There are people that open restaurants and then there are those who live them. Cedric Vongerichten is one such person. If his name sounds familiar it is because he is the son of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the chef whose empire includes a dozen upscale restaurants and a multi-faceted project at the Seaport, known as The Tin Building.
Cedric Vongerichten has proven to be his own man and experienced entrepreneur in his own right. He is Chef de Cuisine at Perry Street. He opened two restaurants, Vong Kitchen and Le Burger, in Jakarta, Indonesia with his wife Ochi, before adding Wayan, which stands for “first born” in Balinese. Wayan located on Spring Street takes you on a tropical adventure with Indonesian flavors and French flair.
Now, Vongerichten is venturing out again with his wife to create ma-dé (22 Spring St), which means “second born” in Balinese. The sliver of a restaurant is located just steps away from Wayan on Spring Street is an example of a masterful use of space. Two mini bars are set up back-to-back with seating for two on each end. It leads into a main dining space with whitewashed walls and a seafarer’s theme of nautical ropes and wavy lamps leading the way.
ma-dé takes its cue from the Bali coastal offering the freshest seafood and vegetable forward foods. I managed to snag one of the two seats at the bar where I met Henry, an extraordinary man and caretaker of the cocktails. He introduced me to Huatulco, a delicious cocktail made with mezcal, rhubarbaro, beets, yuzu vinegar, chile puya and lemon oil. It’s finished with a beet chip and a sprig of thyme. It might just be one of the tastiest and well balanced drinks we’ve experienced in the city. In all, there are a half dozen signature cocktails to choose from along with “classy” martinis.
The menu navigates both land and sea. From the land come Ramps fitted with green asparagus, spring onions and morels, White Asparagus with leeks, seaweed kimchi and lemon, and artichokes with labney, lemon and zaatar. From the sea there are oysters & razor clams with passionfruit mignonette and chili lime, New Zealand trout with ginger flower and mentaiko garlic toast, and Diver Scallop with rhubarb, jalapeno and dill.
We tried two amazing plates – Soft Shell Crab deep-fried tempura style served over a bed of bib lettuce with yuzu-shiso, and Lobster Dumplings loaded with lobster meat swimming in caviar sauce.
As I sat at the bar, the place began to fill up. Reservations are must when space is limited but the staff is welcoming to walk-ins and very accommodating. ma-dé will make you want to stay!
- Thomas Rafael