Where Celebs Go

1. Naomi Campbell @ Interview magazine’s 40th anniversary party: I don’t know. I don’t really live here so much anymore. In London? I don’t live in London. I live in Russia. Favorite restaurant in Russia? Pushkin’s. 2. Chloe Sevigny @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: Depends on what I’m in the mood for. I like Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar in the East Village. I like Balthazar for oysters. I love Raoul’s. 3. Peter Brant @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: I would probably say the Four Seasons. I like that restaurant, but I have a lot of favorites. That’s, usually, a favorite of mine. There’s a lot of great things to eat there.

4. Linda Nyvltova @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: It’s going to be more restaurants. The pizza place, Vezzo, on 31st and Lexington. I love it. We go there all the time.

5. Brian Ermanski @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: Rose Bar. And I don’t really go out that much anymore. I love sitting outside Balthazar. And I don’t drink, so I don’t really like going out to drink a lot. I work a lot.

6. Sam Shipley @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary part: I really like Nancy Whiskey. That’s on the corner of 6th Avenue and Walker. We also love Lucky Strike. We also love Frank’s on 2nd Avenue and E. 6th Street.

7. Genevieve Jones @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: I like Café Select. I, usually, go anywhere I can walk downtown, so, like, Balthazar and coffee at Saturday Surf. I like N after work. What else? La Esquina.

8. Jessica Stam @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: Really, I just hang out at restaurants close to my house. I like to go to the new restaurant at the Jane Hotel [Café Gitane]. That’s really pretty because it overlooks the ocean. I like to go to Tompkins Square Park. The park itself? Yes.

9. Edward Droste @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: My apartment! I love Marlow & Sons. It’s a restaurant in Brooklyn. It’s one of my favorite places. I have friends that work there. I eat there all the time. And I love Mary’s Fish Camp restaurant in the West Village for seafood. But I don’t know anything about clubs, so … I’m good at food.

10. Mary-Kate Olsen @ Interview‘s 40th anniversary party: I’m not doing interviews tonight.

11. Pastor Joel Osteen @ Hezekiah Walker Presents: A Night of Hope and Prayer for Haiti: I ate at Rockefeller Center today, [near] the ice skating rink. In Houston, Texas, there’s a little Italian place that I love to eat at, not too far from my house. I don’t even know the official name of it. I like all kinds of different food.

12. Al Sharpton @ A Night of Hope and Prayer for Haiti: I have several favorite restaurants. I love, of course, Sylvia’s, but I also like to come downtown sometimes to Nello’s. I’m a salad eater now. I don’t eat meat anymore, so just salad and maybe good fish.

13. Congressman Eliot Engel @ AIPAC Northeast Regional Dinner: In the Bronx, when I was growing up, there were many, many, old, wonderful kosher delis, and they really all have disappeared, except for one in Riverdale, called Liebman’s, on W. 235th Street and Johnson Avenue. It’s an old-time New York kosher deli, and no matter where I’ve been around the United States – in Cleveland, in Pittsburgh, in Indianapolis, in Detroit – people say to me, ‘ Oh, you gotta go to this deli. It’s a real, authentic, Jewish-style deli.’ And I go there, and I always think, ‘Oh, my God, it’s so inferior to what we have in New York.!’ So that’s where I like to go.

14. Senator Chuck Schumer @ AIPAC Northeast Regional Dinner: My favorite places are in Brooklyn, and you’ll think this is funny, but Nathan’s is still one of my favorite restaurants for hot dogs and french fries. And go to the original Nathan’s in Coney Island — they taste better! But if you go to Fifth Avenue, and you go to Smith Street, you will have great, great restaurants. And we eat at a lot of them. Al Di La, we love very much. How do I pick my favorite? Best slice of pizza in Brooklyn is Roma Pizza on Seventh Avenue; I’ll tell you that. Here’s what I recommend: Po on Smith Street. It is just great!

