Following the splashy debuts of The Grill and The Pool in the iconic Seagram Building, Major Food Group adds the final piece of the puzzle next Wednesday, November 1, with the opening of The Lobster Club. It’s the first Asian concept from the company, with chef Tasuku Murakami – whose sushi artistry has earned Michelin stars – at the helm in the kitchen and notable architect Peter Marino heading up the design. Here’s what you need to know before you go:
There’s a Picasso theme throughout
Similar to the other MFG renovations in the Seagram that drew inspiration from their previous iterations, The Lobster Club nods to The Brasserie, the 1980s Midtown hot spot that formerly occupied the space. The Brasserie was known for hanging Picasso ceramics and plates from its walls, a tradition that lives on at The Lobster Club where plates from the famous Spanish artist sit on floor-to-ceiling shelves behind a long onyx bar. Additionally, Marino has created Picasso-inspired line drawings of crustaceans, which appear on plates that were specially designed for the restaurant, and Picasso-inspired sculptures.
Expect premium sushi and chef Murakami’s takes on classic Japanese fare
This project marks a return to classic Japanese cuisine for chef Murakami, known for his work at the acclaimed Sushi Azabu. Murakami will be sourcing fish from the famous Tsukiji market in Tokyo and offering upscale takes on traditional Japanese plates like tempura, gyoza and yakitori. Hot and cold plates are designed to be shared and include signature sushi selections from Murakami plus tiger calamari salad, raw sea bass with crispy Brussels sprouts, sansho octopus and teppanyaki porterhouse with King mushrooms.
Marino’s influence is present in every visual detail
“We worked to design an environment unlike any other restaurant space in New York, or anywhere, through commissioned artwork, custom textiles and materials that are entirely unique for the space,” says Marino in a press statement. Marino, well-known for his retail work (with global clients like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel), has made careful design decisions about everything – from the uniforms to the floors – at The Lobster Club.
An inconspicuous entrance on East 53rd Street leads guests up a flight of stairs, offering sweeping views of the dining room lined with rich materials like white ebony. Once inside, guests will find paint artfully dripped and poured over the floor tiles (in the style of Jackson Pollock) and chartreuse banquettes opposite curved coral chairs.
At the back of The Lobster Club is The Red Room, a semiprivate dining area (pictured second from top) lined with a black leather curtain and furnished with red chairs and mahogany colored tables. Beyond The Red Room lies The Lobster Room, a private dining area furnished with 10 red chairs and an ebony table (pictured above).
Classic cocktails are updated with Japanese ingredients
MFG beverage director Thomas Waugh puts his spin on classic cocktails by incorporating Japanese flavors, including teas, fruit and vegetables. The Old Fashioned, for example, is infused with barley tea while yuzu juice and sudachi add a citrus kick to his Whiskey Sour.
“Hanging banquettes” offer ideal seating to “see and be seen”
At the focal point of the front lounge are four interpretive collages (created by Marino) of American painter Richard Prince's Picasso nudes, and directly underneath are four sets of chartreuse banquettes that look as though they’re levitating. A prime perch for people-watching and in full view of the dining room, they’re designated as the "see and be seen" tables, according to a release.
The Lobster Club is located at 98 E 53rd St. Reservations are taken up to a month out and will open at the end of October.