While fellow Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani hawks "artisan" pizza, Hung Huynh is putting the final touches on a new restaurant. “This is the first restaurant of my dreams," says the Top Chef winner, who will be unveiling his new place, Catch, on Saturday. “I wanted to make a big impact." The owners, EMM Group’s Mark Birnbaum, Eugene Remm, and Michael Hirtenstein, who own Abe and Arthur’s, know how to do things on a grand scale. Large-format plates like oversize Cantonese-style lobster, crispy whole snapper with chile and garlic big enough to feed six, weighty whole branzino, and, of course, towers of raw shellfish will be served inside the three-floor, 14,000-square-foot space, 260-seat space. A glass-enclosed rooftop lounge will feature music and accommodate nightly revelers.
Huynh assured Grub that he's in the process of seeking sustainable purveyors for all of his seafood dishes. Among other offerings are seared scallop with roasted cauliflower in a tamarind brown butter, crab-meat- and chorizo-stuffed calamari with chickpeas, mint and chile lime dressing, and one of the dishes that made him a Top Chef winner: hamachi tartare with avocado, tomato vinegar, and fingerling potato chips. “There will be a lot of aromatics in the food," he promises. And leave room for dessert. One of Huynh's favorite menu items is a deconstructed tiramisu with mascarpone ice cream and espresso granita.
The vibe, says Huynh, will be friendly and fun. But maybe not so much in the open kitchen: “I am very disciplined and everything is perfectly labeled and organized," he says. “I run the kitchen in military style and there is just one general."
For a look at the space, check out our slideshow.
Catch, 21 Ninth Ave., nr. 13th St.
Earlier: And We’re Also Anticipating [NYM]