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Beginning on Jan. 28 and running through Feb. 1, acclaimed French chef Thierry Marx will bring his signature style to the kitchen at Mandarin Oriental New York’s fine-dining spot, Asiate. Marx, who runs the kitchens in three establishments at the Mandarin Oriental’s outpost in Paris, is giving diners the chance to taste his eclectic fare with two tasting menus, one with three courses ($125/person) where guests can select one of four starters, one of four mains, and one of three desserts, the other comprised of five set courses (all of which are options in the three-course dinner; $155/person).
Aside from being one of France’s most recognized chefs, Marx has written several cookbooks, acted as a judge on the French version of Top Chef, and has earned Michelin stars at virtually every restaurant he’s helmed. He is also known for putting modern twists on classical French cuisine, often using Asian inspiration to tweak his dishes into unexpected culinary marvels.
Savory highlights from the menu include scallop carpaccio with cauliflower cream and French caviar; “Crossed Arms” ravioli with haddock, Granny Smith apple, and mozzarella foam; lamb with coriander, grilled eggplant, and vegetable semolina; and calamari risoni with squid ink, featuring cuttlefish tagliatelle and crunchy vegetables. For dessert, Marx will be serving confit apple with puff pastry “à la crème fraîche,” frozen sake with crystallized fruits, and castanea with chestnut biscuit and mousse, cherry marmalade, and whipped cream with vanilla and meringue.
Wine pairings can be added to any meal for an additional $110/person and will be expertly curated by the team of Annie Turso, the wine director for Mandarin Oriental New York, and David Biraud, head sommelier of Mandarin Oriental Paris. These tasting menus require full participation from the table and will be available until 9 p.m. during the five-day run.
And, for all the big-time ballers out there, Mandarin Oriental New York is offering the Thierry Marx Culinary Journey (starting at a whopping $1,352), which includes his five-course dinner for two, accommodation in a guestroom or suite, and a special surprise gift amenity from Marx himself. With sprawling views of Central Park and a level of extravagance that few restaurants can provide, this could be the best pre-Valentine’s Day gift (because those really do exist) you can bestow upon your food-lovin’ significant other.
NYC Fine Dining: Asiate
Luxury Dining: Asiate at the Mandarin Hotel NYC (photo: Mandarin Oriental)
Fine dining is not unique to New York City where on any given evening one may trip over hundreds of restaurants uptown or downtown, eastside or west that present some of the finest meals in the world. Whether ambitiously set in grand locations or romantically hidden amidst the cement and stone of quiet streets, the opportunities from tantalizing tid bits to orgiastic organic oeuvres are too many to list. To find a truly unique fine dining experience is a challenge in a city that specializes in thousands of five star meals.
Asiate, atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, provides such a unique fine dining experience. The restaurant sits along Manhattan's skyline on the restaurant's 35th floor just off Central Park West and creates a peaceful and luxurious setting in a modern design with an oriental flair. Glass walls surround you that look out across the city uptown and across central park.
The glass walled wine 'cellar' of 3000 bottles are lined floor to ceiling as you walk past them to your table. The Sommelier told me they taste as many as 20,000 wines to better advise their clients. Asiate bills itself as "Asian/New-American", but the label is unfair as the cuisine transcends any one label. Carefully inspired by Executive Chef, Christian Pratsch who oversees Mandarin Oriental New York's culinary program, the restaurant offers a refined menu for breakfast and lunch and a dinner prix fixe which comes at a premium for its excellence.
The prix fixe is a choice of three selections, but the menu has the crowning Chef tastes selection, of four or five courses ' called the 'Chef's Tasting Menu'. This is the specialty of Asiate, the artistic pinnacle of the menu, as each course is carefully designed and prepared to enhance the ones on either side of it. There is also an optional wine pairing for each course and that is the meal I recently had the opportunity to experience.
If you're going to take the plunge and spend large for an exceptional meal of wonderful tastes in a lavish setting, this is the way to go.