15. Chris Blackwell @ Strawberry Hill, Jamaica: As I spend most of my time in Jamaica, when I go to New York, I love to check out wherever anybody is saying is a new place or is a great place. So, I’m not really a creature of habit, in going back to one restaurant, all the time. And in Jamaica? If you like the mountains, here is the best place, Strawberry Hill. If you like the sea and the beaches, there are three or four different places that are really good. There’s Port Antonio; and there’s a place called Frenchmen’s Cove, which is just stunningly beautiful. You can’t stay there; you can just visit and swim there. I have a property called Goldeneye, which is in Oracabessa. And then there’s a really nice hotel in Ocho Rios called Jamaica Inn. And Montego Bay is the other main area, and they have a couple of great hotels. One is Half Moon, and the other is Round Hill. And then there’s the South Coast, which has got a whole different feel. It’s, like as if you’ve gone to a different country. There’s a great place there called Jake’s. And Jake’s is, actually, a very casual type hotel, in a whole village area.

16. Daljit Dhaliwal @ History Makers conference: Right now I haven’t been doing an awful lot of entertaining, going out and being sociable. I just bought a new apartment and I’m learning how to use tools. I know how to use a screwdriver and I’m contemplating the electric drill. [There’s] some spackling, sanding and painting. I like to hang out in my neighborhood. Cafe Julienne, a bistro, serves wonderful French fare, nice hamburgers, great pate, nice cheeses, and good wine. In London, I love Notting Hill, Portabella Market — a fabulous place to hang out Saturday or any day of the week. Westborne Park, Grove and Road: West End. London is great for shopping.

Where Celebs Go Out: Wes Anderson, Emmy Rossum, Charlotte Ronson, & More

At Lucky magazine’s Lucky Shops:

● KATRINA BOWDEN – “I love Café Mogador in the East Village. It’s Moroccan, and they have these great fish and chicken kebabs and really cool dishes and olives and bread. It’s really good. And they have this fish soup that’s amazing, on special sometimes.”

● ANA ORTIZ – “I’m a very local person right now because I don’t have a lot of time away. So there’s this really groovy little place across the street from me called the Speak Low bar and it’s in Dumbo in Brooklyn, and it’s just underneath Rice. It’s a really funky, hip little bar. And they have the most delicious cocktails. As soon as I was able to drink after giving birth, I went down there. They have the best martini I ever had!”

At The Fantastic Mr. Fox press day:

● WES ANDERSON – “There’s a place in Los Angeles called Nishimura that’s a sushi place. That’s a great place. I would recommend that one.”

At launch party for Yoga Wii by Dreamcatcher Interactive Inc.:

● ANJA RUBIK – “Right now — it changes, of course — right now, I’m addicted to Matsuri. It’s a Japanese restaurant in the Maritime Hotel. I just love the food there. It’s incredible and the atmosphere they create there is so beautiful. I love it there. I love the Cipriani’s uptown. I love it. The food is so great. And it also has an incredible atmosphere. Da Silvano is great. Bar Pitti is amazing. It has Italian food, which is fantastic. I love Gobo. It’s all this organic food, vegetarian. It’s on Sixth Avenue near Eighth Street or Seventh Street.”

At Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars:

● SIMON DOONAN – “I love Il Cantinori. It’s around the corner from my house. The risotto primavera is killer!”

● EMMY ROSSUM – “I really like David Burke Townhouse. I love that lollypop tree that comes out at the end. There’s like a cheesecake lollypop tree. It looks like a lollypop, but it’s a ball of cheesecake on the end of stick and it’s in this holder that makes it look like a tree. I really like eating sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, at like 4am.”

● TOMMY HILFIGER – “Rebecca’s in Greenwich, Connecticut. Incredibly delicious. It’s simple, but it’s really, really high-quality food and always well done — consistent. It’s prepared very well.”

● MARK RONSON – “My favorite restaurant in New York is, probably, Gino’s uptown on 60th and Lex. The angel hair with the secret sauce. They call it that. ‘Cause when you’re a kid, and anyone tells you something’s secret, of course, you like think it’s amazing. In the whole word, I don’t know. I wish — I’m really good at answering these questions, but not on the spot.”

● DITA VON TEESE – “I love going to London to eat. I love China Tang at the Dorchester because I love the Art Deco Chinese interior. I love the Wolseley in London. And I’m not familiar with New York restaurants. It seems like they’re ever changing, so …”

At Purgatorio pop-up club:

● JOSH LUCAS – “Oh, the old school — Raoul’s is one of my all-time favorites. And there’s a place right down in my neighborhood, called Broadway East, which is a really interesting new kind of organic, sexy restaurant I like a lot. Also, down by my place, Les Enfants Terribles, you know that place? A good, little fun one. Those are my three that come to mind immediately.”

