On limo-lined 58th Street, two nouveau steakhouses face each other in a bizarre game of Spy vs. Spy. The white spy: bright, cheery Quality Meats of the Wollensky empire, designed by the whiz kids at AvroKO. The black spy: Chodorow’s infamous Kobe Club, a noirish trip that resembles a Tarantino stage set. Each has its bag of trick s— QM’s meat-hook chandeliers! KC’s samurai swords!— but the nukes in their arsenals are, of course, the restrooms. After you’ve finished a 64-ounce growler of Quality beer or a $225 bowl of Kobe punch, you’re going to need to use 'em. So let’s take a look.
Theme: Sparkling tiles, mirrored stall doors, and warm filament-bulb lighting vaguely evoke a spa (see also Public).
The lounge: Downstairs, a diorama-like nook done up in flock wallpaper contains two chairs, an old rotary phone, and a Lucite bull’s head.
Amenities: Over a disposal hamper, a shelf holds enough hand towels to dry off a herd of cattle. In the stalls, tp rolls are covered with custom paper.
Drawbacks: The men’s-room door doesn’t close completely, so you can hear screams of “STEAK ME!” from the nearby kitchen. The low-rider toilets are built for circus midgets.
Strategy: Hide out in one of the stalls so you can overhear the usual steakhouse-restroom banter: “Dude, is that hostess smokin’ or what?” “You should totally go for her, bro.”
Theme: As Platt put it in his review, “Unisex bathrooms done in what might be described as a neo-seventies Bob Guccione motif.”
The lounge: A narrow hallway where two wood-and-leather chairs with leather pillows flank not a rotary phone but a Zen-type plant tray.
Amenities: Mirrors everywhere; deep sink basins; and coolest of all, a pull chain descending from the ceiling causes the toilet to flush.
Drawbacks: In one of the small WCs, the push-down soap dispenser got a little too excited and squirted all over us — then the faucet didn’t work.
Strategy: Scrawl on the walls: “BRUNI WAS HERE.” We dare you.