Capital Hotel hires executive chef | Rock Candy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Capital Hotel hires executive chef

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Joël Antunes
  • Joël Antunes

Big news for foodies: The Capital Hotel announced yesterday that Chef Joël Antunes has been named executive chef, overseeing Ashley’s and the Capital Bar and Grill.

Antunes won the James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast Award in 2005 for his work with his namesake restaurant in Atlanta. Back in the ’90s he helped London restaurant Les Saveurs win a Michelin star. So there is plenty of reason to hope that Little Rock has just landed an exciting culinary star.

The less appetizing side of the story: Antunes parlayed his success in Atlanta to a plum gig at the Oak Room in New York’s storied Plaza hotel and things did not go well. The New York Times gave it a one-star review, praising the service and atmosphere but, while calling Atunes talented, condemned the food as over-busy, overpriced and mediocre.

More than a few dishes were clumsily executed or vacuously luxurious. Seldom have I had so many black truffle shavings thrown at me to so little effect.

Harrumph! New York magazine chimed in with a more savage no-star review:

[M]y first meal there was so overpriced ($55 for that old warhorse tournedos Rossini), so tragically tone-deaf and outdated that I thought it prudent to wait until some of the very substantial kinks had been worked out before I returned. Two months later, I’m sad to report that nothing much has changed….

The reviewer writes that one of his guests “out down her fork in exasperation. ‘I’m sorry, I wouldn’t serve this food to people who came to my home.’”

Antunes was canned after a less than a year. Since then he’s been at a few restaurants in London, where reviews have been more positive, though complaints that the food was good but overpriced have continued. One such critic called him “a cook in search of a restaurant,” so perhaps he’s found the right spot.

One thing to watch: Antunes's menus have tended to be heavily French. The managing partner of the Oak Room said, "I kept telling Joël to come up with more American dishes but he thought he was in Paris."

Antunes replaces the much-beloved Lee Richardson, who left last summer. Rumor is that Richardson may be working on new restaurant concepts in town.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • John Goodson and others add lawyers for hearing on forum shopping

    Lawyers facing federal court sanctions for forum shopping a class action insurance case have brought in new legal guns from out of state to fight potential sanctions.
    • May 26, 2016
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016

Most Shared

  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

Slideshows

More »

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation