Is the Writing Room, which is scheduled to open next week on the Upper East Side in the old Elaine’s spot, fated to be forever known as the restaurant that’s not Elaine’s? The New York Times set out to get the answer, beginning with the place’s new owners, Michael and Susy Glick, who were at one time regulars at the storied and much-lamented restaurant. The legacy of Elaine Kaufman, who died in 2010, happily and predictably proved to be too big for the Glicks to shut out, so expect loads of photos depicting Elaine’s heyday on the walls — though plenty of other changes are afoot.
In the back, the Times reports, there’s a new library with floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with books written by one-time regulars. There’s also a new twenty-foot zinc bar and an open kitchen. The chef is Lucas Billheimer, formerly of the Glicks’ other spot, Parlor Steakhouse, and the food will be decidedly better than it was at Elaine’s. It better not be too good, though, warns Elaine’s regular Frederic Morton, who adds that anything too fancy would be “violation of the canon.”