On June 14th, Florence Fabricant announced to the New York Times that Shaun Hergatt was leaving his downtown restaurant in the Financial District to possibly move to a smaller space in Midtown. Although the future of Sho Shaun Hergatt is still undetermined, Flo reports that the two-star restaurant will be rebranded in August without its chef, Shaun Hergatt. The split between Shaun Hergatt and Asher Zamir, the main investor, was amicable; but Mr. Hergatt wants to bring the restaurant to another level-- a level which he cannot get to with his current partnership. I've been wanting to dine at Sho Shaun Hergatt for quite sometime; but never made it untill this news motivated me.
Sho Shaun Hergatt was awarded two-stars in August 2010 from Sam Sifton; but many think the restaurant could be listed among the city's best. Location is one reason that people attribute to the restaurant's lack of success. Its located on Broad St on the second floor of a condominium building in the financial district. Another reason might be the culinary landscape of 2010 when fine dining restaurants were on a decline. The economy wasn't what it use to be and therefore people weren't indulging in the kind of experience that Sho Shaun Hergatt has for them.
The reviews took jabs at the space saying that the restaurant could be anywhere in the world; but I thought the space was stunning and unlike any other restaurant in the city. Upon exiting the elevator, I walked left where I was greeted by a smiling hostess. I told her I was looking to grab some lunch and asked if I was in proper attire. She nodded yes and continued to smile inviting me to sit in the lounge area. The Pearl Room was Mr. Hergatt's vision of giving guests a more comfortable, casual escape while allowing them to join the sophisticated food of the dining room. The lounge leads into a beautiful hallway of glass. Wine bottles are encased in the glass; but its kind of a sad showing. You could tell that this was once filled with expensive vintages from all around the world; but now is scattered and sad.
In the dining room, tables are wide and very spaced out. There's an open kitchen which I always love especially when the food is so artistic and complex. The atmosphere is quiet and the staff is slim. The 100,000 sq ft space is decorated in Asian accents that make the restaurant look very worldly. This plays in chef Hergatt's cuisine which he says is inspired by his culinary travels. Most chefs now a days are going local while chef Hargatt is sourcing his ingredients from all over the world. He believes that flavor is the most important component of his restaurant so he's sourcing the best ingredients from all around the globe.
A bread basket was brought to the table with butter and a saffron potato mash. This kept me amused till my first course of salmon tartar came out. The wild salmon tartar was topped with crispy rice and sat next to a Wakame seaweed salad. The salmon was absolutely delicious while the seaweed salad sat atop guacamole was an interesting component to the dish.
My next course was a hanger steak with potatoes and mushrooms. The steak was cooked perfectly--loaded with flavor. The potatoes are always a nice accompaniment to steak; but the mushrooms were unbelievable. Dare I say these were the best Hen of the Wood mushrooms I've ever had. Granted there were only two on the plate; but I considered asking them for a side of these earthy treats. The sauce complimented the entire dish and even lead me to dipping my bread like I just finished a bowl of pasta.
A selection of sorbet was next-- a nice trio of coconut, rhubarb, and passion fruit. The sorbet like the savory dishes was artfully prepared and visually appealing. The trio of sorbet sat on shaved ice to which I couldn't get a flavor. But it came me going back---tasting and tasting. In a bit of a rush, I asked for my bill and headed out. The $33 prix fixe menu