by Alex R. Travers
For the last four years, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week—New York City’s largest media event—has come to call Lincoln Center home. The result has been fantastic, but for attendees looking for more than the free Fiber Ones as they’re passed out, figuring out where to eat and getting reservations can be difficult tasks. Here, our writer explores some of the options Lincoln Center, and its surrounding area, has to offer.
8 minute walk to the tents
If you are a fan of cheese—particularly in fondue form—you may want to head over to Kashkaval, a cheese and gourmet foods market with an intimate, candlelit wine and cheese bar in the back. Kashkaval is at 856 Ninth Avenue, which makes it relatively easy to visit in between shows. But allow me to make a recommendation: Go here after your last evening show at Lincoln Center. You’ll find Kashkaval rather charming at night. When you walk inside, you’ll be greeted by rows of cheese along with selections of Middle Eastern and Greek dips and spreads. Continue into the back, past the first short tile bar, and you’ll find the modest wine and cheese bar area. It’s a typical setup with dim lighting, cast-iron sconces, wooden benches, and exposed brick. Yet, the space doesn’t have a typical downtown-speakeasy feel with a new-but-made-to-look-old update. It’s more like walking into a suburban slice joint and finding the little restaurant section in the back. Kashkaval, like its cuisine, is simple and unpretentious.
8 minute walk to the tents
Pastry lovers rejoice at Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Keller’s confectionery outpost located a level below his celebrated restaurant, Per Se, in the Time Warner Building. Filled with croissants, macarons, and tarts, the bakery serves up staples of daily Parisian life along with various options for lunch and dinner. But what I personally admire is pastry chef Sébastien Rouxel’s butter nutter cookie, a deliciously excessive creation with creamy peanut butter flanked between two saucer-sized cookies. If you enjoy peanut butter, the cookies are sinfully good—tasty enough to finish one before your three-story escalator ride out of the building is over.
11 minute walk to the tents
Here’s the best way to eat at Marea—Mike White’s two–Michelin star seafood restaurant located at 240 Central Park South—during Fashion Week: Go at lunchtime, get a seat at the bar, and order off the “pasta fatta in casa” section of the menu. (If it’s your first time, don’t miss the fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow.) I’ve formally dined at Marea three times since it opened in 2009 and have always been more than pleased. But I’ve lost count of the times I’ve sat at the bar, ordered one of Mike White’s brilliant pasta dishes, and left feeling delightfully satisfied. The oysters, which don’t need the morellino mignonette and cucumber-lemon vinegar they come with, and crudo selections are also worth mentioning.
Marea, 420 Central Park South, New York, NY; 212.582.5100; marea-nyc.com.
1 minute walk to the tents
I thought I’d never get in without a reservation. I was wrong. I walked into Lincoln at 5:45 p.m, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, hoping since I arrived at such an unfashionable time I’d be able to get a table. “We’d be happy to seat you anywhere you’d like,” the reservationist told me. I chose the bar, a pleasant area tucked behind the left side of the restaurant with views of Julliard and the main dining room. The seats, cushy low-backs in warm cream, were very comfortable. I was glad to be there, but thought about asking to be moved to one of the cavernous booths in the main dining room.
7 minute walk to the tents
I called Asiate at 11:40 a.m. on August 29 and asked for a table for four at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 7. The reservationist, who was most gracious, said she could accommodate. I asked if she could place us next to the window. “I can put in your request, but can’t guarantee it,” she kindly replied.
To be honest, I had no intention of actually eating dinner at Asiate, the 10-year-old restaurant on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental. I was simply curious to see if it was booked. But before I hung up, I had a change of heart. “Can I come for breakfast tomorrow a little after 10?” I asked the hostess. “Sure.”