asiate for lunch today. The space is awesome. Anyone not impressed needs a reality check. From the Chihuly glass sculpture (think swans on a tuft of grass) as you walk off the elevator on the 35th floor to the panoramic views from the lounge and main dining room = it's breathtaking. And a little knee knocking. I'm fairly certain my sense of balance was skewed (very, very minimally, but enough to slightly feel it) from high winds and being so high up.

The service was fantastic. The hostess was remarkably pleasant and after not taking up the offer to check my coat, she responded "As you wish. We are here to make your visit a comfortable one" or something like that - not at all pretentious.

I'm dining solo, yet I'm given a great seat - on the deep bench seats looking out onto Central Park. Terrific view (with the exception of Trump International Hotel blocking the view on the left), great light - an experience worth seeking out.

The food itself was, for the most part, pretty good. Choices were limited to two bento boxes, a Chef's tasting and a Seafood version. I went for the Chef's tasting. Both started with an appetizer of red lentil soup that was very nice though more fragrant than flavorful. The crispy puffed rice added a nice touch to it. Presentation-wise - it was great, but for me, the spoon was too small and delicate to use.

The bento box had four items:

Frisee Salad - this was fairly traditional with a few twists. It added dill, walnuts and truffle oil to the traditional greens/frisee, perfectly poached egg (it was excellent), crispy lardons and cherry tomatoes.

Salmon - this dish didn't do it for me. It was served with a dollop of a starchy green chile sauce that lacked any discernable flavor. Also accompanying it, a grilled green chile (shisito) that also lacked any real flavor. The fish itself was cooked perfectly...but was a bit bland.

Rock Shrimp Risotto - very nice. It used a shellfish foam appropriately for both taste and texture. Though I couldn't taste the kaffir lime flavor the foam supposedly had. The shrimp were very good and the risotto expertly cooked. I don't know if I could enjoy a whole dish of it though - so I was happy with the portion size.

Braised Buffalo Short Rib - This, on the other hand, I could eat a pound of. Actually, there would be no way - it was literally and figuratively rib stickingly delicious. Whoa. It was served with some fingerlings and carrot pieces and served atop a smoked potato puree. Yum.

Dessert was a Citrus Yogurt Martini and was very tasty. It had a grapefruit (I think) granite on top. Nice. Seemed to look like what you could imagine might be the house dessert. It looked like how the room felt. Airy, light, etc.

A very nice experience though the value (for the amount of what you get) might be challenged. I'd go back again for Restaurant Week - definitely. Possibly just for the view, though the cooking is excellent.

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  1. Great review, as usual, dkstar1. Although I've never been inclined to try Asiate, you've almost managed to tempt me.

    Btw, salmon is, perhaps, my favorite fish, and I find it hard to believe it could ever be bland.

    5 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      you know...perhaps bland was the wrong word...but salmon, as much as I like it...I'm bored by it. I've had it so much that i guess I no longer enjoy it as much. The salmon at Eleven Madison Park, for example, was remarkable. Whereas this version, while good all around, didn't excite me at all.

      1. re: dkstar1

        When we had lunch last year at EMP, I had a salmon dish that was out-of-this-world delicious.

        Speaking of EMP, we were there this evening and had the tasting dinner. In a word: OMG! (O.K, that is three....)

        1. re: RGR

          Yep. I'll be going for my birthday lunch on Monday. Can't wait. Glad you had a great dinner.

          1. re: dkstar1

            Happy Birthday! As it happens, we were celebrating my husband's birthday.

            Obviously, you planned ahead since it's still going to be RW. Does EMP serve only a RW menu, or is the a la carte menu also available?

            1. re: RGR

              not sure...but I'll be sure to report back

    2. I love Asiate's dining room. The view is simply to kill for. I had an above average meal about a year ago there, but haven't felt the compulsion to go back. I think this review is changing my mind!

      1. I went there for Friday lunch as well. Was thoroughly satisfied. So nice to see a restaurant get the loyalty-building potential of RW. Agree that that salmon was the weak link, too, but still...nothing bad. LOVED that salad.

        1. The original comment has been removed