Offbeat New York

SoHo, Tribeca, and More    

Colors Restaurant

417 Lafayette St., Astor Place
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-777-8443
This could also be called the phoenix of restaurants in Manhattan. Opened in January, 2006, Colors Restaurant is New York City's only restaurant cooperative -- partially owned by the workers -- and many of those came from Windows on the World, the restaurant that graced the top of the Twin Towers. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, and with much work and perseverence, it arose from the ashes to become a role model, and a delicious place to dine.

The sophisticated bar catches your eye, then the translucent world maps etched onto glass and covered with a layer of ribbed glass. It's a physically comfortable place with mohair banquettes, rich mahogany wood, warm earthtone colors and subtle highlights of brass, light fixtures invoke a sense of the 1930s and an art deco feeling about the interior.

And happily, the food is eclectic, delicious, and reason to visit. The menu, under executive chef Jean Emy Pierre, changes seasonally. The dishes on the extensive menue are arranged by country. Starting with the tapas, the delectable Pam Thai (Asia) featured chunks of moist chicken with string beans and papaya in a chili lime dressing. Albacore tuna (Europe) was a joy -- minced, smoked, and served with capers and topped with roe seasoned with wasabi. The (North America) crabcake was rich and creamy served with apple and jicama slaw. Another winner. There were also dishes from South America -- the Pozole Verde is a Mexican shrimp soup with tomatillos, radish, red onions, and Chihuahua cheese, green with cilantro. We could have happily eaten our way through the tapas, but the entrees are similarly enticing and well-prepared. Braised short ribs were tender and served with a rich and meaty gravy. The New York strip steak was another delicious winner with chimichurri butter. Other globe-spanning dishes included pan seared rockfish filet (Asia), herbs de provence crusted filet mignon (Europe), pork tenderloin with sweet plantain and spicy mango salsa (South America).

Leave room for deserts -- they were equally delicious, and some just plain fun. The molten chocolate cake was perfect with rich cake and a heart of molten chocolate. The warm spiced doughnut came filled with dulce de leche, a raspberry dipping sauce, and a chocolate milk. Eat and enjoy in this ground-breaking restaurant.

Reviewed by Neala Schwartzberg
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