TAK Room

New York City
TAK Room

All-American Dining, Care of Thomas Keller.

As a child in 1960s Florida, Thomas Keller spent many after-school hours at the Palm Beach Yacht Club and other restaurants where his mother, Betty, worked as a manager. These were places that served what was then referred to as Continental cuisine, their menus drawn from those of Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom and filtered through an American sensibility. Now, Keller is returning to the comfort food of his youth with TAK Room, opening in Manhattan’s new Hudson Yards complex later this month. The 180-seat, two-story space (with a wraparound gold-leafed Cubist-style mural on the ground floor and a grand polished walnut staircase leading to the second) will offer clams casino, oysters Rockefeller and cornflake-crusted crab cake served with coleslaw and spicy mayonnaise as well as classic mains such as roasted chicken for two, Dover sole in brown butter and parsley-topped strip steak. These dishes might be paired with an expertly mixed Rob Roy or Tom Collins and, for dessert, there’s spumoni and ice cream sundaes. “I’m not trying to invent anything,” says Keller. But he is trying to build a New York restaurant more approachable than Per Se, his celebrated fine-dining outfit farther uptown. “It used to be that you ate out to meet friends and to celebrate,” he says. “There was a real sense of fun.” To that end, TAK Room diners can look forward to live music and table-side preparations, which, Keller believes, aren’t about showing off technique so much as personality.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times Style Magazine on 28 February 2019.

TAK Room designed by David Collins Studio is now open at Hudson Yards, New York.