Food without memory is just digestion

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Lost in Transition - New York Grill

I rarely write about my disappointments, Gentle Reader, believing my Nana's oft-dispensed wisdom that if one can not say something nice one should never say anything at all.

However, when the venue is one like the New York Grill [Map] and is actively sought out by Japanese and visitor alike, I feel like I should stand up for the rights of all the people who come away from NYG feeling strangely under-done. There is really nothing wrong with NYG - the problem is that nothing stands outs. The venue is spectacular, the design outstanding, but with the murky lighting you fumble and feel your way through the furniture and the menu.

Quite rightly the cocktails are worthy of New York, but some one's made a serious misjudgement with the wine list. I am one of the first to agree that there are some great American wines, but to go overboard with theming by having solely American wines does the guest and the chef a disservice.

The food is well prepared, but lacks imagination or flair. Each ingredient in our food was high quality and the intention was clearly right - however, each dish failed to come together into an offering worthy of the attention the NYG gets after the Lost in Translation fanfare it received.

In fact, one feels that the NYG is waiting to go somewhere. With other great hotels opening elsewhere in Tokyo and each boasting a great restaurant, the Shinjuku Park Hyatt no longer seems a natural fit for this sort of effort. Maybe there's something in the wings that we don't know about, but I get the feeling that the place needs an overhaul.

All the staff go out of their way to be nice, and service is exemplary. Somehow that's not enough, and we left feeling a little short-changed.

Rating: Food: 6/10; Wine: 5/10; Ambiance: 5/10; Service: 7/10; Price ($$$): 6/10. Total: 29/50
New York Grill [Map]: 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tel: +81 3 5322 1234

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