We were all young somewhere once, and my place was Schiller’s Liquor Bar. It was 2003 when Keith McNally’s proto bobo faux-brasserie opened in a former pharmacy on the Lower East Side. I was barely 21, full of piss and vinegar, high on cocaine and shot through with piercings. Already a few years deep in New York, I had bought into the promise of the late-night ticker-tape self-parade but hadn’t yet realized by morning it would all be litter. In the honeysuckle glow of a Schiller’s booth, anything was possible.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Descending into Lure Fishbar, one enters a world that is at once a fantasy of the moneyed life—the subterranean restaurant’s gleaming teak panels and white leather banquettes call to mind the interior of some billionaire’s yacht—and its embodiment.
A favorite of tech and media moguls, Lure is where the city’s sleek and prosperous come to sup on $46 steamed lobster tail, socialites slurp their weight in oysters and Gwyneth Paltrow goes for dinner with Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
When it opened in 2004, Lure was both the apotheosis and the seeming endpoint of Soho’s transformation from an enclave for scruffy artists into an upscale shopping and dining district. Nine years later, Lure seems, if anything, even more at one with its surroundings, a short walk from Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
So it came as something of a shock when rumors started circulating this spring that Lure was closing because of a massive rent hike. Mom-and-pops have been struggling for decades, of course, and Soho has had more than its share of casualties. But Lure doesn’t fit the profile of a beleaguered small business. Owned by John McDonald, a savvy veteran of New York’s restaurant scene, Lure caters to the kind of clientele that does not balk at paying a lot more for things they deem worthy. Moreover, it had washed into the neighborhood on the waves of gentrification in the first place.
Keith McNally is the famed New York City restauranteur behind Pastis, Schiller’s, Bright Lights Big City locale The Odeon, Minetta Tavern, and of course, Balthazar (which just today recieved a James Beard nomination), to name a few. They are restaurants as much as they are scenes (figuratively, as they’re stacked with celebrities, or literally, as they’re occasionally television backdrops). Tellingly, Keith McNally’s interview responses couldn’t be better if they were scripted by a brilliant writer (which they basically have been), if not moreso. Take, for example, like the one posted to the site of Bon Appetit today, with news of McNally’s forthcoming first London restaurant.
Construction started today at Foursquare’s future 56,000-square-foot Soho office, rounding out a year of new horizons and new funding—to the tune of $50 million—for the location-based startup.
Nate Appleman turned some heads last month when he abdicated founding chef duties at Pulino’s, Keith McNally’s newest restaurant. As a result, the crust changed, and there was no news as to where Appleman would end up.
Now, Grub Street reports that Appleman has made a move that could shock the Read More
Intrepid amateur cook Jaime Lowe heads behind the scenes at New York’s top kitchens, seeking experience on the line, culinary secrets and a taste of fine cuisine. In this installment, she visits hotshot piazzolo Nate Appleman’s sanctum sanctorum, Pulino’s underground butcher room, and finds out just how the sausage gets made…
Next: Into the Read More
Restaurateur and beef aficionado Keith McNally persists in his habit of berating critics: now it’s Steve Cuozzo of the Post. After Cuozzo wrote a column lamenting the quality of new restaurants, McNally was moved to send Eater this email:
It’s ironic that a gutter journalist (Steve Cuozzo) from Read More
Frank Bruni’s publicity tour continues to yield gems! From a Q&A last night in San Francisco:
I do not go to Keith McNally restaurants anymore … I would have loved to have given Minetta Tavern a horrible review, because McNally is a horrible man.
To be fair, McNally seems Read More
Restaurateur Keith McNally and New York food critic Adam Platt are busy guys, but not too busy for a little Internet feuding. Platt’s one-star review of McNally’s latest, Pulino’s, prompted an angry response from McNally; Platt has now responded to the response.
In his letter, McNally dismissed Platt as a “bald, over-weight” Read More