Navani Knows What Happens When…

I celebrated this past Valentine’s day much like I do my birthdays…. spread out in more than one day with multiple events. My V-day was split into two parts and it spanned two days. Part one, I coordinated by putting together a menu and cooking a meal a la Top Chef Style in the comfort of my abode.

Part Two took place the next day, and was thankfully not left up to me. My bf was left to his wits to pick a place for dinner and By, Golly he did swimmingly well. Enter What Happens When. At first I thought it was simply a new posh SoHo spot I hadn’t heard of yet. But what I experienced was way more substantial than that. Turns out, What Happens When is a temporary restaurant installation that transforms every 30 days for 9 months, offering guests an ever-changing culinary, visual and sound experience. So in lament’s terms: a pretty cool experiement in art and cuisine.

So what does this mean exactly? A team of four: One Chef  + Two Designers  + One Composer + One Photographer
and One abandoned restaurant combine to create a totally inventive “experience” based on their interpretaion of a theme. The theme is provided every month by, well one of us. Anyone that was nice enough to donate to their project on  The Movement will touch on all 5 senses and create experiences that not only support but celebrate the menu. Pretty nifty huh?

This month’s theme was on reflecting (I didn’t have a clue at the time). The place was decorated much like an architectural draft. Outlines all over of where seats and tables should go. Line drawing on all walls and ceiling. It def had the feel of a work in progress. A blueprint if you will. Looking back now, I can see the vision was to create a  representation of dreams and internal reflection, and to do so they built ladders into the ceiling and made “dining houses” to eat under. I realized they used the actual plan of the restuarant within the decor, but didn’t realize it was part of an overarching theme. I was content on a cool looking artsy space. So, Kudos to them for having more to the story.

It was not only a great theme and experience, but great food too. The dishes were super creative and I love that when they are bought out to you the staff explain what it is you are getting. I felt very much like Padma on Top Chef and so more points for helping me live out a small, secret dream of mine 😉

So, if you are in the least bit into art and having an experience where everything is symbolic, this is the place for you. For more info go to their site. To make a donation and get your name on the wall check out

Photos via Lia Wong