ES Local: Manhattan’s Top Chef Restaurants
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Yesterday I posed a burning question to the latest Top Chef winner, asking why Bravo, despite all the product placement, can’t give the show’s champs enough money to actually open their own restaurant. This year they upped the award from $100,000 to $125,000, but the winner admitted that’s only a fraction of what it would take to open a restaurant in a major market. Since most of the former chef-testants have yet to even drop that “sous” from their titles, let alone open their own places, we decided to take a look at the few Manhattan restaurants where former Top Chef-ers (winners and others) are actually helming the kitchen (whether they own the place or not).
Perilla: Harold Dieterle, the season one winner, still sets the standard for post-TC career moves. His low-key American eatery has drawn solid reviews, including a star from Frank Bruni of The New York Times. 9 Jones St.
Ajna Bar: Season three champ Hung Huynh hasn’t cashed in his winnings yet to open his own place, but he is helming the kitchen at this Meatpacking District hotspot formerly known as Buddha bar. 25 Little West 12th St.
24 Prince: The judges thought pasta chef Nikki Cascone was a bit of a one-trick pony, but she’s still doing just fine at her own place (which she had before going on the show), and where her varied noodling options range from shrimp orecchiette to pancetta and gouda mac and cheese. 24 Prince St.
Travertine: Nice guy Manuel Trevino is the latest Top Chef-er to hit the NYC scene, as he’s leading the kitchen at this brand new upscale Mediterranean spot. 19 Kenmare St.
As far as I can tell, that’s it. Did I miss any others? Add them to the Top Chef Manhattan Map.