● SIMON HAMMERSTEIN – “That’s a hard question. I kind of like the 18th floor of the Standard — the bar on the 18th floor. I think he’s done a really good job with that.”

● CHRISTIAN SIRIANO – “In New York, I love the Cooper Square Hotel. We have dinner there a lot, hang out there — really, really fun. But, like hang out, hang out spots — where do we go? Oh, Bagatelle, very fabulous. I’m pretty low key, so I feel like — my couch, that’s where we go to hang out and have a party.”

At Motorola’s party for Droid phone with Verizon service:

● PATRICK HEUSINGER – “I just went to Delicatessen for the first time. I really enjoyed that. We watch Sunday and Monday football at Brother Jimmy’s on the Upper West Side. Yeah, it’s great. We’ve been going there since I was in college because I went to college here in New York, too. And then, I go to the bar, Niagara, on the Lower East Side a lot. That’s one of my haunts. I probably go there once a week. One of my best friends works there, so — it’s on 7th and Avenue A.

● JUDAH FRIEDLANDER – “I don’t drink or anything. I’m a role model for children. But I do eat. The place I really crave is called Sarajevo. It’s in Astoria — Bosnian owners. It’s basically Yugoslavian food. Awesome. That’s the place I crave more than any place. Cevapcici is the main thing. It’s kind of like ground beef and lamb on skewers, and you serve it in this fresh, homemade bread. And there’s this spread called Kajmak. It’s kind of like a sour-cream spread, except a million times better. And then you put ajvar on it, also, which is a like a tomato, red pepper, eggplant spread. And then you put raw onions on it, and you’re in heaven, baby! And you got power! And you’re ready to kick ass! It’s good stuff. The other thing they have is stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce, which they call sarma. It’s in Astoria. It’s on 34th Avenue and 38th Street. It’s so good. That’s my favorite food. I like all the ethnic, little take-out type places. Those are my favorite places.”

At launch of fashion game Style Savvy for the Nintendo DS and DSi:

● CHARLOTTE RONSON – “I love Bar Pitti on 6th Avenue. It’s nice and easy. You can sit outside when the weather is nice. You always run into someone you know. For movies, the Anjelika is nice. It’s clean. I’m drawn to movies that play there. In London, I love Holland Park, Kensington High Street — great area with lots of good shops and walking distance from my parents’ home. La Famiglia is a great restaurant.”

At launch party for Scupltz shapewear and legwear:

● ROBERT VERDI –Le Singe Vert on 7th Avenue. It means the Green Monkey. I was born in ’68, the year of the monkey. I love it. Novita, on 22nd Street, off of Park Avenue. It feels very insider; the food is fabulous. There’s a scene, but it’s not sceney. Da Silvano, because I feel like a big schmaltz when I go there ’cause I’m treated better than I really am. He’s really sweet. I’m very good friends with his wife, Marisa, who treats me like family. Since I grew up in a restaurant family, it’s a feeling I like to have when I go out to eat.

Chiwetel Ejiefor on ‘2012,’ Interracial Hook-Ups, & Angelina Jolie

2012 week continues as we celebrate the coming apocalypse with a series of interviews with its survivors. Yesterday we ran an interview with a fiending Amanda Peet, and today we get to the bottom of what a respected stage actor like Chiwetel Ejiefor is doing in a Roland Emmerich disaster movie. After wowing audiences on stages across London, Ejefor made his big screen splash in the grimy thriller Dirty Pretty Things opposite Audrey Tatou. Since then, he’s churned out reliably stellar work in films like Inside Man, Love Actually, Children of Men, and American Gangster. In 2012, Ejiofor plays Adrian Helmsley, a government geologist who is among the first to discover the Earth’s core heating up to a potentially catastrophic level. Here he is trying to explain the popularity of disaster porn, interracial relationships on film, and working with Angelina in the upcoming Salt.

