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From the Eater Lounge: Scott Conant

Throughout the Food & Wine Festival this weekend Eater is welcoming bloggers, journalists and food world personalities to our lounge, The Eater Lounge, at MILK Studios. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge.

2008_10_scottconant.jpgWhat have you been up to in the festival? Yesterday we had a buy out for Food & Wine and also Travel & Leisure, then the Black Platinum dinner where I met Vernon Wells, a player for the Blue Jays. I'm a huge baseball fan. He asked me if the short ribs are on the menu all year, and I was like, for you? Of course. I was psyched. And I just finished up an heirloom tomato demo.

Have you seen the other events? Actually, I've been admittedly self-absorbed.

And how does it compare to the South Beach event?: I have to tell you, it's hard to say because I work down there when I 'm down there. The cool thing is being able to feed people you know in your own restaurant.

What's on your plate right now? Anything coming up? I'm opening up a place in Miami in six weeks. It will be open in the Fontainebleau Miami. I'm opening up another Scarpetta and Alfred Portale is doing a Gotham Bar & Grill. It'll open in mid-November. It's a little more fish-centric since it's right on the beach. The whole thing is gorgeous.

Has opening a second branch come with any surprises? Ha, well, we haven't opened yet. Ask me after November.

Any chance of another place in New York? Not right now. It's not a good time. Fortunately, with everything going on here as far as economics are concerned, we're doing okay. We're still riding some good momentum from the press. We're really blessed.

Has business been the same? No. We're eight percent off from what we had. But you know, there have been holidays this week. So we'll see. It's all good.

And anything new on the menu? What's coming up? I've got a new duck on the menu, with preserved oranges, Sicilian spices, and root vegetables. We have a new steak, a ribeye which was being demanded by the clientele. And then we have pumpkin tortellini. Just put it on the other day.

Five favorite New York restaurants. Oh man, that's too political. Five restaurants where you would be incredibly sad, devastated, if they closed. Cafe Boulud I love, I love. Jean Georges for lunch. Dell'anima. Frank on 5th and 2nd Ave. And Hill Country.


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