|Adour Alain Ducasse was one of many high-end closings|
2012 was an exciting year for openings (see here, here) but the major shutters across the Big Apple give a snapshot of the city's restaurant scene as well. A sad one, true, but no one is crying over the closure of Scott Disiac's Ryu. The short-lived Meatpacking District entry proved you need a lot more than reality show cred to attract a fashionable crowd. Similar vibey joints Niko and Kibo also closed up shop after failing to attract the well-heeled diners they were trying to lure. The three eateries show that the sweet spot of food, scene and crowd really hard to hit. Unless, of course, you're EMM Group. Have you tried getting a reservation at Catch lately? Exactly.
Other than these wannabe hot spots, there were two notable trends in the world of closures. The first was the decline of old New York. Storied spots like speakeasy Bill's Gay Nineties, The Plaza Hotel's Oak Room and Lenox Lounge couldn't keep the modern day audiences coming in (especially with those modern day rents) while stalwarts like H&H Bagels and Stage Door Deli found themselves passed by the age of digitally obsessed diners who are always looking for the new thing.
Glizty fine-dining restaurants also had a bad year, with city diners more inclined pay for a $250 multi-course feast at hip Blanca than make a reservation at more classic haunts like Adour Alain Ducasse and L'Atelier Joel Roubuchon, both of which closed up shop. Terrance Brennan's Picholine is still open, but the eatery filed for bankruptcy protection after a mid-year remodel and Gilt in the Palace Hotel closed up shop, despite having young blood in the form of chef Justin Bogle at the helm. And, even though it seems like five years ago, this was the year that bonkers expensive Romera had to shut down after the chef/doctor at the helm failed to convince New York Diners that his flavored waters were worth the price.
Finally, we'll raise our glass to a few neighborhood gems that didn't make it through 2012. We loved Julie Reiner's Lani Kai, and will certainly pour out a tiki cocktail in it's honor (thankfully, Reiner is still impressing with her mixology at Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge). The happy hour at the Upper West Side outpost was one of our favorites, so we'll have to hit the more-crowded Hudson Street location when we're in the mood for a Fatty Sour. Even so, we're looking forward to the new location of RedFarm that's set to take over the space - but we're still bummed that we can't stop by owner Eddie Scoenfeld's Chinatown Brasserie for some Dim Sum. We would have hit Lyon for some moules frites instead but the lights have been dark there since Hurricane Sandy.
To all of these restaurants, and the countless others that closed, here's a toast to you! We'll drink a sip, shed a tear, and then start obsessing over the sweet new eateries that are set to open up come 2013.