ANDAZ: A place in the sun. A place in the snow—a new place you should know. ANDAZ is located at 485 Fifth Avenue at 41st Street, New York, NY 10017. There I was drinking Emperor’s chamomile tea on the 27th day of December, 2010. From the outside the tinted tall windows give a seductive matter-of-fact statement: elegance. Once I walked in I had another feeling: serenity.
In the pursuit of a moment’s rest from the cold—the snow falling, the wind blowing–I sipped my splendid tea. I observed Hunter’s tall boots trudge along Fifth Avenue, yellow taxicabs moving at a pedestrian’s pace, teenagers throwing vast snowballs, tourists taking pictures of the snow-packed street. When the hostess, Katie, asked if I wanted a table, I said, “No, I was enjoying the snow and the joyous smiles around.”
But thirty minutes later, I decided to stay and take a look at ANDAZ. In Hindi, ANDAZ is defined as “personal style.” The restaurant has been open for five months, and there is another one located at 75 Wall Street. At 4:15 in the afternoon, the grey sky had darkened. I met Edmundo Molina, the Assistant Outlets Manager.
“This is my first time visiting your restaurant. The area I’m in now–what’s it called,” I asked.
“You’re in our Retail area,” he said. “It’s where customers can purchase tea, coffee, and homemade pastries. ANDAZ also sells books, jams, chocolate, and our own coffee brand, ‘Café Grumpy.’”
“Excellent,” I replied, and a guided tour began.
“This open space is our dining area,” Edmundo said. “On the left is The Water area—customers can dine at a handsome dark mahogany table, and in the back is The Den where our patrons can enjoy their meals among books, and feel at home. Each theme is designed for a personal dining experience.”
“Very nice. Do you require reservations,” I asked.
“No—dinning is first-come, first-serve. We are also part of the Hyatt Hotels. We are open for breakfast after six o’clock in the morning.”
“Oh, you’re a hotel, too,” I said with a surprised look on my face.
“Yes, and a bar, which is located in the cellar. Follow me,” he said.
As I entered The Bar Downstairs, it was informal, and quite large. There was a kitchen area where the chef prepares meals in the open, one bar for specialty drinks, another for beer, wine and distilled beverages. Popular music played in the background. Edmundo gazed at my delight, and said, “We get a substantial number of the after-work crowd, and weekend customers.”
“Perfect,” I exclaimed.
Minutes passed, and we chatted while walking back upstairs to the front entrance. I thanked Edmundo for the marvelous tour. As my leather gloves grasped the silver door knob, my dark eyes glanced at the evening change in the Retail area: a rectangular oak table, six customers, six stemware glasses of red wine, and three white candles in glass votive candle holders. In the background was smooth instrumental music.
Today is January 6, 2011. This morning, I walked along Library Walk, which is a celebration of the world’s great literature: William Butler Yeats, John Milton, Emily Dickson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Virginia Woolf, and E.B. White. It was designed by the sculptor Gregg LeFevre in 1998.
Library Walk and ANDAZ are located on 41st Street. They are neighbors—they have a connection: elegance and serenity.
Catch it if you can at www.andaz5thavenue.com