Dining

David Chang Apologizes, Says He Should Have Delayed Nishi

The chef is working on making things better
Chef David Chang Says He Should Have Delayed Opening Nishi
Photo: Gabriele Stabile

David Chang has never been known as the apologetic type of chef and restaurateur. When early diners and critics checked out his newest project, Italian-meets-Asian spot Nishi in Chelsea, and complained about the deafening sound levels and general discomfort of eating there, he responded with some harsh words. After Pete Wells’s less-than-glowing review, Chang told the New Yorker that Wells was “being a f------ bully. He wants the new, but he's still in love with the f------ old."

Now, the chef is apologizing. Not to Wells and not for the language, but to New Yorkers, telling the New York Post, “If anyone made a stupid mistake, it was me. If I had to do [Nishi] over, I’d delay it and do it right.”

Chang has installed sound panels to help with the noise, and he’s working on fixing other aspects of the restaurant, saying, “If you’re going to have service included, you’ve got to have more traditional trappings. Not luxury, but normal. I’m sorry I didn’t know that before, but I learned.” He’s also added the much sought-after Impossible Burger to bring in more diners.

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Downtown, at his iconic Ssäm Bar, the space is getting a refresh, and Chang is finally adding chairs with backs after a decade of diners sitting on small, backless wooden stools.

He’s also charging ahead with his large project in the South Street Seaport on Pier 17, which will also be home to a Jean-Georges Vongerichten project. Chang says the concept here is still undecided. Hopefully, it will be comfortable.

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