Fashion » Out to Lunch: Café Kristall
 Out to Lunch: Café Kristall

Out to Lunch: Café Kristall

blog-cafe-kristall-01.jpg The newly renovated Café Kristall (above), in the Swarovski Crystallized store in Soho, is in some ways similar to Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner’s other New York restaurants, Wallsé, Cafe Sabarsky, and Blaue Gans. “I always feel that my restaurants should be like my home,” the chef, who turns 50 soon, said over a lunch of white asparagus and open-face sandwiches, featured players on the light, seasonal Viennese cafe-inspired menu. Which means that the dining room is decorated with the Austro-Germanic art and design to which Gutenbrunner is devoted: the walls are hung with Albert Oehlen canvases, the chairs are Thonet, and the banquets upholstered in burgundy Josef Hoffmann fabric. A private downstairs dining room features the large, bloody splatters of Austrian painter Herman Nitsch. (Much of the art is borrowed from the personal collection of Julian Schnabel, a longtime friend of the chef’s.)

blog-cafe-kristall-02.jpgA selection of open-face sandwiches from the Café Kristall menu

But, unlike, say, Café Sabarsky, there’s a high degree of bling as well—with a hand from Nadja Swarovski, who helped obtain the two spherical Tom Dixon chandeliers, which throw brilliant light on the upstairs dining room; and a two-story tall Vincent Van Duysen chandelier leads the way downstairs in a cascade of crystal. Even the wallpaper is embedded with Swarovski gems. It’s enough to make Gutenbrunner revise his personal restaurateur theory: “It’s like my home,” he said, looking about the bedazzled space, “except there’s money involved.”

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