Pulse: Style: Leisure: Restaurant Rave

A moveable feast with a designer edge

On an early spring evening at Saks Fifth Avenue, customers milled about the second floor, sipping prosecco and nibbling on foie gras croquembouches. But this wasn’t your typical fashion event, even though the presence of New York designer Peter Som would indicate otherwise. And Som wasn’t there just to tout his new fall collection. No, Som was on a special assignment as the first guest designer to collaborate with chef Mitch Prensky, owner of Global Dish Caterers, on creating a restaurant concept, or “L’Atelier,” for a single night.

“The idea of L’Atelier is essentially a restaurant rave,” says Prensky, who launched the project in the fall of 2003 with his wife and business partner, Jennifer Prensky. “It’s a workshop: We open a restaurant in a space that’s not normally a restaurant. We take four nights a year where no one can tell us what to make, where we share our ideas of food, decor, presentation and service.” Past locations have included a photographer’s studio and a Vespa store; each had a certain look and feel, as well as a distinctly different menu.

For the Saks L’Atelier in May, the Prenskys decided to grow the concept and invite a creative type to be designer for the evening and dream up a fantasy restaurant. For Som, that meant gauzy chiffon on the tables (as a tribute to his fall line), and lots of elegant flowers. He also wanted classic dishes on the menu, such as comfort-food favorite mac ’n’ cheese — which at the hands of chef Prensky became “Mac ’n’ Cheese Peter Som,” with poached Maine lobster, roasted porcini and mascarpone farfalline. “It’s still our food,” says Prensky, “but the look of the space and the presentation of the food are geared toward the designer.”

For information on the next event, contact L’Atelier Global Dish at 215-592-9944 or info@the globaldish.com. Three-course prix fixes are $95-$110, including wine.