Broadway East to Become Events Space

Months after Broadway East closed its doors, there’s news about the restaurant’s future. Grub Street has all the details:

Owner Ron Castellano, who’s been lending his kitchen to some of the food vendors at his other endeavor, the Hester Street Fair, tells us that he’s turning the chic bi-level venue into a full-time events space… And with the help of Kage Konsulting, he hopes to further transform it into an incubation chamber for a rotating roster of pop-up restaurants similar to John Fraser’s… Castellano half-jokes that he wants “a restaurant with a revolving door of chefs, which I already had anyway.”

Grand Street Fire Investigation, Obama Backs Maloney, Protesting NYU

Investigators still searching for the cause of the Grand Street fire (Daily News).

President Obama endorses Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Daily News).

Former “Broadway East” Chef Tells His Side

Cq101_GavinMills_s4x3_tz A few weeks ago we linked to a "Grub Street" item about the departure of chef Gavin Mills from "Broadway East." It turns out Mills was not at all pleased with the way the restaurant's managing partner, Laurie Tomasino, characterized his departure. 

“Gavin is a great chef, but he’s at a stage of his career where he
wants to make a mark — say, from a three-star review — but he didn’t
have the experience or business savvy to know there was a serious
disconnect between the food and the scene.” Tomasino says the
restaurant wanted Mills to change the menu more often — “We weren’t
asking him to dumb down the food but to broaden his horizons and bring
new, affordable ideas to the table in an effort to reach the
neighborhood.” She says she’s currently looking for a great chef who’ll
appreciate the venue’s melding of art, music, and food (maybe Don Pasta?).

Then, several days ago, there was this rather strongly worded rebuttal (read it in full here) left in our comments section:

"…that's bs. Broadway East has had 6 chefs, the first of which left
before the restaurant opened… when he put his notice in, he was not asked to leave in
any way, his entire kitchen staff including the assistant manager left
too. Broadway East is a sinking ship that is being run by people who
have absolutely no clue about the restaurant industry."

Turns out, the author was Mills' wife. We contacted Gavin, who's relocated to California, for a fuller explanation. He was fairly circumspect but did not take too kindly to the suggestion that he lacked "experience or business savvy." Mills said he was lured from the highly regarded "Mas Farmhouse," in the West Village, with the promise that he would have the freedom to create a "farm fresh," inventive menu. He was asked to change the menu more than once, and he was open to that. But Mills says he was commited to the idea of "fine dining" and balked at the suggestion from the owners that he serve up "pizzas and banana splits."

We also discussed the restaurant's struggle to balance its status as a hot nightlife destination, while also appealing to people in the neighborhood. Broadway East's owners apparently concluded the food and the prices were too "high end" for, what Mills called, "the deep Lower East Side."  He's now searching for a new job in California. He's only been looking for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, as Grub Street reported, Broadway East continues to look for a new chef. Patricia Yeo (formerly of Sapa and Monkey Bar) is helping out in the interim.

Thursday News Links

The Democrats go to court… Albany hangs on every word uttered by a guy indicted three months ago for allegedly assaulting his companion with a broken glass… the governor's plea to lawmakers: "think of the lobbyists!" Just another day in the nuthouse known as the New York State Senate.

A plan by Assembly leader Sheldon Silver allows the mayor to retain control of the city's schools, with a few adjustments.

After yesterday's shootings at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, the NYPD is tightening security at some Jewish institutions in New York.

It looks like Patricia Yeo (Monkey Bar, Sapa) is the new chef at Broadway East.

The Feedbag blog reports: Michael Huynh (Baoguette and Bar Bao) is opening a Vietnamese beer garden on Orchard Street. And the team behind Stanton Social is apparently looking at launching another restaurant in the neighborhood.

Food Notes: Daniel on the Bowery, Broadway East

DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Daniel Boulud's bistro on the Bowery opens in preview mode this weekend. Grub Street has a few details here. They also have the scoop on the departure of Broadway East's chef, Gavin Mills Managing partner Laurie Tomasino explained:

Gavin is a great chef, but he’s at a stage of his career where he
wants to make a mark — say, from a three-star review — but he didn’t
have the experience or business savvy to know there was a serious
disconnect between the food and the scene.” Tomasino says the
restaurant wanted Mills to change the menu more often — “We weren’t
asking him to dumb down the food but to broaden his horizons and bring
new, affordable ideas to the table in an effort to reach the
neighborhood.”

Broadway East’s Split Personality

Is there room for both you and Bill Murray at "Broadway East?"  Last night we stopped by to give this place another try, after being disappointed when it first opened. Since that time, "Broadway East's" subterranean lounge has become a big hit with the hipsters and celebrities. A few months ago, "The New York Post" gushed that Murray, Mike Myers and Tatum O'Neal (not that she had far to walk) had been spotted there. On their web site, however, "Broadway East" calls itself an affordable "neighborhood favorite."  It seems no restaurant these days can survive on Saturday night boozers alone.

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When we arrived at 7:30, the dining room was about half full, in spite of a $30 tasting menu offered until 8pm. It's a good deal. Appetizer, entree and dessert are included. Mussels with roasted tomatoes and fennel were plump and flavorful. The panzanella salad (roasted tomato, ciabatta, goat cheese) was very fresh. Pan seared blue cod was crispy on the outside, tender inside. Wild mushroom tagliatelle and the roast chicken were nicely executed. All of the desserts, unfortunately, were unmemorable. The service was attentive and friendly but the $2 coat check charge is a turnoff (not very neighborly)!

By the time we left, the bar area was packed and the crowd in the dining room had become younger and trendier.  "Broadway East" was morphing from adult restaurant to nightlife hot spot. It's not easy being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Last night, at least, we thought they pulled it off.