This surprises me. The whole place was renovated, and I think it was within the last six or seven years. As I recall, they brought in David Rockwell to do the design. It seems incredible that they wouldn’t have brought the back of the house up to snuff at the same time.
Further, I’d love to know what the Health boys want that’s so expensive. In my experience, the only renovation that’s absolutely punishing has nothing to do with the Health Dept. The problem occurs if you run afoul of the ADA. Making a place handicapped-compliant can be a nightmare, and you’ll run into this situation if you make renovations that trigger certain new criteria. Again, it’s hard for me to imagine that Rockwell didn’t see this coming.
Nothing else in a restaurant is so expensive. A new dish machine, new compressors, upgraded Ansul system, none of these should even approach five figures. And as I said, from my observations, and I live 12 blocks away and have been eating there for ages, it’s a huge cash cow.
I still don’t think we’ve gotten the entire megillah.