Mihoko's 21 Grams
I was lost... This couldn't be right. I was on a block of 22nd street between 5th and 6th avenues looking for a new restaurant. There's nothing here I thought except for a parking lot and some garages, a restaurant desert. Wait there it is, just past the parking lot...Like an oasis 21 Grams appeared.
Mihoko was a professional ballerina and this restaurant is her Pièce de résistance, 21 Grams. Upon entering you are transported somewhere else entirely, the foyer feels like a Madison Avenue tea shop with displays of ceramic teapots of Asian design, ceremonial tea bowls and stylized serving trays. You imagine these might have all come directly from Mihoko's personal kitchen. At the end of the foyer beautiful hosts greet you and you have a choice of descending to French Lounge or ascending to the main dining room.
The French lounge has a beautiful bar and number of pristine white leather chairs. Once seated in one of these chairs that literally envelope you, it's hard to get up. The drink menu has a number of exotic sounding creations. Our server asked what taste we were looking for and then guided us through suggestions. I consider myself fairly well educated when it comes to food and wine, but I found myself asking questions about unfamiliar ingredients throughout the evening. I had a drink called the Hommage after I said I was craving a Negroni, it had an orange liqueur, but not Campari. It was refreshing with a nice bitterness to it.
When it came to dining, it's like you are entering a whole new world again. I have never seen dining with this much room to breathe in NYC, well maybe Per Se. The tables are far enough apart and secluded that you could have Barclay's talking about their finances and the Feds the next table over without sweating. The decor of the room I would say is old world French updated with Japanese technology. Large exquisitely adorned pictures become animated and move like something straight out of Harry Potter. The chairs here are like thrones also adorned with leather.
The food is broken up between Japanese and French. The Japanese menu featured a number of mixed rolls, including many vegetarian options. There is also the option to do a seasonal omakase. For this visit I went with the French menu. It's all in the details and there is a lot of thought going into the details here. I loved the simplicity of the silverware and the serving plates, let the food shine.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with sorbet, watermelon, cucumber and gazpacho
This was actually a trio of dishes. The Tomato salad is was fresh and simple, just as it should be. The gazpacho tasted pure and had a nice bit of heat to it added. The sorbet we refreshing with a tomato gelee" surrounding it.
Foie Gras with Sweetbreads, Japanese Leeks and Kuro Sichimi
It's seared foie gras and sweetbreads, who wouldn't like this? Perfectly executed and delicious.
King Salmon Riviera with panisse, rainbow swiss chard and grenbloise
The fish was perfectly moist and topped with a crust(panisse?) and croutons. The grenbloise sauce (butter, lemon and capers) was fantastic and served with the swiss chard shaped in a cigar.
Wagyu Beef Ribeye with spiced carrots, ginger bread and onion soubise
This meat served cut into smaller pieces almost melted in my mouth. You could see the huge amount of marbling throughout the meat, unbelievably good. In fact so good I can't remember much about the other ingredients on the plate.
Litchi Parfait with Rose-Champagne sorbet
I love litchi and this is just what this was, a perfect parfait full of litchi flavor. Not too sweet and served on a plate studded with litchi stuffed raspberries. Oh yeah, that rose-champagne sorbet was like eating refreshing flowers, yes that sounds strange but try it.
Meyer Lemon Chiboust and the Peach Melba
Both of these were great, but I was taken with the Litchi Parfait. Extra points to the Peach Melba for looking so amazing though.
This place is not cheap, you will pay or hopefully have someone else pay. But if you want an experience right up there with a Jean Georges, Daniel or Bouley and want something new, you have to give serious consideration to 21 Grams. Everything is top notch; food, service, decor, everything. If you want to impress and wow someone, this is the newest option that I have found in a while that absolutely will blow you and the rest of your party away.
Mihoko's 21 Grams