Marcus Samuelsson’s newest restaurant celebrates all of NYC’s neighborhoods

Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson, the celebrity chef’s newest restaurant, is a love letter to the city. Photo credit: Landon Nordeman
A large seafood bar with oysters and lobsters on ice at NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson

Martha Stewart, Daniel Boulud, Gail Simmons, and Chintan Pandya—the who’s who of the culinary world were in attendance at a recent glitzy restaurant opening party hosted by OpenTable at the World Trade Center’s new performance arts building.

This level of starpower gathering in one space can only mean one thing: A hot, new restaurant from one of New York’s most famous chefs. Enter Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson, a restaurant that’s all about celebrating NYC’s neighborhoods.

Several people mingling at a party at NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson
The who’s who of the culinary world were in attendance at the recent Metropolis x OpenTable opening party. Photo credit: Landon Nordeman

Queens kid Ed Tinoco (formerly the Alinea Group’s culinary director) is the executive chef and along with Samuelsson has created a menu inspired by Tinoco’s childhood and visits to different neighborhoods. Many restaurants here celebrate the city’s diversity, but it’s rare to see such a wide reflection of all our neighborhoods in a single menu.

“Doing a project where we’re able to touch on what New York represents as a melting pot of different cultures was really important to me,” Tinoco says.

A person holding a drink in one hand and in the motion of picking up a canapé with the other hand at NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson
Stylish canapés like this steak tartare crostini gave party attendees a taste of what dinner at Metropolis is like. Photo credit: Landon Nordeman

Read on for how to have the best experience at what’s sure to be one of the buzziest restaurant openings of the year.

What to eat

Several cut up fruit and vegetables on ice meant to resemble a seafood platter at NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson
The Union Square farmers’ market-informed vegetable platter is one of the highlights and inspired by a seafood tower. Photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee

Tinoco, Samuelsson, and chef de cuisine Marcelo Malta Andrade have created a menu of appetizers and entrees for sharing. The restaurant gets a lot of its produce from the Union Square farmers’ market, and that naturally informs dishes like an epic vegetable platter that comes to the table like a seafood tower on ice.

Nods to the city continue elsewhere. Tinoco’s smoked hamachi tacos recall childhood trips to Rockaway Beach, where he got tacos from street vendors. His gussied-up versions have crepe-like shells sandwiching chipotle hot sauce, cabbage slaw, and tempura fish. “It is a playful idea of representing Japan and Mexico together, but tying it to the Rockaways,” Tinoco says.

Similarly multicultural, the Flushing-style oysters are topped with a bright orange XO sauce. They remind Tinoco of his trips to various Asian restaurants in Flushing after watching a game at Shea Stadium or playing soccer in Flushing Meadows. “The one thing I always found common at these restaurants was that they always had their own version of XO sauce,” Tinoco says.

What to drink

A ceramic tumbler with marble-like striations holds a drink with some cinnamon sticks for garnish at NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson
Ceramics created by Ridgewood artist Helen Levi reference the marble-clad building this restaurant is in. Photo credit: Andrew Thomas Lee

A drinks menu dominated by a wide selection of cocktails (there are seven martinis alone) is a love letter to the city in its own way. Many are served in ceramic mugs created by Ridgewood ceramicist Helen Levi that resemble the marble exterior of the performing arts building.

Standouts right now include cocktails you’re bound to reach for during these wintery months like a coffee float with coffee liqueur, caramelized white chocolate, and ginger beer. “It gives you that sense of going into the holidays,” Tinoco says. The aptly named Sweater Weather Cobbler is a blend of sherries, rums, and melon. 

Tinoco’s wife Alexis Belton is the beverage director and the brainchild of the martini selection. Tinoco’s favorite is the Martinez with sweet vermouth, gin, and kumquat. “It’s what people would call the perfect martini,” he says.

Where to sit

Several people eating, drinking, and mingling at a party at NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson
The massive restaurant has three distinct sections to cater to different party sizes. Photo credit: Landon Nordeman

The massive space located up a grand flight of stairs feels like a continuation of the performing arts center—it’s the first thing you see as you enter the building. Three distinct areas—a lounge, a bar, and a large dining room—create space for all kinds of occasions.

The lounge, with its cascading red velvet couches and low-top tables, is for lingering. The bar is where you’ll want to grab a drink and some snacks before a show. And the larger dining area is for full-on dinner parties, ideal for groups of anywhere from four to 10 people.

Plus, all the distinct spaces means there’s more room for breakfast and lunch that will follow in the near future. “The restaurant needs to live on its own,” Tinoco says. “I want the restaurant to be a destination, and I want the food to represent different cuisines in different neighborhoods.”

When to go

Chef Ed Tinoco standing in the center talking to two people at his NYC restaurant Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson
Metropolis marks a homecoming for Long Island City-raised chef Ed Tinoco (center). Photo credit: Landon Nordeman

Given the buzz around the opening right now, be sure to hop on a booking fast. Metropolis by Marcus Samuelsson is open for dinner Sunday to Wednesday from 5 pm to 10 pm and Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm, and for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm to 2 pm.

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Tanay Warerkar is a content marketing manager at OpenTable

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