When you write a book with someone, you inevitably get to know that person far better than you bargained for. It does not matter how clear-eyed you are at the start: at some point, a reality check will occur. Most likely it will cause you to dislike your subject. (For a short spell, if you’re lucky.)
But since I’ve started editing the cookbook for the owners of King, the jewel box of a restaurant on the western edge of New York’s Soho, that moment of tension hasn’t come. It’s been over a year, and I believe it won’t. What’s more, amazingly, is that I admire all the women who run King: Annie Shi, Clare de Boer, and Jess Shadbolt. And, like many, I now consider them friends who are impossible to tire of.
Pastas were ordered—that’s Jupiter’s raison d’etre—and we devoured all three: parcels of fresh pasta stuffed with braised rabbit; fresh spaghetti with bottarga and chili; and risotto di mare, infused with prosecco and saffron and chock full of shellfish. Nothing survived. A hulking bistecca alla Fiorentina was gobbled up along with plates of irresistible braised greens and borlotti beans. (These beans and greens I intend to eat whenever I’m anywhere near Midtown.) To finish, there were cookies and candies, all house-made, a wobbly panna cotta, and glasses of grappa.
Jupiter isn’t King. It is made for a different part of town and it is designed to accommodate many. The feeling is not that of a downtown clubhouse. But much like King, ever since I left Jupiter, I wanted to return. And so I did, on Friday night. Unsurprisingly, the party had only ratcheted up. There was a din of happy diners, clinking, and movement from the open kitchen and the bartenders seemed more at ease pouring cocktails; I had a few more of those fig martinis, too.
By Friday evening, the last night of friends and family, word was out. Jess and Annie were in the dining room with their own friends and family and earlier that night, they said, Ruth Rogers from the River Cafe had stopped in to say hello and grab a bite. Other heavy hitters from the food world had also passed through: chef and friend Jonathan Waxman, cookbook editor Emily Graff, plus chefs Jeremiah Stone of Wildair and Simon Kim of Cote restaurant. Just as with their downtown spot, this is a scene and a dining room you want to lean into, linger over, and—without question—indulge in.