Source: Charlie Bird
How to Eat Like a Goldman Exec
David Solomon, Goldman Sachs co-COO, dines out at restaurants more often than some food critics. Here’s where you might find him.
Pinpointing the epicenter of New York’s power dining scene is tricky these days. In the absence of the old Four Seasons, and in the early days of its successor, the Grill, the Financial District has come on strong with conveniently located places such as Augustine and Fowler & Wells.
But if you were one of the two chief operating officers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where would you eat? If you’re David Solomon, who along with Harvey Schwartz was elevated to the firm’s No. 2 position in December, the answer would be everywhere.
Solomon eats out as frequently, and as purposefully, as some food critics. It’s often for work, but just as much for fun. You can find him at newly opened places as well as long-standing culinary institutions, and he’s gained a reputation as an avid diner around town. “He’s one of our most loyal customers,” says Grant Reynolds, wine director at Charlie Bird, the popular Italian-accented restaurant in SoHo in which Solomon has invested. “A lot of other places would say the same thing. He’s that supportive guy for so many restaurants in the city, and the one that makes a point of knowing everyone’s name.”
He’s also a fan of Sean Feeney, a Goldman alum who’s co-owner of Lilia in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg. Solomon puts the surprise power spot on his list of new favorites for the artichoke—served whole with parmesan and breadcrumbs—the pastas, and the energy of the warehouse-style dining room. “Sean’s a great guy who created an incredible restaurant,” Solomon raves.
As much as the food, Solomon is devoted to wine. He has a deep cellar and brings a bottle to restaurants when he goes out socially. “Wine list prices are crazy right now,” he says. “I prefer to bring something with me.” Still, he’s not strictly a BYOB diner: He’ll always buy something off the list to accompany what he’s brought. “David is one of the more knowledgeable and adventurous wine people out there,” says Reynolds. “He’s brought in some of the best ’70s and ’80s California cabernets I’ve ever tried.”
I caught up with Solomon over the phone, and he shared 11 other of his favorite restaurants and bars—from the places where you can talk business in private to the best spot for fried chicken. Just don’t interrupt him while he’s eating.
The Power Meals
The epic Italian American restaurant that transformed red-sauce cooking as Zac Posen–clad waiters mix Caesar salads tableside. Solomon’s go-to orders? The veal parmesan and the spicy vodka rigatoni.
Chef Michael White’s elegant seafood restaurant on Central Park West has been one of New York’s power dining rooms since it opened in 2009. “It’s a good place to discuss business over a great bottle of wine,” says Solomon.
For work dinners, Solomon also favors the renovated dining room with views of Central Park at Porter House in the Time Warner Center. “The food is solid, it’s quiet, and you can talk,” he says. There are a half-dozen selections of prime dry-aged beef as well as A5 wagyu from Miyazaki. His favorite cut is the rib-eye.
The Close-to-Work Staples
North End Grill
“I go there a bunch, and not just because it is across the street from my building,” says Solomon. It’s a Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant. “I’m a supporter of Danny Meyer and all of his restaurants,” he says. “At lunch, they have interesting salads, and they’ll put a great piece of poached salmon on top for me.”
“I have been eating here a ton recently,” Solomon says of Andrew Carmellini’s homey Italian restaurant in Tribeca. “The food is delicious, the place is buzzing. The ricotta on the toast is going to make me a fat individual.”
The Pizza Masters
At Charlie Bird’s nearby sister restaurant, in a corner, clubhouse-y space (where Solomon is also an investor), the menu slants toward dishes from the custom-built Stefano Ferrara wood ovens, including stellar pies. It’s signature clam pizza is his order, and he’ll pair it with a big red wine.
A surprise pick: The neighborhood Greenwich Village place that serves coal oven pies and has been around since the 1950s. “I’ll go there for pizza sometimes. And drink their wine. They have fun, interesting Italian bottles.” His order is Arturo’s Fiesta pie, with sausage, peppers, and onions, though he’s a fan of almost all the meat pizzas.
The Downtown Gems
Root & Bone
Solomon is a fried chicken fan. He likes the version they serve at Perry Street, but his favorite is the more rustic, sweet-tea-brined bird at this Southern-style East Village joint. “It’s awesome and not as well-known as it should be,” he says.
Dominating a corner of SoHo, the restaurant has an upstairs taqueria and a dark, downstairs dining room where Solomon heads. “It’s got the best Tex-Mex comfort food, the best environment. The grilled corn on the cob is one of my favorite dishes in the city.”
The Sunday Night Special
While he likes both the NoMad Hotel restaurant and the stunning bilevel NoMad Bar, Solomon’s current favorite experience is the old-school Italian pop-up masterminded by co-owner Will Guidara. “I love Mamma Guidara’s on a Sunday night; it’s one of best kept secrets in the city,” he says.