The Wright, NYC

February 25, 2010

The Guggenheim Museum recently opened this restaurant named after the museum’s legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Linda and I had high hopes for it as it is only a two block walk up Fifth Avenue from our apartment. We went for dinner on Saturday, February 20, 2010.

The Wright’s entrance is down a ramp on the south side of the museum.

The door is behind the car in the photo above.

The interior features curved white surfaces like the museum’s exterior. It is dominated by an enormous colorful work of art which covers the walls in a modern version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s horizontal prairie style. There are hard white circles on the ceiling. The table on the left usually is communal; small plates and drinks are served there. The bar is on the left side.

Linda ordered a kir royale and I a glass of Segura Viudas Cava, which I really liked, while we considered the menu. We were not feeling ambitious enough to order the six-course Chef’s Tasting Menu at $68 (or $110 with wine pairings.) As we had decided on fish courses, we ordered a bottle of 2007 Bernardus (Monterey) Chardonnay. It was right for the cuisine. A basket of good breads arrived as did the amuse-gueule, a ceviche with tomato cream and a beet, goat cheese terrine.

Linda’s first course was
Seared Diver Scallop, Gently Cooked Shrimp, Lump Crab, Sea Urchin Sauce

She wrote: The scallop, shrimp and crab were well prepared; the dish was very good.

My first course was
Parsnip Soup, Romanesco Cauliflower

The flavor of the parsnips was nicely captured in this thick soup.

Linda’s second course was
Crispy Skin Striped Bass, Fennel, Potatoes, Baby Calamari, Sweet Paprika Sauce

She wrote: The bass’ skin was well crisped and the flavor good. The overall dish was less successful.

My main course was
Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut, Manila Clams, Scallions, Prosciutto Nage

The piece of halibut was flavorful and perfectly cooked. They must have run out of the clams and substituted button mushrooms. The foamy prosciutto flavored sauce was good and worked well with the slightly dry texture of the halibut chunk.

There was a little pre-dessert
Blood Orange with Greek Yoghurt Sorbet

Interesting, refreshing flavors.

My dessert was
Poached Apple Mille Feuille, Nutmeg Caramel, Apple Cider Sorbet, Cream Chantilly

This was okay, but not special.

The food was nicely done and certainly up to what one can expect for the moderate price. The service was fast, but not overly so; it was overly friendly. However, there was a big problem: the restaurant was designed to be compatible with the Guggenheim’s architecture; it is all hard, smooth surfaces in a small, enclosed space. The noise level is huge. What a shame. If Linda and I decide to go back, we’ll finish our conversation strolling up Fifth Avenue. There were quite a few young people at The Wright; they all had their mobile devices of one kind or another out. Maybe they were sending sms or tweets across the table.

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