Asiate

asiate

I haven’t eaten dinner at Asiate since 2009. I remember the view being spectacular, a roasted foie gras topped with glazed eel being quite good, and the date that evening being terrible (not the restaurant’s fault). I figured I’d try breakfast since fashion week runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and had neglected to mention the meal at any of the above restaurants.

My reservation was for two, but the friend I invited informed me at 2:44 a.m. that she wouldn’t be making it. I arrived about 20 minutes before my reservation and there was a line of people waiting to get into Asiate. They were all clearly hotel guests. “We’re room 4524,” shouted a young French girl to the reservationist. Before them was a group of five and a group of two. I was asked to wait five minutes. “You can wait on the bench over there,” the hostess informed me. I watched them all get window seats.

The wait was only about one minute, and when I told her it was going to just be me, she asked if I wanted a newspaper. I was seated in the middle of the restaurant on a cozy banquette with magnificent views looking east on Central Park South. Immediately, a waiter brought over the amuse-bouche, a two-oz. guava smoothie, which was flavorful but warm. Only the glass was chilled; it seemed as if the smoothie was made hours before.

For eight dollars you can drink all the coffee you want at Asiate. For $24 you can order traditional eggs benedict, a beautiful presentation consisting of two poached eggs that rest above Canadian bacon and English muffins covered in hollandaise sauce and sprinkled with small dashes of chopped truffles. At first, I took a bite from the edge of the dish and shrugged. But then, I cracked the egg and mixed up the truffles, and my experience was completely changed. Flavors erupted, and the yolk was still warm. The hash brown–like breakfast potatoes were also excellent.

A mother and daughter—or so it seemed—both dressed in Valentino (the mother in a blue and white dress from the Fall collection, the daughter in black studded heels) sat at the table next to me. I saw they had ordered pancakes and decided to follow their lead. For $18 you get three wonderfully fluffy buttermilk pancakes with berries and maple syrup from Vermont.

On their menu, Asiate warns that they add a 15 percent service charge to the total check. If there are six or more people, 18 percent is added. I thought to myself, how great would it be to come here, get the paper, enjoy the view, and have unlimited cups of coffee? That would only cost $9.20. Would that annoy them? At the end of the meal, I left an additional 20 percent tip in cash, but stole their pen.

80 Columbus Circle (at 60th Street), New York, NY; 212.805.8881; mandarinoriental.com.