For Sake Goodness: Webster Hall Pours Rice Libations

For every one glass of sake poured in America, we knock back 160 glasses of wine. That proportion is changing, though. Sake imports have doubled over the past decade, with vodka the only drink that’s growing faster. Those looking for a crash course in the rice libation can find a huge one at the Joy of Sake tasting this Thursday, September 24th. Webster Hall will do the hosting, with your ticket purchase opening up three floors of partying. Some 270 premium sakes will be poured, almost half of them otherwise unavailable outside of Japan.

Your ticket also gets you appetizers from fifteen New York restaurants, of the caliber of 15 East, Bond St., Geisha, and Hung Huynh’s new Ajna Bar. There’s even a Korean ringer, Woo Lae Oak, thrown in.

Sakes are broken down into three categories, junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo. The polishing of the rice kernel is the difference: junmai loses about a third of the outer kernel, ginjo about 40%, and daiginjo up to 70%. Flavor shifts accordingly, with junmai the more robust and earthy, while highly polished daiginjo tends to be more delicate and floral. Two old-school sake methods, yamahai and kimoto, will also be on display. At Webster Hall, the varieties will be at separate tables, so newbie attendees can more easily figure out what they like best. The Joy of Sake is the largest sake-tasting event outside of Japan and a great opportunity to fill in gaps in your knowledge, or start a new obsession. Maybe the next party you throw will beat the odds and look to rice instead of grape.

Industry Insiders: Julie Farias, the General’s Butcher

As one of the many talented cuisiniers participating in Le Fooding D’Amour (September 25-26 at at New York’s P.S.1), Julie Farias knows a thing or two about a good cut of meat. The Texas-born chef—who recently moved from Brooklyn’s Beer Table to The General Greene—worked for Daniel Boulud for five years (at Café Boulud, db Bistro Moderne, and Daniel), but attributes much of her culinary know-how to her southern upbringing and family influence (her clan owns a tortilla factory inside a San Antonio meat market). Farias tells us about working in kitchens on both coasts and how Le Fooding is going to taste for New Yorkers. In her case, it’s going to taste like tacos made from 40 cow heads.

What influenced your move from Beer Table to The General Greene? Nicholas Morgenstern, the owner of The General Greene, and I met at Daniel when he was the pastry sous-chef there and I was working the soup station. We worked together at 5Ninth. There, I was the opening sous and he was the pastry chef, and then we also worked together at Resto. I’ve known him for a really long time, and before last year, I was living and working in Los Angeles and Las Vegas on a project for the Palazzo. Nick came out to see me and asked me to come to his new restaurant, The General Greene, and I didn’t think anything of it. I said that I wasn’t in the position to leave. When I came back from Vegas, I moved to Beer Table. Owners Justin and Tricia Philips were friends of mine, and they needed a little help setting up the menu. They said, “We have this place, and there’s no kitchen, but we love your food and we think that this would work out.” And I loved the idea of it more than anything. Especially the spatial challenge. We had no kitchen at Beer Table. There was a convection oven, no dishwasher, no prep, no kitchen. When you take things away and you have bare essentials, it made me think about food in a different way. I always thought that fire was a bare essential but I realized that electricity is. I’m not as much of a Neanderthal as I thought I was. The timing was eventually right when Nicholas asked me again, and it just had to happen. He’s a fantastic partner.

What were you doing in Las Vegas? I was working for a gentleman named Jonathan Morr. He owns Republic and Bond St. We opened an Asian noodle restaurant called Mainland at the Palazzo Hotel and Casino. I created the menu, and I was also Jonathan’s consulting chef. I traveled from New York to Miami to Los Angeles to Vegas. I did consulting work for Thompson Hotels out there, creating their room service menu. I also lived and worked at Hotel Oceana in Santa Monica. I had no home for a year.

What was it like building the menu at The General Greene? I’m going to give a metaphor: me being here right now is, in some ways, like cutting in on a dancer. I’m about to dance with the pretty girl, so I’m cutting in and I have to keep up the pace for whatever waltz or jitterbug or lindy-hop they’re doing. There’s already a rhythm here; it’s a successful restaurant. Nick has asked me to work on organization, on execution, kitchen techniques, things like that, and keep up on the quality of products. It was a very big change to go from one burner to a stove and a downstairs and four to five cooks and a dishwasher.

