Film Society Brings Award-Winning Restaurateur Into Fold

Posted by on 9.7.2011

NEW YORK, NY (Sept. 7, 2011) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center, America’s pre-eminent New York-based non-profit film organization, announced today that its new landmark state-of-the-art Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center has brought the award-winning chef and restaurateur Jason Denton (‘ino, ‘inoteca, cucina, ‘inoteca e liquori bar, corsino cantina and Betto) onboard to oversee the culinary operations at the Film Center’s onsite lounge café and concessions. The new café, Indie Food & Wine, will open next week and was designed by renowned architect and designer David Rockwell, who was also credited with the design of the new Film Center. The café will further cement the Film Society’s presence on the Lincoln Center campus as a destination and a meeting place, from early in the morning to late into the evening.

“Everything about our new Film Center is cutting edge, and we felt strongly that Jason Denton’s persona, vision, and taste made him the perfect match to lead the culinary charge for our team,” said Rose Kuo, Executive Director of the Film Society.

Jason Denton’s cuisine has Italian roots, which will remain the backbone of the menu at Indie Food & Wine, along with a heavy helping of Mediterranean-influence, which will allow for flexibility and variety in the dishes guests can enjoy. Executive Chef Rebecca Weitzman, who will oversee the kitchen and menus, is the chef and proprietor of Park Slope’s Thistle Hill Tavern and a veteran of Jason Denton’s ‘inoteca cucina. Prior to joining ‘inoteca, she held several positions at Bar Americain, Bolo and Mesa Grill.

“Working with Lincoln Center and the Film Society has been a fantastic experience,” Jason Denton says. “I love films and the excitement of going to the movies, so being involved with this project is incredible! From the beginning, the vision has been to bring our unique downtown vibe and feel to this venue. Like all of our restaurants, Indie Food & Wine will offer casual, fresh, and delicious fare.”

Denton and Weitzman are planning an innovative approach to the café and communal dining experience, quick and friendly service to stay or to go, made with quality and simple ingredients.  Breakfast will feature organic granola, steel cut oatmeal, fresh fruit, a myriad of pastries, and our signature Panini—Camembert and apricot jam or Heritage bacon, cheddar, and tomato. Lunch and dinner will offer composed sandwich and salad options and à la carte proteins, with sides and sauces. Sandwiches include Organic Chicken Breast with dill yogurt, feta, and tomatoes; Duck Leg Confit with Black Mission Fig Jam. Fresh market salads; Greenmarket Chopped, Bitter Green Goddess and Chickpea, Mozzarella, and Black Olive, among others. The daily selection of rotating Proteins (served with choice of one side or half salad and one sauce) includes House-Smoked Trout; House Roasted Organic Turkey Breast; Pork Belly; Heritage Bacon; and more. Sides, such as Greek-Style Fingerling Potato Salad, Roasted Asparagus, Romanesco and Almonds, Spicy Sicilian-Style Cauliflower, and more will accompany a variety of ever changing sauces.

The Concession, like the café, will offer organic and locally sourced items, including a variety of gourmet popcorn; butter and sea salt, parmesan-black truffle, Chile-lime, and salted caramel. The Concession will also offer other movie-snacks such as a House-made Pretzel with Whole Grain Beer Mustard; Organic Beef Hot Dog with Pickled Green Tomato Relish; Brooklyn-made Artisanal Chocolates, alongside “Classic Movie Candies” including Junior Mints, Mary Janes, and licorice.

The Rockwell Group selected industrial, salvaged and repurposed materials for Indie Food & Wine to suggest an environment that is not built on exclusivity but is more direct about the execution of its craft. An oil-rubbed walnut wall frames both the main counter and concession counter opening to the lobby. A perforated blackened metal band forms the base of the wall, creating a visual linkage to metal panels in the theater. The east end wall is composed of an alternating series of curved plywood panels and perforated metal wine display racks. The curved panels, which evoke film being pulled out of its reels, were designed by Brooklyn artist Susan Woods, who salvages panels from lumber yards, and re-purposes and re-combines them to create organic shapes. The lighting fixtures, which were customized by Rockwell Group and designed and fabricated by Rich Brilliant Willing (RBW), are comprised of blackened steel hang rods with hand blown pendant lamps by Danish designer Sofie Refer.

In 1998, Denton opened the diminutive, but highly successful, ‘ino in New York City’s West Village. Known for its robust Italian wine list and delicious menu, the award-winning restaurant built a loyal following and is often credited with being at the forefront of the burgeoning popularity of both Italian specialty sandwiches and wine bars in the United States. Building off the success of ‘ino, Denton went on to open ‘inoteca, an authentic Italian cucina with an award-winning menu and wine list, which serves up simple but sophisticated Panini, Antipasti, and small plates. Also in 1998, Denton worked with chefs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich to open Lupa Osteria Romana, where he remained a partner for 11 years.  In winter of 2009, Denton opened ‘inoteca e liquori bar, which features an expanded menu and an innovative cocktail program spearheaded by renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. In the fall of 2009, Denton opened corsino cantina, a rustic Italian wine bar and restaurant in the West Village, and most recently, in July 2011, Betto opened its doors in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Denton was awarded the StarChefs.com “Rising Star Restaurateur of the Year” award for New York City in 2008. The same year, Food & Wine, in their annual tastemaker awards dubbed Denton an “Italian food emissary.” He has co-authored two cookbooks, Simple Italian Sandwiches and Simple Italian Snacks, both published by HarperCollins.

The new Film Center, which officially opened on June 17th, houses 2 theaters and an amphitheater. The 150-seat Francesca Beale Theater and the intimate 90-seat Howard Gilman Theater show new specialized film releases. The Gilman also offers special programs. The 90-seat amphitheater, with a 152” Panasonic Plasma screen (the largest of its kind on public display in the country) houses lectures, panels and educational programs.

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About Film Society of Lincoln Center
Under the leadership of Rose Kuo, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, the Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, now in its 49th year, and New Directors/New Films which since its founding in 1972 has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award - now named "The Chaplin Award" - to a major figure in world cinema. Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.  The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from 42BELOW, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, please visit www.filmlinc.com.

About Rockwell Group
Rockwell Group is an award winning, cross-disciplinary 140-person architecture and design firm specializing in cultural, hospitality, retail, product, and set design. Based in New York, with a satellite office in Madrid, the firm crafts a unique narrative and an immersive environment for each project. Rockwell’s interest in theater has informed much of the firm’s work, including: W Hotel New York, Union Square and Paris-Opèra; the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel; Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York; the central Marketplace of the JetBlue terminal at JFK Airport; set design for the 2009 and 2010 Academy Awards ceremonies; the Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles; Nobu restaurants worldwide; set design for Broadway’s “Hairspray;” and the Imagination Playground initiative.  In May 2010 David Rockwell was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. He was also honored with the 2009 Pratt Institute Legends Award, and the 2008 National Design Award for Interior Design from Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt. For more information, please visit www.rockwellgroup.com.

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