Where Celebs Go Out: Mario Batali, Mayor Bloomberg, Danielle Staub

Mario Batali at the opening of Eataly: My favorite places to eat are generally downtown in the Village: Pearl Oyster Bar, Spotted Pig, Grand Sichuan. My favorite thing to eat is anything anyone else makes! Da Silvano has an octopus salad and octopus grill that’s really beautiful. ● Mayor Mike Bloomberg at the opening of Eataly: There are 20,000 restaurants in New York City, and I try to eat at every single one of them. ● Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen at GLAAD Summer Rooftop Party: wd-50, and in Brooklyn, Pacifico, the Mexican restaurant on Pacific St.

Drew Nieporent at Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Awards party: Restaurants that are owned my friends—Jean Georges, Daniel, Mario Batali, the usual suspects. And El Bulli in Barcelona. My favorite dish is anything that Mark Ladner makes at Del Posto. ● Bethenny Frankel at GLAAD Summer Rooftop Party: Trump Soho, Abe & Arthur’s, STK. ● Johnny Weir at GLAAD Summer Rooftop Party: Cipriani Downtown has the most amazing vanilla meringue cake. ● Tinsley Mortimer at her handbag launch party at Samantha Thavasa: Avenue and the Biergarten at the StandardBryan Greenberg at G-Shock’s Shock the World launch party: The corn, the tacos, and the margaritas at La Esquina. ● Danielle Staub at G-Shock’s Shock the World launch party: Cafeteria for the little sliders, the mac and cheese. For dessert, their Everything But the Kitchen Sink. ● Lamar Odom at G-Shock’s Shock the World launch party: Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. ● Mick Rock at the Marc Ecko Cut & Sew fall collection launch party: Kenmare. ● Richie Rich at the Marc Ecko Cut & Sew fall collection launch party: At the The Lion, the champagne’s my favorite. I like the atmosphere and the food’s amazing. The energy’s amazing at the Boom Room Room.

Where Celebs Go Out: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Alan Cumming

At the Date Night premiere: 1. Steve Carell – “Boy! You know what? On the way in, we drove by Shun Lee. My wife and I, when we lived here, we ate there all the time. John’s Pizza was one of our favorite pizza places. Any one, but, certainly, the one in the Village, and I think they opened one up off Times Square. That’s just always good.” 2. Tina Fey – “My favorite restaurant in the world is a restaurant in Chicago, called the Athenaeum Room. Favorite dish? Chicken on french fries.” 3. Taraji P. Henson – “The Little Owl. I went there the other night!” 4. Jimmi Simpson – “Providence, on Melrose, in Los Angeles. Any special dish? The five-course tasting menu.” 5. Carol Alt – “Actually, I like Pure Food and Wine because it’s a raw restaurant. What do you like there? Well, just about everything, but their ice cream is killer! Raw ice cream — unbelievable, unbelievable. I eat at a lot of Japanese places, so I can have raw fish. I’m a raw foodist, so it, kind of, limits.”

6. Common – “I love Café Habana. It’s located on Prince and Elizabeth. I’ve been, consistently, going there. It’s not anything new. I’ve been going there for, like, 10, 11 years. Cuban food; great music. You got to eat the corn. The corn is the best. I like the camarones, too — the shrimp; they’re incredible. I also enjoy a place called Stan’s, in Brooklyn. It’s like Cajun, but new food. It’s like New Orleans, but slash some other feel to it. It’s a great restaurant. I’m a restaurant guy more than a club guy. I like going to the movies different places, like, what’s the one on Houston? The Angelica. I love that.” 7. Serena Williams – “I don’t go to restaurants here, so–.” 8. Jane Krakowski – “Can’t think of any. Sorry!” 9. Shawn Levy – “Well, I’ll go with New York. I like– I ate there last night– Scalinatella, at like 61st and Third, that place underground. I like Nobu. That’s really not surprising. I like Cafe des Artistes, with that great antipasto cafe. Does that give you enough? All right.” 10. Ben Stiller – “Bar Pitti.” 11: Keith Powell – “I live in Brooklyn, and I live in Fort Greene. And in Fort Greene, there’s a restaurant called No. 7. And No. 7 is the most amazing restaurant. The head chef is a guy named Tyler Kord. And he used to be the sous chef for Jean-Georges. And the menu changes every month, and he comes up with the most amazing concoctions, both in terms of drinks and food. It’s wonderful. Anything that man makes is, kind-of, a work of art.”