What should we order on our first visit? We have bar snacks, and my favorite one right now is the bacon dates—dates wrapped in bacon and cooked in maple syrup. After that, you’d have to try the butter lettuce with a lemon vinaigrette, curried almonds and ruby-red grapefruit. I’m a big fan of ruby-red grapefruit. For me, they are a little sweeter, a better color, and before, we were using regular grapefruit on this dish. I also put collared greens on the menu, and these you have to try. They’re sautéed with garlic, red pepper chilies, and a squeeze of lemon juice. You have to try the chuck flap steak from Niman Ranch. It’s something known as a bavette, and it’s a tough kind of meat meant to be cooked medium rare. We grill it then slice it thin, and we serve it with a roasted garlic sauce with olive oil and Portuguese sea salt. It’s got a really hearty flavor. Then, you have to finish it off with a salty caramel sundae. It’s a hot caramel cake with salted caramel ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, and then crushed, salted mini pretzels on top of it. It’s out of this world. You may have to stop by Nick’s Greene Ice Cream Cart as well.

How did you get involved with Le Fooding? It turns out, [Le Fooding founder] Alexandre Cammas lives in the neighborhood. His wife, Natalie, had actually had dinner at Beer Table, and so there was sort of a little match-making there, and they contacted me and came down to The General Greene.

What will you prepare for the September Le Fooding D’Amour event? I’m doing tête de veau tacos or “veal head.” It’s traditional barbacoa from San Antonio, Texas. I’m doing this classic recipe here, and I think it makes sense with the idea of the picnic setting. I actually smoked one of the cow heads today. They’re kind of scary looking. I’m going to be smoking about 40 of them for the event. They’re really kind of magnificent with the eyes, the skull, and the teeth.

Will New Yorkers embrace the Le Fooding concept? New Yorkers are all about food. I came here from Texas to cook. I returned to New York from Vegas because I felt that there was more of a focus on and interest in food here—from grocery stores to cooking at home. In keeping with this mentality, to me, it just seems like Le Fooding is a very natural thing. People will be attracted to this, and Alex’s interest in graphic design is reflected in the style of the event. Why would New Yorkers not want to come? I think that Alex’s goal is definitely going to be fulfilled.

What are your favorite bars and restaurants? Because I’ve been working at The General Greene so much, I’ve been limiting my going out to Brooklyn. I love Five Leaves and Char No. 4. They do a lot of smoked meat, and I butcher there on Mondays. Defonte’s in Red Hook is a sandwich place, and oh my God, it’s super yummy. I love the Skybox at Daniel. For drinking, I’m kind of a liquor snob … but when I feel like being a bit more on the rowdy side, I go to the Palace Cafe in Greenpoint. Budweiser and Jack & Coke is about as sophisticated of a drink you’ll get there. All of these places are in keeping with the same mood.

Nicholas Morgenstern and Julie Farias photographed by Michael Harlan Turkell.

New York: Top 10 Bars with the Hottest Staff

Casa la Femme (West Village) – The French Kiss cocktail and Mediterranean fare seem to put you in the mood, but it’s really belly-dancing beauties and equally glamorous staff that produces the allure of the place. Their simple-sweet service and svelte, mannequin-like aura makes the entire experience romantic and outlandish. ● Rose Bar (Gramercy) – Whenever I see Nur Khan, he’s usually with top models like Lily Donaldson. Needless to say, with the one-two punch of Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel top design, one of the most beautiful bars in the city is staffed by the most beautiful people as well. Bartenders are the pouty, brooding type. Cocktail waitresses are classy in a dangerously sexy way — all seem like James Bond babes, and we always leave shaken and stirred. Wins for a likewise beautiful clientele. ● Baddies (West Village) – The Kingswood Aussies bring their Aussie-ness to the downstairs party. In case you don’t speak Australian, Aussie means sexy, mate. Strapping men with accents and their friends who are just as Aussie, even if they are American. Close quarters in the murky-chic basement means a lot of flirting, trust us.

