Seen & Heard: David Burke Kitchen Has Closed

••• Abandon all hope that 21 Park Place’s facade might being saved. (The interior collapsed last week.) Demolition is underway.

••• A couple of recent searches of “David Burke” on this site led me to think something might be up with his David Burke Kitchen restaurant at the James Hotel in Soho. Sure enough, Yelp lists it as permanently closed.

••• Speaking of dead restaurants, several remain unidentified. From Part 6:

5. Opened by two veterans of the West Village’s XXXXXX, the subterranean XXXXXX is more of a bar with jazz than a traditional jazz bar—there’s neither a cover nor a minimum, tables aren’t jammed up against each other, and even though the sound is rich, the music doesn’t dominate the evening. (You can have a conversation.) The vibe is Art Deco Yacht—love the wallpaper, padded bathroom doors, and cloth cocktail napkins—along with a dash of white New England cabinetry behind the bar and old family photos on the walls. A menu of small plates is available to go along with the artisanal cocktails.

6. XXXXXX, underneath XXXXXX, is a great example of the high-low trend: For a price not far from Corton’s, you might find yourself hanging your coat on the wall, sitting on a flat wooden banquette (although most tables have chairs), and staring at a paper tablecloth. Or take the menu, presented at the end of the meal: It’s handwritten, in a herky-jerky cursive. And yet, on the “high” side, the menu is prix-fixe (“5 or 6 courses,” says the website, although it’s more like nine or ten), with no substitutions, and $100 a head. It’s only open Thursday through Saturday, at least to start, and you reserve by emailing your credit card info at least five days in advance. Where the upstairs is made to look old, rich with patina, the downstairs is somewhere between Spartan and Scandinavian. It takes a moment for the personality to pop: the gorgeous metal staircase, striking wooden chairs, a stack of wood along one wall, delicate flowers on each table, delightful matchbooks and coasters with Donald Sultan artwork.

7. If XXXXXX feels like a soundstage where a Graham Greene adaptation is being shot, its half-sibling to the north seems more likely to be the set for a Spanish-language version of the sitcom “Alice.” All the kitsch (aggressive colors, thrift-shop finds, wood paneling, rec-room light fixtures) and diner motifs (Formica tables, linoleum floor, pinkish polyester napkins) speak less of Latin America, perhaps, than to the 80s and early 90s, when you scavenged at the Goodwill store and your favorite band was from Athens, Ga. The menu draws from all over Latin America—arepas, pupusas, tacos, ceviches, and so on—and the spirits are Latin-focused (rum, tequila, mezcal, pisco, cachaça). The drink menu is ambitious in the contemporary way—infusions, herb syrups, funky bitters, et al, with the most eye-popping ingredient being coca leaf tea. The wines and beers are all from Latin America, too.

And from Part 7:

9. XXXXXX feels like a high-end estancia, one that would be as home in Aspen as in South America: There are high leather banquettes and Argentine fabrics tastefully deployed. The main focus, as one would expect from an Argentine restaurant, is beef, perhaps cooked on the parrilla (its open flame is visible in the kitchen at the rear). Other favorites include the oven-roasted provolone and the empanadas.

10. XXXXXX is a far cry from the Vietnamese joints over in Chinatown, with a style that’s contemporary (or contemporary enough) and lighting that’s pretty. What the food lacks in adventurousness it makes up for in consistency.

••• The “storefront for lease” sign at 87 Franklin spotted a while back refers to the center of the three, formerly Peter Tunney’s Print Room; it’s currently being used as a temporary exhibition space by Barney Savage Gallery (upstairs in the same building).

••• Part of the hardware store at Canal and W. Broadway has been taken over by iGuard Locksmith.



  1. Although David Burke’s name was used for the DBK restaurant at The James, he hasn’t had any involvement in its operation for years because of a business dispute.