2, 3 at Wall St.; 4, 5 at Wall St.; J, Z at Broad St.
Three-course prix-fixe, $69.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
This venue is closed.
SHO Shaun Hergatt has been open since June 2009, but to get there it still helps to have a GPS in your pocket. First, you must find an obscure condo development called the Setai, on Broad Street. The Setai’s façade is covered in a scrim of construction scaffolding, and it’s located on a stretch of Broad Street closed to traffic (it’s one block from the New York Stock Exchange) and patrolled, like the Green Zone in Baghdad, by heavily armed policemen and their bomb-sniffing dogs. The restaurant is up a special elevator, on the second floor, in a warren of low-lit rooms. The walls are covered in silk and decorated with the kind of randomly purchased artifacts (old calligraphy brushes, a necklace from Tibet) you see in airport hotels in Bangkok or Bahrain. “Where the hell are we?” one of my guests whispered as we wandered into the windowless, sparsely populated dining room. “Welcome to the Twilight Zone,” I said.
If you’ve been subsisting, these last few years, on a diet of pork products and righteously farmed, locavore-approved restaurant fare, everything about SHO Shaun Hergatt feels stuffy and slightly passé, as if it happened decades ago, in a strange, gastronomic galaxy far, far away. But as the food begins issuing from the kitchen, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not such a bad thing. The first item we sampled was a frizzled zucchini blossom filled with an opulent mash of blue prawns flown in from Hawaii. It was followed by squares of bluefin tuna (expertly plated with rice-wine vinegar over a layer of sweet scallop carpaccio), and then an archaic-sounding construction called “mille-feuille of foie gras.” Instead of puffy French pastry crust, however, this mille-feuille was made with layers of tuiles touched with pistachios and ginger and interspersed with slices of cool foie gras. It tasted rich, but not in a heavy, overbearing way, and had the pleasing aftertaste of gingersnaps.
The architect of these delicacies is a talented Australian chef named Shaun Hergatt, who toiled for many years in the upper levels of the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain. His signature appetizer is a decadent Ritz-like creation called “The Golden Egg” (a single poached egg set in a cauliflower purée with caviar), which even the nostalgic gourmets at my table thought was decorated with excessive amounts of gold leaf. But no one complained too bitterly about the rich, steamy “double duck” consommé, or the risotto, which the chef makes with pearl barley, instead of rice, and folds with maitake mushrooms and extravagant amounts of butter and cream. Lobster, when it makes its predictable appearance, is also braised, the old-fashioned way, in gout-inducing amounts of butter, and if you have a hankering for expertly cooked quail while wandering the canyons of Wall Street, you’ll find it here, lightly crystallized in cornstarch and spiced with a Thai-style curry made with coconut milk and red chiles.Note
The restaurant’s slap-up Wall Street breakfast includes five varieties of pastry, plus French toast tipped with orange blossoms.Ideal Meal
Coconut-milk-glazed quail (offered seasonally), muscovy- duck breast, chocolate and jasmine inspiration.