Graydon Carter and his partners at always iconic and once white hot (but not so much anymore) Midtown restaurant Monkey Bar have figured out a new way to make their two year-old revamp of the restaurant a destination again: they've recruited superstars from all corners of the food world. Those stars would be Ken Friedman as managing partner in his first major restaurant project without April Bloomfied; Damon Wise, in his first chef appointment after leaving Craft this spring; Clover Club's cocktail mistress Julie Reiner as cocktail consultant; (as reported previously) wine director extraordinaire Belinda Chang, formerly of the Modern; and Michael Baile, formerly of Michael's, to run the door and seating chart. Basically, they're throwing some big money at the problem, spending half a million more in salaries than they did before this super staffing.
Expect a deeper wine list, more original and better executed cocktails, and a brand new menu from Wise, who promises to serve "American-style food, with clean lines — refined" in both a la carte and tasting menu formats. He promises not to make it "really expensive." Wise starts in the kitchen today but will debut his new menu in two weeks.
· When Empty Seats Just Won’t Do [NYT]
· All Monkey Bar Coverage [~ENY~]
[Photo: Everyone's so happy via NYT]