Restaurateur, reality television star, author and former professional soccer player Gordon Ramsay is set to open his first restaurant in New York. Ramsay's debut on Manhattan's cutthroat restaurant scene also marks his first restaurant opening in the United States. His chosen site is the London NYC Hotel (formerly the Rihga Royal), which is undergoing a $75 million refurbishment.
"It's the burning ambition of every top chef in the world to succeed in New York, so when my hotelier partners took on the task of refurbishing the Rihga Royal, I knew my time had come," said Ramsay. In addition to his high-end restaurants in London, such as Pétrus and La Noisette, Ramsay also opened Verre in Dubai in 2001 and Conrad Tokyo in 2005.
The New York restaurant, called Gordon Ramsay at the London, will open this November. After that, Ramsay will partner with Angela Hartnett for the opening of Angela Hartnett's Cielo, her Italian restaurant, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Fla. Then, in spring, he will open a new restaurant at what is currently the Bel Age West Hollywood hotel.
The Scottish chef is drawing inspiration from two of his London restaurants to shape his Manhattan concept. The most formal portion of the restaurant, modeled after the elegant Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London's Chelsea district, will seat 45 guests and offer modern French food. A more casual dining area, the London Bar, will seat around 80 guests and offer an ever-changing assortment of smaller dishes, similar to his London restaurant Maze, in Grosvenor Square.
"I'm hoping to become the first chef to operate the whole food and beverage [offering] in a New York hotel," said Ramsay.
He has a history of installing strong wine programs at his restaurants, and Gordon Ramsay at the London should be no exception. The collection will start with about 5,000 bottles, with prices ranging from $20 to $10,000 per bottle--the higher end being Bordeaux first-growth Châteaus Mouton-Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Margaux (the 1982, 1989 and 1990 vintages will be represented). Selections from Greece, Austria and Hungary will be another focus. Some 30 wines will be served by the glass.
A custom-built, floor-to-ceiling EuroCave--encased in glass so patrons can glimpse the wine selection inside--will line the restaurant's back wall. Inside, four temperature-controlled glass cabinets will help keep the wines in optimal condition until they are opened and poured. More wines will be stored in a cellar.
Ramsay said he will be a frequent fixture at the restaurant right after it opens, and will have Neil Ferguson, the former head chef of the Connaught in London, by his side. For an intimate look at the inner workings of the kitchen, diners can reserve the private chef's table. But don't expect to see any camera crews: The Hell's Kitchen star claims this kitchen won't set the stage for another reality show.
Gordon Ramsay at the London
151 W. 54th St.
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