Savannah’s award winning restaurant, The Grey, is now available in New York City through April! The pop up is part of the Intersect by Lexus restaurant-in-residence program. This initiative hosts chefs across the country to bring their flavors and dishes to the Big Apple.
INTERSECT is an innovative venture run by the Japanese automaker Toyota, which sells Lexus vehicles in its luxury division. The company prides itself in Omotenashi, or exceptional hospitality. It furthers its commitment to this value with upscale guest lounges in New York City, Tokyo, and Dubai.
According to INTERSECT’s website, “INTERSECT BY LEXUS – NYC is the first of Lexus’ cultural programming destinations to feature a full service restaurant. The restaurant will showcase a rotating line up of top chefs from across the globe, each of whom will bring their unique culinary vision to life within the space.”
Past restaurants in residence have included eateries from France, Chile, Argentina, and India. This innovative program, headed by executive chef Nickolas Martinez, is refreshing. It shines a light on the work being done in the food world. Too often, restaurants and chefs outside of prominent food cities–like The Grey–do not enjoy the renown of their New York City counterparts.
INTERSECT: Bringing The Grey to New York City
Given the recent release of Mashama Bailey and Johno Morisano’s book, Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant, it is timely that their restaurant is being featured at INTERSECT.
The pop-up launched this past weekend, and patrons were able to order a three course meal from Thursday, Jan. 21 to Sunday, Jan. 24. Each weekend there will be a new menu, so you can always try something new. You go online and choose between a $65 omnivorous or vegetarian menu. I opted for the former.
You can choose to have the meal delivered or pick it up in person. Because INTERSECT is located in Chelsea’s Meatpacking District, my North Jersey address was outside of the delivery radius. So I scheduled a 4pm Sunday pickup and eagerly fetched my meal.
I was surprised at how beautiful the interior of the restaurant space was; it will be quite the treat to dine there post-pandemic. The employee coordinating pickup explained how the meal kit worked. The insulated meal kit included a QR code with instructions on how to enjoy the meal.
The INTERSECT Experience
After scanning the QR code, my phone’s browser opened a new web page.
It contained the following information:
- Instructions for reheating;
- A video about the Southern and Caribbean inspiration behind the menu’s protein from Mashama Bailey and Nickolas Martinez;
- A curated playlist inspired by The Grey. It included songs like Gladys Knight & The Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia”, Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, and Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Woman, Pt. 1.”;
- A profile on Chef Mashama Bailey; and
- Recommendations for plating the week’s menu.
This appears to be a sincere attempt to recreate a restaurant ambiance at home. It was definitely a nice touch.
The Food at The Grey in New York City
I slid open the Intersect by Lexus box, which revealed the meal. It was neatly packed in labeled containers. The menu was detailed on a leaflet.
I began my meal with buttered Sourdough Bread. Then I ate the first course: Smoked Catfish Dip with Rye Crackers. This portion of the meal tasted like a rich man’s tuna salad sandwich. The dip was creamy with notes of herbs and acid from the cornichons, which are similar to dill pickles.
The crackers were crunchy without being hard, which made them the perfect vehicle for the dip. The only drawback was that the jar, which was a cute aesthetic for storing the dip, made it difficult to eat. The crackers kept breaking in the narrow jar.
The next item I tried was the Collard Greens. They were quite acidic and tasted more like mustard greens to me. However, they still had the smokiness I love in my greens.
The star of the meal was the Yardbird. So flavorful and moist.
The bird was atop a garlic trencher, which was basically toast slathered with garlic butter. The bread was tasty, but slightly greasy.
The finale was a slice of Devil’s Food Cake. It was moist, but I wish it was a little richer. The candied pecans and bittersweet chocolate were the perfect garnishes. The nuts added a salty, almost pretzel-like crunch. The pieces of chocolate brought out the cocoa flavor of the cake. A satisfying finish.
The Verdict on The Grey in New York City
I was pleased with my meal from INTERSECT. It was flavorful and filling. I was happy to support The Grey as a restaurant-in-residence. I had the chance to taste Chef Mashama Bailey’s food, and it was every bit as good as I thought it would be! 4 out of 5 stars.
To see what’s on the menu for this weekend, check out INTERSECT’s website and their Instagram @intersectnyc.
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