Thursday, June 21, 2007

A New Concept In Dining

While we will always call Boston home an occasional foray into New York City to check out the very latest on the dining scene is not beyond the bounds of our foodie sphere. There is just so much happening on the ever-changing NY scene that we feel we must update all our trusted and loyal fellow foodies to keep them informed.

Well, there is no doubt that Nobu, Babbo and Del Posto seem to continue their vise-like hold on the top three most enviable reservations. Veteran patrons and New Yorkers know that getting on the phone to them at 9:00 am EST thirty days prior to the desired dining date is the only true way to score a table here rather than to leave it to the chance of a walk-in on the day of. Of course there is the reservation-defying Waverly Inn, with its never-ending phone message loop that seems to be a practical joke played on the entire City. You simply CAN'T call them for a reservation. Yet, this Summer season, which we literally usher in as I write these words, the City is all abuzz over the new re-do of the legendary Park Avenue Cafe. But this is not just your standard face lift and reopening.

The Smith and Wollensky Group and the restaurant's owner, Michael Stillman, have partnered with AvroKo, the same people who have made The Stanton Social an enviable notch on the NYC foodie belt. "Park Avenue Summer" is the new name but... surprise... it will only be called that for a few months until the weather cools, the leaves fall and it will totally transform into Park Avenue Autumn. That's right. Not only will the menu be totally revamped but the entire interior will be scrapped again with all new decor right down to the place settings and server uniforms. And then again in the Winter and on and on and on.

The entire restaurant will change with the coming of each and every season. While this mind-spinning concept (even for New Yorkers) may be heaven for the AADD set one could never imagine it being successful if it wasn't Park Avenue Cafe, an eatery that knows well how to please its patrons year after year. Even if the service wasn't always spot on and the prices were outrageous, the cuisine was always faultless.

Initial reviews are good but how can we not wonder: aren't most restaurants aiming for success in it for the long haul? A complete overhaul four times a year seems a bit much but apparently the plan has been well thought out. The space is apparently structured around what sounds like an operatic stage set, with walls and lighting that can be easily shifted and changed. Inventive? Yes. Ingenious? That remains to be seen. I have to say, however, Park Avenue Summer does show a refreshing, airy, light look that is far more spacious in person than it seems in the photo. Let's just see what the Autumn brings.

Park Avenue Summer
100 East 63rd Street at Park Avenue

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