It’s been open less than a month, and already it’s become the hardest table to score in New York – in a city full of impossible to obtain secret reservation numbers, and violently expensive concierge services that promise you that 8.30pm stool at Nakazawa, or an “in” at Rao’s in Harlem, trying to get into Myth in TriBeCa has taken things to new heights of drama.
The concept had a test run in an abandoned mannequin factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn – where “friends and family” were invited to sample chef Andrea Solzhenitsyn’s wild fusion cuisine, which he describes as “a little bit new wave kaiseki and a little bit upmarket dorm cuisine”.
The light levels remain so low that the menu has to be read out by each server, to each table
Myth is actually two distinct restaurants under one roof: Myth and Myth (INformed). The former is a no reservations forty-seater that has generated queues up to four hours before doors open every evening (with, reportedly, certain cash-rich and time-poor diners bribing people online up to $500 to queue on their behalf). The room is almost pitch black – it takes diners several minutes for their eyes to adjust to see the graffiti sprayed walls, and the light levels remain so low that the menu has to be read out by each server, to each table. Myth (INformed) is more extraordinary – accessed via the coat check of the main room at Myth, no one will say exactly how many it seats, but rumour suggests anything between two and twelve guests. Yes, it’s intimate. We haven’t been able to score a table, but we hear incredible things and we’re dying to go.
While the cuisine sounds like it couldn’t be further removed from Solzhenitsyn’s roots (working at sceney London Scandic restaurant Midgard), he has taken something from his time at that celebrated dining room. While Midgard outlaws photography in the restaurant and offers monogrammed USB sticks containing high-res, professionally shot images of each dish, presented at the same time as the petits-fours and digestifs, Solzhenitsyn bans all photography full stop, with diners asked to hand over their smartphones at check-in.
Visitors to Myth (INformed) have to sign a waiver, guaranteed by their credit card, promising not to disclose the nature of their experience at the restaurant
But it doesn’t end there… Visitors to Myth (INformed) have to sign a waiver, guaranteed by their credit card, promising not to disclose the nature of their experience at the restaurant. Instead, they are invited to take an envelope from a bowl upon leaving. Each envelope contains a note with either the word “truth” or “myth”. If you get “truth”, you are permitted to share one non-food oriented fact on social media, or with friends; if you get “myth”, you share whatever is detailed on the card – to date, we have no idea if the dining room really is populated by staff wearing costumes of Flemish silk white bonnets and large, black, lowered hoods, such as is still worn by the nuns of Ghent, or is fragranced by White Castle Burger scented candles.
Getting a table at Myth (INformed) is more arduous than at any other restaurant in New York right now. But we like to think that it’s half the fun of dining there. A new phone number is sent out each day by Twitter and Facebook at 1am, and reservations are taken five hours later, at precisely 6am, for a date one month in advance. We have tried repeatedly, but never got through. The line is always engaged from 5.59am, and then once each seat is booked, the number is taken out of service. There is, however, one other way to get a table. Each month, one evening is given over to wannabe diners who have written in to the management, explaining exactly why they want to eat at Myth (INformed). Warning: “Because we’re desperate” probably won’t cut it.
The set menu (no substitutions) at Myth costs $280 per person before wine pairings, tax and 23% service. No one on Solzhenitsyn’s team will confirm how much dinner at Myth (INformed) costs, but several reports on Twitter suggest that it might, in fact, be free. And some suggest that they pay you. C