The team behind the newly-opened Grayson Hotel in Bryant Park is trying their luck at 30 W. 39th Street near Fifth Avenue in Bryant Park. Apicii hospitality founder Tom Dillon courted chef Jonathan Benno as chief culinary officer, following the pandemic closing of Benno’s namesake flagship, Benno in Nomad, in the Evelyn Hotel, which now hosts a Brooklyn Diner pop-up in its place.
All-day Mediterranean spot, Harta, is now open on the ground floor of the Grayson. On November 25, the hotel will also debut Bar Cima, a mezcaleria with sweeping views of Manhattan, led by beverage director of Apicii, Kyle Tran, formerly at San Francisco’s Roka Bar and The Aviary in Chicago. They’re two of four food and drink spots from Apicii, with Bar Harta, a wine and small plates restaurant, and Tacalle, described as a taco garden, to open in spring 2023.
At Harta, Benno and the executive chef of the properties, Mark Zuckerman, have put together a Spanish, French, and Italian menu the company is calling a Mediterranean brasserie that includes spreads like charred eggplant and fava bean hummus served with focaccia ($14). Small plates range from foie gras terrine to chicory salad, shrimp a la plancha, and fall vegetables with tahini ($14 to $24). For mains, choose among chicken tagine, arborio risotto with mushrooms, and a brothy Italian fish studded with fillets and crustaceans ($26 to $48). Dessert follows with items like creme fraiche panna cotta served with honey filo, blackberries, and mint, or a pistachio soft serve sundae ($10 to $12).
While Harta sports earthier tones and more subdued vibes, the rooftop Bar Cima gets into jewel tones in a room accented with antiqued mirrors, walnut doors, and stone tables. Look for a menu of classic and inventive cocktails as well as spirit pairings, mezcal flights, and large-format drinks for six or more. There’s also a deep selection of mezcal listed by region. The angle reinforces founder Dillon’s decades working with Richard Sandoval restaurants and Rosa Mexicano.
Grayson Hotel, which opened earlier this month, offers 296 rooms and suites, many with views overlooking Bryant Park and the Empire State Building.
New York City has always had a slew of well-known restaurants tucked away in hotels, like the speakeasyish Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien (now called the Thompson Hotel), or high-class Bemelmans at the Carlyle Hotel. But over the past couple of months in particular it feels like hotel openings that had been put off due to the pandemic are opening in droves.
Last fall it was live-fire cooking from Sweetbriar at the Park South Hotel; Corner Bar at Nine Orchard, run by the Estela team, opened over the summer. Around the same time, José Andrés opened Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Zaytinya imported from Washington D.C. at the Ritz-Carlton in Nomad, and nearby, Chinatown’s Apotheke expanded to the Flatiron Sonder Hotel. In August, Mercer Street Hospitality opened Smyth Tavern in the Smyth Tribeca Hotel and Charlie Palmer opened a prosecco bar and Italian restaurant, Aperibar, in the Luma Hotel Times Square in September. Over in Brooklyn, Laser Wolf opened in May 2022 at the Hoxton Hotel and Michael Solomonov’s team debuted K’Far this week at the property. An overwhelming number continue to be run by mostly cis men, with the exception of culinary direction from Jeannie Glass and the Civilian Hotel’s new American restaurant Rosevale Kitchen and Cocktail Room, which opened mid-November 2022.
Some have their charms and have been embraced by tourists and locals — but more often than not, the parade seems to contribute to an overwhelming sense of late-stage capitalism: homogenous, hyper-corporate restaurants, often regurgitations of existing projects for the New York mainstage, palatable for tourists. The restaurants in the Grayson Hotel are a part of this trend; New Yorkers will determine how excited they are by the newest iteration.
Harta is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bar Cima will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.