Yesterday was my birthday. On this day, and on one of my best pal’s in life’s bday, we take each other out for lunch or a massage, or a shop or whatever. So, yesterday we did a real “ladies who lunch” lunch at the Asiate restaurant that sits at the top of the Mandarin Hotel in Columbus Circle.

I am really glad that we went there because the truth is, if she had not invited me up there, I might have spent my entire New York life never going to the “Time Warner mall” on the upper West side. So, now that I have gone, I can give my critique.

The restaurant is really beautiful. The views are needless to say, spectactular. The banquettes line the room and have mirrors over them so that person with their back sitting to the window gets the same view. Very clever. The service is good. It is definitely a place that u need to dress accordingly. The food was actually good. We split everything so more tasting.

We started with 2 appetizers. One was a carpaccio of salmon topped with salmon roe and surrounding the plate a cilantro pesto which was very light. Simple and good. We also split crab rolls that was crab meat and vegetables rolled up in a cucumber piece. There were 4 pieces. Each piece also had a small square of red pepper custard with it. The crab rolls were sort of hard to eat and were not that interesting. They were actually kind of bland and the small custard portion which packed an intense flavor did not work with the mild crab roll. Although the presentation on a wooden block was really beautiful, the tastes did not work.

We split the main courses. We had a roasted/carmelized cod with 3 small salads next to it. One was a seaweed salad which was not that good, the other was a mushroom concoction which was ok and the other was a sliced cucumber salad with onions and a asian dressing. This was the best of the three. The cod was perfectly done and really delicious. We also had a sea bass that was cooked perfectly with a crispy skin topped over a group of roasted vegetables. I really liked this. Again, light and simple but plenty of flavor.

We had to have dessert. We split a mango souffle which was delicious. Light and fluffy with a crisp airy top and a gooey sugar mango custard at the bottom. This was served with coconut ice and mango syrup. Top! They also gave u 3 little extra bites to share at the end. One was a homemade reese’s peanut butter cup and chocolate covered nuts and a gelled mango treat.

All and all a delicious meal…a bit more than I realized later on for lunch but it was fun. I felt very lady like. It would be a fun place to take my girls for a fancy lunch, like they were going to be princess for the day. Although, they are actually princesses everyday so that might defeat the purpose.

I am really glad we went there because it was a treat, a new discovery and I doubt I’ll ever go back. We wandered around the mall afterwards. It was empty, stark and strange in feel. I am not sure who is shopping there but by the looks of the crowds, noone is. The Whole Foods is in the basement is absolutely amazing. I hope the one that is being built in Union Square takes on the same breadth of merchandise.

I left and jumped on the subway back down to my part of the world. My guess is that mall will go through many transformations and closed shops before it ever figures out their customer. The hotel will do great, so the Asiate will survive. The other restaurants, well that is left to be seen. Personally, I don’t like going to the mall to eat but as I said, only time will tell.