Ouest, chef Tom Valenti's Upper West Side restaurant that landed him on the cover of New York Magazine when it opened in 2001, will be closing its doors
June 13. "The staff just found out yesterday,'' confirmed Carla Lopez, the restaurant's office administrator and events coordinator. "We are all sad. Some people have been working here for almost fifteen years.''
Valenti, known for his comfort foods like braised lamb shank, is a seasoned chef with a long history in the top tiers of the New York restaurant industry. With Ouest, he was a pioneer in bringing more sophisticated cuisine to the area north of Center, after many years downtown at places like Gotham Bar and Grill, and the now-closed Alison on Dominick Street. Eater has reached out to the chef for comment on the closure.
Update: Valenti tells the Times that the restaurant is not taking reservations after June 13, but it may be open a little longer than that. He's not sure how long yet, but it sounds like not more than a week or two. He says the restaurant is closing because its lease is up, and because the neighborhood has changed: "We used to get the artists, writers, intellectuals, performers on a regular basis...the new people in the big apartments have different interests." He and business partner David Emil are apparently investigating new options, but what those would be is still unclear.