Manhatta continues to struggle to make an impression on critics beyond its sprawling views. Times critic Pete Wells took the sky-high journey up to Danny Meyer’s skyscraper-set FiDi restaurant and was dazzled only by the sights of the city provided by the massive windows and servers that seemed to be “mind readers.” The food, on the other hand, was “safe, conservative and slightly dated,” according to the critic. He gave it just one star.
The restaurant — which has panoramic views of downtown Manhattan, the East River, the Manhattan Bridge, and Brooklyn — opened in July, and general manager Tom Mackenzie said at the time that the goal for the restaurant was to be more than just a pretty view. But given the reviews so far, it doesn’t look like Manhatta has quite accomplished that yet.
Wells writes that the French menu, overseen by chef Jason Pfeifer, is fairly priced at $78 for a three-course prix fixe but has “more spongy patches than there probably should be.” Wells finds a few gems though, “like the dark, shiny little canelés that show up with dessert,” and he did have kind words to say about the produce fleshing out mains and appetizers. He writes:
A melon and cucumber salad with fluffy curds of feta was an exploration of melonic potential; each section of fruit was a bit different, some infused with citrus, others dripping with unfiltered garden-patch sweetness, all of them tangy with white balsamic vinegar. An admirably cooked brick of halibut was paired with bittersweet fennel bulbs and a mustard sauce with a gentle but effective bite. Raw nectarine crescents, braised lettuces and tender thin wheels of immature corn on the cob augmenting a main course of chicken were their charming selves, and all the better for their slinky dressing of chicken jus.
But Wells goes on to note that even these standout fruits and vegetables don’t quite save the menu. Eater critic Ryan Sutton similarly found the menu at Manhatta largely unremarkable, giving it two stars mostly for those views, too. One star.