After the tiki-themed Hurricane Club called it quits in the Flatiron neighborhood, its owners, father-and-son team Michael and Alan Stillman, installed General Assembly, an American bistro that Michael told us he hoped would become NoMad’s equivalent of Balthazar. The all-day crowds never materialized, though, and not quite six months later, they flipped the concept again — as of a couple of weeks ago, 360 Park Avenue South is home to Park Avenue Autumn (360 Park Avenue South, 212-951-7111), a revival of the seasonal new American restaurant that made a home on the Upper East Side for more than two decades.
This is a huge space, and while design firm AvroKO has kept the general lay-out and tiled floors of General Assembly, it’s dispensed with the airy brightness of that restaurant and assembled a warm fall theme via floral arrangements and muted orange lighting. Servers wear plaid flannel. The soap in the bathroom smells of vanilla. In all, it’s a thorough representation of the season. And while General Assembly could feel cold and empty, Park Avenue Autumn, at least on a Friday night, feels cozy, even with all of the private dining rooms open for seating.
Food and drink hews to the same theme; the cocktail list showcases ingredients like Applejack and Cognac, nutmeg and cinnamon, and spiced pear and pumpkin butter. You’ll also find a few ciders, seasonal beers, and heavier wines on the list, though the bar stocks year-round classics, too. We kicked off dinner with the ‘Plaid & Stripes,’ a blend of Applejack and cinnamon lent spice by a spritz of Laphroaig.
The Stillmans tapped Zene Flinn — an alum of the original Park Avenue Autumn and Jean-Georges’ Nougatine — and Benkei O’Sullivan, who did time at ABC Kitchen and Frankie’s Spuntino, to share responsibility for the kitchen, and they’ve embraced root vegetables, smoke, and spices throughout the menu. There’s the requisite butternut squash soup and kale salad in the appetizer list; we opted instead for the Black Friday toast, which stacked sage-laced turkey sausage, cranberry, and pecans on a thin slice of griddled bread. Other options include a venison tartare and a fig carpaccio, which layered tart goat cheese and smoked almonds on thin slices of the fruit.
The most autumnal entree we tasted was the pork chop schnitzel, a massive bone-in hunk of pig cut thin, breaded, and fried, and served with sweet pear mostarda. Scallops were the better order, though, plied as they were with persimmon and earthy black sesame.
Just leave room for dessert — Park Avenue Autumn is turning out a classic sticky toffee pudding that’s a perfect way to steel yourself against a chilly night. And don’t miss the apple cider send-off as you walk out the door — shot-sized glasses of digestif sit on a counter just before the host stand, and you’re free to enjoy one before you leave.
Park Avenue Autumn is open weekdays for lunch and dinner, and weekends for dinner. Brunch is coming on October 19.