The Empire Hotel (Upper West Side) – Like finding beauty in far off locations; you’ll have to travel all the way to the UWS to take a gander at the exotic animals inside the Empire Hotel. Literally, Halle Berry works weekend evenings in the main bar. At the Empire Hotel Rooftop, Brazilian beauties makeup for the middle-aged crowd. Boyfriends will stare, with good reason. ● Bond St. (NoHo) – Well, there’s Nick Atkinson. And some wouldn’t need to go farther than that. But roam the sexy lounge and behold a bevy of friendly, neighborhood beauties who can hold a conversation while pouring your hot sake. The girls look sultry in little black dresses, the men are exactly the way a girl could want them; handsome, attentive, with an air of intelligence. ● The Bowery Hotel (East Village) – Sure, some people go to spot celebs in their natural habitat, but some go sit on the benches outside simply to gawk at the beautiful, baby-faced doormen. Inside, the hosting staff and servers have polish, and an artistic flair — which is all the hotter. The bartenders seem like strictly reformed fraternity brothers who know their spirits. No wonder Cameron Diaz has been spotted here, tipsy and flirting with the staff. ● Thom Bar (Soho) – It’s been said that the Thompson Group curates their staff in order to provide the most aesthetically appealing service — and I wouldn’t argue. Former models, ballerinas, and generally sexy people make up the downtown-meets-out-of-town vibe. ● Coffee Shop (Union Square) – Long holding a title for consistently beautiful staff, sometimes you aren’t sure if you’ve stumbled into a taping of The Real World or America’s Next Top Model. Makes sense: actors between jobs and part-time models staff the hot Brazilian diner, offering up their views of NYC to tourists and locals alike. Whether they’re an out-of-work actor or a wide-eyed newbie, they’re still sexy enough to stare at. ● GoldBar (Nolita) – Skulls and chains do something for everyone’s sex appeal, and the whole gold thing does wonders for everyone’s skin. Cocktail servers get close to whisper over the music. Behind the bar, tenders glow and really know what they’re doing with those cocktails, which makes us think they probably know what they’re doing in the … kitchen. Owner Rob McKinley is gorgeous in that disheveled downtown way, which happens to be the way we like it. ● Avenue (Chelsea) – Tough door means beautiful people on the inside, and I’m not talking about their kind hearts. Simple math … if you curate a pretty, interesting crowd, you should probably have an attractive, interesting staff. Luckily the lounge staffs some of New York’s finest. Yoga instructors, bilingual beauties, and Motorcycle and Espresso aficionados are fun to look at and talk to.

Industry Insiders: Neighborhood Bonding with Nick Atkinson

It’s only 7:30, and I’ve managed to escape the throngs of my addictive job and head to happy hour — once cut from my budget, but thanks to Bond St’s efforts to scale back for their loyal customers, this hour earned a second chance with my pocketbook. Bond St. lounge manager Nick Atkinson agrees. “I have certainly seen a lot of the same faces on a reoccurring basis here in the lounge. I think people are spending their money on quality, on things like atmosphere and food they already know is very good — basically, on their favorite things.” Luckily, Bond St’s new lounge menu is filled with just that. For a pared-down price, loyalists can choose 15 of their most popular items — the sesame crusted shrimp roll included — for just $9 a pop. Instead of skimping on portions to cover the cost, the downtown sushi spot uses the same-size plates as the main dining room, for exactly half the price. Atkinson says this move was made to focus on dining in the lounge’s casual, friendly atmosphere. While New York mag and the rest of the blogosphere brands recession grub tres chic, Atkinson focuses on bringing a neighborhood vibe to the downtown restaurant. Here, the congenial Aussie talks about untrending food, his history with Bond St., and the local craving for the spicy tuna roll.

