Welcome to the latest weekly installment of the Launch, where Sam Mason, former pastry chef at wd-50, relates the ups and downs of preparing to open Tailor, the swanky restaurant and lounge coming together at 525 Broome Street.
“We didn’t really work in the test kitchen much this week; we’ve been thinking through the bar menu. That’s the one that we’re going to serve in the basement. It needs to be conducive to a different dining arrangement. Down on the lounge level, the tables are shorter, 20-inch versus 27-inch upstairs, so there needs to be more finger food. We’re talking about modifying stuff from upstairs. We’ll probably do some sort of skewered octopus, a pulled-pork-and-date sandwich, or maybe something fried, like an oyster with coconut cream. It’s hard to figure out the dynamics in the basement. We don’t want it to be too much of a burden on the kitchen. There’s a big difference between cooking for 45 people and 95. We need things that are easy to plate and prepare, something where the kitchen doesn’t have to work too hard. Maybe a cannoli shell filled with hamachi or mackerel tartare, or more of a fried tube. It could be made ahead of service.
This week we’re going to take a break from cooking and just go eat food. We’ll go to Tía Pol, to Momofuku Ssäm Bar. Well, we live at Ssäm Bar. We just want to go and enjoy ourselves, and maybe get inspired for making some small dishes. One thing I’ll be looking at will be uniforms. That discussion is coming up, and I think we’ll probably be bumping heads. I like the idea of a formal-looking uniform. The bartenders would have buttoned shirts with rolled-up sleeves and armbands — preferably showing lots of tattoos. Now, though, that’s become kind of obvious, and the main thing is to avoid cliché. The other thing I worry about is having the waiters and bartenders clean their own uniforms. They tend to get beat up. But doing the laundry ourselves can be a costly endeavor. But you just can’t expect people to take care of uniforms. It just doesn’t work that way.”