Sixteen in the Trump International Hotel & Towers has its eyes on a big Michelin prize and the kitchen, under chef Thomas Lents, is plausibly getting there (see our recent spring preview). But the overall experience, though professional on a hotel dining level, has not been of the level of three star restaurants such as Alinea where every detail of the guest experience seems choreographed to an unfussy perfection. Now Sixteen has taken a major step to reach that point— last week it hired Will Douillet, the Alinea veteran who most recently has been general manager of Next, to manage the restaurant.
And the arrival of Douillet has already resulted in one major change: beverage director Rachael Lowe has left the hotel, per 312DiningDiva. Lowe, who is studying for her Master Sommelier exam, is a rising star and by all accounts (and our experience) did a first-rate job at Sixteen over the past two years, but with Douillet a former sommelier himself (at Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro in New York, among others), it’s obviously a portion of the restaurant experience that he would be closely involved in (not that there are any he won’t be), and it’s a good time for her to move on to another lead position.
In the meantime, Douillet tweeted to one well-wisher a key difference about his new position: “Well now it won’t be so hard to come see us! Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner no tix necessary!”