Jeffrey Chodorow, the owner of Kobe Club, China Grill, Wild Salmon, Borough and many other so-so restaurants, has divulged his five-year plan to grow his gimmicky restaurant empire to the Observer's Doree Shafrir. Soon, it seems, New Yorkers will be wandering past whole blocks full of restaurants that Jeffrey Chodorow—and perhaps he alone—thinks are good ideas. A Maxim steakhouse, a Malaysian-themed coffeehouse, and yet another "American steakhouse concept" at the Empire Hotel are all in the works. And there's more! Woah! Also: Yipes!
Mr. Chodorow is also planning on opening China Grills in Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Hawaii, Dubai and Moscow, as well a Kobe Club in Miami sometime next year. In Los Angeles, Mr. Chodorow is bringing the Citronelle chef Michel Richard from Washington, D.C., to help open a new incarnation of Mr. Richard's old L.A. restaurant, Citrus, which closed in 1998. He also has two restaurants opening in hotels in the Dominican Republic, and what he calls a "big Italian project" in New York.
"A big Italian project"? Wasn't that the Lower East Side in the 1920's? Heh.
Chodorow comes across as defensive and a little bumbling, but generally likable and definitely sane. But his publicist Karine Bakhoum (wife of Primetime Tables reservation pimp Pascal Riffaud), is even more nutso than previously thought.
A curated selection of Karine Bakhoum's wisdom:
- "'Let's not talk about the past,' she cooed. 'It's just not interesting.'"
- "'Oh, you're so sweet!' said Ms. Bakhoum. 'He's a mushy-mushy.' She said this in the cadence normally reserved for babies and poodles."
- "'Jeffrey's very misunderstood. That's the problem. ... When you're bigger than life, people love to jump to conclusions.'"
- "'I think Kobe Club may be my favorite restaurant in America,' said Ms. Bakhoum, who has represented Mr. Chodorow for several years. 'It's that decadently beautiful and delicious. The creamed corn with the truffles? I want to lay down and die.'"
- Chodorow Eats New York [NYO]