Sitting in an elegant booth next to a floor to ceiling glass panel looking down 35 stories, we started the first course of big eye tuna sashimi, with a slightly smokey flavor and a spicy mayo balanced by cucumber and kiwi. The dollop of caviar on top completes the sense array on the tongue and was an exquisite start. The German Pinot Blanc that's paired with it is crisp and sweet, refreshing and light.
Big eye tuna sashimi
A velvety Foie Gras Terrine followed, creamy and salty with a black sesame financier which balanced the soaring flavor with an earthy tone. The French Bordeaux paired with it, was more like a port, thick and sweet, to stand out against the richness of the foi gras, as a lighter wine would be out matched by rich and complex flavor coming off the fork.
Risotto with winter black truffle follows for the third course, with a mascarpone cream and artichoke. The risotto, light and creamy, the truffle woodsy and setting a bottom note for the tangy artichoke which was crisp and flavorful. The California Chardonnay accompanying it was bright and unoaked, fruity and acidic, which made a nice balance to the risotto's flavorings.
The fourth course was the smoked sea scallop, extremely tender and smooth, with a crunchy watermelon radish accompaniment, that bordered almost on sour. Braised fennel finished the arrangement, creating an astounding taste and texture combination. The French Pinot Noir in this pairing I found a little heavy, but the blackberry and earth driven notes of herb against the tang of the raddish and delicate smokiness of the scallop was the right combination.
The fifth course was the 7% Wagyu Beef Tenderloin, a perfectly prepared medium rare. When beef tastes buttery you know its quality. The au jus had a savory chanterelle mushroom companion that unlocked and perpetuated the flavor of the beef. This was married with a French St-Emilion, which I couldn't do more than sip to appreciate at this point, as four glasses of wine into the meal I was forced to realize my limit. If you want to know how it feels to be the guests of Lord and Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey, it feels like this, many fine courses and a new wine served with each one.
The meal was finished with a Dacquoise dessert, a hazelnut cake with chocolate ice cream, rich and delicious, but not over powering and mercifully proportioned so that it wasn't too large a serving. That was married with a Seppeltsfield Muscat No. 9, similar to a sherry, sweet, textured, and a perfect end to an exquisite meal.
The designing of new tastes is overseen by Executive Chef Christian Pratsch who changes the menu about six times a year, to keep it fresh and innovative. He invents with a mind to source locally as well as provide unusually great opportunities in dining. For example, the Wagyu Beef. The entire herd is owned by a single supplier who sources the beef directly to the Mandarin Hotel, which keeps their product quality high and very controlled. I have to mention that the portions for each course were very well considered, not too small to feel ungenerous, not too large to risk a full stomach before the meal came to an end. I was very pleased to note the artistic care that went into the preparation of each dish as well. Service at our table was excellent, as we were attended to by both the waiter and sommelier for each course.
As I watched the city lights twinkle below me I realized a walk through mid town back to my hotel was going to be the perfect end to a perfect meal. Walking in New York City is one of my favorite pastimes and an unhurried stroll back to our hotel allowed me to revisit the meal laid out before us and the excellence with which it was prepared.
35 Floors Above the Floats
Each Thanksgiving, Asiate — the Asian-fusion restaurant on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle — becomes a skybox where smart-set locals and affluent out-of-towners gather early to look down at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Starting at 7 a.m., there is a prix fixe breakfast — this year, $68 for adults and $48 for children — during which Asiate’s normal menu (wagyu beef, butter poached lobster) is set aside for more traditional parade-watching fare (scrambled eggs, Special K). On Thursday, the diner-viewers included a group of visiting Saudis, a silver-haired gentleman and his date, and the Peters family of Hinsdale, Ill., on a six-day whirlwind tour of the big city.
IN THE SEATS Michael Peters, 43, a health care executive Karen Peters, 42, an interior designer and their daughters, Lindsay, 11, and Lauren, 8, on their first visit to New York.
ON THE PLATES For mom and dad, typical adult breakfast choices: Mrs. Peters had the traditional eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce and her husband the Catskill smoked salmon plate with cream cheese, tomatoes and “choice of New York bagel.” For the girls, something more entertaining: Lindsay chose the cornflake-crusted French toast (with whipped cream, duh) and dispensing with all noncereal distractions, Lauren had the Froot Loops.
