Rose Bar Gatekeeper Nur Khan Likes Meat and Martial Arts

On the Gramercy Park Hotel's roof.
On the Gramercy Park Hotel’s roof. Photo: Melissa Hom

You need an iron constitution to be the moat minder of one of the city’s most-sought-after rooms — Rose Bar creative director Nur Khan wakes up at 10 a.m. and usually attends to his loyal customers till at least 3 a.m., five or six nights a week. To stay strong, he eats steak — and a lot of it! He also practices martial arts — several years ago, when he spent eight months training at Shaolin Temple, he had to forgo meat and found he wasn’t a big fan of a vegetarian diet. Anyway, who wants to be a vegetarian when you’re buddies with the maître d’ at Waverly Inn and can eat there a few times a week?

Saturday, May 24
I stayed in town for the long holiday weekend to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Hamptons. I had a late brunch at home — a cup of tea, a bowl of fresh fruit, cantaloupe and strawberries, and a cheese omelette.

I had dinner with friends at Keens Steakhouse, a sort of undiscovered New York gem that has a great old-English-pub vibe. I don’t think the people that frequent Rose Bar go there — there’s no scene up there. I had a salad, creamed spinach, New York sirloin, lamb chops, and a nice bottle of wine.

Sunday, May 25
I had a late lunch with friends at Bar Pitti before I went to the Murakami exhibit. We had spinach, spaghetti Bolognese, and a bottle of water.

For dinner I went to Omen. It’s really private and discreet. I had edamame, an avocado salad, shrimp and vegetable tempura, assorted sushi, and, of course, sliced sirloin steak. I have steak practically every night for dinner —my body just craves meat. Anything that had hoofs on it at one point makes me happy.

Monday, May 26
I usually have breakfast at home. I had my cup of tea and bowl of Cheerios.

During the weekdays I usually have lunch at Rose Bar. Monday I had a bowl of chicken soup and water. My lunches during the day are typically fairly light. I like to dine in between meetings. I have a lunch menu for the Rose Bar — we serve it from noon to 3 p.m. It’s pretty mellow during the days — I start to see people coming in later in the afternoon, around 4 p.m. From 4:30 p.m. straight through evening we’re pretty busy.

I usually have a late dinner, like 9:45ish, then come straight [back] to the Rose Bar after. I had friends in from out of town — I had a very light dinner at Mezzogiorno, which consisted of a salad of mushrooms, tomatoes, mozzarella, and bottle of water and bottle of red wine.

I try not to eat late after work. If I’m having a craving, we have some really good Kobe-beef burgers, which I’ll nosh on from time to time.

Tuesday, May 27
I had a cup of tea, fresh assorted fruit, and a bowl of Cheerios.

For lunch, a bowl of tomato soup and bottle of water at the Rose Bar. I carried on with meetings.

Dinner at the Waverly Inn was a salad with fresh green peas, sirloin steak, a bottle of red wine, and a nice glass of cognac. I’m at the Waverly at least twice a week — Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson are my former partners. I’m fortunate to say I don’t have a problem getting a table there. It’s a very social scene — it’s basically my crowd here at Rose Bar pre-cocktail time. Everyone has dinner there and then they come over to me. There’s a lot of table-hopping.

It’s funny because the maître d’ Emil [Varda] is a very good friend of mine; we go way back. He was asking me, “I have so many people calling me from London to get into the Rose Bar. I can’t give your phone number out, can I?” I said, “No, you know the situation…”

Wednesday, May 28
Breakfast at the house was a cup of tea and a cantaloupe

Lunch at Rose Bar was fresh minestrone soup and a bottle of water.

I had a nice dinner before I went to the Hilfiger sessions at Webster Hall. I went to Raoul’s, which is probably one of my favorite restaurants in New York. I had a salad, artichoke, spinach, the old standby steak au poivre (it’s one of my favorites — they do a really nice job with the sauce, and it’s a good cut of meat), and a nice bottle of red wine. It’s unpretentious — you can hide away in the back.

One of my favorite casual places is Serge Becker’s La Esquina. It’s really laid-back and you can kind of vanish there. It was more sceney when they opened, but everyone’s so cool there that it’s very easy.