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I Don’t Get It: Psilakis Done at Anthos

Update: Anthos has closed. Owner Donatella Arpaia sold the space, which will become a steakhouse run by the Ben & Jack’s family.


Frank Bruni, back on his old beat, reports today that Michael Psilakis is out at Anthos, where he was chef–partner with front-of-house guru Donatella Arpaia.

This is the third split in their long-protracted divorce, with Arpaia having previously backed out of Psilakis’s Gus & Gabriel Gastropub, and he in turn having left her Italian restaurant, Mia Dona. Both of those moves made some sense, as Psilakis wasn’t really an Italian chef, and Arpaia probably felt she had little to add at Gus & Gabriel.

This time, I don’t get it.

Anthos derived its prestige from Psilakis’s name. Like many high-end restaurants, it is surely suffering during the recession. But given that it is remaining open, Arpaia is better off with Psilakis than a chef no one has heard of. It will probably lose its Michelin star, as restaurants normally do when a chef leaves.

Similarly, Psilakis has now lost the only good restaurant in his portfolio. Such places are seldom money-spinners in themselves, but their cachet leads to other things, like cookbooks and TV deals, and they lend gravitas to the chef’s lower-end places. Think of how much Jean-Georges Vongerichten gets from sprinkling pixie dust on his large collection of restaurants, with his flagship as a loss-leader.

Instead of being a Michelin-star chef, Psilakis is now just a guy turing out mediocre comfort food. What does he do for an encore? Sling burgers?

Reader Comments (1)

Jean Georges - the restaurant - most certainly does not lose money

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

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