Spotted Pig paperwork, Isabella dream demise, Galatoire's big bet, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
The “Best Chef Summer Camp Ever”, otherwise known as the sixth edition of René Redzepi’s MAD Symposium, wrapped up yesterday in Copenhagen, and Eater has an appropriately sing-along centric recap. Did you go? What did you think? Having popped in and out of the live feed from the main stage (and being no friend of PowerPoint), can I ask: Were any of the talks… good?
Let’s get to it…
The Debt – It’s not all that surprising that recently shuttered White Gold Butchers in NYC owes $60k in back rent. But it is surprising is that both Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield are still listed on that lease. Bloomfield announced back in June that she and Friedman had divided their restaurant group and were no longer business partners, and Eater specifically noted: “Bloomfield is also no longer involved in, or has any ownership of, butcher shop and restaurant White Gold.”
So, either (A) The landlord is mistaken, or (B) Bloomfield and Friedman lied, and we don’t have any idea what the structure of their continuing partnership actually looks like. If it’s the landlord’s slip-up, fine. If Ken and April lied, Friedman may actually be making money at Tosca and Hearth and the Hound, and Bloomfield at the Spotted Pig. (Either way, Eater might should go back and add some “according to a spokesperson” qualifiers to that first, credulous article…)
The Close – The nine month-old, 41,000 square foot, many million dollar gamble known as Isabella Eatery has closed in the D.C. burbs. Mike Isabella: “As painful as it is to try to ride out a storm, to see a dream thwarted, to see good people lose an investment- and to then reflect candidly at one’s own role in that dream’s demise- I can promise that our team and I will continue to dream of better days ahead, and will work like hell to turn those dreams into reality.” Italics are mine and highlight the point at which I rolled my eyes. As noted by Jessica Sidman in the Washingtonian, “One huge factor not mentioned in his [statement] was the sexual harassment lawsuit from Chloe Caras, who was once the Director of Operations for Isabella Eatery.” And Mr. Isabella’s distinct lack of candid reflection in the early days after that lawsuit almost certainly contributed to his “own role in [his] dream’s demise.”
P.S. Sidman also reports another one of Isabella’s Kapnos concepts is suing him for $63k in back rent. He insists it’s not closing.
And per Eater L.A., “It looks like the lights are off and the tables are gone from Xiomara on Melrose, the 16-year-old upscale Cuban dining destination.”
The Surprise – “Chef Phillip Lopez, at his restaurants Root and Square Root, was New Orleans' leading proponent of the cutting-edge cooking known as molecular gastronomy. Now he will lead the kitchen at Galatoire's, one of New Orleans' oldest and most hidebound restaurants. He will also oversee Galatoire's 33.” Notes from the peanut gallery: “I did not see this one coming.” – Todd Price of Nola(.)com. “Me neither.” – his colleague Brett Anderson. “This should be interesting. Insert meaningful ellipsis where you will.” GQ’s Brett Martin… And from WaPo’s Tom Sietsema, a simple: “Noooooooo!”
The Previews – FYI: Most of the NYT Food Section was given over to restaurant previews yesterday, so if you want a good feel for what’s on the media radar in NYC, please direct your attention to: Tejal Rao on chef Pierre Thiam’s upcoming Teranga in Harlem; Priya Krishna on a mix of openings in Greenpoint, three new noodle spots in Manhattan, and Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski’s “healthier update to the TV dinner”(!) at Village Den in the West Village; Ligaya Mishan on JJ Johnson’s Field Trip up on Malcolm X Blvd; Florence Fabricant talking sixteen openings filling in “gaps” across the city, what’s next for the Upper West Side, and John Fraser’s hotel collaboration with Ian Schrager in Times Square. Apologies if I missed any. Phew.
The Stream – Bon Appétit’s Andrew Knowlton will be hosting a new Netflix cooking competition show called Final Table, alongside celebrity judges / regional representatives “Enrique Olvera, Mexico; Andoni Aduriz, Spain; Clare Smyth, UK; Helena Rizzo, Brazil; Vineet Bhatia, India; Grant Achatz, USA; Carlo Cracco, Italy; Yoshihiro Narisawa, Japan; [and] Anne-Sophie Pic, France.” Details via Greg Morabito on Eater.
For Design Fans – Here’s a Wallpaper photo spread on Bar Beau in NYC, where “the drinking den is anchored by a statuesque green leathered quartzite and concrete bar, undulating plaster walls and dark wood accents.” No ropes, Edison bulbs, typewriter-related ephemera, or succulents in sight, though they did throw in a millennial pink light in the bathroom. With apologies to Brooklyn, I… love it?
And last but not least – In the Bay Area, “After 60 years in business, Brennan’s Restaurant is calling it quits next month, with no plans to reopen. Co-owner Margaret Wade… cited a slew of reasons for closing the storied Berkeley restaurant: a looming 25 percent rent increase, global warming, and — somewhat surprisingly — a drop in cocaine use…. ‘Drinking has really changed. People used to drink a lot,’ she said, adding that ultimately, the change is better for society but not good for restaurants. ‘In the late ‘70s, a lot of people were snorting a lot of cocaine, so it was this interesting circle of cocaine and you drink a few cocktails to take the edge off, and then you snort more cocaine, and then you have a few more drinks. You had people circling in and out of the bathroom. That stopped.’”
I look forward to seeing her PowerPoint next year in Copenhagen.
And that’s it for today. If you like what you’re reading, do me a favor and forward it on to a friend. And if you’re Alton Brown, do us all a favor and keep your “personal advice” restaurant reviews to yourself.
I’ll see you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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