Ah, the venerable Hotel Astor, the place many a seasoned South Beach hipster spent much of the 90s, sipping cocktails at the bar helmed by bartender turned Southern Wine & Spirits honcho Arturo Sighinolfi, and kibbitzing with the OG of GMs, Steve “Buddha” Mann, currently at Delray Beach’s Burt & Max’s, for a table so they could stuff their faces downstairs with the cuisine of ahead of his time so-called culinary cowboy Johnny Vinczencz, whose themed dinners are now the stuff of legend. Some of us remember a sizeable celebrity clientele of varying degrees of importance and, in some cases, despicability, hiding out downstairs too, ah, Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz, OJ Simpson, Matt Dillon, Ryan Seacrest, and the list goes on. And then, after several failed incarnations including Maison D’Azur, the place sort of just went away. Nothing stuck down there except the misty vodka-soaked aforementioned memories.
On March 14, the place will reemerge as The Downstairs at Hotel Astor (makes us want to call it Downton Astor) and hopefully make new memories via DJs and musical acts will perform nightly under the auspices of “musical curator” and Winter Music Conference co-founder Bill Kelly and via the cuisine of chef Chad Ford, an alum of Nemo, DeVito and Vic & Angelo’s.
Besides the requisite mixology, you can expect dishes including Pear and Cheese Tortoloni with Truffle Cream and Poutine Short Rib Tater Tots; Lamb Loin Wellington with Mushroom Duxelle; Foie Gras with America Cherry, Baby Pear and Mache and Roast Beet Salmon Gravelox served with Pumpernickel and Whole Grain Mustard; and desserts including Devil Cake with Pistachio Mousse, Chocolate Marquez and Berry Compote and Banana Rum Cake with Pistachio Biscotti with Marshmallow Puff. Breakfast will be available on the outdoor terrace until noon.