In New York City nightlife, the phrase “adapt or die” is everything.
That’s why, for the last few months, superstar chef Todd English has been tirelessly reworking the New York City location of his first restaurant, Olives. The result is a refreshing experience, perfect for your palate, that intelligently uses its friendly space in Union Square’s W Hotel.
That is, after all, what English intended.
“The whole idea is that it’s (the food) easy to eat,” English told Business Insider. “It’s using common food in uncommon ways.”
He’s talking about a menu full of new, fresh, Mediterranean dishes that put surprising twists on familiar dishes — things like crab toast with tahini aioli, for one.
And then there’s the restaurant itself. English reimagined that as well.The revamp makes the place feel bigger, with more open space, and now boasts more elegant light fixtures and a bigger bar. On top of that, the location in Union Square is a convenient meeting spot for Midtown and Downtown businesspeople.
Think of it as your new power breakfast or lunch spot, English suggested.
That’s an excellent start, but an excellent restaurant isn’t just about the food or the design, it’s also about the vibe. The larger bar helps. On a Thursday night it’s packed with friendly minglers (hotel guests and beautiful New Yorkers) listening to live mixing spun by DJ Rak. He’s hip, they’re hip, and their presence adds something critical to the whole project — buzz.
After all, no man is an island, even if they are an energetic, international brand like Todd English. Next month, he’ll be at the Bogota Food and Wine Festival to benefit Escuela Taller de Bogota, a technical school. And you can bet that he’ll be moving around the country to his various restaurants, tweaking this and that.
For the time being though, he’s paying close attention to Olives in Union Square, and it feels pretty special.
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