What’s a serious actor like yourself doing in a Roland Emmerich film? I really am not that serious, and I want to do movies that people are entertained by and that people get into, and this is such a wild ride of a movie. I loved science fiction and I love the fact that Roland Emmerich is such an incredible visual filmmaker and is really passionate about bringing the audience a really exceptional visceral experience where all the senses are involved, except perhaps smell.

How do you compare making this film to making Tsunami: The Aftermath, a very real story about people getting killed by a giant wave? This is a wild ride, it’s a fantasy, a leap. It’s all the things that a film like this should be. Tsunami: The Aftermath was an altogether different proposition. It was a heavy and sad tale of the destruction in Asia, and there are certain conclusions that both films come to that were optimistic about humanity, about unity, about how we are when faced with the darkest things. It sort of validates some of the excesses, the values of heroism, the excesses of optimism when you do a film or talk to people who have done these things in a real environment.

What does it says about us, that we like to watch the destruction of everything and everyone? I think it’s sort of two-fold. I think we like to watch the ideas of the worst possible scenario because we fear it and we fear it for ourselves and for our loved ones. So to watch the worst possible scenario is kind of exciting, because it allays a certain fear that we have because we’re then watching, projecting ourselves into these scenarios, and watching how to deal with it. And our greatest hope is whatever life throws at us, we’ll be able to deal with it, just in the same way we deal with whatever life throws at us any given day.

There’s a love story between your character and Thandie Newton, who plays the President’s daughter. You both happen to be black. Do you think if the President and his daughter were white, that the filmmakers would have included that story line, given Hollywood’s traditional treatment of interracial relationships as taboo? I suppose, yeah. Hollywood and movies still have a way to go with interracial relationships. I don’t think it’s light years behind, but in England it’s always seemed people in interracial relationships were never as much of an issue. I guess that in Hollywood movies that appeal to wide audiences, people do try and define things in a way that would make things simple in a sense, and the audience isn’t constantly thinking about other things or being distracted by these concepts. But definitely, it seems like within the context of this movie there seems no reason why there wouldn’t be interracial romance. Because anybody who is disturbed by anything like that is probably disturbed by black actors onscreen anyhow. I definitely feel like there’s a racial simplicity that sometimes happens in movies, and I suppose the conversations about race aren’t prevalent in the film and isn’t one of the themes of the film.

Do you have a “one for me, one of them” mentality, where you like to rotate between bigger pictures like this and smaller ones that you might be more passionate about? No, I don’t. I don’t have that mentality really. I’ve heard that phrase before but I think that somebody has to have to say that to you. I don’t think you can wake up and be like, “I’m going to do one for them!” I don’t think it works like that. I get scripts and if I like it, if I want to pursue it, and I think there’s stuff in there that people will enjoy and I’ll enjoy, then I’m definitely going to do it.

I saw the trailer for Salt yesterday; can you tell me about that? It’s Phillip Noyce’s movie with Angelina Jolie, myself, and Liev Schreiber, and it is a paranoid thriller centering around the CIA, and it’s a very, very exciting movie, and I think it’s going to absolutely terrific so I can’t wait to see it.

Was the press ruthless with Angelina during filming? Totally. More so than other people, they were sort of everywhere, and there were a lot of paparazzi and stuff. But I think she handles it incredibly well. I don’t really know how she does it, but definitely she is able to do the work but also be very gracious with them, and it’s really quite interesting to watch.

What are some of your favorite restaurants in New York? Balthazar, Raoul’s, and Peasant.

Industry Insiders: Leading the People’s Revolution

Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, embarked on her first public relations venture when she realized that fashion was the new rock ‘n’ roll. With the help of now-partners Robyn Berkley and Emily Bungert, People’s Revolution is a leading bi-coastal marketing and branding firm and a frontrunner in the fashion industry. The one-time affiliates of The Hills have their hands full for the fall ’09 collections — handing names such as: Yigal Azrouel, David Delfin, Buckler, Mara Hoffman, Nicholas K, Sergio Da Vila, Alexandre Herchcovitch, and Chado Ralph Rucci. The lightning-speed lifestyle required for the job has earned the firm a tough-as-nails reputation, but it occasionally takes a toll on the team. Upon arriving at the People’s SoHo office to sit down with BlackBook, Emily Bungert announced that her bi-annual Fashion Week ailment was already creeping in. “I’m losing my voice,” she said, “I lose my voice every Fashion Week. It’s just usually not two weeks before … it’s usually right in the middle or towards the end.” Read on for more from the power trio on the days leading up to the mayhem, nostalgia for Fashion Weeks past, and, without doubt, The Hills.

