Some restaurants have the most interesting toilets that the toilets become the central talking point and shamelessly grab the limelight from everything else. Sapa, an ultra trendy Vietnamese restaurant in Chelsea, has two rows of individual toilets overlooking a concrete pool with underwater lighting. Very private and tres cool! But what about the rest of the restaurant? It's actually quite lovely. High ceilings, dark wood furniture, a wide variety of white lighting fixtures of different shapes and sizes, white netted curtains and huge potted plants. It feels a little bit like Le Colonial in San Francisco although Sapa's housed in a much bigger space and the long bar with a row of low-hanging lampshades is quite striking. And the scene is very happening. I felt a bit frumpy in a full-sleeved shirt and black trousers. A delicate tank top on designer jeans might have been more in order. And two inch heels, of course!
The menu was overly long and seemed very expensive. Being a mojito purist, I was quite annoyed with the "Cosmojito" so I decided to have a simple glass of Sancerre with some mussels in a spicy coconut broth:
For those of you who don't know, mussels are one of the few non-vegetarian things that I indulge in every once in a while. I loved the cilantro, lime and coconut flavours of the broth. I found some cooked pineapple sqaures hidden inside the mussels which was a tangy, soft surprise. And the torn basil leaves added a lovely burst of freshness after every bite. I polished the dish off and even used the bread to scrape every bit of the sauce left behind :)
I may not go back to Sapa for dinner (seems too expensive and no dish on the menu particularly struck my fancy other than the mussels) but I would definitely go there for drinks when friends from out of town visit.
43 West 24th Street