Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Untitled: first look

March 23

Danny Meyer’s new restaurant at the Whitney museum, called Untitled, had a soft opening today, sort of.

“Soft is a malleable word today,” Richard Coraine, president of new business for Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group told me at 2:40 pm. "Because it was busy. Still is.”

I would have swung by the place myself, but I’m woefully behind in my work and shouldn’t even be writing a blog entry today. Call me a rebel.

Untitled wasn’t supposed to open softly this week. It was supposed to just open. But not all of the furniture has arrived yet (the picture illustrating this blog entry is a rendering from designer David Rockwell).

“We had everybody trained and ready to go. Just because we didn’t have furniture, it didn’t make sense to hold up the opening.” So this is a “sneak peak week” at the restaurant, with a limited menu and about 50 seats instead of 85.

Coraine said the missing banquettes actually gives the restaurant the opportunity to "take a few baby steps” and let the staff find their legs while seating is still limited.

Breakfast business was good: “A lot of eggs, a lot of pancakes, and a lot of people came for Stumptown coffee.” At lunch they sold a lot of hamburgers.

So, business as usual in Danny Meyer Land.

One of the highlights of the place as far as I’m concerned is the custom-made soda which they’re serving out of kegs.

Local boyfriend/girlfriend team Brooklyn Soda Works is providing root beer and apple-ginger soda. Coraine said the team makes the soda in their kitchen at home. “The cool thing about them is there’s no syrups. The ingredients are either steeped or macerated. The root beer is made from roots that they foraged,” he said.

The restaurant’s executive chef, Chris Bradley, gave me a rundown of what he had planned a couple of weeks ago. You can read that interview here.

Oh, and see that poll above and to your right, about which Beard Award nominee you’d pick for best new restaurant? Go ahead and vote on that.

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