This could be the quickest entrance and exit in New York restaurantdom. Eater reports that celebrity chef Todd English and partner Stratis Morfogen headed for the exits of Pappas Taverna in Greenwich Village a month after reopening the century-old restaurant. A banner on the restaurant’s website reading “Grand opening April 7th” suggests its backers plan to keep the place running sans English and Morfogen, who are reportedly “good” and planning to resume their partnership elsewhere.
Maybe Morfogen will prove to be the secret sauce behind English’s running a successful New York restaurant, a skill he has never quite mastered despite successes elsewhere. In 2005, he tried his hand at a trattoria only to have the venture ridiculed by then-New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni as a “loser in many regards.” In 2010, Bruni’s replacement at the Times, Sam Sifton, wrote of English’s Ça Va in the InterContinental Hotel that the chef’s celebrity status must be the restaurant’s key attraction, adding, “It sure isn’t the food.”
I can add my own two cents having dined at another of English’s failed New York restaurants, Olives at the W Hotel in Union Square, and found the food so oversalted as to be inedible.