Foodparc NYC: Jeffrey Chodorow’s High-Tech “Food Hall”
Three's a trend? Foodparc NYC, Jeffrey Chodorow and Ed Schoenfeld's futuristic food court in northern Chelsea/southwest Midtown, joins the Plaza Food Hall (from Todd English) and the gigundo Eataly (from Mario Batalli) as 2010's most-likely-to-succeed multi-station restaurants with a high-end pedigree. But while Foodparc definitely shares some of the features of its food court counterparts–multiple, differently "themed" areas with separate menus–the big differences here are 1. low prices; 2. high-tech ordering via touch-screens and texting; 3. a Jetson-y design by none other than Syd Mead, who worked on Tron, Aliens and Blade Runnner.
First: the Foodparc NYC gimmick. There are three different restaurants within the space (four if you count the coffee bar, which we're not): 3Bs, serving comfort food like cheesburgers, milkshakes, grilled cheese, fries; RedFarm Stand, with Asian-inflected staples such as dumplings, fried rice, spare ribs; and Fornetti, brick-ovenning salads and pasta plunked, somewhat inexplicably, atop flatbread.
When you walk into the meandering space at Foodparc NYC, head for one of the dozen or so touch-screens scattered throughout, on which you and your party can order from any or all of the different stations. Then you go grab a seat, either at one of the metal patio-furniture type tables out on the floor, or in one of the plushy, tiered booths, a sort of space-age amphitheater looking onto nothing. In the Spring, definitely sit outside in the large, enclosed courtyard. When your food's ready you'll be alerted by text (if you entered your phone number with your order), or by watching the big screens. It's all pretty goofy, but also, admittedly, kind of fun.
And how's the food? Chodorow and Co. have signed on a ton of brand-name suppliers, with (mostly) very good results. The 3Bs Cheeseburger, for example, is terrific, the juicy, rich and rare-as-requested Pat LaFrieda hanger-blend patty topped with (in our case) vinegary Gus's pickles, sharp cheddar, smoky slabs of Benton's bacon (there are four types of swine to choose from), and the 3Bs special sauce. And even with extras, it's solidly under $10.
Also excellent: the Black Pepper Pork Potstickers from the RedFarm Stand, which actually taste like pork and pepper and chilis, with some carrots thrown in for a touch of sweetness and crunch. $5.95 for four of these fried, appropriately greasy beauties isn't exactly a bargain, but it does make for a great little snack before dinner. And the millkshakes and malteds, made with Brooklyn's beloved Blue Marble ice cream, look delicious and, we hear, taste just as good.
Foodparc NYC Details
Foodparc is located on the ground floor of the new Eventi Hotel, on Sixth Avenue between 29th and 30th Street, and is open daily from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Actually, it's just The Press, which is Foodparc's coffee and smoothie bar, that's open for breakfast; lunch–which could be the go-to meal here–and dinner is served from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00. For more info and a complete menu, please see the Foodparc NYC website.