You were telling me before that restaurants are on the upswing. Why do you think this? We’re getting a lot more turnover then we had before. We have a lot of old regulars coming back. Then we’ll get people that keep coming back because they know they’re going to get quality, and it’s always consistent. And they would rather spend their money somewhere they know will be up to standards, rather than blow it at one of these new places that might appear fabulous. I think people are a little more cautious on how they spend their money.

You’ve been seeing this in the lounge as well, which usually seems to be a waiting space for those with reservations in the main dining room upstairs. Around here we’ll get lots of people who will come in for an informal business meeting. And then they end up having so much fun that they end up just coming back. I think that people are under a lot of pressure with their work, and they’re stressing about their finances. Once you’re out and about, you just want to relax and have fun and put your feet up.

How would you describe your job? How did you get your start? I have always worked around hospitality. My parents, my stepmother had a fantastic restaurant on the river in Australia, where I grew up. So I grew up folding napkins. All my parents — I have two sets of them–are all really good cooks. Mum was always throwing amazing cocktail and dinner parties for family and friends, and that’s where I first learned about the Aussie art of hospitality and entertaining. She was just reminding me the other day about the ‘garage discos’ I used to throw in our garage for all the kids in our neighborhood in Perth when I was a teenager.

So, from garage discos to Bond St.? Well, before I came to the States I was working for Kylie Kwong, an amazing Chinese-Australian chef in Sydney. I picked up a lot of her passion towards food. She actually taught me to treat guests as you would a guest in your own home.

Based on your own expectations for hospitality and service, what are you favorites spots in the city? I live in the West Village, so I love The Spotted Pig and The Rusty Knot, to just hang out and play pool. I also love the Rainbow Room at sunset. It’s pretty spectacular. I love all the old school bartenders that have been around for years.

Is there anybody that you look up to in the industry? You know what? I have been at Bond St. since I moved to New York six years ago, and immediately started with the lounge. The staff here are really talented. They’re a really great group of positive people, who, at our lowest point when the economy first collapsed, worked together to save each others’ jobs. They took shift cuts instead of having to lay off people. They’re really inspiring.

How did the staff become so close? I think it happened when we had a major fire back in April 2007 and were closed for six weeks for repairs. After a few tears, everybody just rolled up there sleeves and got things back in order. There was even an online blog some of our regulars had started where people could express how much they were missing the place, how desperately they were craving a spicy tuna roll.

Why do you think you have such a following with the neighborhood locals? We get lots of people who just swing by on their own. It’s a good place to meet people. Most of the staff has been around for three or four years at least, and they have lots of friends that keep coming back. So if someone is out on their own, or they’ve been stood up on a date, they’ll end up spending all night just hanging out at the bar. Our staff is very fun and entertaining. Then again we also have the neighborhood itself. I’ve seen fabulous apartment complexes coming up. We’ve got great little boutiques and hair salons and we’re one of the only restaurants on the street, so we get a lot of neighbors coming in.

What is the big difference between the lounge and the main dining room? For the record, I am a huge fan of Bond St., but I’d never had dinner in the lounge before the other night, and I’d like to report that it was one of the most relaxing and fun dinners I’ve had in a while. I guess I’ll start with the similarities. People actually come into the lounge and think they’re not going to be able to get the same dining experience as upstairs. Actually, we have the same menu in the lounge — we still offer the sea bass, steak, and the chicken — but we do them on skewers in the lounge rather than the entrée-sized portion. If people have a favorite dish in the restaurant, we can still order it for them. We aim for the service to be the same experience as upstairs, but it’s a little more relaxed and informal than up in the restaurant.

As the lounge manager, what do you focus on? I manage the lounge, but I’m also in charge of all the bars and bartenders and our cocktails. We’ve won awards for our cocktails, most recently the Saketini. We try to keep our cocktails as simple as possible. It’s that simplicity that makes it so good. You don’t want to end up with a whopping hangover because you’ve had so many things in one drink.

What is your favorite drink? My favorite cocktail is a Manhattan, but I also love our Asian Pear cocktail, which is a simple blend of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Asian Pear, and sparkling pear cider.

