Views worthy of Windows on the World, great food

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Forget any preconceived ideas you might have about “view” restaurants.

The food at Peak, a 10,000 square-foot jewel box on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards, is so good, you almost forget about the striking vistas. The à la carte menu is better than the offerings at many of the city’s most-worshipped street-level modern American places. Plus, Peak is reasonably priced, even though it serves a side dish of heart-lifting views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey — plus a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean.

Yet the restaurant, launched by London-based Rhubarb Hospitality Collection and executive chef Chris Cryer, hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Peak was cruelly whipsawed by the pandemic’s timing.

It opened atop the mighty Hudson Yards office tower on the unfortunate date of March 12, 2020, just before everything was shutdown. The ill-timed eatery squeaked back to life at 25% capacity in October 2020, but closed again early last December. It relaunched again at low capacity on Valentine’s Day of this year, only hitting its true stride after restaurants were allowed to operate at full capacity this past spring.

Peak's Maine lobster is a wonderfully executed seafood dish.
Seafood dishes, like Maine lobster, are as impressive as those at the city’s high-end, fish-focused restaurants.
Alex Staniloff
Guests can chow down on the 101st floor of the building.
Guests can chow down on the 101st floor of the building.
Alex Staniloff
The duo of pork comes with carrot and fig.
The duo of pork comes with carrot and fig.
Tamara Beckwith

Peak is a valentine of sorts to New York City. Rockwell Group’s airy, clean-lined design plays up the east- and south-facing panoramas from the dining room, lounge and the long, gently curved bar. The bright lights, twinkling necklaces of East River bridges, the glowing tops of new skyscrapers such as One Vanderbilt — all spell out a love letter to the Big Apple as the metropolis lumbers back from the depths.

We’ve had no restaurant this lofty since Windows on the World. Able to seat 155 people, Peak is a peanut compared to Windows’ 300-seat main dining room. That’s a good thing. While Windows could feel like an airport banquet hall, Peak is intimate and gracious.

The views can make it hard to appreciate how good a restaurant this  is — but only for a while. Peak wowed me with dish after dish, day and night.

The menu offers an array of foods at relatively reasonable prices.
The menu offers an array of foods at relatively reasonable prices.
Alex Staniloff
An order of heritage carrots diners can order.
An order of heritage carrots diners can order.
Alex Staniloff
Peak's burger is perfectly cooked and flavorful.
At Peak, the burger is so juicy and flavorful, it hardly needs condiments or cheese.
Tamara Beckwith

I lunched on a bright afternoon with a powerful former public-sector real estate executive who had helped get One World Trade Center off the ground.

At first he couldn’t take his eyes off his handiwork gleaming in sunlight far downtown. But his gaze — and attention — quickly shifted to his plate upon the arrival of cylindrical curls of chili- and pear-dressed yellowfin tuna, followed by an inch-thick American Wagyu burger on a potato bun. The perfectly pink, medium-rare beef was so flavorful and mineral rich that it hardly needed embellishments of cheddar, Dijonnaise and smoked bacon.

Beef “short rib,” Cryer’s most original dish, is inspired by classic New York delis. It’s nothing like what the name suggests — as waiters apprise you beforehand. The short rib is slow-cooked for 48 hours and sliced pastrami-thin. The beef lies beneath an umbrella-like canopy of Périgord black winter truffles and — if that isn’t rich enough — it’s accompanied by bone marrow butter.  

Peak's stunning views.
Peak’s stunning views.
Alex Staniloff
A variety of cocktails will quench your thirst.
A variety of cocktails will quench your thirst.
Alex Staniloff

It’s truly wondrous. The rest of the menu is less visibly radical, but mostly no less delicious. Olive oil-poached, pink-fleshed steelhead trout is sweet and moist. Citrus-brined poached halibut is sauced with a dill velouté that’s poured tableside, and it’s as lush and perfectly executed as any fish dish that you’d find at high-end seafood-forward places like Oceans. A roasted lamb loin dish delights, with a crispy pastry roll of miso-braised shoulder sprinkled with peperonata. Creamy farro, slow cooked risotto-style and thick with parmesan cheese and maitake mushrooms, will be just the thing for a bitter-cold winter night when we finally have one.

The green circle chicken comes with butternut Squash, bacon and coq au vin.
The green circle chicken comes with butternut Squash, bacon and coq au vin.
Alex Staniloff
PEAK restaurant on the top of 30 Hudson Yards. Seasonal dessert.
One of the seasonal desserts offered to Peak diners.
Tamara Beckwith
The lamb loin main dish at Peaks features a pastry on the side that is stuffed with miso-braised lamb shoulder.
A thrilling lamb dish features both a loin-cut and a pastry on the side stuffed with miso-braised shoulder.
Tamara Beckwith

Peak’s prices — appetizers from $20 to $32, entrees  $38 to $52 — are no higher than they are at many fine restaurants without views. And dinner guests enjoy a bonus: They’re invited to visit Edge, the outdoor observation platform one floor below, at no extra cost. Adult Edge tickets, if bought separately, start at $36, so think of if it as icing on the cake.

There’s only one flaw. While service is warm and seamless, I cringed at the use of the word “bites,” as in, “How are your first bites?” Such tacky language is unworthy of the place. But thanks to a menu this strong, a fine wine list by beverage director Zack Kameron — and  oh, yes, the view — all’s forgiven.

It's natural that Peak is being compared to Windows on the World (pictured) as they both share stunning views and fine dining.
It’s natural that Peak is being compared to Windows on the World (pictured) as they both share stunning views and fine dining.
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