TWO ROOMS, FIVE CUISINES
NEW YORK — The newest venture of restaurateurs Geoffrey Murray and Rocco Ancarola is a globetrotter’s culinary dream: It cover cuisines from exotic Africa, the Far East, Europe and Asia and is capped by a champagne bar.
The partners, who launched the successful SoHo eatery Boom and who formerly owned the Bang restaurant chain, opened their new East Side eatery called 2 Rooms, at 313 East 58th Street, in February.
So far, 2 Rooms is attracting chic Upper East Siders and Europeans, as well as a big music crowd, which has included Madonna, Seal and Lenny Kravitz.
The idea is two separate dining rooms — one formal, one casual — as well as a champagne bar under one roof. Housed in a landmark 1856 building, 2 Rooms can accommodate more than 150 people. On the main level, the Royal Room is for intimate, formal dining, with wood walls and a wood-burning fireplace in low lighting. But upstairs in the Karoo Room, named after a South African desert region, it’s not unusual to see Ancarola greeting customers in this casual dining room equipped with ceiling fans, teak tables and wildlife photographs. The Serengeti Champagne lounge, also upstairs, serves Krug Champagne and exotic drinks, like the Nelson Mandela — vodka, Young berry and lime — and the White Rhino — lichee juice and champagne.
The menus are globally influenced, thanks to Murray, a self-taught chef who has apprenticed in fine kitchens all over the world.
“I have taken inspiration from my travels to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Far East and incorporated it into my menu,” said Murray, who cooks for the Royal Room.
Some Royal Room favorites: seared New York State goose liver with mango chutney or curried butternut squash soup as appetizers; a salmon and oyster napoleon or black truffle sea scallops are sumptuous entrees.
The Karoo Room menu has more of an African influence, thanks to Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam.
A prix fixe menu of $50 is available in the Royal Room, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Prices in the Karoo Room range from $6 to $12 for appetizers and $14 to $26 for entrees. Karoo is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch and dinner on Sunday. The Serengeti Champagne bar is open from 5 p.m. until closing.