New York: Top 10 Sushi Spots

Bond St. (Noho) – Though it’s lost some mojo on the hotspot meter, the melt-in-your-mouth sushi and swank décor continue to attract sushi snobs and modelizers alike. ● Sushi Yasuda (Midtown East) – Friendly staff and minimalist looks keep focus on expertly crafted sushi. Dinner will set you back a geisha’s ransom. ● East Japanese (Kips Bay) – Though quality at this mini-chain may not be much better than Food Emporium, for kitschy fun, affordable conveyor-belt sushi spot takes the cake. Sushi discounts on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Yuka (Upper East Side) – Got you covered with their $19 all-you-can-eat deal that won’t have you feeling sick for the rest of the week (just enjoy spicy mayo in moderation).Don’t try and sneak some to your friends, as watchful staff keeps an eye on patrons. ● Blue Ribbon Sushi (Soho) – Loses points for not taking reservations, and the price to indulge in their raw eats will set you back dearly, but there’s no denying that this sushi-snob-approved spot delivers with everything from classic California rolls to more exotic options like the kaki fri made with fried oysters and lettuce. ● Sushi Seki (Upper East Side) – Despite sleepy location, serves stunningly transcendental sushi — in both quality and price – until 3 a.m. ● Morimoto (Chelsea) – In the battle of NYC’s mega-sushi temples — EN Japanese Brasserie, Megu, etc. — Iron Chef Morimoto’s spot comes out on top not only because of the eats, but also because of glossy white interior and not-to-be-missed high-tech bathrooms. ● Jewel Bako (East Village) – Sleek digs and unforgettable omakase dinner make this fittingly named spot a true find; be prepared for stratospherically high prices. ● Sushi of Gari (Upper East Side) – With creations that include salmon sushi with onion cream and roasted tomato, marinated tuna sushi with tofu mayo, and red snapper sushi with arugula salad and fried lotus root, Chef Gari-san is the Wylie Dufresne of sushi. ● Sushi Zen (Midtown West) – Masa and its $400 sushi gets most of the attention, and Nobu gets all the stars, but Sushi Zen trumps them both with fresher than fresh sushi artfully prepared and presented by Chef Suzuki, who is not only licensed to serve potentially deadly fugu, but is the chef often credited with first introducing Americans to sushi.

New York: Top 10 Cold-Weather Cocktails

imageForget spiked egg nog, pumpkin-based drinks, and all those other seasonal libations. Don’t even think about a chilled beer or frozen concoction unless you plan on spending the night perched over your heater. Instead, head to one of the spots below where the mixologists are whipping up specialty cocktails for sun-deprived-drinkers.

10. Thai chili hot chocolate @ Thom Bar (Soho) – Made with Thailand’s national spirit — Mekhong, which is sort of like a pisco — there’s no hotter way to beat your chills. 9. Wake-Up Call @ Brandy Library (Tribeca) – You could spend all night sifting through the never-ending list of options, but make it easy for yourself and go straight for this warm, aptly named mix of espresso, vanilla vodka, and homemade chocolate and coffee liqueurs. 8. Gingerbread cocktail at Empire Hotel Rooftop (Upper West Side) – The sunny skies may be gone, but the rooftop continues to attract with sweeping views, dim lighting, and a crackling fireplace — all of which are best enjoyed while sipping on their creation made with gingerbread syrup, Ten Cane Rum, apple juice, and lemon.

7. Black currant sake martini at Bond St. (Greenwich Village) – Get your blood pumping with this mix of gin, acai berry liquor, sake, triple sec, and black currant puree. 6. Hot chocolate martini at Gramercy Tavern (Union Square) – The winter equivalent to a summer burger at Shack Shack, Gramercy Tavern’s hot chocolate comes spiked with Stoli Vanilla and amaretto. 5. Woodcock Reserve hot spiced cider at Via dei Mille (Soho) – Forget about any brewing winter storm with this homemade classic. 4. Madame’s preserves and jams at Madame Geneva (Soho) – Skip dessert and indulge in a spoonful of house-made preserves served over Beefeater Gin or 42 Below Vodka — the 18th-century-inspired concoction comes in three varieties: mixed berry & vanilla, orange & green cardamom, and fig & ginger. 3. Whiskey-based hot toddy at Aspen Social (Midtown West) – Only in NYC could you find an Aspen-inspired cabin with this much glitz. 2. Hot buttered rum at Freemans (Lower East Side) – Nothing like warm rum and taxidermy to take away the winter chill. 1. The Randy Toddy at The Randolph (Nolita) – Conjured-up with Sasha Petraske-precision by a decidedly attractive and friendly staff, this enticing libation is made with honey, lemon, Applejack, hot water, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Industry Insiders: Remi Laba of Bagatelle & Kiss and Fly

