“What we do in these projects is we make sure that every single restaurant, every chef, every concept is a one-off. They don’t compete with each other.” That’s what Kenneth Himmel, the chief executive at Related Urban — and a man responsible for a lot of Hudson Yards’s food lineup — told Eater NY last fall. “If you went through the list of all of the restaurants and all the food retailing and coffee concepts and everything else in the project, every one is a little different,” he said.
Yes, each restaurant is a little different. But it’s frightening to consider how similar things really are at Hudson Yards, and the competition that surely ensues. Here are some data points drawn from the eight full-service venues on the upper floors of the mall: TAK Room, Milos, Queensyard, Belcampo, Hudson Yards Grill, the Zodiac Room, Wild Ink, and Kawi.
- Four of eight full-service restaurants serve Dover sole, a hallmark of fine dining seafood. The cheapest is sold at Queensyard for $38; TAK Room charges $85. Milos prices its by the pound.
- Every single fourth-floor restaurant serves burgers. There are four restaurants here, including Shake Shack, and they all sell burgers.
- Seven of the eight full-service restaurants serve steak. If you include the José Andrés restaurants at Mercado Little Spain, 10 of the 11 restaurants serve it.
- Literally half of the full-service restaurants would qualify as chophouses or steakhouses. Sure, steak is a fairly common menu item, but these are places (Queensyard, TAK Room, Belcampo, Hudson Yards Grill) with multiple steaks, chops, and sides. The cheapest steak is $28, at Belcampo. The most expensive is $160, at TAK Room.
- Three of those steak places are on the fourth floor. Belcampo, Hudson Yards Grill, and Queensyard are all on the same floor, and the first two in that list sit right next to each other, competing for the same steak-eating patrons.
- Four of the eight restaurants serve similar starters: Half the restaurants serve beef tartare. And nearly half serve crabcakes.
So with respect to Himmel, even though there are differences among the venues, they are not one-offs. In fact, I can’t think of a single place in the five boroughs where there is such an interchangeable group of restaurants.