One of the more curious hospitality trends of the last couple of years or so, has been the rise of brand-backed restaurants, notably in NYC. Indeed, during the 2017 holiday season, Kellogg’s opened – naturally – a cereal-centric eatery, complete with Instagram station. (Like, if you don’t Insta it, it doesn’t exist?) About a year previous, Pepsi premiered Kola House on far W. 15th to wild acclaim and significant celebrity attendance (Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid); it has since unceremoniously shuttered.
The latest, and certainly most intriguing, is INTERSECT BY LEXUS (their caps), also in the Meatpacking District – which debuted just before Thanksgiving. As the neighborhood is, of course, fashion’s new(ish) Downtown playground, it has drawn a corresponding crowd, especially during the week. The Masamichi Katayama designed space itself is nothing short of breathtaking, with a ground floor cafe, and a spectacular third floor gallery space.
In the middle is a 50-seat restaurant of sexy, understated glamour – with a cool circular cocktail bar serving a drinks program by Andrea Morris.
But INTERSECT is definitely not all just good looks. Overlord Chef Gregory Marchand is le monsieur behind Paris’ Frenchie mini-empire (still one of the hardest rezzies to get in France’s capital). And Exec Chef Nickolas Martinez is formerly of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – so has trained under perhaps the greatest culinary master of our generation. (N.B. M. Robuchon sadly passed on in August of 2018).
But the big news is, the IBL NYC has just launched its inevitable lunch service. So one can excitedly sneak off from the office (possibly full of stylistas on a half-meal-a-day January regimen) for a starter of baby leeks or lamb ragu paperdelle, followed by halibut a la Grenobloise or, most naughtily, fried chicken with jalapeno aioli – and refuse to feel guilty about it (deux cours cost just $35, it should be noted).
It may, in fact, just be the first real challenge to the MePa lunch supremacy of The Standard Grill.
INTERSECT BY LEXUS NYC follows similar ventures by the luxury automaker in Tokyo and Dubai – evidence that the project is clearly meant to be cultivating the upper-cognoscenti. In fact, the Gotham edition is specifically run by Danny Meyer’s celeb-favored Union Square Hospitality Group – which counts everything from Gramercy Tavern to Union Square Cafe to Shake Shack amongst its portfolio. So, clearly, there’s nowhere else you need to be this winter.