With its Twitter board and interactive ordering systems, 4 Food introduced Manhattan to high-concept digital dining, but Jeffrey Chodorow's FoodParc which opened yesterday on the ground floor of the Eventi Hotel in the nebulous area just south of Herald Square might have perfected it. The multi-counter, quick-serve spot was designed by Academy Awardwinning set designer Syd Mead (he was responsible for Blade Runner!), though for all its futuristic flourishes the restaurant is essentially a food court. Four counters churning out a mix-and-match collection of shamelessly unhealthy fare think pastrami egg rolls or pasta served on a plate made out of bread which you order via an impressively intuitive touch-screen computer system that text messages you when your food is ready.
As for the food itself, there's a wealth of options. Americana stand 3Bs builds its menu around small, slightly Shake Shackesque LaFrieda-blend burgers, and a build-your-own grilled-cheese selection. The entre sandwiches are good enough, but it's the "Bacon Snack" three thick-cut pieces of sugar-coated Nueske's bacon with a cherry-barbecue dipping sauce that seems likely to be the breakout star. At Asian-fusion counter Red Farm (which is already considering expansion), menu designers Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng offer dumplings, noodles, and the aforementioned pastrami-filled egg rolls (also available with bacon). Italian spot Fornetti serves straightforward pastas and salads, with the gimmick that they're all served on top of flatbread that, even for salads, can be generously topped with a rich aoli. The fourth counter, where you can pick up coffee drinks, baked goods, and gelato, is wisely excluded from the touch-screen ordering system: This is for folks who want to pop in for a latte and muffin and don't want to deal with all the techy muckity-muck. Check out the interiors in our slideshow.
FoodParc, 851 6th Ave., nr. 30th St.; 866-996-8396