Spice Market is Jean-Georges Vongerichten's wildly successful ode to the street food of Southeast Asia. The interior of the restaurant is as exotic as the cuisine: with a collection of artifacts imported from Rajastan, South India, Burma and Malaysia creating an interior of Eastern exotica including antique wall carvings, screens and pagodas. Designer Jacques Garcia’s custom-made colonial style furniture, oriental period pieces and plush embroidered curtains are complemented by upbeat ambient music and the soft, mood-enhancing glow of Herves Descottes’ lighting.
The best thing about Spice Market is the fabulous interior design, which is especially awe-inspiring if one sits in the bar downstairs and gazes up at the wooden staircase, with its tall pagoda through which bar-goers pass as if they were suppliants on a pilgrimage. Elements of Asian temple art are everywhere. But the music and the conversational din remind you that you are in the Meatpacking District, and so it’s really all about the glam. Think of this as the consummate glamification of elements of Hindu and Buddhist art that we really don’t understand; think of it as a feast for the eyes and enjoy it. Also yours to enjoy are the sheer and backless outfits worn by the female servers. These diaphanous garments of spiced orange are held together by a string tie, all designed to celebrate feminine curves.
Choose a glass of wine from the neat wine list and toast the hourglass-shaped Muses who will bring you what you desire (if that desire is from the menu). The best items are those inspired by Vietnamese cuisine, a theme prevalent in Jean-Georges' cookery. The Vietnamese spring rolls are excellent. The chicken samosas are wildly popular and are quite light and savory—start with these and a glass of white wine. The best route to take here is to order several small plates to try out the cuisine of chef James Reinholt. Although this is a loud (very LOUD) venue, the overall ambience lends itself to romance, and if you find a secluded table, you and your beloved can schmooze in airy bliss.
Spice Market is also great place to drop by late night for a drink and a light snack. Dinner at rush hour is like the Holland Tunnel, so be prepared to wait for a table and to experience a fair amount of jostling. The service here is very good, despite the often pushy and demanding crowd. Note: You can also find here fascinating examples of plastic surgery by some of the region's more moderately-priced surgeons.
Telephone: (212) 675-2322
Address: 29 9th Ave
Hours And Additional Info
Price: Expensive. About $31 to $50 per person.
Spice Market Information
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