In between plans to inundate the world with Umami Burgers, Katsuyas and Papaya Kings, Sam Nazarian pauses to offer a sneak peek into his forthcoming Italian restaurant, Mercato di Vetro. One thing we can tell from looking at the construction site, it’s not coming in summer 2011, no matter what its scaffolding wrap has to say.
Nazarian is already impressed with his own project, telling Nation’s Restaurant News, "At Mercato, for the first time that I’ve seen within a 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot restaurant, we’re putting the kitchen in the middle of the restaurant, where everything from the entrecote, to the mozzarella and salamis, to the pasta is being made. Everybody comes in and you sit around and watch these “performers,” or chefs, and you see what you want to order. If you like it, you take it home. It’s a very simple philosophy."
Sure, sounds simple enough, even if all we see is plywood so far (alas, we lack Sam’s visionary prowess). But Nazarian’s words stay consistent with the whole chef-showcase philosophy he’s executing at his restaurants, saying, "One of the things we can be good at as a company is to be a really good platform for these amazing rock stars to flourish, whether it be an Adam, or a José or a Katsuya or Danny Elmaleh." No word yet on whether he will provide a new space for Michael Mina "to flourish."***
Q&A;: Sam Nazarian of SBE [NRN]
Earlier: Nazarian Considers Hooking Hollywood Up With Hakkasan [GS]
***Update: Apparently, he just might.