Two Brooklyn-born fashion-designing brothers of celeb cult brand BOND are channeling their creative juices into the launch of a new restaurant.
LA-based Arben and Kuj Durollari, whose clients include The Weeknd, Anwar Hadid and hip hop trio Migos, have just launched heavenly Hell’s Kitchen red sauce joint Nittis with their father, Will Durollari.
The 3900-square-foot restaurant, 523 Ninth Ave., seats 68 people. The brothers have also designed the servers’ uniforms, natch, mixing high fashion and urban street wear: tuxedo style trousers with a red velvet stripe (that match the red velvet banquets) and BOND T-shirts. “We share one big galaxy of ideas, and with that can come a pair of jeans, a new pasta dish and a dessert menu at the same time,” the brothers said by e-mail. “Four years ago we started our brand, BOND, just a few buildings away from Nittis on 39th Street. We had just started designing, had no office and were running our business out of sandwich shops around the area. Nittis is the the place that we always wanted to have a meeting at but could never find, a place where like minded creatives can gather. This is us returning to New York and to the streets where we started.”
Even the Rome-born executive chef, Andrea Cinus Napolitano, has fashion cred.
The 30-year culinary veteran got his start, briefly, as a Versace model before attending ALMA, La Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana, working in the Vatican and landing in New York City in the early 1990s. Nitti is Will’s nickname, given to him by his grandmother. The restaurant will focus on family recipes, fashion and a specific BOND aesthetic. Will Durollari is a restaurateur who currently owns Pomodoro in New Jersey.
Dishes include Nana’s salad, a tribute to the brothers’ grandmother, featuring Bibb lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, fennel, basil and a lemon and olive oil dressing. There’s also seafood salad; Arancini cacio e pepe; fried calamari pomodoro; and braised meatballs, based on a family recipe. Pastas feature vermicelli congolese with sautéed Manilla clams in a white wine sauce; Roman fagottini porcini, and Italian dumpling stuffed with pear and sautéed with porcini mushrooms in a cognac cream sauce and truffle oil; and spaghetti with walnuts, and sautéed garlic in a Prosecco sauce. For mains, there’s chicken Francesina, egg battered, and served with a lemon white wine sage sauce and sliced lemons; branzino, grilled and stuffed with fennel, orange and sage; and Florentine-style New York Strip Steak. Daily lunch specials include a burger with smoked mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and sweet chili mayo; meatball parmigiana on a rosemary focaccia panini served with pecorino-topped truffle fries; and table-side pizzas.
Brunch highlights include Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with blueberry compote and maple syrup; and classic Eggs Benedict. Desserts are inspired by the brothers’ childhood favorites, like a banana crunch cake. Even the cocktails are whimsical, like specially infused bourbons and vodkas including Captain Crunch and Fruit Loops: the Bada Bing (berry and citrus-infused gin, agave, fresh lemon juice, egg whites); The Bam Bam (Cap’n Crunch-infused bourbon, creme de cacao, half and half, topped with milk foam); and Walk The Plank (Fruity Pebbles infused vodka, Kahlua, lemon sour, vanilla extract, bitters, egg whites). There’s also a serious wine list and a coffee bar with LA-inspired offerings, like the Iced Sparkling Americano (espresso, sparking water) and the Almond Milk Iced Latte. All can be ordered to go, along with smoothies and homemade pastries, at the coffee bar upfront, with a pastry case in a to-go area with no seats. The coffee bar and pastry case will be up in the front of the restaurant and is to-go, so no seats.
“We design clothes the same way we designed the restaurant,” the brothers said. “Just like with BOND, we look at different time periods and cultures and relay that to design.”The aesthetic combines the 1920s glam with 1950s noir and 1980s grit. That means “little porcelain angels on the bar” and cigarette machine from the 1950’s; a gold cash register from the 20’s — and a black marble bar countertop and red velvet banquets shadowing Scarface’s home office in the 80s. “All the furnishings were custom designed by us as well, along with a Kuj painted logo and playlists with Dean Martin after A$ AP Rocky. All of these little details tie in together to create a BOND ambiance,” the brothers said by e-mail.
David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar is set to open this month in the Time Warner Center. The sprawling, 4000-square-foot, third-floor space will showcase the fare Chang first introduced in the East Village in 2004 — the same year that the TWC opened. The menu, from Chef Tony Kim, will focus on buns and seasonal dishes.
Additional Momofuku Noodle Bars will open in Hudson Yards and Pier 17. Stephen Ross, who heads Related Companies — which developed TWC — has his own private investment firm, RSE Ventures, which invests in Chang’s restaurants.
Chang also recently launched Bang Bar, a cheap, take-out spot in the TWC that is already known for sprawling lines, kkwabaegi — twisted Korean cinnamon doughnuts — as well as bang minis, folded Korean ppongs, or flatbreads, stuffed with fillings that range from smoked salmon and cream cheese to gochujang-marinated pork or soy-glazed yakitori chicken — for $ 6 a pop. Influences are from Lebanon, Turkey, the Middle East, Japan, Korea and Mexico.
Bang Bar opened Oct. 31 and serves from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday service begins December 2.