Steve Cuozzo in the Post has the sad news that Eighty One will be closing after service on Sunday, April 4. Cuozzo, who was always a fan of the place, thought that it served “possibly the best food in the Upper West Side’s history.”
Chef Ed Brown summarized Eighty One’s problem eloquently:
We started as a destination restaurant in a destination location. When the world fell apart, we changed to cope with it, with a lower-priced menu and more accessible food. But we weren’t able to change people’s perceptions that we were a special-occasion place — which is why we were always full for special occasions, but not on a daily basis.
He might also have mentioned Frank Bruni’s respectful but not ecstatic two-star review—probably one less than it deserved—and the fact that the hotel entrance was hidden by scaffolding for much of the two years the restaurant existed.