Opened in the heart of downtown in 2013, the same year the eye-popping Eye sculpture was installed on the turf below it, the Woolworth temporarily closed this summer for a revamp. Chef Ronald Von Hatten of HattenLuke Hospitality Group (which includes Smithy on Henderson and Uno Mas) buttressed the dinner menu with international nods: pork belly crackling in star anise reduction, grilled halloumi salad, lobster rangoon spring rolls. Brunch received similar worldly treatment. Starters such as “angel’s eggs” teased the flavors of hot smoked salmon, kewpie mayo, and Aleppo pepper, but the result was another unremarkable fancy deviled egg. We moved on to the buttery lobster grilled cheese with brie and havarti, an indulgent grown-up sandwich that quickly became rich. We hoped for a reprieve in the side of gochujang slaw, but alas, it was so tarred in what our party described as “artificial orange mayo” that it was impossible to taste any greens, or even discern the type that had been used. The group favorite was the cheese-less blue crab nachos on sturdy taro chips, a light dish we’d order again along with a cocktail the next time we want to enjoy picture-perfect downtown views in a former F. W. Woolworth’s five-and-dime store.
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Updates to this second-story restaurant in a historic building include a globally-inspired menu.