At the YourSingapore launch in Times Square: 12. Matt Harding – “Oh, my gosh, I’m totally blanking on– I love garlic, so I love The Stinking Rose restaurant in L.A. and San Francisco. They just drench everything in garlic. You’re sick the next day, but it’s fantastic! My favorite restaurant in Seattle– I love Tom Douglas. He’s a Seattle chef. He’s at the Dahlia Lounge. New York, there’s just so many fantastic restaurants, I couldn’t think of one. And Singapore, actually, my favorite place to eat is out on the street. The Hawker markets are fantastic! Where’s your next stop? I’m going home to Seattle, and then maybe to Afghanistan.”

At the NY International Auto Show benefit preview for the East Side House Settlement: 13. Fe Fendi – “I like Le Cirque. It’s like going to a family restaurant for me. For lunch, always Cipriani! Cipriani for lunch — dinner at Le Cirque.

At Dressed to Kilt: 14. Alan Cumming – “Gnocco in the East Village.” 15. Shani Davis – “I live in Chicago. My favorite restaurant — fast food — is Harold’s or, maybe, Portillo’s. I love Giordano’s a lot.” 16. Eric Daman – “I’m a huge fan of the Mercer Kitchen. I love their mac and cheese and their carpaccio sea bass.” 17. Kelly Killoren Bensimon – “My ultimate favorite restaurant is Le Bernardin–Eric Ripert– he catered my wedding. It’s, probably, the most incredible restaurant, actually, in the world. But one of my favorite restaurants is Brinkley’s, which is right around the corner from me. It’s a really, really, cool, fun bar, and one of my friends that went to Trinity — ’cause I went to Trinity — went there, so I go there a lot. Any favorite dish anywhere? Wherever– whatever– I like to explore and have fun with the menu. I really, really like and what they’re making is more exciting than just for me to sit there and be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll have rice and vegetables. This is really fun.’ I’d rather have someone make something and be creative.” 18. Al Roker – “Oh, golly! That’s like asking, ‘What’s your favorite kid?’! If it’s Italian, it would be Girasole or Fresco. If it’s a steak place, it would, probably, be Ben Benson’s or across the river, Peter Luger’s.” 19. Nigel Barker – “Del Posto. I love that place. I used to go there on dates all the time. My favorite pub is Dublin 6 in the West Village. It’s my old, local Irish place — D6. And Barbuto is another favorite of mine. It’s not as upscale. It’s, kind of, in between the two. It’s on Washington.” 20. Donald Trump Jr. – “Wow, that’s a — in New York, there’s really no shortage of great restaurants, but, I guess it depends what food we’re going for. If we’re going formal, Jean-Georges is good; Le Cirque is good. If we’re going low-key, there’s a lot of great ones lying around. We’re opening up a great one on Friday — Quattro — in our hotel down in SoHo that’s going to be opening, so a little bit of a Miami, downtown flair.”

Promoting Burlesque to Broadway: 21. Quinn Lemley – One of my favorites is Maloney & Porcelli. They have a great wine dinner that’s all inclusive, and wonderful steaks and oysters. There’s a new Academia del Vino that’s up on Broadway and 89th. It’s where Docks used to be. They have a great wine bar and wonderful food. It’s the same people that have Cesca— it’s that restaurant group. And it’s very happening. It’s so exciting to see something on the Upper West Side above 86th Street.

At Our Family Wedding: 22. Mark Indelicato – “I like to go to places that aren’t mainstream chain restaurants. Sometimes, I’m just walking down the street with friends, and we see like this small, little cafe, and we just go in. Don’t even know the name of it, don’t know what it’s about, but I just like the small, boutique restaurants, like Alice’s Teacup here on the Upper West Side. It’s small and not a lot of people know about it, but it’s still really cool.”

BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living. ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, The Odeon (NYC) -American Psychos down salmon and steak frites, but the real scene’s on the sidewalk. ● Vice President, Content – Chris Mohney, Agua Dulce (NYC) – Festive outpost feels like Miami, F-L-A.

