Myanmar celebrates their new year water festival with a 5 day public holiday, with many of the countries restaurants and bars closing for the week in order to allow their staff to spend the national holiday with their families (often based many hundreds of miles away)
After spending the previous 2 years in Myanmar, first in Shan State, then in the stunning Myeik Archipelago, I was very excited to be visiting friends in South America over the Thingyan holidays (which happily this year coincided with Easter) not least as I scheduled a night in New York (one of my favourite cities in the world) either side of my time in Colombia.
As I wasn’t going to land at JFK until nearly 9pm, I needed to investigate the “late night” eating options in a city that, for the most part, closes surprisingly early. Thankfully I remembered that Wild Air, which had been on my shortlist of restaurants to visit on my last trip to NYC, served until 11:30pm at the weekends and so made my way there, suitcase in hand, straight from the airport, before making my way to my hotel in the Meatpacking District later that night.
Wild Air, and their sister restaurant Contra where I had a drink whilst I waited for a table at Wild Air to free up for me, are operated by chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske who have won legions of fans (not to mention a Michelin Star and a regulars spot on the worlds 50 best restaurants awards for Contra) since opening in 2014 and after 3 exemplary dishes, I can certainly see why.
I started with Breakfast Radishes with Seaweed Butter ($11) which were absolutely glorious, I loved the saline kick from the seaweed butter, as well as the generous squeeze of citrus, and they, and a Forthave Spritz, were the perfect start to my meal.
Next came the Black Maitake, Stracciatella, Chicken Skin & Tomatillo ($14) a genius dish where the creamy, tart stracciatella was perfectly complimented by the earthy mushrooms, slight sweet tomatillo and salty chicken scratchings. Whilst I always want to love Stracciatella, it is often served very simply, and as a result can be a little plain for my tastes. This has to be a standout dish at Wild Air (although I’m sure they all must be!) and I would highly recommend trying it if you visit.
My last dish was the Potato Darphin, Hokkaido Uni & Jalapeño ($35) which was essentially a beautiful chunky potato rosti or hash that had been topped with wonderfully silky, salty sea urchin and pickled jalapeño (such a perfect combination!)
With an aperitif, and 2 glasses of excellent natural wine recommended by their excellent floor team, my bill came to just over $100 (or $130 once you factor in the obligatory, and wholly well deserved, NYC 25% tip) which whilst a decadent meal by Yangon terms, was more than worth the value for money and I have firmly added Contra (which offers a 7 course tasting menu for around $90) to my list of “Must Eats” for next trip!
142 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA
Sunday – Thursday 6pm-10:30pm
Friday & Saturday 6pm- 11:30pm