A Date Gone Wrong: Does New York’s most romantic restaurant discriminate against Asians? – Firstpost

The restaurant was established in 1973. Image courtesy: One if by Land, Two if by Sea
It didn’t turn out to be an ideal date night for Annie, a TikTok user who called out New York City’s most romantic restaurant for being discriminatory towards Asians.
Annie, who goes by the username @rokug4n on TikTok, accused the eatery One if by Land, Two if by Sea of segregating Asian diners from other customers.
The woman posted a video on TikTok claiming that she went to the restaurant with her boyfriend when they were seated in a second-floor space and noticed that only Asians occupied the second floor.
The video from the night of her visit showed a poorly-lit second floor with other Asian couples. According to a report by New York Post, the segregated space is also less luxurious than the rest of the restaurant. The clip has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
Many other Asian diners have confirmed Annie’s accusations on Yelp – a restaurant review app – saying that they have been treated poorly by the eatery in the past.
Let’s take a closer look.
About the restaurant
Established in 1973, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is a popular West Village eatery in New York which is set in a landmarked carriage house that was once owned by the former Vice President of United States Aaron Burr.
The décor of the restaurant features candlelit tables, brick fireplaces and a private garden.
It has been voted as the most romantic restaurants in the world by Architectural Digest.
According to a report by Daily Mail, customers can choose from a variety of meal options like a $150 four-course meal or a $200 seven-course meal. Seasonal deals like a $175 Thanksgiving menu are also offered here.
The restaurant’s official website claims that more people have announced their engagements at this place than any other restaurant in Manhattan.
The menu of the eatery is handpicked by the world-famous chef Gary Volkov and has items like Osetra Caviar and Maple Syrup Roasted Pumpkin Veloute.
What are the accusations levelled against it?
Annie was very vocal about her experience at the restaurant in a video she posted on TikTok. She said, “Let’s cut to the chase: One if by Land, Two if by Sea racially discriminates against nonwhite people, particularly Asians.”
In her video, she showed the contrast between the two “segregated” spaces with the help of a Yelp photo which displayed the main dining hall as a well-lit room and in contrast the second floor as a poorly-lit one.
She further clarified that she has no problem eating with fellow Asians. “I have no issue dining with other Asian people. What I do care about, and have an issue with, is people of color being separated from white people by white people in higher-end establishments. So many Asian foodies are paying hundreds of dollars to this restaurant and getting racially discriminated against.”
Many Asian diners have claimed that they have been discriminated at the restaurant. Image courtesy: One if by Land, Two if by Sea
Annie’s review found support among other angry Asian diners on Yelp and Google. According to New York Post, one Yelp reviewer named Xu Z claimed along with a friend that they were made to wait for as long as 40 minutes before being seated on the second floor, despite their reservation on the first floor.
A food journalist, Min Chieh L similarly recalled an experience at the restaurant last year saying people other than Asians were prioritised while waiters ignored them and called the restaurant’s captain “arrogant.”
Angie C, a diner wrote in 2012, “There were six tables of Asians packed in a corner in the balcony area (my table included) which my boyfriend and I joked about. We said, ‘what is this, the Asian corner?’ and laughed it off. But then when we went downstairs to the main area … not a single Asian was there. It was something we couldn’t help but notice.”
How has the restaurant reacted?
Meanwhile, representatives at the restaurant have completely refused the allegations levelled against them.
Lisa Gardner, the Director of Special Events at One if by Land, Two if by Sea told New York Post, “One If By Land, Two If By Sea has been in business for almost fifty years and we pride ourselves on our service to our customers, regardless of their color or nationality. I have worked at the restaurant for 30 years and the reason it has stayed so popular is because of the warmth each guest receives as they walk through the door.”
“We have received over 60,000 reviews on Open Table, the reservation platform we use and not one has mentioned any type of discriminatory behavior on our part,” Gardner said further.
Since Annie’s video went viral, One if by Land, Two if by Sea’s Yelp page has been flooded with negative comments and one-star reviews. The website has now a review feature for the restaurant.
The website read, “While racism has no place on Yelp and we unequivocally reject racism or discrimination in any form, all reviews on Yelp must reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience.”
With inputs from agencies
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