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Robert at the MAD

By Aida Toro

There’s nothing more relaxing yet romantic than having a delectable meal, while listening to some music and experiencing a state of the art view. New York City has a handful of places that can provide this experience to consumers, foodies alike, and tourists. However, ROBERT at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) just hits the spot in all aspects.

ROBERT is nestled in the heart of Columbus Circle and is right on the ninth floor of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). In December of 2009, the restaurant opened its doors to the public and was born as a collection of contemporary art and design, delegated specifically for the project which was curated by restaurant partner, Dr. Brian Saltzman. The restaurant was named in honor of Robert Isabell, the late party designer who was implicated in the creative approach of the restaurant from its initiation. He also happened to be a long lasting friend of the owners.

Once you arrive on the ninth floor, an exquisite yet colorful space is what you walk out to when hopping off the elevator. I was cordially greeted by the hostesses, while some live jazz musicians played out of this world tunes on the Sunday I attended for brunch. The space has a lounge’s feel as the tables and seats in the middle resemble furniture utilized in a chic looking family or living room. London based architect Philip Michael Wolfson designed sculptural steel cocktail tables, the host stands, and a 15 foot communal table halved by a six foot high “sound wave” for the restaurant space. Upholstered pieces were designed by modernist master Vladimir Kagan and “Orbit 2”. A new video art piece by Jennifer Steinkamp is displayed on a 103” plasma screen. Project architects were Schefer Design, LLC.

Although the seating area in the middle is fun and cozy and the artwork is eye catching, the window seats provide all of the action, since breathtaking views of Central Park and Columbus Circle are available.

“The view is our most recognizable aspect, but it is our commitment to accommodate. We provide a warm and sincere attitude, with little touches such as personalized birthday dessert plates with candles, helping with proposals and genuinely being nice,” said ROBERT’s Beverage Director, Petr Landa, who has been managing at the restaurant for one year. “We have personalized binoculars in pink colour available that are made especially for this reason, so guests can enhance their visit while enjoying the window seats.”

To me, the lights at the restaurant looked like clear pink rectangles that reminded me of the modern spaces from the 1980’s. The lighting was actually designed by Johanna Grawunder, an architect based out of San Francisco. Her two installations are a mobile-like chandelier installation of LED lit lucite panels named Cherry Blossom. There are also a number of suspended orange lucite boxes linked together with the windowed perimeter called Tangerines.

As for the cuisine, the brunch is to die for. While I sat down and looked at the restaurant’s bright pink menu, the waiter brought me a bread basket containing an assortment of different breads and mini muffins with a side of whipped salty butter. After looking at the menu for a while and sipping on coffee and a mini muffin, I decided to order the Ricotta Pancakes, a side of bacon and Huevos Rancheros. All dishes are displayed elegantly, but most importantly, tasted like heaven on Earth. The Ricotta pancakes were placed so delicately on my plate and had a beautifully painted dash of blueberry compote next to it, as well as the berries themselves. The combination of the Ricotta Pancakes with the blueberries and compote was sweet, sour, and just delightful. The Huevos Rancheros were perfect for the salty and savory touch, as they come with refried black beans, pork, sunnyside up eggs, a fried corn tortilla, and salsa ranchera. Not to mention that they were topped with tortilla strips, pico de gallo, and leafy greens. After finishing up all of the items I ordered, Landa offered me a Blackberry Mimosa, which was the featured cocktail of the day. The drink was sweet and tangy and perfect for the autumnal season, since Blackberries are considered to be Fall berries.

“We seasonally change our menus and cocktails to compliment the current season,” said Landa.

If you’re ever touristing in Manhattan, head over to Columbus Circle and try out ROBERT at the MAD. Aside from brunch hours, the restaurant is opened for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, as well as for late night cocktails, and of course, the hospitality, cuisine and views never get old.

“All our staff are committed to hospitality, and they are willing to make the best of every experience for our guests,” stated Landa.


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