One of the most hyped and anticipated new restaurants of the year has already lost its star chef: Casey Thompson, who's been toiling in Napa as a private chef for several years following her appearances on Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars, has walked out on Aveline, the Union Square restaurant she opened in June. According to an Eater tipster, the departure is a done deal, but no one has Thompson on the record yet.
SFist has reached out to the Warwick Hotel, which houses the restaurant along with the attached new cocktail spot The European, for comment and confirmation.
Apparently Thompson's frustrations had to do with hotel management and there is, I'll speculate, always the inevitable tension between a hotel that wants to service guests for three meals a day, plus room service, and an ambitious chef who's really only interested in cooking dinner. But whatever the case, this is probably a great disappointment to Thompson, who was looking to make a splash on the S.F. scene this year.
The opening of Aveline was met with lackluster reviews, which may have heightened tensions SF Mag's Josh Sens wrote about some good, and baffling dishes, asking the question, "Where does the line fall between bold cooking and bizarre cooking?", and Michael Bauer dinged the design of the dining room in particular, complimenting most of Thompson's cooking but saying, "she could be great but Aveline isn’t where she shines."
Given that the restaurant was named for Thompson's two grandmothers one who was French and one who was named Hazel, and "aveline" is French for Hazel it seems like the Warwick may switch things up completely if Thompson is indeed out of the picture.