Deep Dish: September 2014
Kelley Sparwasser - September 2014
NEW YORK CITY
Charlie Palmer opened Crimson & Rye in the lobby of the Lipstick Building this summer, with a focus on shareable plates and craft cocktails. Stefan Bahr, who previously worked for Palmer at Métrazur and most recently was at the helm of Raymond’s Restaurant in Montclair, NJ, is leading the kitchen, while Luis Mendez made the move from The Mercer Kitchen to head up the bar program. This month, Palmer also unveils Charlie Palmer Steak in the Midtown space where Rothmann’s Steakhouse and Grill was located until it shuttered at the end of June. Aureole alum Matthew Zappoli will helm the kitchen, and Ben Puma will serve as gm. Palmer has also reinvented Astra, his long-standing event space in the Decoration & Design Building. The space has undergone a renovation and reopens next month as Upper Story, where Palmer and chef Adam Bordonaro will serve his signature progressive American fare for lunch and host private events in the evening. He will also run the restaurants in the soon-to-open Knickerbocker hotel in Times Square. • The ever-changing face of NYC real estate is once again taking its toll on the city’s dining scene. In June, back-to-back closure announcements rocked the restaurant world. No sooner had we heard Wylie Dufresne’s plans to shutter his wd~50 in the coming months, restaurateur Danny Meyer announced he will close his iconic Union Square Cafe at the end of 2015 after he and landlord Ari Ellis of David Ellis Real Estate came to an impasse in rent negotiations. Meyer intends to reopen elsewhere, but no word yet on when or where this will happen. • Just as Golden Cadillac had hit cruising speed, co-owners Greg Boehm and James Tune, beverage director Don Lee, and exec chef Miguel Trinidad announced on June 30 that the 1970s tribute bar and restaurant would close after last call on July 3. The space will reportedly be transformed into a new venture, expected to open later this summer. • Dan Kluger recently stepped down from his post as exec chef of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina. He’s pursuing a new project of his own and will be succeeded by chefs de cuisine Karen Shu and Ian Coogan at the respective properties. • Chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, who made their mark at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami, are serving up Southern staples like sweet tea–brined fried chicken and shrimp and grits at Root & Bone. Buckets of the chicken are available to go, along with a daily entrée, sandwiches, and an array of sweet treats at the adjacent The Little Root Market. • Laurent Tourondel protégé Aksel Theilkuhl is exec chef at the newly opened farm-to-table Washington Market Tavern in TriBeCa. Beverage director Ste King features both classic and modern cocktails on his extensive list. Owner Eric Schwimmer restored the building’s exterior in order to maintain its 1937 landmark status. • The extremely popular Middle Eastern food cart vendors, the Halal Guys, opened the doors to their first brick-and-mortar outpost in the East Village. Owners Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed are serving an expanded menu at the new restaurant and have a second location near Columbia University slated to open this fall. These two sites will remain independent from the 100 locations expected to open within the next five years through a franchise deal the trio inked in June with Fransmart.
Chef/co-owner Scott Anderson has temporarily closed Elements, his acclaimed fine dining restaurant in Princeton, due to the building being sold. Anderson plans to downsize the dining room when he reopens in early 2015 in the cozy, 30 seat space on the second floor above Mistral, his other restaurant. Anderson will also expand the bar by making it a separate entity at street level. • Chef Steve Martorano opened his fourth restaurant, Martorano’s, inside Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. The vibe mimics the nightclub scene found in the restaurant’s Hollywood, FL, and Las Vegas locations. Martorano also plans to open another restaurant in Las Vegas later this year.
Rob Halpern departed Marigold Kitchen at the end of June to head to California. He sold the restaurant to his chefs de cuisine, Tim Lanza and Andrew Kochan, who plan to reopen this month after updating the kitchen. Keith Krajewski, who held the exec chef position under Halpern, is staying. • Jose Garces spread his wings outside Philadelphia—in July, he opened a third outpost of Distrito in the Moorestown Mall in NJ, serving regional Mexican dishes primarily from Mexico City, known as the “Distrito Federal.” Garces also debuted his first Argentinean steakhouse, Rural Society, in the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. The space, which was formerly The Federalist, is designed by NYC—based AvroKO and features a prominently displayed wood-fired grill and elements reflecting the gaucho.
In June, Jonathan Waxman, chef/co-owner of NYC’s Barbuto, opened Adele’s as an ode to his mother, who was passionate about food and travel. On the first night of operations, exec chef Christopher Stallard was out, and Matt Davidson was promoted from exec sous chef to the top position. Betsy Johnston is the pastry chef, returning to Nashville following stints at Hot and Hot Fish Club and Ollie Irene in Birmingham, AL. • Nashville - The team behind Louisville, KY’s La Coop: Bistro à Vins and Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar opened Union Common in Midtown. Intended to be a gathering space for friends and family, exec chef/co-owner Bobby Benjamin dishes out comforting steakhouse fare such as loaded tater tots, rib eye steaks with citrus gremolata, and Southern fried pork chops. Master Sommelier/co-owner Brett Davis oversees the beverage program, which includes over 100 whiskey offerings.
