Old-school is coming back in fashion — or at least that’s what Laurent Tourondel and Paul Goldstein hope.
Tourondel, the chef behind various restaurants, including BLT Steak, and Goldstein, the managing partner of Tao Group, have joined forces to create Arlington Club, a new Upper East Side steak house that opens Friday.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Inspired by old New York, the eatery infuses Tourondel’s take on modern American cuisine with Tao Group’s atmospheric design aesthetic. The group, which is responsible for New York sceney spots such as Lavo, Tao and Beauty & Essex, has transformed the 5,500-square-foot dining space into a restaurant inspired by the Penn Station of the early 1900s.
With expansive arches; a mezzanine; exposed, yellowed brick, and a large dark wood bar at the entrance, diners may feel as if they are stepping into the past — or perhaps even Grand Central’s main concourse.
“There’s a big push with our company to bring old-school back,” Goldstein said. “I feel like the restaurant has somewhat gotten too new-school.”
In doing so, Goldstein and Tourondel went on a mission to find artifacts from the past, and stumbled upon a stash of old-fashioned seltzer bottles, which read “Arlington Club Soda.” They quickly snapped them up and decided to name the restaurant after their find.
“The name is appropriate, and to me it sounds very clubby. In terms of the food, it’s very related to the steak concept,” said Tourondel, who added that each table will get a bottle of house spritzed club soda upon arrival.
While steak-house favorites like côte de boeuf grace the menu, so too does pressed Osaka-style sushi with a variety of sauces. Tourondel’s intention is for noncarnivores to be able to find something as well.
“We want to create a convivial atmosphere,” the chef said.
While the concept may not be novel, novelty isn’t exactly what the duo is aiming to achieve.
“We aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel,” Goldstein explained. “We are looking to take what everyone loves and to do it as good, if not better than, everyone else.”
1032 Lexington Avenue