IT IS AFTER MIDNIGHT in the kitchen of Le Baron, a Chinatown dance club. The chefs we have come to meet are squeezed shoulder to shoulder in the tiny space, chopping and frying for the throngs outside. Jon Gray is giving two waitresses in crop tops a pep talk, telling them to get as far into the crowd as they can before distributing the food. The doors have closed and the venue is over capacity. It’s going to be tough, he tells them. Hold the trays high.
Tonight is the inaugural event of his catering company, Ghetto Gastro, which draws on the talents of rising chefs who have earned their stripes at Le Cirque, Jean-Georges and wd~50, among other big names. “How many can we fit on a tray?” chef Dan Levin interjects, referring to the four-bite portions of chicken and waffles.
We pluck one from the trays and the flavor comes in waves. First the sweet crust. Then the feisty curried chicken. The cool heat of scotch bonnet mango butter. The creamy calm of the coconut waffles. And there are two more varieties to go: a fig waffle with chili chicken and foie gras butter, and a Belgian waffle with buttermilk fried chicken and maple butter.
As we sloshed, caked with snow flurries, into the Mandarin Oriental for the 2012 Phoenix House Fashion award dinner last Wednesday evening, we couldn’t determine whether it was the way-too-early winter outside, the Sandy-forced relocation or the early start after an endless election season, but at first glance, things looked a bit quiet. (In retrospect, we appreciated the venue upgrade, considering it was originally slated to take place at Pier 60.)
“Well there’s Linda Fargo, at least …” we uttered to a weary-eyed publicist as she sashayed passed us in a crisp black sheath dress, before we sauntered downstairs to cocktail hour.
Below, on the 35th floor, the considerably more lively and notable fashion crowd imbibed, heedless of the blizzard-like winds that howled without mercy on the commoners struggling to get around Columbus Circle.
With the exception of Glenda Bailey, this didn’t feel like a typical fashion event; nay, it was considerably more corporate—a bit cliquey, but not necessarily in a bad way. Dashing executives (well mostly dashing) in flamboyant tailored suits sipped scotch and red wine, while a more demure population of women squawked about recent highs and lows.
ART IS HARD
Andre Saraiva doesn’t just own the keys (and velvet rope) to Chinatown’s most impossibly hip club, Le Baron, but the Frenchman-about-town fancies himself an artist as well. To wit, his first major solo show—subtly titled Andrépolis—premiered last night at Bowery gallery The Hole. It has been characterized as an “urban phantasmagoria” by Purple Magazine‘s Olivier Zahm, who also explains that “the exhibition has a surprise at the end, a carousel for adults, for those who are not afraid to ride the wings of desire.”
And oh, does it ever.
Fashion Week Observed
Julie Ragolia has seen more stars in their skivvies than you could dream of! After sinking her teeth at MTV and a slew of glossies eons ago, she moved up the nasty and competitive ladder of fashion editorial… These days, she serves as the fashion editor of 7th Man Magazine and styles mega-stars, such as Rihanna and Sean Combs. Despite his Napoleon complex, street photo Scott Schuman even made her the cover girl of his treasured tome, The Satorialist. The Observer tried to find out if she gets to sleep with any celebs and what exactly stylists do aside from playing with clothes and acting bitchy in the Prada showroom…
The Wee Hours
The huddled masses on the corner of Mulberry and Mosco had waited for a long time. They had waited through 700 days of planning, they had waited outside several hours on this first night, and then they had waited to get the nod from a doorman. They had waited for the opening of Le Baron, the Chinatown outpost of Andre Saraiva’s famous Paris club.
“Stand in a straight line!” a bouncer yelled.
The arrival of Andre Sariva’s New York outpost of Le Baron—the most exclusive nightclubs in the world that you’re only getting into if you’re, like, one of the owners or friends with Stefon—has been waited by those who get off on velvet-rope-rejection-masochism with the eagerness of people who wait for nightclubs for two years at a time. Which is to say: Quite a bit.
As Eater New York’s Scott Solish reports, it is supposedly opening this weekend.
French nightlife impresario Andre Saraiva’s Le Baron—with respective locations in Paris and Tokyo, easily two of the most exclusive nightlife spots in the known universe, the likes of which you will never see the inside of—has been anticipated as the messanic salvation of New York City nightlife. Especially ever since word of its stateside arrival was confirmed…in March 2010.
The Daily Transom
It’s almost Fashion Week, which means that French nightlife savant and savior should be opening his much-delayed sin den Le Baron any day now. Um, what! We haven’t heard of a single after party booked at the would-be venue in Chinatown. And so the wait continues.
In the meantime, Mr. Saraiva’s been relaxing in Read More
For nearly a year, red-eyed connoisseurs of New York after midnight have been waiting, impatiently, for French graffiti guy Andre Saraiva to open his Manhattan branch of the notorious Paris sin den Le Baron and save the city’s nightlife. The chosen nook of Mulberry Street has been cordoned off, with little to no activity for Read More
In one of the better openers of writing about nightlife characters, this one’s up there. André Saraiva — the man behind The Standard’s Le Bain and Paris/Tokyo uber-exclusive nightlife destinations Le Baron (coming this September to Manhattan!) — gets the profile treatment in the May issue of BlackBook. It begins when BlackBook editor Megan Conway arrives Read More