EDITORIAL ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Features Editor – Willa Paskin, Mayahuel (NYC) – Tequila temple where patrons pay homage to the goddess of agave. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Peppermill (Las Vegas) – Vegas institution pushes diner food in front and romantic cocktails in the back. ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, Serpentine (NYC) – Patrick Duffy’s legendary scene uncoils in west Chelsea. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Jupiter Room (Montreal) – Drink your face off for cheap and dance ’til it aches. Cayte Grieve, Blackstones (NYC) – Foster Ethan Kamer, Joseph Leonard (NYC) – Elegantly distressed Village charmer serving up three solid meals a day. Eiseley Tauginas, Barrow Street Ale House (NYC) – College sports fans and West Village regulars cram into cozy confines. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Back Forty (NYC) – Manure-free urban farm sates virtuous, albeit rare, healthy food cravings. ● Editorial Interns – Molly Gunn, PDT (NYC) – Somebody told, but still a nice sophisto surprise behind the grunge of Crif. Megan LaBruna, Mercury Lounge (NYC) – Catch a future indie rock god at this rite of musical passage. Toren Curtis, The Vagabond (Miami) – Great indie scene. Even better music. Ashley Simpson, SPiN New York (NYC) – Marginally-more-athletic alternative to beer pong gets its own private club. Averie Timm, Downtown Cipriani (NYC) – Über-scene congregation of A-list supermodels, art stars, and financiers. Food, too. If you care. Annie Werner, Antone’s (Austin) – This revered blues club’s namesake did more for black-white relations than the Oreo cookie. Hillary Weston, The Four-Faced Liar (NYC) – Greenwich Village-proper pub is something out of Middle Earth, or Docklands. Either way: the real deal.

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Mizu Sushi (NYC) – Popular lunch spot for Flatiron media types needing to bitch. ● Assistant Designer – Serra Semi, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Canal Room (NYC) – Jersey hordes in the house, but discreet famous faces still rock all night. ● Freelance Designer – Krista Quick, t.b.d (NYC) – Sleek and chic lounge in the heart of Greenpoint.

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Shang (NYC) – Toronto-bred Susur Lee takes on nouveau Asian small plates at the Thompson LES. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Dylan’s Candy Bar (NYC) – King-sized candy shop hypnotizing children and torturing adult waistlines in the UES.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA) – The inspiration is Eyes Wide Shut…so yes, there’s lots of leather. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, Nikki Beach (St. Barts) – An escape into paradise in the middle of, well, paradise. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Barrio Chino (NYC) – Chino Latino tequila bar serving up 50 kinds of that devil stuff. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Brooklyn Bowl (NYC) – Rock and bowl will never die. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick, Tournesol (NYC) – Coq au vin and crème brûlée? Oui! Oui! ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Tu Lan (San Francisco) – Word-of-mouth dingy treasure serving good, cheap Vietnamese food in a downright crappy location.

ADVERTISING – advertising@bbook.com ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Ilili (NYC) – Upscale Lebanese moves miles beyond falafel. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Lillie’s (NYC) – Victorian pub with just enough antiquery to make you feel grand. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, Indochine (NYC) – French-colonial greets uptown-cum-downtown diners. ● Advertising Director – Michelle Koruda, Shorty’s .32 (NYC) – Josh Eden under-promises and over-delivers at this Soho charmer. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, The Lodge (Chicago) -Ye old typical Division Street cheese, but always a shameless good time. Kristen von Bernthal, Hudson Bar at Hudson Hotel (NYC) – Acid-trip décor. Sit on a log and rest your drink on a gnome head. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Hopleaf Bar (Chicago) – Andersonville’s best bar. Belgian beers and food meet in a place that’s too smart to be too cool and vice versa. Andrea Forrester, Coast Sushi (Chicago) – BYOB meets the sea at this high-quality Wicker Park sushi spot. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Rustic Canyon (LA) – Leave it to the upper-cresty West-siders to show everyone else up with their moody, fashionable darkwood and cream take on the ubiquitous neighborhood wine bar. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, Coi (San Francisco) – The apotheosis of both the molecular gastronomy trend and the sustainable food movement: ethereal, futuristic flavors in a serene environment. Shawn O’Meara, Nopalito (San Francisco) – ● Sales Coordinator – Celia Ballou, Pink Pony (NYC) – Pseudo-bohemian bistro that’s better for people watching than, like, eating or whatever.

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Bottega Louie (LA) – Proof that Downtown is still gentrifying. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, K & M (NYC) – Former perogie factor converted to current meat market for the indie-rock set. ● Interns – Cristina Girgis, Barbounia (NYC) – Tony Medi with good bones. Interior is all about the arches. Alexandra Vickers, The Slaughtered Lamb Pub (NYC) – Magical enough to overlook the horror movie gimmick.