WHY THEY CAME Last Thanksgiving, Mrs. Peters noticed on a friend’s Facebook page photographs of Snoopy, Spiderman and their fellow parade floats taken from above. The friend explained that the pictures had been made at one of Asiate’s Thanksgiving Day breakfasts. “I said, ‘It’s warm, you’re not in the crowd and there are bathrooms for the kids,’ ” Mrs. Peters said. On the day last month that Asiate opened its books for Thanksgiving reservations, she secured the table. Done.
WHAT THEY TALKED ABOUT The trip, of course. So far, Lindsay’s favorite part was Ellis Island, and while Lauren liked it too, she also liked the statue of Balto, the famed Siberian husky, whom she had just read about in school and whom Mr. Peters tracked down in Central Park with the Google Maps function on his smartphone. Mr. Peters wasn’t crazy about the show they chose, “Mamma Mia!” — “Phantom of the Opera,” he felt, was better, “more serious” — but then, it was pretty cool that the girls got to play the organ at the First Presbyterian Church on West 12th Street, where Mrs. Peters’s uncle is the organist. And now there were parade floats bounding down Central Park West and Froot Loops, which Lauren never gets at home. “Yeah,” Mrs. Peters said, “life goes back to normal next week.”
Lunch At Camélia, Mandarin Oriental Paris
Mandarin Oriental Paris is one of the city’s most exciting hotel openings over the past few years, bringing a touch of Oriental style and hospitality to Paris’ first arrondissement.
Located on the prestigious rue Saint-Honore, close to Balenciaga, Colette and Chanel, Mandarin Oriental Paris perfectly reflects the luxury and elegance of the chic shopping street. Behind the listed 1930s Art Deco facade is a contemporary, sleek and tranquil lobby with a central courtyard. The stunning heart of the hotel is designed with clean lines, marble walls, floor-to-ceiling windows in grey, cream and dark magenta tones.
The very first thing on our Paris agenda was lunch at Camélia by renowned chef Thierry Marx, often described as the Parisian Heston Blumenthal, for his innovative molecular gastronomy. The extent of his creativity can be experienced in his modern fine dining restaurant Sur Mesure, however, Camélia is a more relaxed affair with a lighter atmosphere and more accessible menu.
Designed by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku of Jouin Manku Studio, Camélia is a beautiful all-white restaurant with curved surfaces, comfortable leather booths and giant petals adorning the walls, to give the impression of being enveloped inside a flower. The restaurant overlooks and extends out to the tranquil camellia garden, where guests can dine in the warmer months.
The hottest table at Camélia is the whimsical Garden Table, which seats 8 people and can be privately booked. It reminded me of the birdcage that Vanessa Paradis swings inside for the iconic 90s Coco Chanel advert. With the camellia as Chanel’s emblem, the birdcage appears to be another fitting tribute to nearby neighbours Chanel.
We were shown to our table by our friendly, charming waiter and were brought a bottle of still water followed by freshly-baked individual baguettes. At lunch, Camélia is mostly made up of business clientele and the families of hotel guests, however, better weather draws a more leisurely shopping crowd to the garden.
To start, I ordered the Bigorre Ham – toast decorated with shallots and red wine (€32). I was advised by my waiter that it is a simple dish that allows the flavours of the ham to be enjoyed on their own. Perhaps some guests expect a more elaborate interpretation, but this dish is quite restrained and all about high quality produce.
The generous portion of ham was flavoursome with a hint of fruitiness and melted in the mouth. The crisp slice of toast topped with red wine-infused shallots and fresh dill went exceptionally well with the ham.
Steven went for the Crab – open ravioli, infused with yuzu (€31). The fresh crab was tucked neatly between thin, almost transparent ravioli sheets and served cold in a creamy, fragrant sauce. It was a light and interesting start to the meal.
