Ken Friedman Is Ready to Say ‘Yes’ to You at the Breslin

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Photo: Melissa Hom

Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld have already given us a glut of reasons to be excited about the Breslin, Ken Friedman’s new project with April Bloomfield in the Ace Hotel, and after seeing the space in full swing during FergusStock, we’re dying to see it open. Friedman tells us he hopes to start with breakfast and lunch service next Tuesday (pending one last inspection), and about a week later — as soon as Bloomfield and her chef de cuisine Peter Cho are comfortable managing breakfast, lunch, dinner, room service, and a slew of private events — they’ll ease into dinner.

Of course, the Brez will be a meat lover’s dream: Fergus Henderson’s pig’s head was one of the best things we’ve ever eaten, and we’re assured a half-size version will be on the menu. There will also be a lamb burger with feta cheese and homemade terrines (another hit of FergusStock), but Friedman says there’s something in it for vegetarians, too. “A lot of our friends are vegetarian ... April will be doing fish, oysters…” Plus, some of the items already being served in the lobby (the beef burger with house-cured bacon and Cheddar, the roasted-chicken sandwich with sage, and the calzone) will probably carry over to the lunch menu. There’ll be a daily if not weekly pasta, and maybe even a macaroni-and-cheese dish. And dinner will be served till 2 a.m.

As for the space, Friedman has augmented the design of Roman and Williams by dipping into his collection of taxidermy, but has used a lighter hand than he did at the Spotted Pig. The result is truly lovely. (Imagine, say, Freemans with just the right touches of modern sheen and ballroom grandiosity.) The intimate upstairs mezzanine can be used alternately for private dinners, a standing-room bar scene, or just normal dining. Up there, there’s a bar purchased at a Massachusetts flea market, and below, another one salvaged from a Harlem establishment. Downstairs, the coveted spots are going to be the four booths that can be curtained off; they feature wall nooks where you can store and charge your phone while you dine (finally, someone listened to our pleas!).

Finally, as for the John Dory, Friedman tells us he’s still considering a space in a neighborhood that’s better suited for him and April, and may relaunch it there in February or March. Friedman says the new project won’t be “the John Dory 2.0” — indeed, may not be called the John Dory at all — and will certainly not be as formal: “We’re really good at saying yes to customers. We’re not so good at saying no. We’d rather have a scenario where we can say yes to everything. That’s what the Breslin is all about.”

The Breslin, 20 W. 29th St., nr. Broadway; 212-679-2222