Wednesday, July 16, 2008


July 16

Kurve is finally sort of open. Kind of. The East Village restaurant where Andy Yang of Rhong-Tiam is in charge of the food and Karim Rashid (Morimoto in Philadelphia) did the design is doing reservation-only service to control customer flow and make sure the staff is ready.
Its opening party was last night. It was supposed to be on the 8th, but I don't think that one happened. Even for this one I was only invited yesterday afternoon. But I love Andy’s food at Rhong-Tiam, which was a sleepy little place until the Times wrote about it a few weeks ago, (and now you can't get in, so good for them), and thought I’d check the place out.
Kurve’s totally different, much more high-concept (fusion food, not Thai), trying much harder to be a scene.
Several large African-American bouncers blocked my way as I approached the door while one of them looked up my name on a list. Inside was a small crowd, and a host who I think was named Jeremy and seemed to be hired just for the party. He offered me a cocktail, I asked what was good, he suggested a Mojito, I took it. I later learned that Sasha Petraske was doing the drinks and wondered why I was offered a mere Mojito, but the place is new.
I don't know from décor, but the restaurant was definitely curvy, dominated by an irregular-shaped bar, curvy shapes on the walls, a floor that I think I'd call Morimoto-green, although I can't be sure as I'm partially color blind.
Plasma screen TVs, too, embedded in the walls.
Odd, it seems to me, for Second Avenue and Fifth Street.
Thank goodness Steve Bryant from Thrillist was there, so he could explain to me who the important scenesters were at the party (such as a TV co-host from a show I never saw, I forget the name), and also because he's a congenial guy who's pleasant to talk to.
At Rhong-Tiam, Andy’s a low-key, casual guy, but this was an opening party and he was decked out. I'm not sure exactly what he was wearing as I couldn't get past his hair, which was tricked out with gel to help him look like an animé character. He had me pose with him for a photographer from Thailand’s Praew magazine, which, if I remember correctly is kind of a big deal in Bangkok.
I switched from Mojitos to Chimay and settled in for a chat with the Thrillist people. As you'd expect from a scenester opening, not much food was served. I did manage to score some edamame, a bit of pork wrapped in sticky rice and served with a spicy-sour Thai dipping sauce, and also some ovaltine-milk chocolate pudding.
Underfed and full of beer, I stopped by Cooper 35 for cheap kimchi fried rice (I think it was $6) and called it a night.

I did pick up a copy of the party’s ostensible bar menu, which I'll type up for you now:

wok charred edamame & spicy miso glaze
fried oyster
sashimi sampler
sea eel hako sushi
kurobuta pork sticky rice

miso cured black cod
sake infused Chilean sea bass
prime rib teriyaki & shiitake mushroom
rack of lamb
massaman curry with organic chicken breast
lobster Thermidor with sea urchin & miso butter
seared king salmon with green curry

THIRD (which I neglected to mention are being done by Pichet Ong)
carrot cake with cream cheese chantilly, lime & flower salted caramel
ovaltine-milk chocolate pudding, banana, caramelized rice crispies
yuzu panna cotta, huckleberries, black pepper meringue
sorbet: passion fruit banana
ice cream: condensed milk

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