What’s this soon-to-be-legendary event that I’m hearing about? Kelly Cutrone: This year at Fashion Week, we’re doing three designers in one show. It’s the first time ever in the tents at Bryant Park that they’ve allowed one time slot for three different designers.

What’s the setup? KC: The setup is that there will be three of them, and they’re all going to have separate shows. So as one finale goes, and the lights will go down; there will be a sign change, and then the lights will come up, and the next designer with a music change will come out. It’s really fast. Robyn Berkley: All of the editors have to sit through all three shows. KC: The backstage will be crazy because there will be 80 models and three sets of hair and makeup.

Was it one invite? RB: No, three different invites.

How would you describe yourself in work mode? RB: Perfectionist, conscientious, innovative, and ambitious. KC: I’m brutally honest. In my role, I’m the leader.

Tell me some memorable Fashion Week stories. RB: One of our designers decided to change the number for the RSVP line that we had set up for him to his cell phone number. At the last minute. Emily Bungert: At the Sass and Bide show, when we were filming The Hills, the designer wouldn’t start the show until her friend — who was flying in from Australia — arrived. RB: Emily’s out front. I’m on the headset, and everyone is screaming at us to start the show. EB: The friend was flying in just to see the show from Australia, and the models are literally lined up, ready to start. The designer is just refusing to start, and we had to argue over the headset and decided that we had to start at that very second, and couldn’t hold the show anymore. Her friend didn’t end up getting to see it. RB: Another one for me is when we did the Heatherette show. They had to close the front of house, and there were still close to 1,000 people outside. Everyone was screaming. And then, we had never done production, and we had to call the show for Heatherette. I wasn’t there for the runthrough, so I get on the headset, and I’m like, “Okay, what’s the whole idea for the show?” All of a sudden, there are all these little fairy girls who are maybe ten, who are walking out with Amanda Lepore and there are dancers — and it was a full-on choreographed routine, and I had no idea. That was pretty dramatic. EB: One year at LA Fashion Week, we did three shows back to back in three hours, and it was all being filmed for The Hills. Andre Leon Talley was there floating around. He’d never been to LA Fashion Week before, and he sat backstage while we were calling the show. He stayed for our shows and sat in the fourth row — he never sits in the first row, he sits in the back. We weren’t completely sure why he was there.

Who’re your favorite clients? RB: I love Jeremy Scott’s shows. The energy there, the crowd, the music … Michel Gaubert does all of the music. It’s always really powerful. EB: Andrew Buckler has really good shows. He has really great models, so there are always a lot of cute boys floating around. That’s the fun thing about doing menswear every once in awhile. He loves to pull some little tricks, and he’s been known to have interesting things happening on the runway. One season, the theme was spaceships and aliens. It was in Bryant Park, and there, everything has to be done by the book, and you have to have insurance for everything. We get to the show that day, and backstage, there are these huge stilts. He didn’t tell us about it, but he hired a guy to be an alien, and the alien had to walk on six-foot stilts, and the stilts were taking up the entire backstage. The people at Bryant Park came up to us and were like, “You need insurance for these stilts.” And there was also a unicycle, and a man in drag was going to be riding it in a corset and a hat and a full face of makeup. But that’s like a typical thing that would happen to us. RB: We did a really good job for Yigal Azrouel when he did his first menswear presentation. He got an amazing response, and this season, he’s nominated for the GQ designer of the year award.

What are your fashion staples? RB: My new favorite jeans are the KSUBI Spray-On jeans, and anything Yigal Azrouel. I wear Chloe dresses. Lots of chain jewelry and big bangles. And the Alex and Ani Halo Necklace. They’re launching on ShopBop. I love Jo de Mer swimwear, and Camilla & Marc — who just launched their new swimwear collection. It’s the best thing I’ve seen in years. I only shop at one store in New York, called No.6. EB: I wear the Alternative Apparel Burnout Tee. We’re all obsessed with the Rag & Bone riding pants. RB: We wear black and white all the time, or else I wear Jeremy Scott.

