Upper West Side favorite Rain will close on Thursday and reopen in September under the direction of Michael Bao of Bun and Bao Noodles. We’ve heard rumors that there will be an oyster bar and, of course, more of a haute Vietnamese slant. So where does that leave soon-to-be-former partner Taweewat Hurapan?
The Pan-Asian pioneer tells us that he’s been cooking at Asiana for the past two weeks, having taken over (funnily enough) for a former cook of his at Rain. That cook, Hurapan says, distorted many of his dishes, so he’s returning the restaurant’s traditional Thai dishes to their former glory — “my pad Thai is the best in the country,” he says ever so modestly — as well as adding some French-influenced Pan-Asian dishes (the new menu is just up on the restaurant’s Website). Hurapan admits there aren’t many people in the dining room at the moment, but he’s confident he can lure them. “I can make people rich, but I can’t make myself rich,” he says, referring to the fact that capital for his solo spot Hurapan Kitchen, which Gael Greene loved for its “spicy designer riffs on Thai staples,” ran out before he could snag a liquor license. There’s liquor in place at Asiana, however, and karaoke, too — so here’s hoping it’s smooth sailing.