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Max’s On Broadway (Baltimore) – Ahhh, good old Max’s I remember you well…well what I can remember anyway. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Caracas Arepa Bar (NYC) – Arepas, seventeen ways. Venezuela is for carb lovers. ● Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Greenhouse (NYC) – NYC’s first Green club tries to make bottles and models sustainable. ● Developer – Dan Simon, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Uchi (Austin) – Thoroughly inventive and delectable sushi in vibrant environs, compliments of lauded chef Tyson Cole. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, The Knockout (San Francisco) – The vibe is blessedly lawless,prolifically musical and down right hedonistic. Peep tall cans and a sweaty dance floor. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Melt (NYC) – Brooklyn brunch spot becoming the standard for neighborhood dining. ●Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Alloro (NYC) – Cacio e Pepe peeps get creative on the Upper East.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA). Ari Horowitz, Nikki Beach (St. Barts). Eric Gertler, Matsuhisa (Aspen) – World-famous Nobu chef brings incredibly tasty, stylish, pricy sushi to Aspen. Joe Landry, SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (LA) – Phillipe Starck and Sam Nazarian mind meld to create a papparazzi-inducing modern luxury hotel in (well, near) BH. Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. Barry Rubenstein, Bryant & Cooper (Hamptons) – While it may be trying a little too hard for a classic old-time-y vibe, the steaks are nonetheless quite good. Jack Sullivan, The Raleigh Hotel (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont.

Mr. Hush Speaks

imageNightlife is getting bigger — it can no longer be looked at as a 10pm to 4am sport. Promoters and their followings are no longer content with just late-night revelry, as brunches at fancy restaurants and roof decks and pool parties service the chic set now that summer is here. Eventually promoters will control the lives of their patrons 24/7, or someone else will. The Hamptons are doing great despite dire predictions — but it’s still mostly a money-losing proposition for those pulling the strings. Owner and promoter types feel the necessity to control their clientele, especially the hot girls, lest some other promoter type entice them away with visions of sugarplum fairies or more Grey Goose. It’s day- and nightlife, and as entrepreneurs start to embrace this concept, more swag and privileges will accrue to the swagged and privileged.

When the summer fades, will some smart promoter type host brunches at Barneys? Will Barneys, wanting the young and beautiful brunching on a winter morning, therefore entice or bribe — or is it pay — for this smart set to come to the store by giving them free clothes? For Barneys and other boutiques, it will be like a live fashion show, a reality not-on-TV gathering of pretty peeps showing shoppers just how good that outfit will look on you. This is inevitable. This generation of the young and the restless and hot will soon get more and more just to be seen at stores. Isn’t that what clubs do? Hire promoters armed with models to make their joints seem chic? Will this same game bring the rich to stores where they’ll be hitting on models, buying suits for themselves and chic little dresses for the waifs instead of vodka? Will the bottle buyer become the bauble buyer as jewelry stores get into the mix? The under-drinking-age models don’t even have to be carded or hidden to play this game. How long before Bumble and bumble and Cutler and other sharp salons consolidate their model-rate customers to weekend afternoon brunch-and-cut soirees?

Into this mix comes Mr. Hush. The chic set, not content to just look beautiful/handsome and get V.I.P. treatment at every club in town, will now have their needs catered to day and night. They will be getting what is essentially a gift bag — or in this case an envelope — for being beautiful and in the right place. The bright folks behind this concept will be handing out swag to the deserving set at the sharp spots in envelopes, which are easy to carry. I got the first of these “swagelopes” from Mr. Hush himself. I can eat, get groomed, test drive a sports car, and accumulate riches courtesy of this handsome fellow. I must say he’s younger, hipper, and much better looking than that Dos Equis dude.

So who are you? People say I’m a good guy to know. I’d say that’s an accurate description.

What should we know about you? Know that each month I distribute limited-edition envelopes at exclusive New York City locations. Each envelope is hand-stuffed with swag, invitations, complimentary vouchers, and cultural news and is given out to 5,000 hush-worthy people.

What makes someone hush-worthy? It’s a criteria that’s hard to put into words. An intangible cool.

Can you leak a few of the places we might find the envelope this month? Just a few … they are places that suit my many moods. Peter Vancek Salon @ Collective Hardware, N.Y.C. Motorcycle Federation, Cipriani Soho, Plaza Hotel, Versani. The rest you’ll have to discover on your own.

