Next to MoMA, Singaporean chef Akmal Anuar’s 53 is a work of art

From Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” to Salvador Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory” to Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans”, West 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan is home to many chefs- work.

Located right next to the excavations of these three works at the Museum of Modern Art at the base of the adjoining residential tower designed by Jean Nouvel at 53 West 53rd Street, a new work of art courtesy of the renowned Singaporean chef World Akmal Anuar has taken up residence.

Named for its location, 53 is restaurateur Ahmass Fakahany’s fourth New York destination concept, and its contemporary Asian menu is designed to be an artful blend of flavors and cooking styles from China, Japan, Hong Kong, from Singapore and other Southeast countries. Asian nations. Adapted from traditional classics, trendy street food and even some of Anuar’s childhood favorites, 53’s menu is meant to be upscale and modern, authentic and recognizable to members of the Asian community.

“When this project was discussed in pre-pandemic times, it was initially supposed to be Cantonese. Then I came to New York in 2021 and walked around,” Anuar, who is in Dubai and oversees his freshly Michelin-starred restaurant 11 Woodfire, told InsideHook. “I’ve seen downtown, I’ve seen Chinatown, I’ve seen everywhere. Then, in Midtown, there was nothing that was only Asian. If something referred to being Asian, it was always a Japanese or Chinese concept. I wanted to try to incorporate every little bit of Asia and then make it contemporary but not overly complicated. The flavors are very clean, very simple.

To help customers take full advantage of the variety of dishes on offer, the 53 menu is not sorted by type of cuisine but rather categorized by temperature and preparation: Cold, Hot, Steamed, Grilled, Clay Pot and Wok. . “Chefs play a very big role in this kitchen,” Anuar told InsideHook. “We have people who only specialize in the wok. We have specialized grill people who only work on the grill. You can’t mix them all. It’s not like western cuisine where everything is quite simple. It’s a different job. I think it’s like walking into a restaurant with a few restaurants.

Whichever section a dish comes from, only fresh, seasonal and local ingredients are used to prepare it, and chef de cuisine Mark Yu is the one who prepares the preparation many nights while Anuar is away. foreign. “I don’t think you’ll find a restaurant like us in New York because we embrace all kinds of Asian cultures,” Yu, who is Korean but grew up in Los Angeles, told InsideHook. “In town, I feel like the restaurants are usually Chinese, Japanese or Korean. You don’t see a lot of Southeast Asian added to that mix, especially to that type of cuisine. The menu is a everywhere, but it works. And it tastes really good.

To complement the colorful, yet simple (and tasty) menu with taste and the chic interior aesthetic of the three-level restaurant, 53 has also partnered with the Friedrich Petzel Gallery and features a curated installation of works by art of an avant-garde artist who will tour every three to five months. The first artist in residence is Jorge Pardo. Ross Bleckner will follow, and a combination of artists will also be included periodically.

For high art to merge with fine dining, the location really couldn’t be better. And, according to Yu, people are starting to take notice. “It’s summer in Midtown and the clientele is very mixed, but I’d say most nights over 60% are Asian,” he says. “I think it’s a good thing. Once you have Asians coming in and approving, everyone will follow. The news is spreading.

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