This post originally appeared on March 16, 2019, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
Hudson Yards, the most expensive private development project in American history, debuted in New York on March 15 to much fanfare, wild crowds, and monster lines for everything from Kith ice cream to José Andrés-endorsed churros. I highly recommend you read Michael Kimmelman’s take in the New York Times (“It is, at heart, a supersized suburban-style office park, with a shopping mall and a quasi-gated condo community targeted at the 0.1 percent”) or Justin Davidson’s in New York Mag (“I suppose this apotheosis of blank-slate affluence is someone’s fantasy of the 21st-century city, but it isn’t mine”).
My favorite take on the dining situation within the development — mostly enveloped in the Shops at Hudson Yards mall — comes from, of course, Ryan Sutton, this past fall. He called out the complex for the dearth of female operators among its dozens of concepts, the lack of indie establishments, the predictability and sameness of the brands here (Thomas Keller, Dave Chang, Michael Lomanaco, and Costas Spiliadis all have restaurants within walking distance of Hudson Yards), the general elitism of the development.
When you are building a neighborhood out of whole cloth, you miss the wonderful, organic, messy patchwork that is a typical urban neighborhood. When you prioritize access to capital over originality of concept, you end up with a could-be-anywhere blandness akin to a Vegas casino. And when most concepts live in a multi-story mall, you turn your back on the street life, foot traffic, and interactions with the city that makes living here so compelling in the first place.
And while I know that it’s technically boom times around here and we just celebrated the 10th anniversary of this bull market, I wonder if a mall with so many expensive restaurants abutting shops from Dior, Neiman Marcus, and Cartier will feel five years from now. (I suppose, there’s always Shake Shack?)
STILL I love reading all the coverage of what it means for architecture, urban development, the economy, and the worlds of food, retail, and public art. And of course now I’ll never unsee the $200 million Giant Shawarma that stands at the middle of it all.
I don’t have time to daydream since I’m writing this at 10 p.m. Friday night, but I’d love to hear what operators YOU would put into a development like this (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Inside Belcampo, Anya Fernald’s sustainable meat-centric counter service spot.
- Inside Dave Chang’s Kāwi, a fine dining spot from chef Eunjo Park.
- Inside Peach Mart, Dave Chang’s ode to Asian convenience stores.
- Inside Mercado Little Spain, José Andrés’ behemoth Spanish food hall.
- Inside Wild Ink, a pan-Asian restaurant from an international restaurant group, with Tien Ho at the helm.
- Hudson Yards opening day LIVEBLOG.
- How Hudson Yards chose its 25 restaurants.
P.S.: A heads up from Thomas Keller: “We’re calling it fun dining, not fine dining.”
Opening of the Week: Auburn
Why care? The chef Eric Bost is putting out a precious-looking fine dining menu in a town not known for loving tasting menus. Also I can’t tell if this room is serene and soothing or Crate and Barrel boring.
- Intel: Chef Jessica Largey left her new LA restaurant Simone “to pursue outside projects”; WeWork is getting into the food incubator business; California paid $600,000 to get the Michelin guide to launch a statewide edition; Ayesha Curry opened a Miami branch of her restaurant International Smoke; iconic New York cookie destination Levain is expanding downtown; LA chefs Josiah Citrin and Hans Rockenwagner are reviving an old Culver City steakhouse (favored by Sinatra), knowing it will be demolished in 2021; SF favorite Al’s Place will open a casual quick-service spinoff; chef John Fraser is bringing his NY restaurant the Loyal to Miami; Jonah Hill shot Vampire Weekend’s new music video at Zabar’s and Barney Greengrass; Shake Shack is experimenting with a four-day work week in some locations; San Francisco “bean-to-bar” chocolate maker Dandelion Chocolate is opening a huge factory; Hollywood has a new rooftop bar with culinary cred; and lauded New Orleans restaurant Longway Tavern fired its chef after he pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges.
- Have you been eating pineapple wrong all along? (Spoiler: probably not!)
- Mitt Romney: alien in humanoid form or perfectly reasonable and sanitary man and YOU ARE THE CRAZY ONES?
- It sounds like a complete pain in the ass to protect a trademark like “Barcade.”
- Found the new spot to put at the top of my Paris dining list, via Gabe Ulla.
- Longread: Searching for the original version of aguachile in Sinaloa.
- Watch: our Prime Time dudes try to save the worst cut of meat on a cow.
- Robert Sietsema loves the baloney sandwich, not the famous burger at the new and already besieged New York location of Chicago’s Au Cheval.
- Eater has teamed up with the Food Bank for New York City for a campaign to raise money for hunger relief. All next week all Eat for Good restaurants (our faves here) will donate 5 percent of sales to Food Bank’s mission.
- If you like newsletters, and I know you do, sign up for our newest, The Move. In each edition, we distill our absolute-best eating and drinking tips into one emphatic action.
- Um, wow, have you seen the interiors of Sadelle’s Las Vegas?
This Week on the Podcast
This week on the podcast, Daniel and I speak with chef Brooks Headley about making it work at New York’s tiny but mighty vegetarian restaurant Superiority Burger.