Industry Insider Steven Kamali’s Favorite Hangouts in NYC and The Hamptons
Steven Kamali might be best known for his red-hot Montauk properties like Ruschmeyer’s, The Surf Lodge, and Capri, but he’s got much more on his plate. He recently launched a chef staffing agency called The Chef Agency that takes advantage of his years in high-end F&B. He’s also opening a cafe with the gallerist Larry Gagosian. Yet he still enjoys visiting other dining spots when he has time, and he shared a few of his favorites in New York and “out east.” Take a look.
1. SOHO HOUSE
Luxe members-only club via London, dotted with the occasional celeb. Opulent environs dovetail with general posh decadence. Lounge about the 40-foot Chesterfield sofa and skinny dip in the infamous roof deck pool. Lux bedding, banana-leaf prints, and walnut floors. Kama Sutra in the bedroom drawers nice upgrade from Gideons. Too bad it’s all private: bypass those secretive membership rules via one of the $500/night guest rooms.
2. CASA LEVER
Sant Ambroeus comes to midtown, lays dowager-friendly Warhol silkscreens and striped carpeting over former Space Odyssey trip. Previous trillion-dollar Lever House build-out mostly still recognizable, although menu has fully flipped, now delivering Milanese classics. Crudo, pasta, fish entrées. Or just sit at the bar and sip a Milanese: vodka, amaro, and lemon.
Joey Ramone Place sprouts a southern-accented diner from the Freemans crew. Versatile bi-level space with take-out counter, communal table, booths, bar. Stumptown coffee to get your heart started in the morning, fried chicken to clog it up at night. Hush puppies, succotash, Ozark ham help maintain cornpone cred. Dry-aged steaks for the players. Bright space is all New Bowery, more Hamptons than hey ho, let’s go.
OG Soho bistro keeps charming in dilapidated digs even as glitzier spots fall by the wayside. Classic for perfect steak au poivre, excellent risotto with scallops, and steamed artichokes munched by new faces models and regular folk alike. Unpretentious, always on point. Check the outdoor garden or semi-hidden loft for lurking low-key celebs. Busy bar scene adds to the allure, beware daunting steps to the bathroom after half a bottle of red.
5. TUTTO II GIORNO SOUTHAMPTON
Everything about the original Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor was tiny except the wait to get in. Its days of being known as “Waverly East” may be over since an ownership change turned it into “Donna Karan’s daughter’s restaurant,” but a new second and larger space in Southampton should give the A-listers who frequent the restaurants like Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Broderick a bit more breathing room. Gabby Karan again designed the interior. iIn keeping with the general theme, the menu, while familiar, is expanded.