Chef April Bloomfield Makes Her Big Comeback With New Restaurant Launch

NYC-based foodies, it's time to get excited. Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman and chef April Bloomfield are teaming up for a new venture called Sailor. The collaboration comes from a years-long friendship, and now, the new restaurant is set to open in Fort Greene, Brooklyn in September 2023. The team has yet to announce a specific opening date, but surely it's rapidly approaching.

The creative team behind Sailor is something of a dynamic duo. Bloomfield was awarded a Michelin star and has been instrumental in opening seven acclaimed restaurants during the span of her career. Stulman is the founder of Happy Cooking Hospitality, a West Village restaurant group that includes such iconic ventures as American bistro Joseph Leonard, oyster bar Jeffrey's Grocery, café-bar Fairfax, Jolene, and now Sailor. It's an impressive and diversified portfolio linked by a shared metropolitan fashion sensibility and upscale vibe.

Stulman first hinted at Sailor's opening earlier this year in February with an Instagram photo of himself and Bloomfield in front of Jeffrey's Grocery. The caption announced, "I'm excited to share that we're opening a restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. That's all we've got to say about it for now. Can't wait to share more when we have more to share." Bloomfield made a matching post on her personal account. The wait, at last, is finally over ... so, what's on the menu?

Elevated fine dining favorites and classy digs

From what fans know so far, Sailor will be serving up Bloomfield's classic culinary style of meat-centric fare in elevated gastro-pub digs. The chef even teased one particular dish to Grub Street: "It's going to be a piece of cod that's pan-fried until it's all caramelized and brown with lots of salt, a splash of lemon, resting in butter, and it's going to get placed in a bowl with some soup. It will come with a thick baguette crouton fried in butter. And maybe there's one potato." Other sneak peeks include herb-roasted chicken, mussels, vinegar pork shoulder, and pâté en croûte.

Sailor's interior was designed by Alfredo Paredes, who has enjoyed a long career as the architecture specialist and creative director at Ralph Lauren. Think navy leather barstools, scalloped linen curtains, and curved wooden booths — inherently posh with a nautical tinge (as the "sailor" namesake might suggest). It's the ideal setting for chowing down on veal sweetbreads with lemon, capers, and parsley, or poached radishes cooked in Lambic beer (which, says Bloomfield, guests can expect to see on the menu).

Looking toward the future in the shadow of the past

It's no secret that Sailor's success will likely be colored by the high-profile 2017 scandal surrounding The Spotted Pig, Bloomfield's former West Village restaurant. If you remember when Mario Batali became the center of an unsavory "Me Too" revelation, The Spotted Pig was at the center of Batali's alleged abuse where he was a primary investor and frequent dinner guest. The Spotted Pig was a hot spot for celebrities, particularly the third floor, which bred a lawlessness that at once intrigued after-hours guests and subjected employees to long-standing abuse without defense. Alleged sexual harassment of employees by Bloomfield's former business partner Ken Friedman put a figurative bad taste in foodies' mouths, to say the least. Part of the allegations asserted that Bloomfield could have done more to protect her staff. In a 2018 interview with The New York Times, Bloomfield issued a public apology and announced non-specific plans to rectify relationships with the victims of Friedman, et al.

The Spotted Pig formally closed in January 2020 and the chef has been keeping a pretty low profile since. Bloomfield left her final remaining NYC restaurant Breslin in 2021 and has largely spent the interim cooking at Connecticut resort the Mayflower Inn and a Cornwall farm that she co-owns. Sailor's opening marks Bloomfield's first proper return to the New York restaurant scene.