Akhtar Nawab to *NOT* Leave E.U., Will Open New RestaurantAkhtar Nawab, the talented chef who turned around E.U.’s fortunes, is expecting to leave, Grub Street has learned. “We’re planning something, and we are looking at a space,” Nawab told us. The new restaurant, which Nawab will open with Dani operating partner Noel Cruz, will be on West 8th Street. The menu will reflect casual but sophisticated Mediterranean food “something like the original Craftbar,” Nawab explained. (This style is in contrast to earlier rumors, which aligned the new venture with Nawab’s more upscale Allen and Delancey model before he parted from that project.) Nawab was reluctant to present any sort of timeline; he will leave E.U.“soon,” but the new restaurant likely won’t open until late winter or spring.
UPDATE: We spoke to Nawab yesterday and misunderstood. Though he will open a new restaurant, he plans to stay on at E.U. Grub Street regrets the error, our bad, etc.
Related: Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won’t Open
The Other Critics
Wild Salmon Starts Its Upstream Journey Strongly; Craftsteak UpgradedAlan Richman has a few qualms about Wild Salmon – its reason for being, for example – but likes both the food (except for the sauces) and the service (when it’s not too friendly). Given how ready Richman is to knock restaurants, owner Jeffrey Chodorow has to feel pretty good about this one. [Bloomberg]
Related: Wild Salmon Swims Into View. Yes, ‘Pun Intended’ [Grub Street]
The newly revamped Craftsteak and Craftbar get rereviewed by Bruni, who awards the less than the white-hot former a much-needed second star, and the latter, “more or less back on track” after earlier troubles, a (borderline) single star. [NYT]
Time Out’s Randall Lane lays four stars (out of six) on Gilt, finding Chris Lee’s cooking admirable all around, if less risky than that of his predecessor, Paul Liebrandt, who still keeps popping up whenever the restaurant is discussed. [TONY]
Related: Gramercy Rehab [NYM]
Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won’t OpenAllen and Delancey, the much-awaited restaurant from former Craftbar chef Akhtar Nawab, had been set to open in less than two weeks. But things change quickly in the restaurant world, and now we hear, from the man himself, that the opening has been delayed — possibly permanently. An investor pulled out at the eleventh hour, leaving Nawab $200,000 short of his opening costs. The downcast chef told us: “Out of the blue, the investor said, ‘I’m not spending this kind of money!’ He called everybody and fired them yesterday. The chairs just arrived two days ago!” Our guess is that Allen and Delancey will find an investor between here and the finish line, but in the meantime, the restaurant is in serious peril. “This situation is very sensitive, and something needs to happen very quickly,” Nawab told us.