REVIEW #32

Mihoko's 21 Grams

21 Grams (the name refers to the purported weight of a human soul), a creation by the classical ballerina, art collector and philanthropist Mihoko, is one of the finest and most interesting restaurants to open in NYC in recent years. The restaurant serves upscale French-Japanese fusion cuisine in an elaborately designed setting created by Bruno Borrione and interspersed with artifacts amassed and collected globally by Mihoko (like Prince and Madonna, Mihoko goes by a single name).

To enter the restaurant, you must first pass through a red-carpeted corridor adorned with shelves of unique service pieces that are for sale. Once inside, the cavernous space is filled with old master-style paintings, trumeau mirrors and etched glass murals from the Cartier mansion and heavy drapery. Generously-spaced tables and grisaille screens create a sense of privacy. It is an eclectic jumble of 19th century France and contemporary Flatiron loft. So many of the high-end restaurants opening in NYC these days play it safe with generically upscale interiors, so Mihoko is especially to be commended for taking a chance with such a dramatic, luxurious setting.

21 Grams is refreshing in other ways too. The food has the lightness of Japanese cuisine while maintaining the opulence of French haute cuisine. We did not unearth a single dish on the menu that failed to impress. There is a delicious Long Island duck a l’orange with potato feuillantine and a Maine lobster cocotte with manilla clams. There are also excellent cocktails and a first-rate sushi menu, both of which the restaurant attempts to impose on you in an excessively forced manner prior to providing you with a wine list or actual menu. This was but one of several kinks in the service we observed – excessive formality bordering on pretentiousness at times; overattentiveness followed by inexplicable disappearing – but the restaurant is still new as of this review and we expect most of these peccadilloes to be ironed out over time. On balance, the restaurant is a huge success and a valuable addition to NYC’s dining scene.

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INFORMATION

Flatiron
16 W. 22nd St.
New York (nr. Fifth Ave.)
212-741-0021
Tues-Sat, 5:30pm-11:00pm
    Mizuho Hirakawa, Chef
    Wilson Yang, Sushi and Kaiseki Chef
    Bruno Borrione, Designer

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