Monsieur Meatpacking: Bagatelle and Kiss and Fly‘s Remi Laba on boring models, the grub at Pastis, and bringing down the house (music).

Point of Origin: My dad’s American, my mother’s French. I was born in the US and raised in France. I can’t seem to negate my origin for some reason. Nightlife was an accident, to be honest. I was working for a liquor company, Pernod Ricard, and people were constantly asking me for sponsorship, and at one point I said ‘You know what? I’ll comp your sponsoring if my friends can come to your events.’ It grew from there until club owners starting saying they would pay me to bring people to their club. And that’s how we [partner Aymeric Clemente, formerly of La Goulue and Le Bilboquet] started, ten years ago.

We did it for fun until we realized it could really become a business. Everything we do resembles us. We try to create something that embraces the Jet-Set lifestyle in which we were brought up. When we started at Lotus, 8 years ago, Lotus was known for its hip-hop, models, whatever, and they called us and we brought in something very different. We brought DJs from Paris that were more focused on European house, and that brought the whole European crowd in and it became some of the highest generating sales ever for Lotus. We took that concept and moved it to our next venue, Marquee. We were part of the opening team at Marquee, then we did the Deck with Jeffrey Jah and Mark Baker and all those guys. We took it to Bed Roof. We always take that same concept and each time make it a little more complete. Then we opened Pink Elephant, as promotional partners with those guys.

Occupations: Aymeric and I are the main partners at Bagatelle, we’re the partners here at Kiss & Fly, and I’m in charge of all the marketing and PR aspects of the venue. What Aymeric and I do better than anybody else is bring the French ambiance and atmosphere into the venue. So it not only looks French, but it feels French. We’re taking it to the level: the St. Tropez party lifestyle. It’s for people who like to drink great wine, eat great food, and like great parties. Go to Bagatelle on a Monday night and you’ll have a peaceful environment with great food. Then the vibe builds on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then by Saturday brunch we move into a full-blown party. But we’ll never compromise the food.

Side Hustle: Aymeric and I are partners in marketing company/DJ agency called In The Buzz, that does promotions at all the top nightclubs across the world and also represents some of the top talent when it comes to DJs. We also do consulting in the hospitality industry. That’s what brought us to owning our own venue. There’s 13th Street Entertainment, which basically owns Kiss & Fly, Bagatelle, and our new lounge opening the first week of September tentatively named Bagatelle Lounge. We represent Mitch LJ, who’s the resident DJ at Nikki Beach. Jacques Dumont, who is an older DJ, probably 47 years old, and was the resident DJ at Nikki Beach St. Barths for years. Now he’s our resident DJ here at Kiss & Fly. We’ve had David Guetta play here. It’s not exclusively house music, but the crowd they’re playing for likes primarily house. I think for all of us our side projects are our personal lives. It’s hard to balance that in this industry.

Favorite Hangs: The Hamptons are a big market with high visibility. A lot of people go there, and there are very few clubs to go to. Pretty much only Pink Elephant, Cabana, and Dune. We have a very good relationship with Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss and we host the Saturday night Kiss ‘N’ Fly party at Dune Southampton. But when I go to the Hamptons, I don’t go to socialize. I enjoy the beauty of the nature there. I love the beach at Flying Point, and off Route D in Southampton. In the city, I love going to Bar Pitti. It’s very unpretentious, a great terrace, and always good food. If I’m with a group of friends and want a good, fun dinner, I like Indochine, Bond St., Le Bilboquet; Aymeric used to be the GM there for several years. Bagatelle is a big version of Le Bilboquet. If I’m going to dinner with my girlfriend, I want to go upstairs at Le Colonial. I’ll never have dinner downstairs, it’s too formal. But the lounge is unbelievable.

