In celebration of the debut of Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, the brand threw a grand unveiling party that offered guests unconventional, immersive, and interactive experiences showcasing “the world’s first digitally enhanced and ‘living’ hotel.”
Each performance and experience featured were curated by a celebrity guest “Navigator.” It’s not surprising at all that the experience I was most excited about was the “VIP Navigator’s Table,” a rare opportunity to enjoy unusual bites curated by the James Beard Award Winning TV personality and culinary expert, Andrew Zimmern, known for shows that include Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods America.
The bizarre bites included spicy sesame peanut noodles served in mini take out containers; Hotel Saigon grilled beef rolls; tuna ceviche with Brazilian tuna salad with fresh hearts of palm served in mini wooden spoons; fried shrimp and corn fritters with remoulade; sea urchin crostini with torched lardo; and griddled Pimento cheese sandwich bites served with small cups of roasted tomato soup. Everything was complex and delicious in flavor, especially the Saigon grilled beef rolls which were delicately rolled up in grape leaves.
The cocktails for the night were equally fabulous and unique. The cherry blossom negroni was a strong concoction of gin, cacao nibs, fortify, chocolate, and vermouth. My favorite drink of the night was the Stories of the Sea which was a fruity mix of rum, orgeat, curaco, lime, bitters, and tropical salt air ― yes, I did write tropical salt air. This “air” was an innovative bubble-bath like froth which had a salty-sweet and subtle fruity taste to it.
Also at the celebration were live performances at Rock & Reilly’s NYC by The Knocks and Wyclef Jean, along with sets from DJs Harley Viera-Newton, Alexandra Richards, Franco V, and Elle Dee who each kept the beats coming all night.