Where are your places? KC: I go nowhere cool, first of all. Except for my clients’ places. I love Southside, Webster Hall. I love the Sunset Marquis hotel. I’m their publicist, and they’re my oldest client. We’ve been working together for 13 years. I love this hotel in Hermosa Beach called the Beach House, which nobody knows about. It’s the un-Malibu. It’s really beautiful and you can sleep on the second or third floor and have your door open and have the ocean rock you to sleep. I love this little, tiny restaurant on MacDougal street called Monte’s for Italian food. I am also known to pop into Little Italy and go to Angelos. I like it because the maitre’d treats fashion people like shit and is only nice to the mafia. He’s always like, “What you want?” He screams at me. And that, for some reason, I love. I love Savore, which is another unknown restaurant in SoHo, across the street from Mezzogiorno. And they have homemade foccacia. I go to Barolo once in awhile on West Broadway. I only go to places in a five-block radius. I love the Carlyle Hotel for the lobster sandwich, when I want to feel grown up. I love Sullivan Street Bakery. I like Omen, the Japanese restaurant. We love Lucky Strike. They’re like our living room. We love Sanctuary Tea. It stayed in business in a haunted space. Before they took it over, no one could stay in business there for more than six months. They give us free lattes during Fashion Week. RB: My best friend just opened up Charles. I love Nobu. I likeBar Pitti. I like Supper. I like Southside and Beatrice. I like Smith & Mills and Café Habana. I love the Vinegar Factory. We also like the backroom at Raoul’s. EB: La Esquina is my favorite restaurant. We like GoldBar. I love Café Gitane and Freemans. There’s a great restaurant in Williamsburg called Aurora. They opened one in Manhattan, but I like the one in Williamsburg better.

What is one thing that people may not know about you? EB: Well, I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I don’t think that people would expect me to be from Minnesota. RB: I always wanted to be in the circus. I wanted to be a trapeze artist. EB: Something that people don’t know about Kelly Cutrone is that she’s a really talented ice skater. She used to compete when she was younger. We were ice skating with her in Syracuse, and we’re on this local ice rink all wearing all black. Kelly was showing off her moves in the middle of the ice rink, and all the younger girls were getting really jealous.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? KC: My guiltiest pleasure is re-dating my ex-boyfriends. Recycling. Eco-dating. And just so you know, I’m down to my last ex-boyfriend to re-date. So it’s a very interesting time as to what’s going to become of me now that I’ve re-dated everyone that I’ve previously dated. RB: I cut all of them out. Three months ago, I started this intensive cleanse program, and I stopped smoking, drinking, eating, and now, I go to bed really early. I also cut out sugar. But if I wasn’t doing that, they would be smoking, drinking and eating. EB: I love red wine and Arturo’s pizza. RB: I sometimes get really obsessive watching CSI, like 10 episodes at a time.

Next is People’s Revolution — the reality show? RB: We can’t really talk about it yet. It’ll be announced right around Fashion Week. Most likely it will start pretty soon … everyone wants to delve right into it. EB: It’s definitely happening though.

Was your decision to get involved in reality TV based on The Hills and The City? EB: Kelly’s had a big presence on both shows and has gained a huge fanbase. That started everything. It will be very different from those shows though. It’s going to show what goes on during Fashion Week and with our clients and within the company. It’s more about People’s Revolution itself. It’s funny … Kelly goes to Target and has people going, “Oh my god, that’s the lady from The Hills.” It’s really funny. We went to Syracuse, Kelly’s hometown, and we stopped at a restaurant, and these young girls were staring at her and she’s like, “Oh no, Hills fans.” Her strategy is that she goes up to them and says hello because otherwise they’ll just sit and stare.

Will this be a huge lifestyle change for you? EB: I just hate having to think about my hair and makeup and what I’m going to wear.

What are you doing tonight? RB: I am getting on a plane and going to Miami. I am going to dinner with the team from Longchamp. Maybe seeing ex-boyfriends. I don’t really recycle them, but I have my ongoing conquests that don’t go away. EB: I am working on my sore throat so I don’t get too sick before Fashion Week. Taking some Emergen-C. I try not to make plans until March.