There were so many enticing choices on the menu, but I was particularly keen to try the Lobster from Brittany – bisque, gnocchi and green pea puree (€56). The plump, succulent lobster was meaty and tender and was served with a small copper pan of rich bisque. The gnocchi was light, buttery and nicely grilled on the outside and came with an attractive garden of pea puree, fresh peas, edamame, shallots and herbs.
Steven tried the Hereford Beef – thinly sliced, homemade potato wafers, tartar sauce (€45). The high quality beef was almost like a carpaccio, with a rare centre. It was topped with a garden of crunchy greenery, fresh dill and a light covering of smooth, tangy tartar sauce. The homemade potato wafers were crisp, golden and well-seasoned.
For dessert, it was difficult to choose between pastry chef Pierre Mathieu’s exquisite creations, so I went to take a close up look at the cakes and pastries at the Cake Shop. Here, hotel guests and the public can buy cakes to take away and the two favourites are Le Saint-Honoré and the hotel’s signature cake Le Mandarin – 62% dark chocolate mousse, vanilla cream, variety of chocolate textures.
I was particularly drawn to the decadent looking Baiano – praline crust, variety of chocolate textures (€14). The dense, crispy praline was enrobed in glossy dark chocolate, a lighter chocolate ganache dusted with fine cocoa, rose gold chocolate pebbles, a fleck of gold leaf and the hotel’s signature ‘J’aime Paris’ chocolate plaque. It was an indulgent, masterful dessert – the kind that cake lovers flock to Paris for.
Steven ordered the Strawberry and Raspberry Sorbet (€15), which came in an adorable little Mandarin Oriental ice cream cup. The two sorbets were fresh, sweet and bursting with fruit, topped with three dainty pastel pink meringues. We finished with a pot of fresh mint tea.
After lunch, we were given a guided tour of the hotel, including the sumptuous spa by Guerlain and the guest rooms designed by Sybille de Margerie. The breathtaking Cabochons Suite with its private terrace offers spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower.
Camélia is a stylish and memorable restaurant with excellent food and romantic surroundings. Even though it attracts a business crowd, it is the perfect place for a fashionable catch up with friends, or an intimate meal. There is a more affordable menu du jour at €55 and you can even stop by Camélia in the afternoon for tea and cake.
If you visit Camélia for dinner, be sure to start the evening with a signature J’aime Paris Champagne cocktail at Bar 8. The impressive 9 tonne bar is carved from one piece of marble, sourced in Spain and carved in Italy. The atmosphere is more seductive and warm, with the most exquisite Lalique coloured crystal droplets scattered across the gold walls.
Small luxury at Mandarin Oriental
More buzz in the five-star category. This week, a new palace -the Mandarin Oriental- is opening its doors with the usual 1000 EUR deluxe rooms.
But Parisiennes on the lookout for luxury at small prices have a nice surprise coming up. Because the must of this upscale offer is its pastry counter, master-minded by super chef Thierry Marx who orchestrates the cuisines of the 'made in Paris' Mandarin.
Its pastries and cakes, an amazing Saint-Honoré, a marvelous lemon pie, to be savored of course in the gallery designed by Patrick Jouin or in the heavenly garden.
The ultimate chic when you come visit the palace is that you can choose from « its delights to go », in a Sunday cakes mode.
How about the haute couture gift wrapping ? A white hat box decorated with pink gold butterflies and fastened with 4 ribbons. The absolute must as a house present for a dinner on the town.
Celebrity Chef, Thierry Marx, Pop-Up At Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai – Dubai
Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai will showcase the French cuisine of renowned Chef Thierry Marx at the hotel’s beachside brasserie, The Bay, on 16 th and 17 th January 2020. Chef Marx brings his expertise from Mandarin Oriental, Paris where he is Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage since 2010, heading up Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, a gourmet two-Michelin-starred restaurant seating 40 people,Camélia, an all-day restaurant with French classic recipes, and l’Honoré, offering a wide range of dining options in the lobby alcoves.