What does the envelope look like? Every month, a different featured artists designs the cover, but this month’s is a self-portrait. I never said I was modest. We heard that you’re also planting some “Golden Tickets”? What’s that about? Well you’ve gotta have some fun, even while you’re working. So I’m stashing “Golden Ticket Experiences” in random envelopes. Dinners for two, complimentary hotel stays, salon and spa days, etc. My advice: Dig deep and keep your eye out for the shiny gold foil.

If I don’t get an envelope, can I still access misterhush.com? Negative. The only way into the website — which is home to more exclusive invitations, offers, and news — is to receive an envelope with a specific serial number. That number combined with a password inside the envelope will unlock the members-only portal.

Is there a Mrs. Hush? I like to keep that hush hush.

Can you give us a preview of what’s inside next month? An amazing new gadget, a preview of the hottest new celebrity fragrance, a summer haircut, a CD of my favorite new music, and the opportunity to learn how to “fly.” That’s all I can say.

Are you good at keeping secrets? What do you think?

I’d like to give a birthday shout out to Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum. This is the 10th of June, and the coincidence of their birthdays gave name to their wonderful joint Tenjune. There are very few true gentlemen in this business that I write about, but these two dudes are definitely that. Nice guys sometimes do finish first, and I wish them continuing success.

Industry Insiders: The Halston Board’s Favorite Places

In our continuing quest to track down the wining, dining, and merchandising habits of the well-known and well-to-do, we were alerted to an upcoming New York holiday sale from designer Halston. Details, in case you’re wondering: the sale involves up to 75% off various species of womenswear, shoes, and bags, and it runs Friday, December 12 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.); Saturday, December 13 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.); and Sunday, December 14 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). And the scene is 96 Spring Street (Broadway & Mercer), with cash and credit accepted. But beyond hawking their wares, what do the actual Halstonians enjoy doing around town? We put the question to Bonnie Takhar (Halston president and CEO), Tamara Mellon (Halston boardmember and founder of Jimmy Choo), and none other than Harvey Weinstein (also a Halston boardmember and incidentally of the Weinstein Company).

Favorite Hotel: The Mercer. It’s a block away from the Halston office. Takhar stays there when in NYC, and Takhar, Mellon, and Weinstein meet there to discuss biz.

Favorite Restaurant (Lunch): Downtown Cipriani. Once again, only a few blocks from the Halston office. Generous servings always.

Favorite Restaurant (Dinner): Blue Ribbon Brasserie. Best in seafood, an the buzzy atmosphere promotes conversation.

Favorite Bar: The Eldridge. Halston had the private aftershow party for the Spring 2009 collection here in September. Takhar and Mellon will head down to the Eldridge after late nights in the office; great music and drinks make it a great place to unwind.

Favorite Shops: Jeffrey New York (contemporary cool collections), What Goes Around Comes Around (a vintage feast), Bergdorf Goodman (uptown, upscale luxury).

Industry Insiders: Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato

Dynamic Duo: Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, the force behind the ever-expanding Geisha, Brasserie Cognac and Serafina empire, on their bold plans for Miami, aborting projects because of the dire economy, and why you must strive to be exhausted at the end of the day.

Point of Origin: Vittorio: My mother is Italian; my father was Jewish Lebanese — I was born in Egypt in Cairo, but my father died in the early 1960s, so I grew up in Italy all my life. I started as a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, then returned to Milan where I was an assistant to an Italian stockbroker. Then I started to work for an advertising company there in fashion, briefly, and ended that career with Gianfranco Ferré’s photo. In 1985, I came back to New York where I started Portofino Sun Center and then I had a restaurant called Café Condotti covered with paintings by Andy Warhol over the walls. I didn’t last that long. I got my money back and I left to focus on Portofino. But in 1994, I opened Sofia, which became the first Serafina on 79th and Madison Avenue. The rest is the growing process of history. Fabio: I had a dream and worked for it!

