It garnered three stars from Lesley Chesterman a month ago. It made the Eater 38. And yet changes are afoot at Restaurant Van Horne with word that owner Sylvie Lachance has let go her chef de cuisine John Winter Russell.
For Russell, late of Pastaga and La Salle à Manger and who took over mere months ago for Eloi Dion, the news came as a surprise.
They [ownership] wanted to change the menu style. They felt it wasn't accessible for everyday customers of the restaurant.
Chesterman hinted as much in her mostly positive review.
This style of innovative-verging-on-overintellectualized cooking turned out to be the theme of my dinner as well as at one enjoyed a week later. Some dishes were fabulous, while others were out there, way out there ? too out there? One senses there is a deep thought process behind each plate, though sometimes I fear the results don't meet the intentions. That said, what works at Van Horne, really works.
Russell has had over a week to process the dismissal but his disappointment is evident.
Personally it's frustrating because I feel like I'm not going to reap the rewards of the good press we've had of late. I thought I'd be able to make some headway but I've been cut short.
Russell went on to add that business at Van Horne had, admittedly, been "inconsistent" since late summer. The chef hopes to get back in a kitchen soon and even open his own restaurant someday.
"But it's not like I have $100,000 in my back pocket."
Van Horne owner Sylvie Lachance was not available for comment.
· Van Horne [Official Site]