The celebrated French chef is known for merging French tradition with Asian influences, featuring avant-garde textures, flavors, forms and colors. Chef Marx was trained by some of the best chefs in France Claude Deligne, Joël Robuchon and Alain Chapel. After refining his culinary style in Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan, Chef Marx was awarded his first Michelin star in 1988 at the Roc en Val in Tours, and another star at Cheval Blanc in Nîmes in 1991. He spent ten years at Château Cordeillan-Bages, a Relais & Châteaux near Bordeaux, where he has held two Michelin stars since 1999 and in 2006, Thierry Marx was elected Chef of the Year by the Gault and Millau guide. In 2010 he joined the famous Top Chef TV show on which he was member of the jury for 5 years.
At The Bay, Dubai residents and tourists will have the chance to savor the Chef’s unique style of cooking with a six-course menu that will include some of his acclaimed dishes such as Gambero Rosso, Yellow Pollack and revisited Poire Belle-Hélène. The exquisite dining experience will be complemented by The Bay’s relaxed seaside setting, welcoming ambiance and impeccable service.
Advance reservations are required with prices starting at AED 500 per person and with an additional of AED 250 for beverage pairing.
“Hokkaido Food Festival ” at Northgate Ratchayothin
Two Forty Eight Café & Bar at Northgate Ratchayothin invites you to experience a selection of delightful Japanese cuisine with Hokkaido Food Festival. The menu includes Seared Hokkaido Scallops Wrapped in Bacon with Wilted Spinach, Spaghetti with Scallops and Grilled Shima Hokke Fish Teriyaki with Rice and Miso Soup etc. Hokkaido Food Festival is available [&hellip]
“Hokkaido Food Festival ” at Northgate Ratchayothin
Must Have: Chin Chin's Grand Marnier Shrimp
For many families, food memories center on a grandmother’s famous lasagna or secret sponge cake. Instead, my Irish Catholic clan counts Chin Chin’s Grand Marnier shrimp — dreamed up by someone else’s long-dead Chinese grandmother — as one of the foods we call our own. The dish entered our family repertoire when Chin Chin opened in 1987, just a few months before I was born. My father worked in one of the nearby banks, and my parents started taking me to the place shortly after that. You could say the restaurant and I grew up together: Chin Chin celebrated its 25th anniversary in July, and I just hit the quarter-century mark, the intervening years punctuated by many, many meals in those elegant surroundings.
Back to the shrimp: Each of the giant crustaceans has a light, crispy coating, and arrives drenched in a creamy sauce oozing of the Grand Marnier-mayo-and-egg-white mix that serves as a marinade. Don’t let the mayo fool you, for this is far from a simple shrimp salad. Every aspect of the dish—from the enormity of the giant shrimp to the multiple layers of texture found in each bite—shows that a great deal of culinary care went into its preparation. These intense specimens come nine to a plate, and are so rich that no one person could possibly get through more than half an order. If you aren’t salivating yet, take the word of former New York Times food critic Sam Sifton who called the Grand Marnier shrimp “delicious beyond compare” in his review, or the Zagat listing which deems the dish a “can’t-resist.”
The coveted shrimp up close. (Meghan Keneally)
It’s decadent by anyone’s definition, and I still fear the calorie count. But whenever I eat the dish, I feel more than just the inevitable food coma. I’m reminded of how my cousins were in awe of my 6-year-old self as I threw the shrimp back like popcorn and I’m reminded of our recent pattern on Christmas that finds our family in the restaurant filled with New Yorkers observing the Jewish tradition of eating Chinese food on the biggest of Christian holidays.
Family traditions are a theme at Chin Chin. The self-described “haute Chinois” restaurant was founded by Jimmy Chin, 63, and his brother Wally, 66, on East 49th Street during the eighties’s Asian restaurant boom. The Chins had immigrated to New York from China’s Canton province when Jimmy was only 5 years old, and their heritage is displayed in the form of sepia family portraits lining the immaculate dining room walls. The picture on every menu cover shows Jimmy standing next to his mother, with young Wally on her lap, shortly before they made the trip to America. And the kitchen is just as familial, with the top four positions held by direct relatives including brother-in-law-turned-head chef Chin Kuen Hin.
