Restaurant i NYC
No question, Restaurant i in NYC has what it takes to get your attention, design-wise, even in the increasingly hyped-up Flatiron District. Yes, that's a giant rhino head made from rubber tires in Restaurant i's "foyer", complete with artist catalog on nearby pedestal. Yes, the complicated ceiling slowly changes colors, bathing the grass window boxes between tables (and everything else) in violet-ish light, then blue-ish, then orange. And, yes, that is a cello, standing up there on the ledge, apropos of nothing. Designed by Studio Salt and part of the soon-to-be-opened boutique Hotel Gramerci, it's all very cool here inside Restaurant i, a stylish spot to sip a cocktail or three.
The good news: the food at Restaurant i gets your attention as well, with a menu of classic American, often Asian-infused dishes that show real talent and purpose back there in the kitchen where, presumably, the lighting is fixed, and probably fluorescent. We stopped by a couple of times last week, sampling a few items from across the menu, and left both times feeling satisfied. And, of course, sexy and stylish, too. Our favorite dish at Restaurant i was the brothy bowl of sweet, tender little Bay Scallops and Rock Shrimp, a generous portion of each tossed over fat, appropriately chewy egg noodles, snow peas and peanuts adding crunch, a sprinkling of dried peppers really bringing the heat. This is a dish worthy of another visit, and better than anything we've ever had at the round-the-corner, always-crowded Laut.
Other dishes at Restaurant i NYC were good as well. The Roasted Cauliflower starter, all browned and vinegary with capers, artichoke and yuzu butter, was hearty and balanced. The Golden and Red Beet salad wasn't revolutionary–goat cheese, frisee, etc.–but we did find the caraway vinaigrette to be a nice touch. And though the Free Range Chicken was a bit overdone (as breasts so often are), and the accompanying cranberry bread torchon a bit gummy, the kicky beer jus puddled on the plate managed to salvage things. We also appreciated the bowl of crispy and addictive fried rice noodles that arrived as soon as sat down each time. Nice touch.
Restaurant i Details
Restaurant i in NYC is located on Broadway between 19th and 20th Streets, and is open on Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30. For more information and the complete menu, please see the Restaurant i NYC website.