“We have a wide variety of people that come here: producers, CEOs, artists, dancers, musicians, and foodies,” says Mark Yu, chef de cuisine at Altamarea Group’s new restaurant, 53. Situated in a three-story Midtown space beneath MoMA’s new extended wing, the contemporary Asian concept helmed by acclaimed Singaporean chef Akmal Anuar pulls flavors from Japan, Korea, and China. Thanks to an art program curated by Friedrich Petzel Gallery and local firm ICRAVE’s sensorial design inspired by Taoism, a meal at 53 feels like dining inside of a sculpture.
On the heels of the inaugural artist-in-residence, Jorge Pardo, whose light installation adorns the private dining room, two of artist Ross Bleckner’s abstract floral paintings have recently joined the entrance and lounge areas. The rotating art program accents ICRAVE’s permanent installations such as the technicolor landscape diorama that flows up the dining room like a rainbow shooting into the sky.
Yet even among beauty this rich, the food steals the show. “Everything is rolled out fresh, daily—the dim sum is never frozen; the xiao long bao is rolled one hour before service,” Yu says of the menu, which is categorized by temperature and preparation: Cold, Hot, Steamed, Grilled, Clay Pot, and Wok. For cocktails, the chef recommends the signature Singapore Sling and Electric Feels, a mezcal-based holy alliance of guava, Sichuan pepper, calamansi citrus, and Himalayan salt.
In the latest installment of Designing Delicious, we visit 53.