Is there no end to Richard Caring’s aspirations? Having stormed the London restaurant and club establishment, the former rag-trader (as he is invariably described) now seems determined to take a big bite out of the Big Apple.
• We‘ve been authoritatively told that Caring expressed an interest in the NYC-and-international Nobu empire
• In a new Vanity Fair profile, it emerges that he tried to buy Londoner Keith McNally’s Balthazar (SoHo), Pastis (Meatpacking District) and so on empire for $100m. (According to the NY Post, one reason McNally resisted was that Caring wanted to copy his New York establishments “all over the world”, which would be “ripping the soul out of the original”.)
• And now the Independent reports that Caring has also expressed an interest in the Four Seasons – the restaurant in Mies van der Roe’s 1958 Seagram Building that’s such an institution that its interior enjoys the NYC equivalent of listed-building status.
Having by chance lunched last month at the Four Seasons, we can certainly imagine that it could benefit from a Scott’s-style shake-up. The place is clearly still a power destination – as evidenced by guests on our visit including a former adviser to the Veep and an English property-developer peer – but buzz was signally absent.
As far as we could see, though, your reporter was one of only two visitors to the large bar throughout the entire lunchtime service. This seemed to have nothing to do with attitudes to alcohol – as various restaurants, including this one, confirmed, the lunchtime cocktail has made something of a return to popularity in recent months! – but simply reflected the fact that overall custom was slow.
And, in due course, the realisation of our meal made us feel that this is a restaurant which – perhaps for too long – has relied on its ‘institutional’ status.