Though the Times in both London and New York have emphasized empty tables and money troubles at At Vermilion, the owner challenged the numbers in an interview today with Epicurious. Rohini Dey disputes telling the New York Times that her restaurant must double its covers in order to make $6 million this year. That figure is “an aspirational mark,” she insists, “like saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could succeed Obama.’” Dey also disagrees with the London paper’s portrayal of backer Salman Rushdie’s role in generating business, saying he’s not a “key player” and asserting that a literary dinner he planned to host at At Vermilion was just one in a series of cultural events and not an attempt to draw diners. Whatever his level of involvement, Rushdie and other investors can’t be excited that they coughed up cash for a massive, experimental restaurant that opened days before the Dow fell 400 points.
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