In this week's Hot List, actor Richard Gere adds "restaurateur" to his resume with the opening of his Bedford, New York restaurant. Just a bit further south, New York City welcomes a new Austrian-German weinbar. Also, new reviews are in from Miami, Seychelles, Atlanta, and Atlantic City.
Canyon Ranch Miami Beach, Miami.
The crown jewel of this 150-suite hotel—located on 750 linear feet of ocean—is the 70,000-square-foot wellness spa, including a rock-climbing wall, 54 treatment rooms, and 30 exercise classes daily. When you're not lounging around your well-appointed suite—with its 400-thread-count Mascioni linens and flat-panel HDTVs—or swimming in one of the hotel's four pools, take your meals at the Canyon Ranch Grill, where you can indulge in tasty cuisine with a healthy slant: Each dish's nutritional information (including calories) is printed on the menu, and all wines served here are sustainable, organic or biodynamic. If you're looking to avoid the noise and toxicity of everyday life, you'll appreciate the property-wide ban on smoking and the ban of cell phones in all common areas (including restaurants). Pros: located directly on the beach; spacious suites with kitchenettes (no smaller than 720 sq. feet); spa treatments exclusive to hotel guests. Cons: bit of a drive to the heart of South Beach. 6801 Collins Ave., Mid-Beach, Miami Beach, 33139. 305/514-7000. www.canyonranch.com. 150 suites. In-room: safe, refrigerator, Wi-Fi, kitchen. In-hotel: four restaurants, room service, pools, gym, spa, beachfront, laundry service, public Wi-Fi, parking (paid), business center, no smoking rooms. AE, MC, V, D. Rooms start at $350.
Four Seasons Resort, Seychelles.
At this little piece of paradise, the 67 individual villas and suites are perched on stilts around a private bay overlooking what may be the prettiest, silky-white-sand beach in Mahé, the largest of the Seychelles's 115 islands in the mid-Indian Ocean. Each Creole-style hardwood villa has its own private deck, reading pavilion, infinity pool, and outdoor rain shower. Artistry abounds: Renowned local artist George Camille runs the gallery (open in March 2009); hotel stationary boasts the lively impressionism of Brit-turned-Seychellois artist Michael Adams; and guests can dine by candlelight inside the stone foundation of the home of a French artiste who once lived here. One of the best parts of the property is the spa; go at sunset for daily yoga classes and for a breathtaking view. Pros: stunning location; delectable local fish prepared by a Michelin-trained chef; botanical spa treatments. Cons: farthest-away villas require transport by buggy (golf cart), which can take up to 20 minutes at peak; pricey Wi-Fi. Petite Anse, Baie Lazare, Mahe, Seychelles. 248/393-000 (ph.). www.fourseasons.com/seychelles. 62 villas; 5 suites. In-room: safe, refrigerator, DVD, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 2 restaurants, 2 bars, room service, pools, gym, spa, beachfront, diving, water sports, children's programs ("potty trained" to age 12), laundry, concierge, parking. AE, V. Rooms start at € 1,000.
Seäsonal Restaurant and Weinbar, New York City.
Partners and executive chefs Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Frauneder have brought something neue to Midtown: a swanky Austrian-German restaurant and weinbar. With its sculptural ceiling lighting, elliptical bar, and contemporary Austrian and German art, Seäsonal feels more "downtown" than you'd expect from such central Midtown digs. The décor is modern European with white walls, wood floors, and leather cubby seating. The cuisine is sophisticated and contemporary, yet still steeped in regional traditions. The chefs are committed to using fresh, seasonal ingredients, and whenever possible, locally sourced products. Appetizers like the foie gras terrine, and the cheese ravioli with smoked chanterelle mushrooms will delight you with their contrasting lightness and intensity of flavor. Main dishes, such as the pumpkin seed-crusted black sea bass with butternut squash and black truffles, and the classic Wiener Schnitzel served with a crescent potato-cucumber salad, will pleasure your palate with simple but striking flavor combinations. Seäsonal's weinbar features a distinctive selection of wines from emerging Austrian and German winemakers– definitely the right place for your Riesling fix. 132 W. 58th St., Midtown West, 10019-2135. 212/957-5550. www.seasonalnyc.com. AE, DC, MC, V. Closed Sun. Median entrée price: $27.
With its bright white, silver, and pale wood décor—along with white-plated menu items like skate wing, crispy calamari, and goat cheese custard—Market has the look and feel of a self-consciously modern, nouveau-cuisine cafe. A favorite of local executives and fashionable tourists, this hotspot in the swanky W Hotel in Buckhead does a great job with its black truffle and fontina cheese pizza; the flavor is subtle and the crust stays crispy. Another tasty treat is the steamed shrimp salad, which features perfectly tender crustaceans lightly dusted with cayenne pepper. Try the housemade sour-orange soda for a refreshing, pulp-free take on Orangina. 3377 Peachtree Rd., NE, Buckhead, 30326. 678/500-3100. www.marketbuckhead.com. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $25.
Bedford Post, New York.
Actor Richard Gere and wife Cary Lowell did something about the lack of restaurants in their picturesque town of Bedford, New York, by opening their own. Both dining areas at Bedford Post, the Barn and the Farmhouse, are devoted to seasonal American cuisine using as many local ingredients as possible. The Barn has a more homey feel, while the Farmhouse is an upscale boîte serving only dinner. The chef behind the earthy cuisine at the Post is Brian Lewis, who honed his skills at several top spots including Oceana in Manhattan and Bix in San Francisco. Dining selections constantly change depending on availability, but current picks at the Barn include a crisp farm egg with cauliflower, mâche and black truffle vinaigrette, and roasted day boat scallops with shaved radish and avocado; the Farmhouse menu features a striped loin of pasteurized beef and pheasant from a local farm served with chesnuts, parsnips, and red cabbage. Oenophiles will appreciate the 200-bottle wine list which has little known, but excellent, picks from around the world. 954 Old Post Road, Bedford, New York, 10506. 914/243-7800. No dinner Weds. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $15 at the Barn; $30 at the Farmhouse.
Izakaya, Atlantic City.
Chef Michael Schulson lived in Japan for several years, and the food at Izakaya clearly demonstrates his ease with the cuisine. The stylish space, with a glass arched bridge that graces the entryway and the lovingly-lit geisha paintings, will never be mistaken for a true izakaya, a rustic Japanese pub. But, take a seat in the hidden room at the back of the restaurant where the robatayaki (grilling) station sizzles away, and you'll be transported to Japan. The mostly small-plates menu encourages mixing and sharing. Select from hot and cold appetizers (edamame dumplings, hamachi sashimi) and skewers (bacon with rosemary and onions, or chicken with sage and mushrooms), as well as a good selection of rolls and sushi. Sake cocktails are fun, but for the true izakaya experience, finish with a cold beer. One Borgata Way, in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, 08401. 866-MYBORGATA. www.theborgata.com. AE, MC, V. No Lunch. Closed Weds. & Thurs. Median entrée price: $26.Contributors: Suzy Buckley, JoAnn Greco, Jen Laskey, Sheridan Prasso, Christine Van Dusen, Shivani Vora