For anybody who has ever lamented the dearth of good eats in the no man's land that is NoMad (the strange stretch between Herald Square and Flatiron), we've got good news: the just-opened Duo Restaurant and Lounge.
The brainchild of restaurateur sisters Sabina and Lorraine Belkin, Duo has the feel of an old New York establishment gone modern and opulent. The ceilings are high and dramatic, Swarovski crystals adorn the plush, black velvet walls, and oversized menus illuminate like Kindles when opened.
All of this might seem a tad over the top (like how they brought us a chair to keep our purses off the ground) if not for the unpretentious waitstaff and intelligent New American cuisine.
After you've sufficiently nursed your cucumber-cantaloupe martini ($14), start with the ahi tuna served over wasabi avocado-mousse and grilled pineapple ($18). Or try the golden beet terrine ($17), which is terrifically simple yet rich enough to share.
The entrees are primarily meat- and seafood-based and come gorgeously plated; our honey-soy Chilean sea bass ($31) looked and tasted like a work of art.
The desserts, meanwhile, are equally extravagant. The hot chocolate cake ($10) was the perfect end to the evening.
Duo Restaurant and Lounge, 72 Madison Ave. (between 27th and 28th sts.); 212-686-7272 or duonewyork.com