Hotelier Vikram Chatwal Discovers He Likes It Raw
Earlier this week hotelier and reformed party/playboy Vikram Chatwal spilled the beans on his partnership with Geoffrey Zakarian. His affinity for fine dining developed relatively late in life — “I used to only eat Indian food when I was young,” says the meat-loving Sikh, who still dines at his mother’s restaurant, Bombay Palace, two or three times a week when in from London. However, at some point Japanese food turned him on to the cuisine of other cultures. “Half the time during the week I go Asian — whether it’s Thai, Japanese, or Chinese.” We met him for some mini-burger fondue and champagne at Nightlife, the lounge in his own Night Hotel, to find out what he eats the rest of the time.
Chatwal, Zakarian, and the Lotus Boys Teaming Up for Midtown HotelVikram Chatwal, who tells us Dream Downtown is about a year and a half from landing in the meatpacking district (he’s in talks with a Barcelona chef about the restaurant), reveals to us that he’s teaming up with Geoffrey Zakarian and designer Thierry Despont (who did the Carlyle Hotel and Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in London) on his other project, the Lamb’s Club, opening at 130 West 44th Street in August of next year. Zakarian was hesitant to discuss his involvement but indicated that David Rabin and Will Regan of Lotus were also partners. Rabin certainly has his hands full these days between the relocation of Double Seven and the opening of Los Dedos, the Mexican restaurant he and chef Sue Torres are launching next month in the old Meet space, but he found a moment to clue us in about the hotel.
Owner of D’Or, Opening Tonight, Also Plotting Rooftops to Rival 230 FifthTonight’s launch of D’Or (pictured above), the lounge underneath the Dream Hotel’s newly opened Amalia, isn’t the most exciting thing owner Greg Brier has going. He tells us that on July 1 he’ll open a 4,000 sq. ft. rooftop on the 16th floor of the Hilton Gardens hotel on 48th Street and Eighth Avenue — a space he believes will trump 230 Fifth in size. A two-minute walk through a utility corridor and a high-speed elevator trip will lead visitors to an enclosed fifteenth-floor lounge with a glass fireplace. And the roof? “It’s going to have a Japanese garden-type feel,” Brier says, “with teak decking and little plots so people can break away from the crowd.” More than likely, he’ll ask Amalia chef Ivy Stark to consult on a menu of “real American barbecue.”
5th Ninth’s Chef de Cuisine Makes a Girl-Power MoveMary Ellen Heavner, the chef de cuisine who ran the 5 Ninth kitchen during executive chef Zak Pelaccio’s extended absences, has left the restaurant. Oddly, for a chef of Heavner’s reputation, it’s to take a lesser position, that of sous-chef to Ivy Stark at Amalia, the new restaurant opening next month in the Dream Hotel. (We originally wrote about Amalia last month.) Why take the step down? Heavner attributes it to girl power. “I thought it would be kind of cool to work for a woman,” she says, “and to see how she’s managed her career as a female chef. She opened Dos Caminos, she was the executive at Rosa Mexicana, and she did great cooking at Lespinasse and Lutece. And I really like her food.” It also cannot have escaped Heavner’s notice that the Dream Hotel is owned by Vikram Chatwal, one of the wealthiest hoteliers in the world. Chatwal won’t have to look far the next time he wants to open a big restaurant in one of his luxury hotels.
Earlier: Dream Hotel’s Restaurant Still a Dream, But Opening in January