A Sense of Plate
Kelley McClain - April 2014
Two new restaurants show how culture can resonate on the table.
With the recent launch of The Fourth, Jo-Ann Makovitzky and Marco Moreira—the husband and wife team behind One Five Hospitality, which operates New York City’s Toqueville and 15 East—have brought their powerhouse savoir faire to the dining venues of the Hyatt Union Square New York. The name and decor take inspiration from its address on Fourth Avenue, where the East Village abuts Union Square, as well as from Paris’ cafe cultured fourth arrondissement. “We wanted to create an environment that was a balance of American with European refinement. Not too fancy and not too rustic, with comfortable pieces that the guests would enjoy,” says Makovitzky, who painstakingly chose each piece of tableware.
Arriving at table, weighty Sambonet flatware (Sambonet.it) flanks the napkin, a custom jacquard weave from A&B Hotel Collection (AnBHotelCollection.com). Duralex (food-service.DuralexUSA.com) is the source for water, beer, and espresso glasses as well as ice cream coupes; glassware for cocktails and the wine collection curated by sommelier Roger Dagorn come from Schott Zweisel and Fortessa (Fortessa.com). “From our wines and cocktails to coffee drinks, our guests should recognize we have put thought and effort in all the details,” says Makovitzky.
From the kitchen of chef Jason Hall, flatbreads are presented on slate rounds by Degrenne Paris (DegrenneParis.com); cioppino of lobster and shellfish swims in a wide-rimmed bowl by Fortessa; for the emptied shells, a sleek low bowl from Thomas (int.hotel.Rosenthal.de), which is also the source of the dinner and bread and butter plates. Moreira worked with a local craftsman to fashion wood boards that carry house charcuterie—with foie gras with fruit compote and pickled vegetables in Fido jars from Bormioli Rocco (Steelite.com)—as well as an entrée of grilled marinated lamb rib chops. Japanese yellowtail crudo looks ocean-fresh on a high-rimmed white oval by Bauscher Hepp (BauscherInc.com). Degrenne supplies the gently sloping bowl that holds the baby beet salad with watercress, whipped feta, and Sherry/walnut vinaigrette. Comforting touches include mini cast-iron cocottes by Revol (Revol-Pro.fr) and covered stainless-steel mini ovals from Mauviel (food-service.MauvielUSA.com) that hold anything from sides to a fruit crisp dessert.
Welcome to Peru—in Chicago. Tanta is one of 33 restaurants in 12 countries created by Gastón Acurio, this one in partnership with Chicago-based VBD Group. In Tanta, Acurio seeks to offer guests a taste of his homeland, not only via its cuisine as shaped through his classically trained hand, but through the sights and textures of Tanta’s settings and presentations.
In Chicago, chef Jesus Delgado runs the range and, working with general manager Tomy Lokvicic, chooses the tableware that will complement the Peruvian cuisine, guiding guests through the bounty and influences of ocean, desert, mountains, and the great Amazon river. “The food is the biggest factor behind choosing what china would be used in Tanta,” says Delgado. “Gastón doesn’t allow white plates in any of his restaurants, and instead opts for more unique plateware in order to showcase the organic and rustic essence of Peruvian cuisine. The entire restaurant was designed with the same principles of color, texture, and being true to the culture.”
Tables are set with sensuously curved “Zen” flatware by Worthy, Noble and Kent, a “Sestriere” Old Fashioned glass by Bormioli Rocco serves as the water glass, and a “Craft White” 10-inch plate from Steelite as the share plate (all Steelite.com). Cotton napkins come from Garnier-Thiebaut (GTLinens.com).
Traditional Peruvian lomo saltado (beef stir-fry with red onions, tomatoes, rustic potatoes, cilantro) is cradled in a gently curved “Oribe” round plate from Korin (Korin.com); a “Terramesa” cup from Steelite holds the rice. A long plate from Peruvian artist Sonia Céspedes Rossel (SoniaCespedesRossel.pe) frames the anticuchos con pulpo (octopus, chimichurri, fried garlic, olive sauce). The stone bowl for the chaufa aeropuerto—an influence of the people of Canton who immigrated to Peru in the 1800s, here taking the form of pork fried rice, shrimp tortilla, spicy garlic—was purchased from Chicago’s Joong Boo Market (JoongBooMarket.com), and the base was handmade to support it.
The Pisco Sour, the reigning cocktail served in a Bormioli Rocco “Murano” tumbler, is a natural accompaniment to the signature cebiches, which arrive in stunning Peruvian ceramic bowls by Sonia Céspedes Rossel and Jallpa Nina (JallpaNinaPeru.com). “There is a reason behind each plate being paired with each dish. They work in harmony to showcase each other the best way possible,” explains Delgado. “Glassware is chosen depending on what you really want to highlight, aroma, texture, color, acidity.” The Pacha Mama (CH vodka, calvados, beet juice, lemongrass syrup, lime) looks velvety rich in a Minners “Paris” coupe (Steelite.com). One of four cocktails on tap, the Lima Llama (BarSol Quebranta Pisco, lime, ginger beer) gets cross-cultural treatment in a copper Moscow Mule mug from World Tableware (foodservice.Libbey.com). Wines are poured into Rona “Le Vin” stems (Steelite.com).
Los picarones, a traditional dessert of warm pumpkin and sweet potato fritters, is delivered on Steelite’s “Craft” freestyle plate, with a “Terramesa” scoop bowl holding the spiced chancaca syrup. Finally, the Dulces Suenos (“sweet dreams”) dessert cocktail of spice-infused Pisco, atholl brose, lemon, and tea is served warm from a pitcher and glasses acquired at a local Japanese market.