Michael White and Ahmass Fakahany — the Loggins & Messina of fine dining — closed their downtown restaurants The Butterfly and Costata in the second half of 2015. Last month, Fakhanny also wrote a rambling open letter to Times critic Pete Wells after his one-star review of Altamarea Group's French newcomer Vaucluse. But now, the Merrill Lynch executive-turned-restaurateur tells Steve Cuozzo that he and his team are planning to pump the brakes on expansion in 2016 and focus on the restaurants that they've already got up and running.
Fakahany remarks: "We are slowing down enormously....It’s a hunker-down time." The Post critic hears from a source that White actually "begged Fakahany not to send the letter" to Pete Wells. Cuozzo also notes that Ristorante Morini is now offering $10 pastas after 8:30 p.m. three nights a week because, according to an Altamarea rep, the team wants to attract "younger people from the neighborhood."
In other Altamarea news, Adam Platt enjoyed his meals at Vaucluse. The New York critic writes:
A few of the bigger-ticket dishes at Vaucluse are on the thin side...although don’t tell that to my father, who took one bite of his fat pink côtelette de porc entrée, put down his fork, and declared, "This is possibly the best pork chop in the entire world." My discerning mother made similar polite noises about the aforementioned sole meunière, which was professionally prepared but, at $64, cost roughly $7 per bite. My helping of poulet rôti "grand-mère" was a slightly better deal but lacked any sense of grandmotherly love, and so did the lamb duo, which managed to be both overcooked (the shoulder) and overrare (the rack of ribs).
Platt gives Vaucluse two stars.