The restaurateur behind one of Brooklyn’s best pancake restaurants (Chez Ma Tante in Greenpoint) is hopping from neighborhood to neighborhood and getting its start in Manhattan. Josh Cohen’s Hidden Leaf, which opened on Wednesday, isn’t a breakfast spot, though. It’s a new pan-Asian restaurant in a show room that will open soon near Penn Station, hoping to appeal to foodies and art connoisseurs alike.
With the kitchen under the direction of Chai Trivedi (formerly of Buddakan, among others), Hidden Leaf offers a menu that evokes the flavors of southern China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. These influences are then reflected in the drinks, created by Iain Griffiths, who made his New York debut after stints at Dandelyan and White Lyan in London.
“We’ve worked very hard to create something at Hidden Leaf and Midnight Theater that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” Cohen said. Robb Report in an email. “It’s a sensory intersection of great food and fine cocktails with an air of mystery that is delivered by design.”
While it may be hard to compete with the talent on display, which is expected to include everything from magic to music to performance art, Trivedi’s menu is fighting pretty well. For starters, it offers small plates like Yunnan barbecued St. Louis ribs with sticky sauce, seeds and candied ginger mustard, as well as larger plates like steamed black sea bass with vadouvan curry, Crispy Jasmine Rice and Pickled Fresno Pepper. Dim sum to share will also be up for grabs, with dishes such as jade vegetable dumplings and crispy pork potstickers serving as a few standouts.
Alongside the food, Griffiths will mix riffs on classic cocktails from the Asian-inspired menu. Two current options include the Dead Ringer, a variation of a Corpse Reviver #2 made with baijiu and a melon appetizer, and the Tablet Negroni, which infuses the Italian relief cocktail with the flavors of the Tablet milk candy. from Southeast Asia.
Hidden Leaf and Midnight Café, the restaurant’s aperitif bar, are now open Wednesday through Sunday. The Midnight Theater will be soft-launching later this summer with a grand opening in the fall, making dining and a show easier than ever.
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