Mon-Thu, 11:30am-10pm; Fri, 11:30am-11pm; Sat, 5pm-11pm; Sun, 11am-3pm and 5:30pm-9pm
6 at 23rd St.; 6 at 28th St.; N, R at 23rd St.
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The logistics of this seemingly endless series of esoteric face-lifts (the restaurant becomes Park Avenue Winter in November, and Park Avenue Spring after that) are impressive to contemplate. But the real pressure in this kind of radical experiment falls on the chef. Last summer, Craig Koketsu, who is also the executive chef at Quality Meats, managed to put together a menu filled with all sorts of surprising combinations. Autumn is the season of largesse, of course, so the new menu is consciously heavier and more bountiful than the old one. Koketsu has toiled in classical kitchens (he’s worked for Gray Kunz, among others), and he seems more at home with the fresher, more subtle flavors of summer. In struggling to convey the earthy richness of fall, he covers several of his new recipes with a carapace of fruit. I liked the rich, bisquelike butternut-squash soup, but my brown-butter-and-sage agnolotti could have done without the dose of Poire William sauce. The striped bass I sampled was flavored, not very successfully, with sugary Bartlett pears, and perfectly good roast chicken was buried, like Thanksgiving turkey, in cranberry-lemongrass sauce and a cloying, gourmet version of pumpkin tartlet.