Critics Still Make Vongerichten Nervous

Photo: Patrick McMullan

After more than twenty years of opening restaurants in New York to mostly glowing reviews, Jean-Georges Vongerichten still gets nervous about critics. This year, with two restaurants opened back to back, he is doubly worried. “I still get tingling in my stomach,” admitted the chef, who splits time between his uptown restaurant the Mark, which opened at the end of February, and his downtown spot ABC Kitchen, which premiered just two weeks later. The Post’s Steve Cuozzo ate at the Mark and then called to ask Vongerichten questions. The chef spent a sleepless night waiting for the review, which was a three-star rave.

“Possibly adding to the suspense, they expected the review to run one week earlier,” Cuozzo told Grub Street. “But I pushed it back a week to write the Palm Court reopening story.” Now Vongerichten worries about Sam Sifton, and that the Times will bundle his two new restaurants into one review. “I could see them putting them together, but it wouldn’t be fair; they are two separate identities,” he said. “They only do 52 reviews a year, and I don’t know if they would waste two on me.”