Hearth celebrated its 5th anniversary last night, with live music, an open bar, a generous food spread and a packed house of industry types. The festivities began at the late hour of 10 PM, ostensibly so as to squeeze out a turn of paying customers at 7. The mood at the East 12th Street New American was celebratory and boozy. Indeed, those from the the Class of 2003/2004 who make it out of Year Five alive do have reason to celebrate. Here now, as the hangover slowly lifts, a handful of takeaways:
1) Role call: Hosts Marco Canora (pictured) and Paul Grieco; Chefs Grand Master Colicchio, Chang, Telepan, White, Wise, Benno, Nawab and the distinguished Mr. Wylie Dufresne; also anyone else ever who has come out of the Gramercy Tavern kitchen and went on to open his own restaurant.
2) Tom Colicchio is really coming up on the sweet spot of his career. He walks into a room, finds an accessible perch and a receiving line spontaneously forms. Other than to pay respects to the kitchen, the people come to him.
3) More on Don Tom. This Frugal Friday thing is working out. They're trying Thrifty Thursdays this week, considering other options, too. Way-Cheap Wednesdays may, in fact, be in the cards.
4) The boneless chicken wing (right). Actually boneless. Yahtzee.
5) On behalf of all restaurateurs, Mr. Dufresne questioned us about our usage of the Deathwatch stamp last week. As we explained to him, our humanitarian effort is still in progress and the stamp is still on the shelf. But we reserve the right to use archive images. He skeptically accepted this. But all should take comfort in knowing that when he's not cross-pollinating pumpkin seeds and fennel-ferns in the wd~50 labs, his business is that of Deathwatch haters everywhere.
6) Of course, The Dash Feedbag was up in there and, of course, he was holding court, proudly displaying his new female junior staffers; and, yes, he was straight beaming about his MomoScoop. But what we want to say about the man on this day is that he's showing no visible signs of having the extremely painful condition, gout. Possible the whole thing was a PR stunt? Possible. So we asked for, and obtained, proper documentation.
7) Now, on the pressing matter of New York's Alex Vallis, emerging food world ingenue. That was a gentleman on her arm, yes. It wasn't a first date, no. The man is Thomas Carter, folks, wine director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Would-be stealers away take note, dude's board package is fairly strong.
8) If anyone cares to identify the couple who were aggressively making out at the bar circa midnight, please do so.
9) Per an early-arriving Chris Cannon, his and Michael White's $750,000/year digs on Central Park South, the forthcoming seafood restaurant Marea, is now tracking for April.
10) Finally, the award for most aggressive non-acknowledgment of the recession goes to La Frieda face-man Mark Pastore, who was wearing, true story, a diamond-encrusted Rolex. "Yeah, I have a couple of these," he said, re the watch. "The meat business is booming!"
Photos courtesy Laurie Pila Horowitz/TFB