Photo: Patrik Andersson

Industry Insiders: Sarina Salvo, Casa la Femme Phénoménale

Casa la Femme’s Sarina Salvo on re-opening the sultry Middle Eastern hotspot in the West Village, why they are unique in New York, and partying with camels.

What do you do? I basically do everything at Casa la Femme. I don’t have an exact title because I’m really spread out through the whole restaurant. I’ve been with them for 12 years, so I basically can do everything from the event planning for everybody. I’m able to put through all of the parties. Anything people want. If someone decides that they want to have a camel, I would figure out how to have a camel in here, to staffing, to the flow of the restaurant. When we did downtown, I started as a manager there. Uptown when we did the boutique one, we went through the review process and I was just basically there on the floor, 100%, with the staff. In a nutshell, what do I do? I guess I represent them. I represent Casa la Femme. Other than the owners, I guess I am Casa la Femme, in a sense.

What are some restaurants or bars that you like in New York? Favorite restaurant is Peasant. Raoul’s for a good steak. I haven’t been going out since I’ve been working so much.

Who do you admire in the hospitality industry? Probably [Casa la Femme owners] Medhat Ibrahim and Anastasi Hairatidis. I wouldn’t stay with people if they didn’t inspire me and push me. Twelve years working with someone …

What is one positive trend that you see in the hospitality industry now? Now? Actual hospitality. Actually being caring with the customers. You know, with everything that’s happening with the whole economy and jobs, I think that people are actually giving what they need to give to the guests, giving them an experience, what they deserve. Now you have to convince people to go out. You have to. You work so hard for your money, and everyone used to go out anyways, and it was a given, so it was taken for granted — from everybody. Now you have to work to be able to get those.

On the other side of that, what’s one negative trend that you’ve been seeing? I mean, obviously, people losing their jobs and things like that. I know so many people in the business that are losing their jobs all throughout. I had interviews the other day, and I had like 140 people showing up. And that’s really scary. I feel bad. I had people who were general managers and managers begging to be servers. And they come from all the hottest restaurants. Anyone. You know, they have experience. So that’s a negative big time. Also, I know so many people in the Morgans Hotel group. You know, Royalton … people getting just laid off. It’s just horrible.

How will this affect Casa la Femme? Since we’re not open, I mean, I really can’t gauge it. But I would assume that we’ll see some negative things out of it. I used to get a tremendous amount of calls, just banging down the door when we’re open, everyone’s really excited, so I can’t gauge it at this point. But I’m assuming that its not going to be every single night. People are more conscious. We’ll see. I’ll approach it in a different way. I’m willing to be able to work with people, I understand that it’s going to be a budget thing and anything can be done to be able to accommodate people. That’s what I want to do. What’s one thing that people might not know about you? I guess maybe that I’m super private. Because people are so used to seeing me as chatty and floating around, but I’m definitely more reserved and quiet. Which is shocking. The total opposite from when people see me dancing on a table with a bottle of champagne.

What are some of your signature drinks going to be? We’ll have vodka-based ones, champagne-based ones. We did have a mango martini that was fresh juices and fresh mango nectar. Someone was just calling the other day about a French Kiss. That hasn’t been done in like nine years. I’m sure once we release them, they’ll be fab.

Who do you think Casa la Femme will be competing with for clientele in the West Village? No one. We won’t have to compete for anybody. We are totally unique. Any type of clientele is not going to be a problem. It’s just because we cross over into so many different types. We can have the models and that type because it’s sexy, it’s hot. We’re known for that. We’ll also have the people from the neighborhood. There’s a million Thai places, there’s a million Italian places, but there’s no Casa la Femme. If anyone has tried to do something like us, they haven’t succeeded on this level. There’s a reason that we’ve been around 15 years.

What’s the vibe at night? The music will switch up in the evening. There will be people sitting with bottles of champagne, relaxing and watching the belly-dancer. We’re going to stick to chill world music, like Hotel Costes type of loungey music. We’ll also have a Middle Eastern influence in the back. If we have a private party, we have a lot of friends, it could go into anything, like Rolling Stones late at night. It depends on what crew is in here. We have a pretty insane sound system. Anastasi is all about the music, so we’ve loaded the space up with lots of speakers and sound-proofed the place.

