Several new wrinkles in the ongoing mystery of 360, the praised restaurant of chef Arnaud Erhart that put Red Hook on the dining map until he capriciously shut the place down and disappeared last year, prompting a million conspiracy theories as to why he left and where he went.
Walking past the storefront today, I encountered a man sitting with a purposeful air in a lawn chair in front of the opened shop. I thought this might be the new tenant, but no. Even better: it was the landlord. And he had a heap of information regarding the new sign in the window that read "New Restaurant Opening Soon."
The new eatery, "another fancy sit-down place," will arrive in September. It will be Italian, and run by an Italian, whose name I didn't get, but who runs a restaurant outside Italy, and has put in time at Patois on Smith Street. (Perhaps with that information, the foodies out there may have an idea who the guy is.) The place may be a "family affair," run by the chef and his clan, and the landlord said the man was committed to the place.
That sort of explains what will become of 360. But what about what happened to it? "I think Arnaud decided he had accomplished what he set out to do," said the landlord. "One of the best ten restaurants in New York? Goodbye." Where did he go? "Madagascar to save the coral reefs," he said with a smirk. I'm pretty sure that was a joke. But what came next probably isn't. Arnaud is back in the city now, but may possibly soon leave for New Orleans, perhaps to open up a new restaurant.