Any non-industry projects in the works? Vittorio: This goes into philanthropy. We support every charity in New York, certainly all of the food related charities. Right now we’re doing City Harvest. They asked me to sit on their board, but I really don’t have time as I’m starting to travel a lot to open Serafina’s outside of New York City. Miami will be the first in the W Hotel in Miami Beach, both in the hotel and on the beach where we’ll serve the convention rooms and room service. Then we go to Istanbul and São Paulo. But then there will be other developments in New York City when the economy gets better. It’s super scary this time. I saw the ‘87, ‘92, ‘95 recessions, and this one I have a feeling is going to be even worse. Those were limited as to the extent of the damage: this time it’s huge. When you see an insurance company like AIG and the credit swap, they insure every package of mortgages sold to Wall Street. They have a 50 or 60 trillion dollar security and only 8% is in default — so far. The economic package was nothing compared to what they lost, they’re just pumping into the system without curing the problem. Why didn’t they just freeze every mortgage sold after 2000 and keep them frozen for 30 years to save homeowners from going broke? Those guys were making salaries of $2 million a week, and they created this tragedy. If I did that in my company, we’d be bankrupt. Fabio: Travel and go around the world.

Favorite Hangs: Vittorio Assaf: My job is my favorite hangout — I work day and night seven days a week, and when I’m free I like to go to St. Barth’s in the Caribbean, perhaps eight or nine times a year. It’s a great, great level of cuisine with all of these French chefs who come to the islands to work for a year, a great mix of culture. It’s an island that has nothing to do with the Caribbean. There are no locals, as just about everybody there comes from Paris or St. Tropez. They go back and forth all the time. It’s my dream. Fabio: I spend time at all of our restaurants, Cipriani and 1Oak.

Industry Icons: Vittorio: Eric Ripert is a famous chef who is one of my best friends. I love his cuisine, it’s very light and made with quality ingredients. And of course, I like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, another one who is just amazing, outstanding, an artist. I admire, in general, the dedication of great chefs, their effort and energy that top chefs put into the industry. I wish what they produce could be more affordable, but the ingredients are costly. Fabio: Restaurateurs that I admire are the Cipiranis’, Steven Hanson and Daniel Boulud, David Burke and Jean-Georges Vongerichten are all people I admire in the industry.

Who are some people you’re likely to be seen with? Vittorio: I’d like to be seen more with my wife! Being a restaurateur is the worst job possible — all you do is work seven days a week. When people are coming out for lunch or dinner, I have to start early in the morning to deal with construction, repairs, deliveries, tasting. You deal with thousands of different personalities; there are roughly 100 employees at each restaurant and it gets very personal. You get exhausted, and if you’re not — there’s something wrong. Fabio: people in general, our customers and my family,

Projections: Vittorio: We were opening two restaurants in Anguilla, but with all of this financial turmoil, I think this has stopped, but I’m opening a Mexican restaurant here! I would like to tell you my dream: the one to make this company grow, but the economic picture is not the most brilliant. Fabio: I would like to expand my brand everywhere, let people enjoy what I do in the States and Europe. Vittorio: I now have to consolidate and concentrate on the quality and customer service, not the market position we have, but on the bright outlook, a positive outlook. Perhaps we’re going to be able to renew our lease on more favorable terms than in the past when it’s been a landlord’s market.

What are you doing tonight? Vittorio: Tonight I’m working on an event — it will be quiet because of the Jewish holiday, but I have to work! New York has an amazing capacity for reinventing itself. We have an incredible, atomic energy! Fabio: I always go out with friends, party at my new apartment, socialize or go out occasion.

New York: Top 5 Places to Spot Fashion Week Royalty

imageIn other words: Models models models models. And a bottle or two.

1. Gramercy Park Hotel – Hosting the launch party for The Rachel Zoe Project on Thursday, the Gramercy is a veritable vending machine of skinny girls air-kissing. 2. Downtown Cipriani Agent Provocateur is having a lingerie party at Downtown Cipriani on Saturday. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kate Moss, Daisy Lowe: In lingerie. 3. The Bowery Hotel Intermix is celebrating 15 years of fashion at the Bowery Hotel on Saturday. Expect Olsens.

4. 1Oak The Rosa Cha after-party will be at hot spot 1 Oak on Saturday. Vogue is co-hosting so expect designers, editors and lots of models. 5. Bryant Park If you can’t get enough, (or can’t get in) just lurk around the tents at Bryant Park.

Industry Insiders: Downtown Fixture Sebastian Nicolas

Sebastian Nicolas’ path to downtown party prince has been meteoric and mostly unplanned. From karaoke at Cipriani Upstairs to his new digs at the Box, the normally press-shy nightlifer holds forth on his past, present, and future endeavors.

