Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Wakiya

2 Lexington Ave. (E. 21st St.) Send to Phone
212-995-1330
Haute Chinese in a sleek and stylish setting.

Cuisine
Open
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sat.-Sun.
Features
  • Dress code: Business casual
  • Reservations suggested

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Wakiya, New York, NY

THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Wakiya Restaurant Review

: When Ian Schrager finished transforming the down-at-the-heels Gramercy Park Hotel into a luxury hotel, he then set his mind to the restaurant that would anchor the property. After struggling with the initial concept he settled on Wakiya, a modern interpretation of the Asian restaurants of decades past (Indochine, Le Colonial) that were popular in Schrager’s 1980s heyday. Much like those hot-spots, the look of the place---and the clientele, which doesn’t appear to be a fan of eating in general---trumps the food. Hard black surfaces abound, interspersed with red flourishes, like the string curtains and carpeting. Yuji Wakiya, the eponymous chef here who comes to New York via Tokyo, gilds the menu with the familiar, from Shanghainese soup dumplings (upgraded to include pork with lobster instead of crab) to spring rolls and hot-and-sour soup. For every winner like the delicate, almost ethereal creamy lemon shrimp, there is a misfire like tan tan noodles (bland when they should be sinus-clearing) and Peking duck (arid when it should be crisp and transcendent). It’s in comparison to the city’s Chinese competitors where Wakiya fails; there are simply too many superior options, most of them at a more reasonable price point, for it to be a destination restaurant.
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