Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Restaurant people on the down-low

March 28

Bubble Lounge, in Tribeca, turned 10, so they threw a party and served a lot of Champagne.
I was happy to help them celebrate.
They had a guest book, which I signed and noticed that several names above me the signatory’s affiliation was simply listed as “model.”
Oh, I thought, one of those parties.
But it wasn’t, really. The guy behind the velvet rope was mellow, and it was a good party, with enough people pouring Champagne that it wasn’t hard to get refills. And an interesting enough mix of people was there that it was easy both to run into people you knew and to meet some new ones. I did mostly the former, but I did meet a young literary agent who left the legal profession out of boredom. And I got better acquainted with another former lawyer, David Blend, who works for Thrillist.
It was fun, but you don’t expect to be fed much at such events, and I wasn’t. So I ended up at Centrico, Drew Nieporent’s Mexican restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Layla, whose kitchen is headed up by celebrity chef Aarón Sanchez, son of another celebrity chef, Zarela Martinez.
I just meant to munch on some tacos and leave, but I ended up quizzing the bartender about Drew’s Myriad Restaurant Group, and my cover was blown (not that I was trying to hide it) when I started asking about Proof on Main, Myriad’s new restaurant in Louisville, Ky.
“You know a lot about the restaurant industry, is that your job or just a hobby?” asked another diner at the bar, who turned out to be Gregg Nelson, a manager at Dylan Prime. So I introduced myself and chatted with him and the bartender as I ate three tacos and a sweetbread appetizer, while sipping on a margarita and then a cocktail that involved pineapple, jalapeño and tequila.
It turns out that the guy behind the bar was only disguised as a mild-mannered bartender. In fact, he was project director Robert Larcom.

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