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Restaurant review: The energy lunch is back again

Upstairs at Four Twenty Five, the tables are set with crisp linens, and if you order bottled water, it arrives with a thin brass saucer to rest the container on between pours. Benn’s offerings are aptly set to anticipate the desires of a clientele that wants to be pleased but not challenged. The section of the lunch menu called simply prepared contains beautiful cuts of meat, poultry and fish from the usual starters, without side dishes and most spices. But she also flexes a bit, as in a superb tartare of finely ground fluke with tahini, chilli oil and roasted rice powder, which she gathers on shiso leaves, a tender and classy take on Thai lamb. . For the mid-century crowd, there’s a seventy-eight-dollar veal schnitzel (small and delicious, but the accompanying dill-flecked skewer is a hit) that pairs well with a refreshing Martini. For the more modern power diner attuned to a virtuous wellness aesthetic, there’s a set of blended juices served in thin-stemmed wine glasses, each garnished with a floating edible flower, and airy whipped sunflower seed hummus served with a rainbow of crudités on a bed of ice. (The hummus is twenty-five dollars, which I suppose doesn’t matter if you’re spending it.) The food overall is best described as precise: ingredients of excellent quality, with expertise. If it’s never quite exciting, at least it’s always good. Spaghetti in a tangy pepperoni puree with an orange tinge topped with sea urchin, pickled lacquer; an appetizer of sesame sea scallops is velvety with delicate shellfish encased in a mildly spicy nori butter. The most exciting dish for me was an appetizer of celery, a knobbly root vegetable similar to turnips, cut into thick rounds and ingeniously prepared in the Italian-American style known as francese: coated in a thin egg and then drizzled. sunny sauce made from lemon juice and white wine.

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When it first opened, Four Twenty Five only served dinner, but it’s a restaurant built for lunch.

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Despite its stated aspirations, Four Twenty Five only served dinner when it opened in December. In the evening, the drama of the room changes: against the night sky, the room furnishings and bedding take on a sultry edge, an effect enhanced by the huge feather-like floral arrangements that decorate the room, then undercut the iPad’s vines. , whose brilliantly bright screens disrupt the restaurant’s soft, flattering lighting like a visual horn. This stretch of Park Avenue isn’t really a place for dinner; a short walk through the building’s vestibule on your way out of the restaurant means your final dinner experience has all the elegance and romance of walking home after a long night at the office. This is a restaurant built for lunch: while the lunch and dinner menus are largely the same, the «Simply Prepared» section is exclusive to the lunchtime crowd; a top-notch burger is served with fries (not much) and a whole boatload of French onion juice for dipping. The only downside to lunch is that you might be tempted to skip dessert, which would be a mistake: there’s a swoony rice pudding made with coconut cream and tropical fruit and an exquisite chocolate moelleux soup layered with a swirl of spiced creams. and caramels and served with a quenelle of marzipan ice cream so silky and rich it will make your toes curl. No one looks mighty when they take a bite of ice cream, no matter how big the room or how lofty the skyscraper. That’s probably the best. ♦

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An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the food that appears in the photo.

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