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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

Catch Dubai brings New York City’s celeb-favoured seafood restaurant to our shores

Catch NYC, an acclaimed American restaurant known for serving innovative dishes in an ultra-cool setting, will open at the Fairmont Dubai.
Catch Dubai is the first international location for Catch NYC. Courtesy Catch
Catch Dubai is the first international location for Catch NYC. Courtesy Catch

Seafood lovers, take note. Catch NYC, an acclaimed American seafood restaurant, is coming to Dubai. The contemporary restaurant, best known for serving innovative dishes in an ultra-cool setting, is planning to open at the Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road this month. It’s the first international location for the restaurant.

If the restaurant lives up to its New York City reputation, Catch Dubai will not only be a prime spot for top-notch seafood, but the new “it” spot – and possible celebrity magnet. Stars spotted in Catch NYC include Brad Pitt, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay Z and David Beckham.

The owners, Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm, opened Catch NYC in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District in 2011 and it’s been filled with discerning diners and a hodgepodge of celebrities ever since. Confident the concept would succeed globally, Birnbaum and Remm started looking at international locations. They chose Dubai, Birnbaum says, because it’s “a vibrant city with a world-class infrastructure and all the ingredients to be a major player in the hospitality world”.

Remm agrees. “Dubai is the perfect place to put down roots. When we opened our original location in New York, we wanted to create an experience that married simple, elegant seafood with excellent service and a dynamic, interactive atmosphere. We’ve achieved that and more, aligning Catch with the sort of complete dining and entertainment experience people are really looking for these days.”

Birnbaum and Remm know they need more than a trendy vibe to succeed in Dubai, which is why they chose New York City chef Bobby Griffing to run the kitchen at their new outpost. Griffing, travelling as corporate chef with the American chef Todd English before he signed on with Catch, began his career as a busboy at 16 and spent the next 30 years honing his cookery skills. It’s clear he is passionate about all things food. He says: “I’m blessed to get paid for doing what I love. I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life. My cooking style is fun, bold, clean lines, yet I love old-school. I love fresh produce and I try to go local as much as possible.”

Some of Griffing’s personal dishes on the Dubai menu include his signature devilled eggs, truffle-fried rice and maki rolls. “The culinary scene is huge here, but I feel everyone does the same thing,” he says. “This is why I feel Catch Dubai is bringing something so different. We think outside of the box in such a good way. We have a lot of ‘wow’ dishes on the menu.”

Catch Dubai will focus on seafood and sushi, but there will be a few meat and chicken dishes as well. The menu has not yet been revealed, but count on some of Catch NYC’s most-buzzed-about dishes to be included: perhaps the salmon belly carpaccio; macaroni and lobster cream made with mascarpone; Cantonese lobster; a crab, salmon and miso honey roll that’s torched table-side; or a crispy, whole red snapper.

Griffing is confident the food, the atmosphere and the overall experience at Catch Dubai will keep diners coming back. He says: “The food and the dining room – it’s very New York City. I think Catch Dubai has truly created something that only exists in big cities like New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. I’m excited to be here.”

• Catch Dubai is scheduled to open this month at the Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, operating daily from 6pm to 2am; 04 357 1755

sjohnson@thenational.ae