Alan Yau's restaurant-to-be in the Gramercy Park Hotel is now poised to open in late January or early February, or so a beleaguered manager told us. In the meantime, private-partygoers have gotten a look at the surprisingly demure and loungy L-shaped room where the eatery will be located (provided the Chinese chefs' visas come through). At the Svedka-sponsored event featuring "erotic readers" Jay McInerney and Candace Bushnell, we scoped out the one area that probably won't change much before the place opens: the restrooms.
Theme: The hotel's Website promises French chinoiserie, but the sleek bathroom resembles that of a spa, with serene recessed lighting and black, bricklike tiles.
Privacy: Since the communal waiting and wash-up area is so small, you know the next person in line is hovering directly on the other side of the door.
Amenities: Pretty much none, outside of two cool-looking sinks and some thick hand towels on a small table. (Given a couple months, however … )
Flaws: It's not immediately clear whether the circle in the wall that triggers the faucet is a touch button or a motion sensor, and it's difficult to locate the slat in the sink where used hand towels go.
Strategy: If there's a wait, exit the restaurant and use one of the swankier lobby bathrooms, which include a lounge area complete with couches.
Rating: Daniel Maurer