Midtown Latin-Indian fusion restaurant Vermilion — once known as one of New York’s ultimate “shitshow” restaurants — has closed its doors after more than eight years in Midtown East. The restaurant ended its tenure at 480 Lexington Avenue in the last week, according to the building’s property manager. Owner Rohini Dey did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Vermilion first debuted in 2008 with 12,000-square-feet and 200 seats after a $4.5 million buildout, then called “At Vermilion.” Almost immediately, the Times gave it a tepid review, calling the food “bland” three times. Shortly after, Eater named it a “shitshow” restaurant for its poor service, mediocre food, broken signs, dying plants, and awkward space. Check-ins in 2014 found that it was still kind of a mess, and when Eater declared the death of the designation “shitshow” restaurant, Vermilion was named as one of the few remaining survivors of the era.
Despite all that, Vermilion survived for years. In 2015, the restaurant rebranded and went on a CNBC show. Daily News then awarded it a four-star review, saying that the food had been redeemed and was one of the critic’s “most memorable meals” that year.
It’s not clear what might have finally shuttered the restaurant, but in May 2017, the property changed ownership. The building sold to a Chinese real estate conglomerate for $2.2 billion — making it one of the most expensive deals for a Manhattan office building last year. Vermilion still has a location in Chicago.