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, who own Alinea, Next, and cocktail lounge Aviary, plan to add a new property to their growing empire and have signed a lease on the recently shuttered Ing space that Homaro Cantu closed in May. • Fig & Olive made its debut with chef Pascal Lorange at the helm. The menu is heavily focused on seafood and has French, Italian, and Spanish influences. • Rick Gresh has been named exec chef for the debut property from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels Chicago, opening later this year, which will have six food and beverage entities.
In June, chef/owner Scott Boswell shuttered Stella!, his flagship fine dining restaurant that he opened in 2001. Following the closure, Boswell filed for bankruptcy protection for his four remaining businesses, including his more casual Stanley. • Restaurateur Ralph Brennan, together with businessman Terry White, continues his quest to resuscitate the world-famous Brennan’s restaurant, by naming Slade Rushing as chef. Rushing most recently ran MiLa with wife Allison Vines-Rushing, who is also a chef. The iconic pink building that housed the restaurant is now undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation after being auctioned off last year during bankruptcy proceedings for former owners Ted Brennan and his daughter Bridget Brennan Tyrrell, who have announced plans to open a new restaurant of their own.
Dirty Habit has replaced Hotel Palomar’s fine dining Fifth Floor. Chef David Bazirgan and bar manager Brian Means stayed on to create the new bar-centric restaurant, emphasizing small plates and craft cocktails. • Michael Moorhouse has moved to the mainland to become head pastry chef at WP24, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the posh Ritz-Carlton hotel in Los Angeles. He replaces Michael Aguilar, who was promoted to the position at the first of the year. Moorhouse was most recently at Honolulu’s Kahala Hotel and Resort, where Jeremy Choo has stepped into the role of exec pastry chef. • Mishel LeDoux has taken the reins as gm at The Bazaar by José Andrés, the flagship restaurant inside the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. She makes the move after eight years at CUT and Sidebar in the Beverly Wilshire hotel. • This month, Emily Luchetti assumes her new post overseeing all things pastry at the San Francisco restaurants Park Tavern, Cavalier, and Marlowe, which is moving next month to the former Coco500 space. • San Francisco’s Quince is set to reopen mid-month after its two month closure for renovations, which include two new private dining rooms, a chef’s counter, and a new lounge, Champagne Bar, where Jai Wilson will also serve as sommelier. • Hubert Keller closed Fleur de Lys in July to focus on his burgeoning Burger Bar business. • Sad good-bye: San Francisco–based chef Chris L’Hommedieu, most recently at Prospect, passed away on July 23 at age 44 from the same rare form of appendix cancer that claimed the life of chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe last year. • Brothers and restaurateurs Daniel and Robert Kronfli opened Bacari PDR with chef/partner Lior Hillel in Playa del Rey. Their third restaurant venture together, Bacari PDR’s menu features a broad selection of small Italian plates. • Matthew Morgan has been named chef de cuisine at The Beverly Hilton, where he’ll oversee Trader Vic’s Lounge, Lobby Lounge, and Circa 55 Restaurant. • Josua Perez has been promoted to exec chef of Americano Restaurant & Bar in the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco. Perez began as sous chef in 2007, coming from the acclaimed Zuni Café, and now oversees not only the restaurant’s handcrafted Italian menu, but also the hotel’s in-room dining and meeting and special events menus.
Micah Camden and Katie Poppe have opened the much-anticipated fried chicken haven Son of a Biscuit. The duo is also behind the popular casual spots Little Big Burger and Blue Star Donuts. • Exec chef Kasey Mills, together with John Gorham (Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder, and Toro Bravo), has opened Mediterranean Exploration Company (M.E.C.) with Jamal Hassan as bar manager and Mindy Cook heading up the wine program. The kitchen turns out dishes inspired by the chefs’ Mediterranean travels in Israel, Turkey, and North Africa.
Hide Sakurai opened Búho Cocina and Cantina on the fifth-floor roof deck of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza at the beginning of July. The menu features dishes with a modern take on Mexican cuisine, using locally raised beef and pork and fresh-caught fish. Sakurai also owns Shoduko Japanese Restaurant & Bar in Honolulu. • Blue Marlin has opened in the Waikiki space that held Matteo’s Italian Restaurant for nearly four decades. This new eatery features three distinct dining destinations under one roof: Blue Marlin Restaurant, Blue Marlin Tapas & Sushi Bar, and HI Tide Poke Cafe. • Owners Lee Anne Lowery-Gorman and Joe Gorman have opened Luna Italian in the former Solimene’s location in Waimea on the Big Island. Top toque Mark Porter was the exec chef of Hali’i Kai Ocean Club in the Hilton Waikoloa Village prior to taking the helm at Luna.