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May 19, 2008 04:12 AM

Asiate Lunch Review

My sister-in-law and husband are moving to Florida in about a month so Kate and I decided to meet up for what may be our last "fancy lunch".

There are so many great lunch deals in this town I can only take advantage when I have a day off. Since Kate works from home and enjoys food just as much as me, she's the perfect companion for these excursions!

We were a little disappointed with our last lunch at Perry Street, so I was somewhat apprehensive about our next pick Asiate. I have heard very mixed reviews but figured the view should hopefully make up for anything bad!

I showed up right at 1:30 for our reservation and the hostess started to seat me at a table in the middle of the room. There were a few tables open right at the corner of the wall to wall windows and she happily obliged when I asked to be seated there.

The view is really stunning. You can see all the way uptown and to the east quite a ways. Really quite breathtaking. Kate came a moment later and also needed to take a moment to soak in our wonderful view.

I took a look at the menu and immediately got a pang of nervousness. I had thought the entire lunch menu was a $24.08 prix fix where you choose two options from a variety like Jean Georges.

It turns out there is a very small $24.08 menu and the rest are regular appetizer and entree prices ($14- $38).

I decided to stick to my guns and go for the prix fix with the steak. Kate went against the prix fix and simply ordered the short rib entree.

We both decided to get a glass of wine and each happened to choose the cheapest wine by the glass of the red and white ($11 and $13 not exactly cheap).

For being the cheapest on the list both were excellent and they were quite generous with their pour as well.

Next a man came around with a basket of bread. The choice was olive, whole wheat and your classic brioche. Both Kate and I went with the olive.

The bread was very good but mine seemed to be lacking a lot of the olive flavor.

I looked over at Kate's piece and she seemed to have double the amount of olives inside! Score one for her I guess!

The one problem I had was with the butter. I had to struggle to cut into it because it was so cold and hard. I'm always afraid the whole thing will go flying and hit someone at another table. If they just let it sit out a bit it would have been much better.

Next my appetizer arrived the Toy Box Tomatoes.
I was honestly expecting some kind of tomato bento box for some reason but this was just beautiful on it's own. Tomatoes, arugula, burrata cheese and some great olive oil. I could have eaten an entree size portion of this dish honestly. It was kin of funny to have a dish like this at an Asian place but hey- the Italians got food down pat so why not borrow?

Next the waiter set down a cup of soup in front of Kate. We both started to protest thinking it was a mistake when he told us it was complements of the chef. How nice! I guess they didn't want me eating my appetizer alone.

The soup was cauliflower and it had a great velvety texture but there was a hint of some spice we couldn't figure out. We went back and forth, each tasting and contemplating. Finally we asked the waitress who told us it was curry.

Well I'm glad we asked because neither of us had come up with that! I have to say I didn't care much for the soup, probably because I hate curry so much, but how nice of the chef to send that out.

Next our entrees arrived both looking like amazing! I had ordered the Grilled Sanscho Spiced Sirloin.

Um okay..seriously I don't mean to compare the two but I had just eaten at Les Halles and this steak blew it out of the water. It was lean, juicy and the sanscho sauce really complemented the steak, whereas the au poivre completely overpowered.

I know in some respects that's like comparing apples and oranges but it was the most recent steak I'd had so the flavors were fresh in my mind.

Kate couldn't get enough of the potatoes on the side which were crispy medallions seasoned with just the right amount of rosemary on top.

The veggies were also fantastic. They reminded me of the vegetable plate I had as an appetizer at Bar Milano. To be honest I got just as many vegetables as a side here as I did as an appetizer there and for a lot less money.

Kate had a similar array of vegetables with her Short Rib. The short rib was very good. Nice caramelized crusty top and a relatively moist meaty interior. We both decided it was very good but the steak dish was the clear winner.

We were both too stuffed from our amazing meal for dessert but they brought us over a little tray with a mini macaroons, dark chocolate ganache an a mini biscotti.

I love the little dessert plates! Its exactly the right amount of sweet I need after a meal and it's free!!

I honestly have to say our lunch was one of the best bargains I've had in the city. For $24.08 I had a fantastic spring appetizer, amazing steak and a couple little treats for dessert.

Yes the glasses of wine were a bit pricey but the pours were nice and the view was spectacular. Lunch was simply fantastic all around. I wish I could do this stuff every day!

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  1. Thanks for the review. I think Asiate is under appreciated here. Solid food with great service and a view that can't be beat.

    1. well I am glad you had a good meal there. they have been hit and miss. But without calling anyone naive, 11-13 dollars a glass is the starting point for most restaurants of this or greater caliber, particularly here, which is inside a hotel where rooms start at 600 dollars a night. Advice: use sites such as this one as to not be caught off guard. And les halles isn't a good steak house on any day - yuck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodtimeguy

        Thank you for your concern. I was not caught off guard. I have been to the Lobby Lounge and MoBar multiple times but for the point of review I included the price point for exactly the reasons you suggested because it's Chowhound. So that if anyone read my review, like an out of towner, they would know what prices we are talking about.

        I also wrote the price of wine because at in my last lunch review I went to Perry Street where they had special $5 glasses of wine which cannot be beat in the city.

      2. Nice report. I really need to have a ladies' lunch here sometime. Roze what is sanscho spice like?

        3 Replies
        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          This is the perfect place for a ladies lunch. I'm not sure if I know how to describe the sancho spice. It's very mild and me it really just brought out the earthy flavor of the meat. Definently not something that takes away from the steak. Does that help?

          1. re: roze

            Sansho is the same as Chinese Sichuen pepper. It does have a earthy taste and not very spicy. They can be strong if used a lot though.

            Roze, nice review! My previous lunch experience at Asiate and it was only so-so as the salmon that they served was pretty average. I probably ordered the wrong dish. Glad to hear that it actually has quality food. The view was unbeatable!

            1. re: kobetobiko

              Thanks Kobe! I was really surprised by the quality of the food. Hopefully they keep it up- I'm hoping to take my parenst when they come to visit for the fantastic atmosphere most of all.