The view of Jim Meehan after your fifth PDT cocktail.Photo: Patrick McMullanNow here’s an example of what a small world the New York restaurant scene is: Monday night we’re at Taste of New York, chatting it up with Jim Meehan, the cocktail guru at PDT and brother to our comrade in gluttony, Times $25 and Under critic Peter Meehan. Tuesday, we run a post on Maite Montenegro, the new maître’ d’ at Daniel. (Stay with us here.) Then last night we run into Maite Montenegro’s husband, cooking consultant Kevin Patricio, and he tells us that he’s planning a restaurant with Jim Meehan! Quite the daisy chain there. Anyhow, Meehan confirms it: He and Patricio are trying to find investors for Pony Trading Co., a restaurant and lounge with an odd dual mission.
The cuisine, which Patricio will oversee, will revolve around the foods of Baltimore, Patricio’s hometown; the drinks, Meehan tells us, will draw on the early history of American distilling, “especially the rye whiskeys of Maryland and Pennsylvania.” (Although rye whiskey now generally comes from Kentucky, it apparently first took a place as our national spirit in the colonies. Remember that, because it’ll come up in a game of Trivial Pursuit.) As for the food of Baltimore, we always thought it revolved around crab cakes, but maybe that’s why we need Pony Trading Co.
So that’s the plan, or “what we see the concept as being now,” says Meehan. “But the longer you wait to get the money, the more likely someone else is to take it.” Touché — but somehow, we don’t see anybody turning to Baltimore and historic whiskey as touchstones, at least not now that we have first word out on this place. Meanwhile, Meehan also tells us that in the weeks to come, he’ll be at PDT full-time, making the delicious (if not tiny) cocktails that we’ve come to love.