Industry Insiders: Chris Barish, Martini Park Ranger

Martini Park and Marquee co-owner Chris Barish on underage promoting, the power of the water-sipping celeb, bringing club culture to suburbia, and growing up with the Governator.

Point of Origin: I’m from New York. I started throwing parties at my parents’ home when I was young. We’re talking really young, like 15, 16 years old. You know, there used to be fun clubs in New York. They would have an off night, and I would come in and make a deal with whomever the owner was, because either they were failing a bit or they wanted to make a little extra money. I’d promote to the various people I had met in grade school who had then graduated to high school. When you think about it, we were really young, and I can’t believe these clubs would let us do it. It was New York, and it was a different time, different era, different laws, and a different mayor.

Occupations: I started off investing in Moomba because I just knew that it would be a great success. Jeff Gossett (Moomba owner) had become a good friend and asked me to invest. It became my little playground. In the last 18 years nothing has reached that level. It was celebrity heaven. You had to be in in to go. Which was the opposite of what I ended up doing with Light in midtown.

Light opened September of 2000. I remember we opened on a Tuesday night. There were maybe 20 people in the room. I was nervous. Then Thursday night, Charlie Sheen, who had stopped drinking, did me a favor and came in and only drank water. By 5:30 that evening, there was a line wrapping all the way around the block.

We opened Light Vegas a year later in the Bellagio — same name, but a nightclub. We did something that Vegas had not done in a long time. We flew in over 30 movie stars, athletes. We got a business Boeing jet and flew up Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Gordon, and Sting. Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards were there and happy. We got press everywhere [for that]. We then opened up a place called Caramel at the Bellagio and a place called Mist at Treasure Island. When I turned 30, I got a nice offer by the Bellagio to get bought out after only being open two years. By 2005, I started scouting locations around the country (for Martini Park). I felt like there was a need in the marketplace for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and on for an upscale nightlife experience that starts after work and leads into the rest of the night. We’re a hospitality-driven nightlife experience for everyone — for people like me. It’s a playground for grownups. We opened in a [Dallas] suburb called Plano, Texas. Then opened up in Chicago and now we’re about to open in Columbus, Ohio, in late October. We will open three to four next year.

Side Hustle: I love film. I produced a short film [called “Kill the Day”] for a very talented friend. I like to play tennis. I’d like to be a yogi, but I can’t really find the time. I’m a new daddy now so everything changes.

Favorite Hangs: When I’m not traveling, my home away from home is Da Silvano. Besides Silvano, I’ve been a fan of Raoul’s for 20 years. When I did go out before [my wife] Michelle’s pregnancy, I’d go to Soho House, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn. I know it sounds predictable. My favorite old school bar is Merc Bar. It will never close. John McDonald is the owner and a good friend.

Known Associates: I admire, respect, and am good friends with Mark Packer, the owner of Tao. I think he’s one of the best operators out there. Noah [Tepperberg] and Jason [Strauss] from Marquee are colleagues and great friends of mine. Also, Steve Hanson from B.R. Guest Restaurants. He owns about 17 restaurants in the city. He’s a friend who I can email or text, and I know within an hour he’ll text back. Also, my father (Keith Barish) was in the film business and produced 18 films. When I was 12 years old, I walked down the stairs, and there was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He and Dad did The Running Man together and became partners in Planet Hollywood. He did this great thing for my engagement party. He warned me, “First come the engagement ring, then the wedding ring, then suffe-ring.”

Industry Icons: Steve Hanson is someone I want to emulate. He works day and night. I’m naming friends, but they are also people in the industry. I’ve seen a younger generation do great stuff. For example, I’ve watched Jason Pomerantz from the Thompson Hotel do his hotel expansion and he does a very good job. Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson. I don’t know Sean, but I know Eric really well. Here’s an example of someone who started off in nightclubs, had success in restaurants, and now has the Bowery Hotel and the Maritime Hotel. His taste is unbelievable.

What are you doing tonight? I’m going home early from work and I’m testing out our stroller. My wife and I are taking baby Bea out and seeing if we can get our Yorkie to fit in the undercarriage so she doesn’t feel left out.

Photo by Chelsea Stemple.