Magazine article The New Yorker

Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar;

Magazine article The New Yorker

Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar;

Article excerpt

246 E. 5th St. (212-673-0338)--Good manners are everything in close quarters. The doll-house scale of this restaurant requires a profusion of "excuse me"s, many of them delivered gently by a busboy in a starchy cruise-ship coat carrying trays of "deconstructed" oysters Rockefeller and Mississippi paddlefish roe. In a spotless exposed kitchen on the second floor--it's no bigger than one you'd find in a studio apartment, and inches from the upstairs dining room--Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing, the newlywed chefs, must be particularly diplomatic. "We trade off cooking and cleaning," Vines-Rushing, who is from Louisiana, said. She was sauteing spinach in a pan. "It's only fair." The tact achieves consummation in Denis Le Denn, the maitre d' and captain, who runs the downstairs dining room. Tall and broad and formerly of Alain Ducasse, he is "one of the great peacock maitre d's," according to the owner, Jack Lamb. (Lamb said he was anxious about asking Le Denn to work for him: "He's so grand--and he's so big!")

The layout doesn't constrain patrons from getting boisterous, particularly when they follow Le Denn's recommendation of an aperitif of pink champagne. Every meal starts off with a scallop shell's worth of pecans, burnt and sugary, with an afterbite of cayenne. …

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