Professional eater Howie Kahn surveys the staying power of the New York's restaurants du jour.
Hotels used to feature restaurants as amenities. In the case of Marta, an upscale pizzeria focused on Roman techniques and ingredients and owned by the inimitable Danny Meyer, the roles have been reversed. Occupying almost the entire lobby of the recently restored Martha Washington Hotel, Marta announces itself, with a narrow passageway to the hotel’s check-in area, as a restaurant with rooms, its two giant black-tiled pizza ovens anchoring the back wall like surrealistic twin butlers. Marta’s ceiling is high and coffered. It allows for dramatic mezzanine seating and a bold lighting design by Brian Orter that looks like an array of modern Italian magic wands, illuminated at their ends.
Regardless of the night’s hotel occupancy, the dining room remains full and vibrant until late. High on Soave, rabbit meatballs, and anchovy-spiked puttanesca pies, I wonder how many diners opt for an impromptu sleepover, booking a suite on the spot in order to remain close to chef Nick Anderer’s wood-fired food, which can also be enjoyed via room service. I can’t confirm any such reservations are made, but feeling like I’m in America’s first cosmopolitan Annabelle Selldorf–designed pizza hotel has me convinced New Yorkers, fueled by premium mozzarella and artisanal flour, have their recreational priorities straight. 29 E. 29th St.; 212-651-3800; martamanhattan.com.