Industry Icons: Jeffrey Jah and Mark Baker were the first guys to understand the European factor in nightlife. They kind of made us who we are today. I’ve really enjoyed working with those guys. I don’t know if I look up to anyone really. If there are two guys who have had a memorable career so far it’s Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss. We worked with them at Marquee, then at Tao in Vegas. They are very, very hard workers, and what they’ve achieved is remarkable. I would never work the way they do. The way they work is very American. The way we work is more passionate, less driven by numbers.

Known Associates: My current associates are Aymeric Clemente, Corey Lane, Lionel Ohayon, David Graziano, and Jonathan Segal. My past associates are Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano, Mark Baker, and Jeffrey Jah, Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg. We’ve promoted for Jamie Mulholland and Jayma Cardosa at Cain. We’ve basically crossed paths with every major person in the industry. It’s a small town.

Projections: We’ve established Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly in New York. Our next project is due the first week of September, fashion week, which will be the Bagatelle Lounge downstairs of Bagatelle and Kiss & Fly, at which point our 13th Street project will be complete–one restaurant, one nightclub, and one lounge. From there, we’ll move on, not necessarily with the same partners, but we’ll open Bagatelle restaurants and Bagatelle cafes in different cities. Ultimately our dream is to open a Bagatelle boutique hotel.We’d love to open something in Tulum (we’re looking at a property down there). We’d love to open Bagatelle, the restaurant as you know it, in London, Vegas, and San Paulo. We have offers in South Beach, but I don’t think Miami Beach is what it used to be. Though we did go to the Winter Music Conference in Miami for the past two years and did ‘Fuck Me I’m Famous’ with David Guetta at Cameo; that’s very successful.

Do you cater to a different crowd in the summer in the city than the rest of the year?

There’s definitely a different club crowd in the summer, not necessarily in quality. Most of your regulars go to the Hamptons in the summer or travel to St. Tropez, Ibiza, Croatia, etc. But there’s also a lot of tourists coming to New York in the summer who have read about venues and will come out. The truth of the matter is, if you have a good product and run your door properly, you can have the right crowd in your club every single night. If you focus on only celebrities and models and there are eight clubs going after the same clientele, there will be one winner and a lot of losers. But if you say, “Ok, I want my venue to be fun, I want the crowd to be pretty, and I want to generate dollars,” the way you look at things are going to shift. Some people say “Oh, my club is so great, we only have models.” Great, models are pretty, but are they the most fun girls you’ve ever seen in nightclubs? Not necessarily. Energy’s also a very, very important factor. If 1Oak says, “Oh, in the summer we have to sell out because all the good crowds are going away,” well, I’d rather sell out my crowd a tiny bit, but still maintain the level of energy.

Considering you’ve worked with Scott Sartiano and Jeffrey Jah, etc. in the past, do you see Butter as an influence or a competitor?

Butter is known for their Monday night parties. What Butter does on Monday nights, no one else does. It’s a concentration of models and celebrities in a very small space. Those guys have done great at it, they own Monday nights, but that’s not what we do. We’re not model-driven. [The Butter guys] aren’t competitors, they’re friends. We actually go to Butter on Monday nights when we can.

A lot of reviews of Bagatelle are calling you the next Pastis. Do you see yourselves replacing Pastis ever?

No. I think Pastis as a French bistro has had a lot of recent competition in the neighborhood, but we are very different. Most of the restaurants in Meatpacking, their concepts are big. We are very different; we’re small, 90 seats. We have a very personalized welcome. Aymeric and I are here every day. You can create an intimate relationship with the owners, which no other restaurant in the meatpacking can offer. At Pastis the food is average. At Bagatelle we pride ourselves on great food. Our chef Nicolas Cantrel, (who we “stole” from bobo), is a gift from God.

What are you doing tonight? I’ll be at Bagatelle caring to my guests and then dinner with my girlfriend later on.