The Heath and Sleep No More

The Heath, under the High Line, is a massive old nightclub full of actors in period evening attire and featuring the best music of the past. As you enter, a haze of cigarette smoke in the air – but it’s only a subtle stagecraft to plunge you back in time. It's where you want to be, but didn't know it. 

Every table was filled on a Thursday night in this restaurant only two months old. By the summer outdoor seating on a roof garden will be added.

The confident, continental menu features Yorkshire fry-up, quail, meat pies, fish pie, lamb and beef: classics from another era. The Picked and Smoked platter – smoked salmon, blue fish and shrimp, with caper berries, pickled pears and beets – was a stunner (pictured, above right). Grilled scallops with endive, dates and blood orange was our favorite, though everything looked good. People around us all seemed to be ordering three courses, which you don’t often see in New York restaurants. But at the Heath, you want to extend the experience for as long as possible, the better to listen to the sensational 5-piece band and to watch a glamorous couple twirl on the dance floor.

Remember how in old movies, at restaurants like these, a tuxedoed waiter would appear at the table and say, “There’s a phone call for you?” That happens here, only the waiter knows precisely how to pronounce your name (culled from your reservation, or perhaps from a card trick with a seductress in a strapless dress).  “Please follow me,” the waiter says, making eye contact. He takes your arm and leads you to one of a series of phone booths. But then, he follows you inside, and … .

Cannot divulge what happens next, and it wasn’t done with every diner, just the ones who seemed receptive to loosen the stays of convention and play along with a brainy form of spin-the-bottle. Other dramas co-exit at the bar and the coat check. Wander around. The Heath, a complete night out in itself, is actually secondary to the theatrical presentation, Sleep No More, reviewed courtesy of our mystery critic:

From the Punchdrunk theatre company, Sleep No More is an immersive experience wherein the audience dons white masks and embarks on a three-hour exploration through 100 rooms in the fully outfitted McKittrick Hotel. Audience members are not allowed to talk throughout the show, but instead chase after the actors as they dart from scene-to-scene.

As you travel through dark outdoor forests, Victorian living rooms and a hospital, you may run into actors as they dance, pantomime, and sometimes scream at other actors. The show is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as well as Hitchcock’s Rebecca, so you may recognize characters or elements from both even without most of the dialogue. If you’re bold enough, as the host stresses, you may be pulled aside for a one-on-one with the character and come away with a memorable story to tell afterwards. The idea of immersive theater may seem intimidating, but after you’ve experienced Sleep No More, you won't stop talking about it.