Ai Fiori Expands With Its Sky Terrace


The Langham, a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, is home to Ai Fiori, a serene Italian restaurant on its second floor. Now, an underused terrace on the 11th floor is being turned into an outdoor dining area, protected by red umbrellas, warmed with heaters and featuring a close-up view of the Empire State Building. It will serve cocktails and offer a dinner menu that’s an abridged version of the menu at Ai Fiori. The chef is Lauren DeSteno, the executive chef for Ai Fiori and a corporate executive chef for the Altamarea Group, where she oversees fine dining for restaurants including Ai Fiori and Marea. The chef Michael White, who was a founding partner of the restaurant group, is no longer involved with the company, according to Ahmass Fakahany, the founding partner who runs the company. Mr. White did not respond to inquiries from The Times. Now, Mr. Fakahany has been concentrating on promoting the women in his organization. “We have so much talent there,” he said. (In addition to Ms. DeSteno, Molly Nickerson has been the executive chef at Marea for the past two years, and Rachel Pancho is Ai Fiori’s pastry chef.) Osteria Morini and Nicoletta are the exceptions, in the hands of Bill Dorrler, also a corporate executive chef who oversees the many Morinis in the company’s portfolio. For the new terrace, Ms. DeSteno, 38, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who worked at Eleven Madison Park and has been with Altamarea for 12 years, has created a multilayered artichoke lasagna made with spinach pasta and a cloud of pecorino. She has not worked in Italy but has visited often. Her responsibilities with the company have also taken her to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere in the Middle East. (Opens Thursday)

11th Floor, Langham Hotel, 400 Fifth Avenue (37th Street), 212-613-8660,

The stylish, boutique Rockaway Hotel, steps from the beach, has added this airy restaurant named for Margie Murphy. Ms. Murphy’s grandsons Terence and Dan Tubridy own IGC Hospitality, a group with a collection of restaurants in New York, including this one. The head chef, Barry Tonks, has a menu with seafood at its core. (Friday)


Rockaway Hotel, 108-10 Rockaway Beach Drive (Beach 108th Street), Rockaway Park, Queens, 718-474-1216,

Breakfast tacos with fillings like steak, potatoes, eggs and cheese; refried beans with cheese; and enchilada-style with white Cheddar and chicken are a thing in Austin, Texas, the hometown of Liz Solomon Dwyer, who started this company. It has operated from carts in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the tacos are sold in some coffee shops and for delivery. Now it has a home base in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, primed for all-weather seating outdoors and takeout.

611 Bergen Street (Vanderbilt Avenue), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 929-367-8226,

Basu Ratnam, the founder and owner of Inday, a group of counter-service Indian restaurants, is starting this delivery-only venture to showcase what he calls the “Indian-American dishes, the flavors I grew up with.” His menu features chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, tandoori chicken, seekh kebab and dal makhani. The food is being produced from some of the Inday kitchens, including a new one at 1 Whitehall Street slated to open as Inday in July. Proper Indian will have its own kitchen in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in June. In addition, it will participate in a global campaign, from May 23 through 30, in Indian restaurants to help Covid relief in India with a special menu for $86, the cost of a 10 kilogram cylinder of oxygen, with all the money going to the nonprofit Hemkunt Foundation. Adda, Rahi, Baar Baar and Gupshup are the other New York restaurants participating.

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