Eating Culture: New Restaurants for the Arts

In the past couple weeks, two popular chefs have opened their newest eateries with a little more culture then ever before. Culture being literal as the venue for celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s American Table is in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, and the team behind the beloved M. Wells Diner has launched M. Wells Dinette, their new eatery inside MoMA PS1 in Queens.

“To me, Lincoln Center symbolizes New York City’s passion for culture and performance,” said Samuelsson. “As a lover of the arts, I am honored to showcase the diversity of the American dining scene at this iconic institution.”

Samuelsson’s new cafe is situated along the large glass windows in the concert hall’s foyer, and is helmed by executive chef Charlene Johnson-Hadley, who worked her way up from being line cook at Red Rooster in Harlem. The fare at American Table includes smoked Caesar salad, turkey meatball sandwiches, country ham biscuits, and, naturally, apple pie.

Over at PS1, chefs and owners Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis have converted an old classroom into their restaurant and offer a daily changing menu with items like escargot, rabbit terrine, and bibimbap with tuna and scallops. For those of you who were looking to try M. Wells’ infamous horsemeat tartar, according to Steve Cuozzo of The New York Post they will not be dishing it out any time soon after a PETA protest. M. Wells Dinette is open the same hours as the museum, but despite the classroom look, don’t expect it to be thronged with children as other museum cafeterias are.

With these new restaurants, almost all the hip cultural centers in New York now have the added draw of destination dining to them, mainly thanks to restaurateur Danny Meyer. His Union Hospitality Group runs The Modern at MoMA, followed by Untitled at The Whitney, and they have upped the food ante at Yankee Stadium by filling it with Shake Shack burgers, shakes, and fries. Now all we need is a true meshing of the two and have more food art.

Photo by Philip Greenberg

P.S.1 Blazes in New York

P.S.1 art space is once again cultivating life in Long Island City. This month began the tenth anniversary of the museum’s popular dance music series Warm Up, attracting both dance aficionados and those that just like beer and hot indie girls. (Ladies, a note: If you’re seeking straight men, hanging around the bar is your best bet). This year’s impressive schedule is sprinkled with names like DFA’s James Murphy and Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem), Au Revoir Simone, Metro Area, and Kelley Polar, ensuring numbers surpassing the weekly average of 4,000 in attendance last year.

Last weekend’s DFA/Rong show featured Jason Drummond (DJ Spun), co-curator of the series, filling out six hours of spinning by DJs Sawako, Scotty Coats, and Free Blood. The courtyard installation Public Farm One (P.F.1), was the unobtrusive yet obvious focal point, providing minimal shade for dancers but plenty of conversation fodder for art-lovers. Designed by WORK Architecture Company, the solar-powered sustainable urban farm utilizes cardboard tubes as plant beds, features a wading pool to cool off weary feet, and off to the side, there’s a chicken coop (you read it right). It wasn’t clear whether the livestock enjoyed the rave scene, but on Saturday, Spun’s thumping deep house music shuffled the feet of most of the attendees, inspiring an intense breakdance battle down in front, trance-like swayers in the back, and the faint smell of certain herbs. All the public farm’s crops appeared perfectly legal and respectable, agriculturally speaking.