Let’s face it: famous restaurants in urban destinations that tout their views are usually tourist traps with overpriced, mediocre food. You may leave with pictures of the stunning scenery, but the big bill and so so dishes will make you wonder if that hard to snag reservation was really worth it.
In my experience, the answer has always been a resounding “no.”
Peak changed my mind.
Located in New York on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards, the tallest building in the eponymous development, this stunner of a spot offers those “wow” panoramas, standout cuisine and unstuffy but spot-on service that sets an example of what true hospitality is all about.
It’s situated one level above Edge, the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, and features a 110-seat dining room, cocktail bar, private dining section and an event space.
The restaurant, which is part of the UK hospitality group Rhubarb Hospitality Collection, debuted on March 12, 2020- unfortunate timing given that the pandemic shut down the world almost immediately after. In fact, Peak closed two days after it opened.
MORE FOR YOU
Now that it’s open once again— or really, for the first time in earnest—it warrants a visit, whether you’re a New Yorker like me or visiting from out of town.
You’ll be joining other boldfacers who have recently been to Peak: the premiere of Justin Bieber’s new documentary, “Justin Bieber: Our World,” was held here in mid-September. Also, last week, the Climate Group hosted an event where Jeff Bezos personally pledged to give away $1 billion in grants.
The journey, because that’s what it is, starts when guests enter a lounge complete with a bar on the building’s fifth floor. You can linger here for a cocktail or be whisked off in the elevator to the main event (I recommend the latter).
Celebrated architecture firm Rockwell Group was charged with Peak’s design and took care to give the surrounding cityscape center stage. The floor to ceiling windows that greet diners when they first walk in offer south-facing views of the skyline and Hudson River.
Other elements of the dramatic room include a large curved grey metal bar; a mirror-polished champagne metal ceiling that reflects the skyline; dark oak flooring; tables in both marble and sycamore wood; and mohair upholstered banquettes. A can’t miss light installation – a collaboration with the renowned Czech glassmaking studio Lasvit – anchors the space.
Peak’s art collection is striking and includes a large sculptural mural by artist Malcom Hill and pieces from collectible names such as Margaret Boozer and Petr Weigl, a London-based contemporary artist who has exhibited all over the world.
Before the food, enjoy a drink. The options, courtesy of beverage director and sommelier Zach Kameron, who cut his teeth at A Voce, are expansive and impressive. A spirits wall showcases more than 200 bottles of rare whiskeys, cognacs, sherry, port and mezcals, and the old world rolling champagne cart that arrives at your table is full of both familiar and unique bubblies. (P.S. Krug by the glass is among is the options).
Wines, more 1100 in all, are mainly from France, Italy and the U.S. while the cocktail list is creative and includes appealing non-alcoholic options.
Imbibing doesn’t get more elegant than this.
Now, to the meal itself.
Given my “this is for tourists” notion, I went in with low expectations but was left taken aback at how good the food was.
Executive chef Chris Cryer, formerly of Seamore’s, has created a menu of modern American dishes that show off the best ingredients he can get his hands on.
“There are two components that go into making our food,” says Cryer. “The first is outsourcing incredible ingredients from local fisherman, farmers and purveyors. Then, it’s how we treat them.”
Cryer says that he tries to be as local and seasonal as possible and give smaller food producers a chance to shine. The ricotta in his heritage carrots appetizer, for example, features Jersey Girl Ricotta from a farm in New Jersey.
His full lineup appeals to a variety of eaters, whether you’re an omnivore, vegetarian or stick to gluten or dairy free.
Highlights include yellowfin tuna with mango and passion fruit; squid ink chitarra with little neck clams and Calabrian chili; a zucchini blossom with goat cheese, couscous and harissa; a chicken with chanterelles and corn; roasted fluke with fava beans, chorizo and saffron; and a 30-day aged strip steak.
The dishes I tried were delicious, and there are several others that I’m excited to order on another visit.
Yes, let me make that clear: Peak is a restaurant that you might initially be drawn to for the views. Rest assured, however, that you’ll come back for the food, the chic champagne cart that transports you to another era and so much more.