We opened Cote on June 8, 2017. The days before were spent poring over the nitty-gritty of making the restaurant functional. Tom spent hours on the phone with Con Edison, begging them to turn on our gas. Simon tried to stretch the funds from our dwindling bank account just a tiny bit further. Wesley trained the whole team on the difference between chojang and ssamjang and how to grill all of the different cuts of meat tableside. David taught his cooks all of the recipes and how to butcher whole animals. He filled the dry-aging room with meat we could not yet afford. Sidy, our dishwasher from Piora, now tutored all the porters at Cote in how to run the dish pit. With delays, my beverage budget had been cut almost in half. To fatten up the wine list, I got creative and worked with private clients on consignment. We all prayed we wouldn’t go out of business before we even opened.
Then a torrential downpour hit New York. The streets flooded with a rainstorm no one had seen coming. That morning, David noticed some water leaking into the kitchen in the basement. Trickles of drain water began to splash onto the brand-new appliances. Within a few hours, thousands of dollars of shiny equipment was drenched. Simon and I watched as waterfalls poured from the ceiling, unable to do anything.
“What’s that?!” Simon pointed to a floating brown piece of mush. It circled and then plopped onto the kitchen floor. I looked closer. David and Tom inspected the glob.
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