As a rule, I avoid trendy Manhattan restaurants at all costs. You have to understand I moved to the city in 1983, at the height of ‘Nouvelle Cusine’. Paying $40 for 3 ounces of poached salmon and 3 blanched snow peas at Richard Lavin’s joint on 39th Street revolted me. So when I was asked to join a Christmas celebration dinner at one of Chelsea’s hottest brassieres, I cringed. After some seemingly ceaseless prodding I buckled to the peer pressure and went. In the end, the food was good, the crowd (albeit far younger, far taller, and favoring obligatory black fashion) was pretty, and the conversation among my design-ista friends was great fun.
Oddly enough, this man I’d never met, named Timothy Brown, kept surfacing in conversation, and in a consistently favorable way. Phrases like ‘gloriously restrained’, ‘master at mixing finishes’, and ‘perfectly understated’ were the buzzwords of the evening. So, the following morning I called his offices, and invited him to coffee. Here’s what I learned in our charming and spirited interview.