I had two cocktail parties this evening. Literally, they were parties celebrating cocktails.
First I went to Ama to celebrate their new happy hour — excuse me, that should be Ora dell'Aperitivo — where I chatted with Pat Cobe from Restaurant Business and then sat down with some young women from Daily Candy and discussed fashion.
When I was done with that I left SoHo for the Upper West Side — a quick ride on the 1 train. There Loft, a place I'd never heard of, was launching a new cocktail list developed by Alex Ott, a person I'd never heard of. But of course I don't know everything, and it turns out that Herr Ott is quite the accomplished cocktail maker. He's innovative without being self-indulgent, and the drinks he was shaking this evening were fun without being childish.
They were accompanied by food that was more innovative than one would expect from an Upper West Side lounge — the spicy tuna tartare with chocolate sauce stood out in that regard. It was all prepared by young Angelo Sosa who, if you live in New York and spend an inordinate amount of time following the restaurant scene, you might remember from his brief stint as the chef at Yumcha. He also apparently had something do with the development of the menu at Buddakan in New York. Before that he mostly worked in the kitchens of Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Mr. Sosa's consulting gig at Loft is near an end, though, so don't go rushing up there for the food.
Also at this little cocktail party was Tony Esnault, the chef at Alain Ducasse at The Essex House. He said he's also going to be the chef at the new, as-yet-unnamed incarnation of Ducasse that will open at the St. Regis Hotel some time after the imminent closing of the Essex House restaurant.
We talked a little about that, but mostly we spoke of fresh produce.