New York City’s historic ‘21’ Club has closed indefinitely, after initially closing temporarily in March in response to the pandemic. Opened in 1930, the restaurant was not only a landmark of Midtown Manhattan dining but also a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner since 2003.
“In light of the ongoing global crisis and anticipated extended recovery period for the hospitality industry, it has become clear that it will not be feasible to reopen this business in its current form for the foreseeable future,” read a statement shared with Wine Spectator by Belmond, the luxury hospitality group that owns ‘21’ Club.
Marked by its iconic jockey statues lining the exterior, ‘21’ Club was known for its world-class wine collection, stored in a Prohibition-era cellar hidden behind a moveable wall. The wine list of nearly 1,500 selections was most recently managed by wine director Philip Pratt, and excelled in California, France (especially Bordeaux and Burgundy) and Italy. Also drawing discerning diners was chef Sylvian Delpique’s classic American cuisine, including enduring dishes like crab cakes, Dover sole and a signature burger.
While they’re not sharing any details yet, the ‘21’ Club team does plan to eventually reopen the restaurant. “The vision is that ‘21’ Club will always remain an important social and cultural hub and icon of New York, one that is well-positioned to fulfill its role in the city’s exciting future when the time comes,” the statement read.
According to a Belmond spokesperson, the 20,000-bottle wine inventory will be carefully stored until the future reopening, along with other memorabilia that’s decorated the dining room for decades.—Julie Harans
Wolfgang Puck, chef-owner of multiple Restaurant Award winners, will debut two new restaurants at Pendry West Hollywood when it opens next month. The luxury hotel and residence property will house the Asian-inspired Merois, and a more casual, Italian-focused Mediterranean café called Ospero.
Mark Andelbradt will serve as executive chef for both venues, after leading the kitchen at Puck’s Best of Award of Excellence–winning Spago in Las Vegas’ Bellagio hotel. “Chef Andelbradt is an outstanding chef,” Wolfgang Puck said in a statement. “[I] trust Mark explicitly to bring to life our new concepts, and to help me create something that will be both innovative and iconic.”
Puck’s son, Byron, is the restaurants’ manager and helped build the wine list along with the group’s beverage team. He says both lists will span a broad range of regions including France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and the United States.
The 400-label wine list at Merois will focus mostly on Germany and Austria. It will also cover a solid selection of white Burgundy and Cote du Rhône wines. At Ospero, the selections will lean more toward classic regions, with plenty of Barolos, Barbarescos and Champagnes to highlight the Italian-Mediterranean menu.
All wine and beverage selections will be available to-go if current stay-at-home orders persist into the new year. But chef Andelbradt remains hopeful. “In consideration of the ongoing pandemic we’ve been faced with, we are actually seeing that some wines that may have not been as readily available because of limited production and allocations are now a little easier to obtain,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to fill out the collection with hidden gems that are approachable and thoughtfully priced.”—Taylor McBride
Chef-restaurateur Todd English is reviving his Olives restaurant at Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas, which is set to open in the former location of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in early 2021. With outposts in the Bahamas and Abu Dhabi, the Mediterranean concept first opened in Las Vegas in 1998 in the newly inaugurated Bellagio, but that location closed in 2017.
“For over 20 years, Olives has been an admired restaurant for the local clientele and visitors from all over the world,” English told Wine Spectator via email. “It was important to maintain a presence for us in Las Vegas.” English’s global group also includes Award of Excellence winner Bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
English says the cuisine will be a mix of Olives classics and new, plant-based additions. “The menu will feature common ingredients in uncommon ways,” he said. “Always a little surprise to tantalize your palate.” Expect dishes like butternut-squash tortellini, beef carpaccio and vanilla soufflé. Olives does not yet have a wine director, but English says he expects the selection to be “eclectic,” offering both Old and New World options to pair with executive chef Mario Amaral’s menu.
While the hotel’s original opening date was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, English is excited to see Olives make its Las Vegas return. “[Olives] is a tried-and-true staple. The restaurant has provided people with so many memories over the years, from engagements to birthday celebrations,” he said. “We are excited to have it back.”
This isn’t English’s only current venture in Las Vegas. The chef recently opened his pop-up holiday restaurant, the Beast, at the immersive art space Area15, where guests dine in socially distanced plastic domes. Looking ahead, he’s hoping to bring his pizza restaurant, Figs, to the city as well.—Collin Dreizen
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