The Times review for Thomas Keller’s luxe Hudson Yards restaurant TAK Room is in, and while critic Pete Wells finds lots to love about the dishes, the two-star review notes that the restaurant “seems clueless” in its vibe — saying it “looks and acts like a millionaire’s hangout in an old New Yorker cartoon” in a time when residents are raising questions about the accessibility of the $25 billion development.
At TAK Room, Keller “serves the most refined, meticulous country club food you’ve ever seen,” Wells writes, with some dishes “so inexplicably delicious that you have the sensation of slipping the knots of gravity and floating an inch or so above your seat.”
The critic highlights the French onion dip, Parker House rolls, and the New England clam chowder. But as good as those things are, “the gap between great and non-great items — nothing comes close to bad — is a bit too wide and comes into view a bit too often,” he writes:
Avocado Louie with a small bouquet of other vegetables is thrillingly right, thanks to a Thousand Island dressing that crackles with energy; the Caesar salad, made while you watch, has almost no personality. Grated Parmesan and anchovies vanish into it without a trace, along with dull croutons that could take some pointers from the oyster crackers.
Something called “warm soft boiled egg” is a quietly joyous celebration of luxurious flavors and textures, the yolk running like lava over a buckwheat blin and a heap of warm osetra caviar in crème fraîche. (Yes, warm. It’s wonderful.) And the chilled prawn cocktail is going to be my platonic ideal of the dish from now on. But the crab cake had very little crab flavor, on two different nights, although it contained almost nothing else.
It’s the third review for Keller’s newest NYC restaurant, the legendary chef’s first in the city in more than a decade. New York’s Adam Platt found it “generically posh” and very expensive, while in a one-star review, Eater critic Ryan Sutton said the quality of the food was not worth the high prices.
Wells, too, nods to the price tag of dining there. Still, the highs are high enough that the restaurant will surely develop a following of regulars, he writes. “Anti-plutocrat fevers come and go, but the trappings of American aristocracy are always in style somewhere.” Two stars.