The West Side of Midtown Manhattan is an odd place. The New Jersey–facing piers that were until recently the neighborhood's defining feature feel far removed from the bustling crowds that canvas the rest of the island.
If you've passed through in the past year or two, you’ll have noticed that a patch of glistening skyscrapers has protruded high into the air like a futuristic vision. But Hudson Yards, the 28-acre real-estate development at the northern terminus of the High Line, is not a thing of the future: It's here, finally, and it's opening to the public March 15. The complex has eight residential and commercial buildings sitting on a huge public plaza. It's ornamented by British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s 150-foot-tall honeycomb-like functional sculpture titled Vessel, open to visitors, which comprises a looping staircase with 2,500 steps and 80 landings.
Developed by Stephen Ross, founder and chairman of Related Companies, the real-estate development firm behind the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, Hudson Yards was designed as an all-encompassing live-work-shop-dine neighborhood in and of itself. Luxury apartments are available for sale or rent, and several companies are opening offices or relocating their headquarters here, including WarnerMedia and L'Oréal USA, among others. Ken Himmel, president and CEO of Related Urban, co-curated the collection of retail and dining venues.
The majority of the dining venues are located at 10 and 20 Hudson Yards. This will include 10 full-service restaurants by big-name chefs like Thomas Keller, David Chang and Michael Lomonaco; a sprawling food hall by José Andrés; and popular quality-focused fast-casual eateries like Shake Shack and Sweetgreen. Several of these renowned restaurateurs have Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning concepts in New York and elsewhere for their excellent wine programs, and their new operations will be no different. Here's your guide to finding great wine at Hudson Yards.
Mercado Little Spain
Chef José Andrés recalls that 30 years ago this year, he came to New York City for the first time. He was in the Spanish army, and his ship docked mere steps from the area that would become Hudson Yards, where he is opening his newest eateries this month. He believes it's destiny.
Mercado Little Spain takes up the entire ground floor of 10 Hudson Yards. It's a colorful food court with a main seating area at its center, and several full-service restaurants and bars scattered around. The 10 food kiosks offer focused counter service: The Jamón y Queso kiosk, for example, serves just ham, cheese and cured meats. There will be a tapas bar with counter seating, as well as a Spanish wine bar, Vinos, and a cocktail bar, Bar Celona. Two retail shops will sell canned goods, books, gifts and more. Three restaurants will top it off: Leña, which will focus on paella and grilled meats; Mar, focusing on seafood; and Spanish Diner, a casual all-day eatery with a retractable wall for fair weather. Only two kiosks and Bar Celona will open March 15; the rest will roll out in the coming weeks.
Andy Myers, wine director for Andrés' ThinkFoodGroup, is overseeing the all-Spanish beverage program for the entire Mercado Little Spain. There will be between 250 and 300 selections available, with around 40 by the glass, at all the restaurants and bars. The lists, while offering the same wines, will be formatted differently for each venue according to what styles go best with the food and concept.
"Our goal is to introduce America to the wonder and the bounty and the sheer diversity of Spanish wine," Myers told Wine Spectator. While there will be staples like Rioja and Ribera del Duero, the list will also branch out into areas like Sherry, Sierra de Malaga, the Canary Islands and beyond. "We're super-excited to show everybody [that] Spain is a much more diverse place in wine than anybody knew."
TAK Room will serve classic continental cuisine, overseen by chef Jarrod Huth, on Level 5 of 20 Hudson Yards. The wine list will offer 400 to 500 selections, with more than 20 available by the glass, as well as a dozen half-bottles and about 30 magnums. It was developed by chef Thomas Keller and his restaurant group's beverage director, Michel Couvreux.
"To follow TAK Room's iconic menu, I have selected wines that represent some very classic appellations from France, mainly Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley," Couvreux told Wine Spectator. There will be some verticals of Bordeaux first-growths like Châteaus Mouton-Rothschild and Latour. California will be another main focus, particularly Cabernets and bottlings from Napa Valley.
Champagne and other sparkling wines will be served by the glass tableside from a gueridon that was custom-built for TAK Room. Keller will also open a Bouchon Bakery on the fifth floor.
Located on Level 5, Kāwi feels like a slightly more upscale iteration than most of David Chang's Momofuku restaurants, with dimmed lighting and a sleek open kitchen. Chef Jo Park will helm the kitchen, serving inventive Korean-inspired fare.
The wine list will have more than 300 selections highlighting small-production vintners who practice "responsible farming." It will focus heavily on France, as well as rising stars in the New World; look forward to a sparkling Gamay from Beaujolais' Frank Besson, as well as a Pinot Noir from Oregon's Hope Well. Behind the program are Isabella Fitzgerald, the beverage manager at Kāwi who did an eight-year stint at Best of Award of Excellence winner Gramercy Tavern, and Jake Lewis, who has been the Momofuku group's beverage director since 2016.
Chang will also open Peach Mart, a takeout spot adjoining Kāwi, and an outpost of Fuku, his fried-chicken joint, on the second floor.
Hudson Yards Grill
Who: Michael Lomonaco
Restaurant Award: Porter House Bar and Grill
Hudson Yards Grill, on Level 4, is a collaboration with Himmel Hospitality Group, a Boston-based company that owns Grand Award winner Grill 23 & Bar, as well as Best of Award of Excellence winners Post 390, Harvest and Bistro du Midi.
The bright red leather booths give a classic American comfort vibe to the restaurant, but a touch more upscale. In the back, a large open kitchen sprawls across almost the entire width of the space. It will serve a cornucopia of cuisines: Preview dishes included thin-crust pizzas, sliders, gumbo and sushi, and the kitchen is set up with a rotisserie oven for various meats.
The wine list, crafted by Himmel beverage director Brahm Callahan, will offer 75 selections by the bottle and 20 by the glass.
Other noteworthy venues
Wine lovers will also want to check out restaurateur Costas Spiliadis' two-story venue on Levels 5 and 6; Spiliadis owns multiple seafood-focused restaurants in the U.S., Canada, Greece and the U.K. Milos Wine Bar, downstairs, will champion Greek wine with around 100 selections from the country. Spiliadis wants to raise the profile of Greek wine, and will introduce Hudson Yards diners to native grapes like Assyrtiko, Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro and more. Go up a spiral staircase (or the elevator at the center) to reach Estiatorio Milos, the main restaurant with an outdoor patio and raw bar.
Other full-service restaurants opening March 15 include Queensyard, by D&D London, celebrating all things British; Wild Ink, by the Rhubarb group, serving Asian-inspired cuisine in a swanky, art deco–like space; Belcampo, the sustainable and ethical Northern California meat company owned by Anya Fernald; and the Zodiac Room, on the top floor of a Neiman Marcus department store, which occupies a corner of the building and has gorgeous views of One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. There will also be a Citarella, the gourmet seafood-focused market.
But there's even more to come. Restaurateur Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group, owner of Restaurant Award winners like the Modern and Gramercy Tavern, will open Cedric's this coming April at the Shed, a performing and visual arts cultural center on the complex. Additionally, an unnamed Stephen Starr restaurant is in the works at Equinox Hotel; Starr owns 16 Restaurant Award–winning restaurants across Pennsylvania, New York, Florida and Washington, D.C., including Le Coucou and Barclay Prime.
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