Brasserie 8 1/2
9 WEST 57TH ST, BETWEEN 5TH/6TH
The dining room, with its colorful spiral walls and minimalist carpeted staircase, is perhaps the closest experience you'll get to eating aboard an intergalactic spaceship. The “wow” factor of Brasserie 8 1/2's design is perhaps equaled by the raved-about menu, courtesy of David Bouley-trained head chef, Julian Alonzo. Like the space, the food is amusingly modern and delicious without being pretentious or over-the-top. Hats off to Alonzo for creations like the sesame-encrusted tuna tartare over grated wasabi and crab cake garnished with, believe it or not, cornflakes.