Turkey’s celebrity butcher has arrived in New York. Nusret Gokce, widely known as Salt Bae for the dramatic flourish with which he showers salt on a steak, has been a butcher since he was 13. He has become better known as a chef since 2010, having opened a string of steakhouses in Turkey and the Middle East with his business partner, Mithat Erdem.
Mr. Gokce, 35, cuts a dapper figure; on the job he wears a white T-shirt and sunglasses and performs dazzling, precise knife work. And thanks to Instagram, for the past year he has become as recognizable as George Clooney.
“In Turkey, butchering was a low-class, degrading job,” he said through a translator. “Now, thanks to me, all the kids want to become butchers.”
A 250-seat Nusr-Et opened in Miami about two months ago, serving about 1,000 meals a day. In New York, a city he now calls home, the restaurant, which seats 150 with an outdoor area for 80, occupies the former China Grill space in the CBS “Black Rock” building in Midtown Manhattan.
Polished wood tables are grouped in two dining areas, with a circular bar near the entrance. Patterns recalling Turkish tiles adorn some of the soaring walls, in a design by Glen & Co., and are interspersed with displays of old butchering tools, slabs of meat and wines.
All the steaks, along with whole racks of lamb and veal, are cooked over charcoal, then brought over for tableside carving. In addition to typical steaks like rib-eye, which customers can select from a case in front of the open kitchen, he serves special cuts like lokum, a filet sliced thin and quickly seared.
A special ground-beef preparation, kofta, a giant seasoned patty enclosing kasseri cheese, is seared on the grill and served in portions.
Mr. Gokce is negotiating for a second New York location where he will serve his signature beef and veal burger. Beef carpaccio, steak tartare prepared tableside, salads, seafood and baklava for dessert are also on the menu.
“Baklava and Turkish coffee and tea are the only Turkish things we serve,” he said. Once the New York place hits its stride, he will open Nusr-Et in London, the 14th branch. (Opens Monday): 60 West 53rd Street (Sixth Avenue), 212-315-3660, nusret.us.Opening
HO FOODS The chef Richard Ho’s little East Village spot, tucked into the former Porchetta space, offers a brief array of Taiwanese specialties, including a home-style beef noodle soup that might outclass ramen. It combines handmade noodles, fermented mustard greens and slow-cooked grass-fed beef shank with 24-hour beef broth. (Thursday): 110 East Seventh Street (First Avenue), 347-788-0682, hofoodsnyc.com.
DUMONET BROOKLYN Jean-Louis and Karen Dumonet have opened their French bistro with a menu, prepared by Mr. Dumonet, of mostly Gallic specialties like onion soup, cassoulet, roast duck, duck confit and Grand Marnier soufflé: 315 Smith Street (Union Street), 718-625-0963, dumonetbrooklyn.com.
THE BIG RAGU Francis Garcia and Sal Basille, who own Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, are opening a knife-and-fork pizzeria (call the mayor) serving a style of pizza, popular in Milan. The crust is fluffy, there are cooked and raw tomato sauces, and the pizza is cut in squares. Other ingredients like meats, peppers and anchovies can be added. (Monday): 679 Grand Street (Manhattan Avenue), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 929-250-2847.
SB RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR This elaborate new installation in Williamsburg, in development a couple of years, is the work of the entrepreneur Patricia Nicholson. The chef Antonio De Ieso, who was raised in Florence, Italy, brings his experience working at Le Cirque, Circo and Caffe dei Fiori to the kitchen. His Italian menu gathers some international touches for inventive house-made pasta dishes, and a lineup of pizzas, like one called Sun and Moon that’s half pizza and half calzone. In season, he will rely on herbs from the restaurant’s garden. The dining room has a 50-foot bar and soaring ceilings with a skylight. There’s a lounge and a lower-level wine cellar room. (Thursday): 65 Kent Avenue (North 10th Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-388-6200.
JAX B-B-Q Nick Accardi, who owns Tavola nearby, will open this outpost for pit barbecue and burgers. Crawfish hush puppies, Memphis-style baby back ribs, Carolina pulled pork and fried catfish are some stops along this place’s tour of the South. The setting is rustic, with roadside gas station artifacts. (Friday, Jan. 19): 496 Ninth Avenue (38th Street), 212-273-1168.Chef on the Move
YUVAL LITMANOVICH, the Tel Aviv chef who worked at restaurants there owned by Meir Adoni of Nur in New York, is adding more Israeli touches to the Southern Mediterranean menu at Green Fig, in Yotel on West 42nd Street.
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