Fr.og, Didier Virot’s new place featuring the cuisine of countries influenced by France (the name stands for "France Origine"), threw its opening party from 6 to 9 yesterday evening, so I thought I would just pop down and have a relatively early night.
It was a good party. I caught up with Kathleen Swires and James Oliver Cury — whom I hadn’t seen since he left Time Out New York for Epicurious — James’ wife Dorothy, and Lisa Amand, but really spent much of the time hanging out with freelance writer Karen Tina, whom I hadn’t seen in a year or more. She’s always fun, and a font of knowledge if you want to eat in Queens.
But then I was waylaid by Akiko Katayama. You might remember Akiko from my trip to Japan, although I probably didn’t mention that she’s a party animal.
She told me that Mai House was throwing a party to launch its late night “10 after 10” menu that evening and suggested it would be reasonable to go there.
But first we made a brief stop at Ninja because Akiko wanted to tour the place, or maybe she wanted to show it to me.
It actually was pretty fascinating — hidden passageways, dark corners and many unusually handsome young Japanese men dressed in black and congenially lurking in the shadows. I might actually try the food there someday.
I didn’t know one could lurk congenially. Now I know that one can.
Then it was off to Mai House, Drew Nieporent and Michael Bao Huynh’s Vietnamese place sandwiched between Tribeca Grill and Nobu, both owned by Drew’s Myriad Restaurant Group.
Robert Larcom was behind the bar, making me a cocktail called the Tiger’s Tail that involved Thai chiles and passion fruit (and Absolut Peppar and Triple Sec). He updated me on his plans with his own restaurant, Detour, while I munched on fried lotus root. I talked to Drew and his brother Tracy, who lamented the cruelty of blogs (he — and the restaurant industry in general, from what I’ve been told — truly hates Eater.com’s Deathwatch).
But I think Akiko and I might have been the only print journalists at the party, although there were quite a few bloggers, including Ben Leventhal from Eater, Josh Ozersky from Grub Street and I think the Restaurant Girl. I can’t be sure. I only know that I looked at my watch at one point, couldn’t believe that it was almost 2am, took my leave and hailed a cab.
Neither Nieporent would tell me what their plans were with the currently-closed Montrachet, but I’m pretty sure the new chef won’t be David Bouley.