May 20, 2009 | Short Order
Jeffrey Chodorow Enlists a Spanish Armada
Bruised, battered, and, as ever, unbowed, Jeffrey Chodorow enthused about his next projects. Revising Ono at the Gansevoort for one, refining plans for his sprawling food fiefdom in the 54-story 835 Sixth Avenue, where he has 20,000 square feet on five floors below a new Kimpton Hotel, for another. A global food park and seriously Spanish restaurant are in the works to open in 2010.
Chowd has his longtime publicist, Terry Zarikian harvesting his many Basque contacts for an upscale celebration of Spain on the second floor. “We’ll have a visiting chef’s program and a big whiskey collection.” He talks about importing Spanish products for more classic, straight forward dishes, leaving most of the avant garde cooking to the visiting chefs. Given Zarikian’s contacts, that could mean even the Great God Ferran Adria. As for drinks, Chodorow finds the Basque-area chefs extremely particular. “We’ll follow everything from the way they make their drinks down to how they do the ice.” Chodorow expects support from the government will help him keep the menu “less expensive.”
On the ground floor, restaurant consultant Eddie Schoenfeld is rolling out ideas for a global Food Park – “not very expensive, but very, very good,” says Chodorow. Inspired by the legendary KaDeWe food halls in Berlin, the “park” will house a collection of mini restaurants, counters, stalls and kiosks spilling over into food carts outside. “Like a cart for Eddie Schoenfeld’s famous chocolate pudding,” he confided. “Have you tasted that pudding?”
The feeding mogul was still bruised from recent attacks. “Amazing I still get bashed so much,” he began. The latest roasting was revived by the closing of Kobe Club, a much reviled spot that I championed in Insatiable Critic.
“People ask why do I keep going as if I should give up. Isn't it an American tradition, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again?” he asks. “They only write about the failures. I have a huge number of successful restaurants. Asia de Cubas, China Grills. Las Vegas is off in general but we're not doing badly at all. I don't think Frank Bruni would have given two stars to Fatty Crab if he knew I was the backer.”
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