NYC Mandarin Oriental's Asiate: Sensational Lunch

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, advised nutritionist Adelle Davis. I ascribe to any theory that supports my illusion of grandeur.

So I had a royal lunch at Asiate in the palatial Mandarin Oriental in New York City with Mary Ann Williamson. She puts the amorous in glamorous.

We rise in the elevator as if in a champagne bottle. We pop out onto the 35th floor and float into the dining room to drink up a bubbly view of sparkling Central Park.

central park, view, New York City, Mandarin Oriental

The show is free; lunch is a steal with two courses for $29.
Mary Ann kicks things off with Roasted Cauliflower, toasted almonds and beer bearnaise. Cauliflower is the new black.

New York City, Mandarin Oriental, salad

This dish is a star. I applaud the performance. Dragging a bite of still-crunchy vegetables through creamy cheese is the most graceful dance I attempt in the daytime. And why I'm in the audience, not on stage.

My first course of Scallop sashimi with fennel over ginger ice reminds me of a skilled hoofer in a Broadway musical.

New York City, Mandarin Oriental, sushi, seafood, fine dining

I love to watch dancers flit across the stage in a flurry of impossible steps. Each bite of this scallop dish a thrilling combination of bounce and zest. Look for Ginger Ice starring in a show soon.

Healthwise, a larger lunch is brilliant. You have all day to burn the calories, then have a smaller dinner. Lunch is less expensive; however, you're fully sated at Asiate. They offer entrees with heft and fortitude.

I have the Venison Tenderloin in black Tuscan kale pistol, black currants.

New York City, Mandarin Oriental, fine dining, exotic meat

I won't taste a better entree for eons. Executive Chef Christian Pratsch encircles the tender, succulent venison with kale ash like bodyguards protecting a celebrity. I greedily grab their house-made bread and soak up every memory of the currant-laced sauce.

As I dine, I note the service is a stellar production. Bustling busboys scurry while leading men waiters present plated wonders like Branzino with coco beans, chorizo, in shellfish bisque. 

New York City, Mandarin Oriental, seafood, branzino, fine dining

Pork belly dust crowns the fish. Let me know when you have a crispier and more tender piece of fish. But I'll only listen to you over lunch in this dining room. Phone ahead, you need reservations. And dress up.

We're not ready for this show to be over. Dessert serves as our denouement: Kabocha Bar.

New York City, Mandarin Oriental, dessert, chocolate, ice cream, fine dining

This hunky leading man is a Bahibe chocolate hazelnut Dacquoise with maple caramel, salted ice cream. I must tell everyone that I've just devoured perfection.

Asiate is a wonderful dining experience. The best shows keep you dancing and singing long after you've left the theater. Full of fabulous food, Mary Ann and I go high-stepping through the streets of Manhattan.  (You might recognize her as the third Rockette from the left.)

All the world's a stage. Hit it, Maestro.

Asiate. 80 Columbus Circle (at 60th Street). New York City, NY 10023. (212) 805-8800. 

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