MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
Elegantly accessed by a sweeping staircase (or elevator) in the Langham hotel's lobby, Ai Fiori stands proudly above its Fifth Avenue address. This perfect perch for pretty ladies with their deal-making beaus in tow is dominated by walls of windows and espresso-dark wood. The handsome marble bar and lounge furnished with tufted banquettes sets an ideal scene for a post-work drink; while large florals, leather chairs and square columns lure families into the formal dining room. Service is attentive, the linens are thick, chargers are monogrammed with a goldleaf “F” and every last detail is very, very lovely. As one might expect of a Michael White restaurant, the menu boasts of Italian favorites mingled with contemporary flair. Pastas are masterful: begin with perfect squares of ricotta- and mascarpone-filled ravioli glazed with red wine and garnished with a deliciously mild and earthy sottocenere al tartufo. Fish courses can be even more enticing, as evidenced by a shining and perfectly seared piece of Atlantic halibut, crowned by yellow squash and purple radishes. Desserts, like a Paris-Brest filled with hazelnut-praline cream, are almost too bright and beautiful to eat-well, almost.