“If you can work together it’s a huge plus, because it’s a high-pressure environment," Jimmy says. "[But] if you say something bad in the heat of working together, and someone gets upset, you lose a relative, not only an employee."
Two years ago, when Wally decided to leave and start his own restaurant (the now-defunct Walle), it was a matter of coming out from under Jimmy’s shadow. “Everybody has to go and take their swings,” Jimmy reflects. Unfortunately the restaurant didn’t even last a year, which is not uncommon in this post-recession era. While Chin Chin’s glass doors remain open, corporate cutbacks and a certain infamous Ponzi scheme have affected business.
"The one that hurt the most was Bernie Madoff—he worked right down the street in the Lipstick Building — and basically every day, 110, 120 people in his office would have lunch. They’d do big parties. All of that ended,” Jimmy observes.
The challenges facing Chin Chin stemmed from changing attitudes and changing appetites. Opulent restaurants that used to rule the city during the days when Wall Street reigned supreme were stuck with many empty tables when the recession hit. “Fine dining has changed dramatically,” said Angie Berry, the chef de cuisine at the Mandarin Oriental’s Asiate. “What used to be over-the-top and lavish became poor taste during the recession and because of this, diners now want more for their money.”
A steady stream of regulars, who valued the comfort of Chin Chin’s familiar food and Jimmy’s jovial welcome at the door, helped keep Chin Chin afloat. Former New York Magazine restaurant critic Gael Greene says that while reaching the quarter-century milestone in “the quicksand of New York restaurants is remarkable,” she credits their success more heavily to the friendly staff, as opposed to their unchanging menu.
“Chin Chin survives because older New Yorkers loved it when the kitchen was more reliable and now love it for old time's sake, and because of their fondness for Jimmy Chin,” she said. “There are so few upscale Chinese restaurants left with captains in tuxedos bowing and portioning your food. where the owner knows your name.” While Ms Greene rightly points out that it seems the menu “is seemingly sealed in amber,” Jimmy has made some additions as diner’s tastebuds have become more adventurous. Gone are the days when, as Jimmy recalls, “it used to be only chicken chow mien, egg rolls and spare ribs.”
In contrast to increasingly available regional fare, Chin Chin always focused on American dishes created with Chinese flavor. That said, Jimmy has added various “foodie” items to the menu in recent years, including the thousand-year egg, a duck egg buried in a dirt-filled ceramic pot for up to a year to mimic the way the Chinese used to store eggs underground before refrigeration was available.
However, one food that will never make the printed list is the Grand Marnier shrimp, currently $28.50. “I’ve always had it as a special, because if it’s on the menu then it isn’t special anymore,” Jimmy tells me. “It’s one of those things like the Statue of Liberty: You come to New York, you go to the Statue of Liberty. You come to Chin Chin, you get the Grand Marnier shrimp.” My family certainly agrees.
A great Easter brunch
If you had neither the time, nor the means to go away this weekend, compensate by authorizing yourself a small luxury that will bring you a far-flung feeling of voluptuousness that you highly deserve!
The best solution? Wager everything on the Easter brunches of leading hotels. It will cost you about 100€, but it’s worth it. This kind of upscale outing last all day— with gargantuan pomp and circumstance. A real escapade.
Make a bee line for the Trianon Palace of Versailles, on Sunday and Monday. A decor à la Sofia Coppola, a princess buffet with a wide array of aristocratic dishes: truffle eggs, makis, smoked salmon, oysters, excellent viennoiseries, foie gras, raw fish tartare, soft puff pastries, pralines, tarts, and that’s just a teaser… This does not include a highly chic Easter egg hunt in their royal garden. In short: a killer.
We also like: the fabulous Easter brunch concocted by Thierry Marx at the Mandarin Oriental, luxury with a bossa nova background. Stellar buffets, amazing desserts counters and dishes served at the table just as we like it ( a top notch burger, traditional leg of lamb…).
Cherry on the baba: a nice cocktail, a fun Easter egg hunt and great animations for your little ones, in order to enjoy brunch without worrying about the kids…