NEW YORK—They say you eat with your eyes first—and that’s what the creators behind the newest dining experience are betting on. A blend of immersive video installations, fine dining, and theater, Journey is the latest venture into “theatrical gastronomy.”
Opened in January in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood, the Journey 360 experience features floor-to-ceiling (including the tabletop) projections that transport guests seated at a 20-person communal table to five different locations during each course of the prix-fixe meal. “From a fantastic waterfall in the rainforest to the side of a volcano to an underwater shipwreck, every setting has been designed to complement the cuisine,” explained Marc Routh, the executive producer of Journey and an award-winning Broadway producer whose shows include Oklahoma!, Angels in America, and Stomp.
The meal items created by executive chef Edward Hong include gin-cured arctic char, braised veal cheek, and raspberry mousse, and feature ingredients sourced from regions around the world.
“I call it going to Broadway, but at the same time being able to eat,” explained Alex Vanderbilt, owner and partner of Journey, “which usually you have to pick either before or after the show.” (The entire team behind the experience boasts plenty of theater and Broadway credits.)
Vanderbilt added that the experience is “not meant to be a Disney ride with too many special effects,” but rather with a focus on “culinary execution with an entertainment element.”
A similar experience called Journey Odyssey is designed for smaller groups at tables that accommodate two to four people in a 54-people capacity room. During the meal, Broadway performers bring to life a series of comic vignettes to introduce each of the five courses.
The space also includes what creators are calling the Journey Salon, a non-ticketed environment featuring a bar with tapas offerings and a lounge area that showcases paintings and objects that come to life through 3D animation. Flights of cocktails are also accompanied by integrated video that's displayed directly on the bar top.
In addition to the prix-fixe dining experiences, which start at $175 per person, the Journey Epic Café serves up an a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a more casual setting that includes magical dishware enhanced with augmented reality. The entire space is also available for private events.
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