At Twenty Three Grand, it’s easy to forget that Sixth Avenue and Canal Street are right on the other side of the second-floor restaurant’s glass walls. The glass-enclosed restaurant, which converts into alfresco dining when the weather is right, is located at the ModernHaus SoHo hotel, but the cityscape takes a backseat thanks to a recent restaurant overhaul. Twenty Three Grand’s doors and windows are now open, welcoming diners to a new culinary experience led by Ashley Rath.
“We just felt that the restaurant was doing OK, but it was never firing on all cylinders like we wanted to,” says restaurateur and longtime purveyor of fashion-adjacent haunts David Rabin, who partnered with James Julius on the project. “We wanted to come up with the kind of restaurant that this hotel deserved.”
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Rabin and Julius tapped Rath, a trusted culinary partner, to lead the kitchen. Julius and Rath were longtime friends from their time working for Major Food Group; Rabin knew Rath from her recent executive chef stint at Saint Theo’s, the sister property of popular West Village haunt American Bar, where Rabin is a co-owner. Rath also brings experience cooking for restaurants including Gramercy Tavern, Dirty French, The Grill and at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
“Having previously worked with chef Rath and seeing her in the kitchen firsthand, I knew that her creativity, precision, and energy was what we needed to help bring this concept and menu to life,” says Julius.
“[They were] two people that I genuinely wanted to work with,” Rath says of the restaurant’s leadership team. “I’ve been doing this for 13 years now, and who you choose to work with that will allow you to cook food in the manner that you want, is very important.”
The central idea was to create an approachable menu that would inspire repeat visits both from hotel guests and local New Yorkers. “What you would expect to get at a hotel — but how do we make it craveable, something that’s refreshing, something to come back to?” says Rath of her culinary approach. She developed the menu around a list of “hits,” dishes that tend to be crowd favorites, filtered through her own culinary lens.
The chef nods to her Mandarin chicken salad and tuna tostada — one of Rath’s favorite dishes on the menu — as examples of popular fare reworked through unexpected ingredients. Indian spiced snack sticks provide the salad’s hallmark crunch instead of the usual wonton strips, and microplaned hazelnuts add nuance to the flavor profile of the tostada.
The menu features a sizable carpaccio section, which includes a vegan carrot option, and several pastas and entrées, including a burger that’s being limited to 23 orders per service, a wink to the restaurant’s name and street address. Many dishes are inspired by Rath’s mother’s recipes, including the bar nuts and zucchini escabeche that accompany bread service at the start of the meal. Rath also oversees the food programs for the hotel’s other culinary concepts, including rooftop lounge Jimmy.
The bilevel restaurant includes a main indoor-outdoor all-weather dining room, as well as a fully outdoor courtyard. Additional outdoor spaces wrap around the hotel, and will be primarily utilized for private events; the restaurant’s bar also features terrace seating overlooking Grand Street. The room’s design was led by Melissa Bowers, who leaned into a rich colorscape through teal booth seating, textured upholstery, checkered flooring and a plethora of greenery throughout the room. Twenty Three Grand also boasts museum-worthy art, including a sizable Rashid Johnson painting and Kaws sculpture, pulled from the collection of ModernHaus owner Thor Equities Group.
“I’ve been running Jimmy for 12 years, so I’ve always coveted this space, because it’s never really been done right,” adds Rabin, proudly taking in the Twenty Three Grand dining room during a recent dinner service. “I thought with the combination of Ashley, James, and Melissa designing it, we could create what it should be.”
Launch Gallery: Inside Twenty Three Grand in SoHo
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