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Pasta king Michael White brings New American to NYC’s reopened Lambs Club

Chef Michael White is a king of New York’s pasta scene, but after relocating to East Hampton during lockdown, he’s back to helm a city classic – without the pasta emphasis.

Midtown’s Lambs Club reopened on Monday after a two-year hiatus, and White, who is being succeeded by its founding chef – Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian – is giving it his own post-pandemic Spider. And “There’s only one pasta on the menu,” says White, laughing, referring to the lobster spaghetti.

It’s White’s first menu to focus on “New American” fare rather than Italian fare, and thanks to its COVID-inspired refocus, there are healthier options too, he says. “I put my own little twist on American classics. It’s a really nice hodgepodge.”

Inside the Chatwal Hotel – a Stanford White-designed building that once housed the Lambs Club theater company – the venue’s classic look will remain unchanged since it opened in 2010. Think cozy red leather banquettes for 85, an 18th-century French limestone fireplace, and an upstairs bar.

Lamb's Club interior
The club-like, classy interior of Lambs Club — coupled with its location — makes it a draw for Midtown’s financial and media elite, as well as the tourist crowd.
Stephen Yang

Its location at 132 W. 44th St. makes it a draw for the financial and media elite who work in Midtown, as well as local theatergoers and Times Square tourists. Patrons have also included politicians, musicians and Hollywood stars, from the Clintons to Warren Beatty and Bono.

“It’s a historic place with a wide customer base, from hotel guests to locals, bankers, tourists, theatergoers, you name it,” White said.

The menu features Montauk Fluke Crudo; jumbo lump crab with asparagus, radish and peas; Tatar steak and a “Stanford White Burger” in homage to the architect of the 1905 space. (The burger costs $30 and is made with a Pat LaFrieda mix and topped with raclette, pickled red onions, and Dijonaise.) Elsewhere On the menu, sole is $85, halibut is $50, and steak is $58.

Beverage Director is Simon Sebbah, previously at Lyanass in London and American Bar in New York.

The bar upstairs will also be reopening soon. Both the bar and restaurant were designed by Thierry Despont and are designed by Kyle Hotchkiss Carone, Jeff Kadish, Adil Fawzi and Carolina Santos-Névés of Grand Tour Hospitality (the team behind American Bar and Saint Theo’s) with Chatwal hotel owner Sant Chatwal and led to his partner. Restaurant veteran David Rabin (Sona, Veranda, Temple Bar and American Bar) – who brought White into it.

Chef Michael Weiss
Michael White, left, focuses on a new American menu at Lambs Club – a departure from his past pasta-heavy ventures.
Stephen Yang

While Lambs Club closed in March 2020, it only reopened to hotel guests in October 2021 and is only now reopening to the public.

For White, it’s an ideal re-entry into the city’s restaurant scene – following his lockdown reset.

“There are many opportunities in the city now post COVID as the city reopens. People are coming back and they need restaurants,” White said.

During lockdown, White quipped he “didn’t leaven”. But he got fit while taking an introspective deep dive.

“Covid has been tough for everyone. I’ve decided to use the time to start fresh,” White said.

“It was very easy to overeat and overcook in lockdown so I took that time to get fit – walk, run, hike, exercise and just be outside. I quit smoking and introspectively thought about what’s important. health and wellness. After more than thirty years of my career, I needed a reset, and so did New York. I focused on family and what’s important – not just sitting at home and being lethargic.”

Chatwal Hotel and Lambs Club entrances
Lambs Club is housed in the 1905 Chatwal Hotel. A burger at the newly opened restaurant pays homage to the building’s architect.
Stephen Yang

He “still ate well” — just with “more grains and vegetables and less meat and pasta.” He also went “off the gram”. But he never stopped making pizza — with a portable pizza oven.

White made his mark with the opening of the now-defunct Fiamma Osteria in 2002. In 2008, he co-founded the Altamarea Group with former Merrill Lynch co-president Akhmass Fakahany, and his Michelin-starred restaurants such as Marea and Ai Fiori became popular destinations for New York foodies; His crab and uni pasta at Marea became an instant classic.

But when lockdown kicked in in 2020, White moved with his family from the Upper West Side to their East Hampton home. Then he left Altamarea to start his own business.

Starting out last fall, White became executive chef of the Lido restaurant and its champagne bar at The Four Seasons at The Surfside Club in Miami.

Chef Michael Weiss
Chef Michael White of the newly opened Lambs Club says a period of convalescence during the height of the pandemic influenced his healthier-focused New American menu: There’s only one pasta dish, he laughed in a comment on Side Dish.
Stephen Yang

Other projects are on the way – including a restaurant in the Bahamas and separate trattoria and crudo concepts for the city.

And while New York City offices aren’t fully staffed, people are back and at least many restaurants are full.

“People are on the move and the restaurants with good food and great atmosphere are very busy. There’s a lot of buzz about opening restaurants. New York will not be left behind. It will revive. I can feel the hum again. It feels more and more like New York every month,” White said.

Agata & Valentina will open a new store

As we hear…. Agata & Valentina, the Upper East Side’s famous gourmet Italian food market, located at 1505 First Ave. — where Rachel Ray once worked — will open a second store focusing on Italian-inspired gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free groceries on April 14.

The new Agata & Valentina on First Ave. 1513 offers gluten free pizza, focaccia, freshly made pasta and ravioli as well as gluten free ready meals, pastries and a cappuccino bar.

The mother-daughter duo behind the store were motivated to open the outpost following Valentina’s personal journey with celiac disease.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/11/pasta-king-michael-white-brings-new-american-to-reopened-lambs-club-in-nyc/ Pasta king Michael White brings New American to NYC’s reopened Lambs Club

DUSTIN JONES

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