The new restaurant venture from Dual Groupe and China Grill to open in the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC hotel is much more geared towards adults than kids. Dont let the geographical locale fool you either; despite the neighborhoods reputation for show over substance, TOY delivers a good dose of both, balancing delicious eats with a party like ambiance.
When I visited a few weeks ago, it was a Tuesday around 7:30 pm. I had just left the office and showed up at the restaurant in my finest work wear. Having frequented the clubs in Meatpacking often during a brief stint as a “party girl,” I felt a tad under dressed for the vibrant scene – but the hostess made me feel comfortable instantly with her warm greeting. The expansive 7,000 sq ft bi-level dining space feels more like a nightclub and features in indoor/outdoor dining space with al fresco terrace. The décor is best described as modern concept with a heavy dose of Asian influence.
A 1, 500 pound fractured mirror ceiling serves as a focal centerpiece. My waiter told me that despite the sexy and somewhat flashy décor, the restaurant doesn’t take itself so seriously. The venue exclusively plays 80’s pop to keep the ambiance fun and familiar, while the menu at Toy is Pan-Asian classics meets modern culinary experimentation. Having dined at many Chinese restaurants, it was easy to recognize the “regulars” on the menu, including shrimp toast, beef dumplings, and bok choy. But at TOY, the familiar dishes are seasoned and prepared in playful and innovative ways.