On top of the Mandarin Oriental overlooking Central Park on Friday night, a very swanky group of eaters swayed to some smooth tunes crooned on a central elevated platform and took in the setting sun. In one corner, a Bombay cocktail was poured through a two-foot piped funnel. Some incredible white Bordeaux was sluiced down the other side. A long line of sake bottles were ready for the tasting, and chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Susur Lee, Jehangir Mehta and the like were posing for pictures with happy fans. Yes, the 4th annual Lucky Rice Grand Feast was in full swing.
We sipped sake (an earthy cucumber one winning my heart, personally), learned some new phrases in Chinese and Thai, and chatted about what a Manhattan Korean food crawl would be, of course, but our mission was to delve into as many plates as possible before the brunt of the crowd moved in. Several dishes were satisfying, and a few wowed us completely. And though we missed three tables (one to being out of food by 8:30, the other two simply because of packed traffic patterns), we were completely satisfied by the time the night was through.