NYC’s ‘most romantic’ restaurant accused of anti-Asian discrimination

NYC’s ‘most romantic’ restaurant accused of anti-Asian discrimination
Bryan Ke
November 9, 2022
One if by Land, Two if by Sea, considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, is now under fire after a TikTok user accused the establishment of racially discriminating “against non-white people — particularly Asians.”
TikTok user Annie (@rokug4n) called out One if by Land, Two if by Sea in a recent post. She says in her video that she and her boyfriend recently had a date at the restaurant and were seated on the second floor, or mezzanine. During their meal, she noticed that most of the people around them were purportedly Asian.
“I’m going to preface this by saying, I have no issue dining with other Asian people, other Chinese people, I don’t care. 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,” she says.
Annie then highlights the difference in ambiance between that of the first floor and that of the mezzanine, pointing out that the first floor, where the white diners are purportedly usually seated, has chandeliers, high ceilings, huge windows, mosaics and plenty of natural lighting. She claims that the second floor, which has two small windows, is not as well lit. It also does not have a piano and a bar.
The unfortunate truth is that racial discrimination in higher-end spaces is not a new phenomenon,” she says. “What is unfortunate is that One if by Land, Two if by Sea has been racially discriminatory for so long.”
Annie also points out that “so many Asian foodies are paying hundreds of dollars to this restaurant and getting racially discriminated against.”
Several Yelp users who once dined at the restaurant mentioned similar experiences that involved alleged racial discrimination against Asian diners. Some of the reviews on the crowd-sourced review site, which Annie shows in her video, were posted around 11 months to about a year ago, while the oldest reviews appear to have been written around seven years ago.
Annie ends her video by including a recording of when she and her boyfriend dined at the restaurant, showing people of seemingly Asian descent sitting near their table.
Yelp temporarily disabled its review option for One if by Land, Two if by Sea after Annie’s video, which has already garnered over 101,000 views and 11,600 likes since it was posted last week, went viral.
Some TikTok users commented on Annie’s post to share similar experiences they had at One if by Land, Two if by Sea, while others called out the restaurant.
One user pointed out that the restaurant’s name coincidentally addresses how the establishment purportedly treats its diners, writing, “So does their name mean that floor 1 is for those from America and floor 2 is for those who came by sea?”
But, really, everyone who lives here now came by sea but I’m definitely curious of the real meaning of the name now,” another user wrote in the comment section.
On Tuesday, food publication FoodBeast noted that reviews accusing One if by Land, Two if by Sea of racial discrimination against its Asian diners are not present on other platforms besides Yelp, such as OpenTable and TripAdvisor.
Located in New York City’s West Village, One if by Land, Two if by Sea has been named by Architectural Digest as one of “The Most Romantic Restaurants in the World.”
Featured Image via @rokug4n
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