Big news from McNallyland: A hugely successful partnership that started sixteen years ago with the opening of Balthazar has come to an end. Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr are leaving their co-executive-chef positions at Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller's Liquor Bar, and Minetta Tavern. They’re not yet saying what they have planned for the future, but it’s safe to assume they’re not retiring to Miami. Although the split is amicable according to the chefs, you get the feeling that it’s the end of an era — not quite the culinary equivalent of the Beatles breaking up, but close.
Update: A rep sends this joint statement from Nasr, Hanson, and McNally:
Keith McNally, Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr are parting ways after 16 successful years together.
Hanson and Nasr have nothing but gratitude and admiration for McNally.
"It's time for us to brave new challenges." Say Hanson and Nasr. "We wish Keith and his entire team nothing but the best and continued success."