5.25.18 / New York / New York

The Polynesian Is Major Food Group’s Ode to Tiki Culture

The ultimate love letter to the South Pacific

  • [Photo: Noah Fecks]

  • We’re halfway into 2018 and we haven’t seen anything new from the red hot Major Food Group—until now. Though the restauranteurs Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick, and Rich Torrisi have done cocktail-focused establishments before—ZZ’s Clam Bar is as much about cocktails as it is seafood, and The Pool Lounge is a separate nook above the dining room in the Seagram Building—for the first time the  group is opening a standalone cocktail bar: The Polynesian.

    Opening tonight at The Pod Hotel (Midtown West), The Polynesian merges the quality and style of their other restaurants (which, as a reminder, include Carbone, Santina, Dirty French, and the aforementioned ZZ’s) with the Tiki genius of bartender Brian Miller. That’s not an exaggeration; here Miller isn’t just throwing a tiny plastic umbrella into tumblers. The ingredients of the South Pacific come alive at The Polynesian. The Pina Colada is perhaps the most rich and tasty we’ve ever tried. Tropical ingredients like guava puree (Damned to the Depths) or Kaffir lime and coconut cream (The Exotica Bowl) show up in most drinks, but there’s still a focus on boozy cocktails—The Derelict features four rums, bourbon, and Absinthe before being softened by lime, grapefruit juice, lilikoi puree, banana liquor, and bitters. Many custom-designed ceramic tiki glasses are used, most notably with the striking Vaya Kon Tiki which is set in a ceramic skull mug before the pineapple piece placed in the lemon peel on top is lit on fire. On top of that, The Polynesian boasts the largest collection of Rums in the city, made clear by the quantity and variety used in the drinks.

    The interiors also feature South Pacific influences with turquoise furniture, carved wood and bamboo decor, and paintings that harken back to 18th century expeditions. To boot, there’s a large outdoor terrace with its own full bar, offering a skyline view of the city. In other words, The Polynesian is the ultimate love letter to the Tiki bar concept; it’s another, welcome instance of Major Food Group spreading their wings into new territory, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

    The Polynesian opens tonight at 400 West 42nd Street in the Pod Hotel

  • [Photo: Noah Fecks]

  • [Photo: Noah Fecks]

  • [Photo: Noah Fecks]