Danny Meyer Goes Sky-High with Manhatta Restaurant

Manhatta, the latest venture from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, opened its doors to the public 60 floors in the sky on July 17. Located at 28 Liberty Street in Manhattan's Financial District, there's a private entrance on the ground floor near William Street for guests going up to the restaurant or private event space dubbed the Bay Room. Inside, a host checks guests in and directs them to a dedicated elevator to transport eager diners high into the sky, uninterrupted by other building occupants.

Peekytoe crab salad, croque madame and heirloom tomato salad. (Photo by Daniel Krieger.)

Upon exiting the elevator, guests are met with a wall of windows behind the 40-foot-long black walnut bar. It already appears to be a prime location for afterwork drinks and the like, with a number of stools and tables in this area of the restaurant available on a first-come, first-served basis. Looking to serve more than just the post-work crowd, "[We] want it to feel as warm and familiar as a neighborhood restaurant," says Danny Meyer in a press release.

The decor features a mix of grays, dark wood and gold metal accents designed by Woods Bagot, and is meant to evoke "mid-century modern sensibilities." Though the breathtaking views of the city and surrounding environs through the wall of windows are the best design element one could imagine, the space was completed with the blinds lowered to make sure that the interior could stand on its own. There are also over 100 pieces of art throughout the space from a combination of emerging and established artists.

Executive chef Jason Pfeifer. (Photo by Daniel Krieger.)

Leading the kitchen for the dining room and is executive chef Jason Pfeifer, who spent eight years at Maialino in addition to stints at Per SeGramercy Tavern and Noma. Pfeifer's menu is what he describes as New American bistro fare. All of the dishes are ingredient driven and based on inspiration by the best produce available at the market that week or even day. As such, the menu changes almost daily with slights tweaks on some days and complete item swaps on others.

In the dining room, there is a three-course, prix-fixe menu available for $78 (hospitality included) at dinner. Sample dishes include peekytoe crab salad with poached leeks and frizzled artichokes; halibut with peas and hollandaise; and butterscotch soufflé. Guests can order many of the same items à la carte in the bar, with the addition of snacks such as miniature croque madame sandwiches, tempura scallops, and Scotch snails with parsley and garlic butter. There's also a French onion burger based on the beloved soup that Pfeifer says is already gaining a following. There are plans to open for lunch down the road.

Veal "blanquette" with wilted greens and mushrooms is one of the dishes available on the opening menu in the dining room. (Photo by Daniel Krieger.)

Handling drinks is beverage director Matt Whitney, formerly of The Modern. The wine list is heavily French—with an emphasis on Burgundy in particular—and there are a number of cocktails crafted with the same care as Pfiefer's cooking. The signature Manhatta cocktail featuring New Distilling Ragtime Rye, Carpano Antica, demerara and bitters.

Manhatta at night. (Photo by Emily Andrews.)

Outside of the restaurant, the rest of the floor houses a private dining room, a large production kitchen and the first-ever event space from Danny Meyer. The Bay Room spans 10,400-square-feet and continues the wall of windows for views of the rest of the city. It can accommodate up to 400 seated guests or 700 standing for corporate events, weddings or whatever else one's heart desires. The Bay Room's kitchen is led by executive chef David Brinkman.

Hero image by Emily Andrews.

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