Sorry, but I am not buying the whole “gay urban resort” that THE OUT NYC has capitalized on. In fact, I am not even sure what it means. I do know, however, that the Hell’s Kitchen hotel itself is a swank, well-run machine and place I would want to stay in despite the theme. Good thing, too, because now not only is it “straight-friendly” (what?) but tonight they are debuting their new eatery, KTCHN Restaurant.
Resulting from a partnership between the hotel and the owners of Eatery and Whym, KTCHN Restaurant is helmed by chef Chris Schnell, formally of the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel, Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai, and Terrance Brennan’s Artisanal. Like the other two Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, KTCHN’s concept is New American, and Schnell plans to serve upscale comfort food with nibbles like smoked bacon with artichokes on polenta, various oysters, and marinated fluke with grapefruit. Aside from Schnell’s menu, THE OUT NYC has also brought Duane Fernandez Jr. onboard. Fernandez, who refers to himself as the “the only gay master mixologoist in New York,” is handling the cocktail menu, which includes low-calorie drinks, infused vodkas, and plenty of wine cocktails.
As for the hotel experience itself, I loved what Joel Stein wrote for Time magazine in May. He said, “It was also the only hotel room I’ve ever been in without a closet, which seemed a pretty big sacrifice just to make a metaphoric point.” Later, after noticing the hotel wasn’t all gay like he had hoped it would be, he wrote, “The problem is that being gay has become so acceptable that tourists think the gay theme is just fun New York Culture.”
Oh how things have changed, and Stein is spot on. So maybe “straight-friendly” doesn’t really need to be advertised since it appears the hotel is just welcoming in general. And now, with pride week and the parade this weekend, I am sure anyone is welcome to try out KTCHN—gay, straight, or whatever.