The New York Diet

Rose Bar Gatekeeper Nur Khan Likes Meat and Martial Arts

On the Gramercy Park Hotel's roof.
On the Gramercy Park Hotel’s roof. Photo: Melissa Hom

You need an iron constitution to be the moat minder of one of the city’s most-sought-after rooms — Rose Bar creative director Nur Khan wakes up at 10 a.m. and usually attends to his loyal customers till at least 3 a.m., five or six nights a week. To stay strong, he eats steak — and a lot of it! He also practices martial arts — several years ago, when he spent eight months training at Shaolin Temple, he had to forgo meat and found he wasn’t a big fan of a vegetarian diet. Anyway, who wants to be a vegetarian when you’re buddies with the maître d’ at Waverly Inn and can eat there a few times a week?

Saturday, May 24
I stayed in town for the long holiday weekend to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Hamptons. I had a late brunch at home — a cup of tea, a bowl of fresh fruit, cantaloupe and strawberries, and a cheese omelette.

I had dinner with friends at Keens Steakhouse, a sort of undiscovered New York gem that has a great old-English-pub vibe. I don’t think the people that frequent Rose Bar go there — there’s no scene up there. I had a salad, creamed spinach, New York sirloin, lamb chops, and a nice bottle of wine.

Sunday, May 25
I had a late lunch with friends at Bar Pitti before I went to the Murakami exhibit. We had spinach, spaghetti Bolognese, and a bottle of water.

For dinner I went to Omen. It’s really private and discreet. I had edamame, an avocado salad, shrimp and vegetable tempura, assorted sushi, and, of course, sliced sirloin steak. I have steak practically every night for dinner —my body just craves meat. Anything that had hoofs on it at one point makes me happy.

Monday, May 26
I usually have breakfast at home. I had my cup of tea and bowl of Cheerios.

During the weekdays I usually have lunch at Rose Bar. Monday I had a bowl of chicken soup and water. My lunches during the day are typically fairly light. I like to dine in between meetings. I have a lunch menu for the Rose Bar — we serve it from noon to 3 p.m. It’s pretty mellow during the days — I start to see people coming in later in the afternoon, around 4 p.m. From 4:30 p.m. straight through evening we’re pretty busy.

I usually have a late dinner, like 9:45ish, then come straight [back] to the Rose Bar after. I had friends in from out of town — I had a very light dinner at Mezzogiorno, which consisted of a salad of mushrooms, tomatoes, mozzarella, and bottle of water and bottle of red wine.

I try not to eat late after work. If I’m having a craving, we have some really good Kobe-beef burgers, which I’ll nosh on from time to time.

Tuesday, May 27
I had a cup of tea, fresh assorted fruit, and a bowl of Cheerios.

For lunch, a bowl of tomato soup and bottle of water at the Rose Bar. I carried on with meetings.

Dinner at the Waverly Inn was a salad with fresh green peas, sirloin steak, a bottle of red wine, and a nice glass of cognac. I’m at the Waverly at least twice a week — Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson are my former partners. I’m fortunate to say I don’t have a problem getting a table there. It’s a very social scene — it’s basically my crowd here at Rose Bar pre-cocktail time. Everyone has dinner there and then they come over to me. There’s a lot of table-hopping.

It’s funny because the maître d’ Emil [Varda] is a very good friend of mine; we go way back. He was asking me, “I have so many people calling me from London to get into the Rose Bar. I can’t give your phone number out, can I?” I said, “No, you know the situation…”

Wednesday, May 28
Breakfast at the house was a cup of tea and a cantaloupe

Lunch at Rose Bar was fresh minestrone soup and a bottle of water.

I had a nice dinner before I went to the Hilfiger sessions at Webster Hall. I went to Raoul’s, which is probably one of my favorite restaurants in New York. I had a salad, artichoke, spinach, the old standby steak au poivre (it’s one of my favorites — they do a really nice job with the sauce, and it’s a good cut of meat), and a nice bottle of red wine. It’s unpretentious — you can hide away in the back.

One of my favorite casual places is Serge Becker’s La Esquina. It’s really laid-back and you can kind of vanish there. It was more sceney when they opened, but everyone’s so cool there that it’s very easy.

Rose Bar Gatekeeper Nur Khan Likes Meat and Martial Arts