I heart New York. I really do. I travel there at least twice a year and used to live within an hour of Restaurant Row (just off of Times Square) on West 46th Street.
And nobody, outside of a native, loves New York restaurants more than I do. I can wax poetic about Big Apple eateries from Gray’s Papaya to Patsy’s Pizzeria; wd-50 to Le Bernadin; BLT Fish to Bar Boulud. But it’s become increasingly evident that the New York food scene, cutting edge though it may be, is also capable of shamelessly imitating what’s already happened in Vegas, and claiming it as its own.
This trend started a couple of years ago with the New York openings of Country, Morimoto, Buddakhan, Craftsteak and Del Posto; restaurants that derived their (over) design and mojo from eye-popping places up and down the Strip like MIX, Prime, ALEX, Aureole, and Craftsteak, to name but a few.
Now we’ve read in this week-old post on GrubStreet (New York magazine’s food-oriented website), that our very own Paul Bartolotta is having his three year old fresh Italian seafood concept (in the Wynn), duplicated by a protege of his….Proving once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
We can forgive Michael White for paying this homage to his master. The two chefs are good friends after all, and White gave us one of the more memorable lunches of our life at ALTO recently in mid-town Manhattan. What is harder to swallow is the New York media constantly trumpeting something as “news” when Vegas was clearly ahead of whatever trend New Yorkers are now recognizing.* Or, at the very least, those food writers are increasingly guilty of not giving credit where credit is due.
Need further proof? Then how about last week’s article in the New York Post by Steve Cuozzo taking absentee chefs to task? – something ELV has been doing for thirteen years!
Watching the Vegas-i-za-tion of New York is fun. Reading New York writers pontificate like they’re in the center of (everything in) the food universe, grows wearisome.
Dear New York media:
Your incessant, naive chatter is boorish and boring to ELV. We hereby dismiss and consign thee to a diet of rancid headcheese until a clue is obtained on the true center of the restaurant universe.
* see also: small hamburgers, large hotel restaurants, Joel Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Celebrity Chef Hell, etc…