Point of Origin: I was born in Sweden to Chilean parents, then moved around Spain, lived in Easter Island, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. My sister ran a catering company in Chile that did the catering for all the big arena shows that came to Chile, as well the country’s first upscale fusion restaurant, Route 66. A lot of the people involved with the restaurant had worked in New York with Douglas Rodriguez, who owned Patria and basically invented the Nuevo Latino cuisine. That experience opened up my eyes to this crossroads of many interests like music, art, food, ambiance and made me fall in love with this industry.

Eventually I wound up at Columbia University to study Political Economy, and that’s when I started going out downtown to take a break from the hectic class schedule. I met Giuseppe Cipriani one night being out at Cipriani Downtown. The lounge Upstairs had been open for about a month, but he was looking to diversify his brand, so he hired me to help with that, and that’s how I got my start professionally in this business as far as New York. I came up with the karaoke idea on Sunday nights because I went to karaoke a lot at Sing Sing in the East Village with [Swedish top model] Caroline Winberg, a good friend of mine. And her birthday was coming up, so I decided to have a karaoke party at Upstairs and it took off from there.

Occupations: After Cipriani, I did a very fun one month event for the 2006 World Cup called Cuervo Mundial at the Soho Grand hotel, as you know, since we were partners in that. It was a World Cup viewing party in the hotel yard, we had a great time, open bar for an entire month. What drew me to that event, in addition to my love for soccer, is that it was interactive. Soccer is like that, because you’re supporting a team. There’s a third element there, aside from the alcohol and people. After that, the Box.

Why the Box? Because basically at that point the New York scene felt a little sterile. Anything could have exploded. It seemed like people wanted something different, something more. I was trying very hard at the time to do the final show at CBGB’s, which was about to close, and then I thought it would be cool to do the next CBGB’s, similar to the Box but more music driven. And since I’m very good friends with Serge Becker, we talked, and Serge had this idea for the Box. Come to think of it, actually, Moulin Rouge had the idea for the Box, right?

Any non-industry projects in the works? I don’t see a separation between the industry and other interests or endeavors. We label things, but it’s all interconnected. Your office is your restaurant and vice versa. For example, I was executive producer on a movie called Frost that was at Slamdance this year, and that’s something that I definitely see myself more involved with down the line. I also wrote a script, though I cringe when I hear myself say that. Don’t put that in!

Favorite Hangs: I like to go to new places with something different and new to offer, and I also like places where I feel I’m part of a family, which is why I like La Esquina and the Box. I like to eat at Buenos Aires in the East Village. I also like places that feel intimate but with positive energy. Exclusivity doesn’t have to be negative. I think Beatrice Inn has accomplished that. I like the way they operate it.

Industry Icons: Keith McNally, because I admire his focus and patience in creating a place with a story. He takes his time to develop places. Economically he’s successful but more importantly his places have soul. He found the balance between the money side and the other more important elements. Serge Becker, of course. What attracted me to the Box was that I wanted to work with Serge. I felt comfortable around him, he’s an artist. He appreciates life in a way I admire. He’s a different type of person than you typically find in this industry. I admire Giuseppe Cipriani’s hard work and the specific niche he was able to find and tap into. I admire Ian Schrager’s vision. These are all people and qualities I admire, regardless of whether or not we have the exact same taste or not.

Who are some people you’re likely to be seen with, other than every model in the city, of course? Never! In general there are people I tend to identify with. [Musician] Diego Garcia is a good friend of mine. You know, people who have a similar background, like you, [Kemado Records boss] Andres Santo Domingo. My Swedish friends. Now I happen to be surrounded by music people. That’s why my upcoming project is music related. Because I’m interested in music, in learning more, and so it’s an extension of where I am in life right now. It’s organic.

Projections: My latest project is tentatively called House Party. It’s at a private loft space on Bond Street. It’s hard to define exactly, because there’s a mix of many things I like happening there. It’s part art gallery, part performance space, part party space. A lot of my friends helped me put it together, from donating furniture to art to labor. So far I’ve been doing very low-key parties for friends. Very soon I’m going to start having some really incredible musicians and bands performing there, and some of the footage will be available online. We have a great producer, lots of incredible talent lined up. Some of the artists I know, some are friends of friends, and some are coming from my partnership with [a major music magazine].

What are you doing tonight? I don’t know, what are we doing? What is there to do?