I am so happy to see that despite continuing empty office space in Midtown, top restaurateurs are still interested in associating their names with glamorous new projects. From the spike at Rockefeller Center, Fasano taking over the re-located Four Seasons space, and the renovation of Casa Lever, there are still many opportunities to power dine in Midtown. Situated at 425 Park Avenue is Jean Georges Vongericten’s latest endeavor, taking up two lofty floors of this stunning new office tower.

The restaurant is designed by Lord Norman Foster of Foster+Partners, who also designed the building. If you go to their website, you can see how they cleverly incorporated public and communal work spaces with ultra high ceilings and windows, to dramatic effect­—all with sustainability and wellness in mind.

Upon arriving at 425, you could miss it if you didn’t know it was there, due to the sheer curtains that wrap the space and hide its environs in a minimalist vibe. Enter through the lobby of the building to a space with 45-foot high ceilings and a sensation of calm. The bar has a lot of elbow room, and you can choose to sit at it, or in the lounge chairs just behind, where the after-work crowd was stationed. A staircase brings you up to the Mezzanine level to the main dining area. This dining room so reminds me of the original Four Seasons restaurant, whose chains on the windows created a similar effect of being part of the city, yet filtered back. The hanging light installation is absolutely divine.

The street-level cocktail lounge and bar feature a 24-foot painting created by artist Larry Poons, who, we were told, came in to the bar and casually remarked that he thinks the work is upside down. Right, a Cosmo, with floral embellishment.

Wouldn’t you know, as we were seated at our table, we bumped into someone we knew sitting at the table right next to us. Small world, as they say. We got some tips, as they were regulars—they highly recommended the Olive Oil Martini, seen above right.

Lovely dark and seeded breads arrived, as well as a savory amuse bouche, topped with mint and fava puree. If you are a foodie, you have definitely had a meal prepared by Executive Chef Jonathan Benno (he’s been at Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Per Se, Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center to name a few) I used to love going to the Evelyn Hotel’s lobby, to Leonelli Taberna when it first opened in 2018 for his fantastic Beef & Pork meatballs and decadent Burrata with Walnut Pesto and Rapini Puree. Here the food is more French-influenced, and done up beautifully.

Bob always asks for olive oil with his bread, whereas I cannot resist the extra-soft creamy butter. We shared the Grilled White Asparagus which are buried under morel mushrooms and a coconut oil persian lime sabayon and topped with charred watercress. I am noticing more and more the inclusion of charred flavors lately when dining out.

Whenever I see duck on the menu, I am always tempted to order it. Here we see the Charred Marinated Jurgielewicz Duck Breast served with a fresh herb salad, coconut-lime infusion with housemade sriracha and roasted caraflex cabbage on the side (note charring again!) I did not love the cabbage aspect of this dish, but everything else was fantastic.

Bob had the Faroe Island Salmon topped with herb crumbs, served in a rhubarb ginger beurre blanc with charred leak and fava beans, skin crisped above. Photo on the right shows the dining room before it got crowded. Later, the table next to us ordered the Crudité appetizer, which caught my eye. It came in a huge bowl arranged in a splendid array of color. Cauliflower, endive, beets, zucchini, and radicchio mixed with an herbal sunflower seed hummus for dipping. (Next time I will have to order that.)

We did save room for dessert, specifically because we both love rhubarb. Seen above is the Rhubarb Tart which had poached rhubarb atop a pistachio financier, with vanilla bavarois and honey ginger ice cream. Wonderful mix of flavors here. Photo right, we did get a couple of extra sweet bites from the kitchen.

Our table was in the corner, so we had a grand view of the room. I love the pink feather arrangements, which complemented the jewel-toned burgundy walls—that had an unexpected velvet-like texture to them. As I waited outside the restrooms, I could not resist smoothing out the tone on the wall, which had been disrupted by someone who had brushed against it. Downstairs, a server was doing the same. I guess this is a high-maintenance task that was not accounted for in the design. Note the open kitchen at the back, which gives the room an extra glow.

The sheer wall of curtains looms behind us—there is a space between the windows and the banquette, which allows light to come pouring in. It has been a while since my friend Bob and I treated ourselves to such a superb dinner in a stellar space. It was long overdue, and felt great. More to come.

Four Twenty Five, 425 Park Avenue (betw 55th/56th St), Midtown East, Instagram @425restaurant