It's been thirteen months since Mario Batali debuted Del Posto, his last restaurant to open in New York—though he's been quite busy in Vegas and Los Angeles—which makes the timing of this bit, well, timely. Buried in New York's Alain Ducasse rub and tug (summary: Ducasse is a) very French, b) really intent on conquering New York, c) obsessed with buying things he doesn't need) is the account of an chance encounter between Ducasse and Mario Batali:
“Chef!” Batali beamed, engulfing Ducasse in a bear hug.We checked in with the Batali/Bastianich camp on this and they had nothing to say about a steakhouse in New York. What they did mention, however, skipping over our New York question, is that Carnevino, their new meat entry in Las Vegas, opens this Thursday. But on the off chance they are prepping a major new restaurant in New York, do note the skill with which Molto Mario gets the buzz train going.
“Chef,” Ducasse greeted him politely, ducking out from under Batali’s arms, smoothing his suit.
“You good? You look good. He’s fucking gold,” Batali gushed as a bevy of assistants fluttered about. He gave Ducasse a slap on the back. “How is Adour?”
Ducasse explained in halting English that he had come to see the artwork for the restaurant, which was in its final stages. “A masterpiece,” he deemed it. “And you?”
Batali motioned off into the distance. “These butchers over here? They’re fucking drowning. So we’re gonna do a steakhouse for hipsters. We’re gonna have cheap steaks. Twenty-five-dollar steaks.” He held up two fat fingers, pinching them close. “Fucking little steaks.” He burst into a guffaw. Ducasse smiled demurely. Both sets of handlers checked their watches, rifled through planners. “All right, baby,” Batali said.
· L'Obsession [NYM]
Note: There is no Carnevino New York; we're just thinking through what the logo would look like.