Markus Glocker, Executive Chef & Owner + Katja Scharnagl, Beverage Director of Koloman
Meet Markus Glocker, Executive Chef and Owner, and Katja Scharnagl, Beverage Director at Koloman, a French-Viennese restaurant located at 16 West 29th Street inside NoMad’s Ace Hotel.
1. You’ve defined Koloman as a contemporary French restaurant that blends Parisian creativity with Viennese tradition. Tell us more.
Markus Glocker: After living in NYC for so many years, I always thought about what this city doesn’t have in terms of dining and restaurants. The thought process behind Koloman came along many years ago, but through the pandemic it became more and more clear that a restaurant that brings culture, art, and food together from different parts of the world is something that New Yorkers are always known for, especially after a pandemic to bring people together with a restaurant that is this successful, affordable luxury, was a natural thing to do for me. My training has always been rooted in French cooking, which I love, but going back to my early years of cooking in Vienna, I thought it would be magical to put these two cities together and give it a New York spin. There is nothing more exciting for me to offer great food and great service in a New York space that is energetic, fun, and elegant.
2. Describe your roles and collaboration as Executive Chef/Owner and Beverage Director.
MG: We’re the faces of Koloman. I always love to have a concept when I open a restaurant but I don’t like to call my restaurant a concept. That being said you have a vision and a plan to put it on paper and it is a necessity to make a space like Koloman work. When it comes down to the restaurant and hospitality and people that’s where Katja and myself and the whole team really thrive. I said it before and I’ll say it again. The hospitality industry is all about the people and more so in this day and age. With an open kitchen at Koloman, the excitement is to see the immediate reaction of the diner when wine and food hits the table. The only way to achieve this is to have people on your staff who can connect with people and that connection was one of the key elements to open Koloman, to have a restaurant helmed by a beverage director and a chef who both have been trained in French cuisines and restaurants for many years like Katja and myself where our upbringings and culture are present throughout Koloman. When I thought about team members to bring to the opening of Koloman, the beverage program was a vital piece of the puzzle. The vision of the beverage program was to have an identity: it’s Austria, France, and the U.S., and naturally I thought of Katja to bring those three countries together in one program and that she did.
Katja Scharnagl: Markus gives me free reign and trusts that my wine list will be good. He looks at the wine list and tastes the cocktails.
3. When creating the menu and beverage list, where do you draw your inspiration from?
MG: The great thing about collaborating with Katja, is that we clearly have the same vision on flavor profiles and the way we like to individually dine ourselves. I’ve removed a lot of elements on a dish to be able to identify the clear vision of the space service and food itself. If you see the food at Koloman, you know it’s Markus Glocker and it’s Koloman with the wine list of Katja. It takes many years to create your own style and vision but when you see food or the beverage program at Koloman you know right away it’s Markus and Katja. Inspiration is clarity, finesse without fuss, let the produce we buy speak for itself. We wanted to create a wine list that was fun and approachable but had the caliber of a fine dining experience. The wine list covers both worlds.
4. What are some customer favorites and your recommendations?
MG: There’s nothing specific I recommend to choose from the menu because even though the ingredients are different the flavor profiles are there. For me to dine at Koloman is to have a glass of champagne with gougères to start while exploring the menu and once you’re ready there will be Katja to recommend the perfect wines or cocktails to enhance your dining experience. Do not miss our dessert program since this is what Vienna is all about, and if you’re in the mood to have the true Koloman dining experience go upstairs to try the eau de vies at the mezzanine bar.
KS: All of the wines that we have work well with the chef’s cuisine. The champagne selection is pretty awesome. It hits the ball on the nose with being fairly well priced for our category of restaurants at $60 – $3,000.
5. You are Austrian natives and grew up working in family-owned businesses. For those aspiring to have a career in the culinary arts, what professional advice can you share?
MG: Have thick skin, listen to everything but don’t take everything to heart. Growing up in the business is a good way is to listen to all the pros and cons before deciding to go into this field.
6. When you’re taking a break from the restaurant, how do you like to spend your time in Flatiron and NoMad? What do you love most about these vibrant communities?
MG: I love the NoMad neighborhood for very specific reasons the same way Koloman fits into this neighborhood. This neighborhood has finesse, but it’s still a bit rough around the edges. It’s on the last parts of the city where you can experience old and new New York, having some of the finest dining and restaurants within the reach of your fingertips is special. I love to check out J.B. Prince Company in the morning in case I need any tools for the kitchen, grabbing a quick coffee at Dominique Ansel Workshop, and start my day at Koloman.
KS: The Ivory Peacock is great, Rizzoli Bookstore, and Eataly for a pastry, coffee, and food shopping.
7. Finally, choose three words to describe Flatiron and NoMad.
MG: Real New York neighborhood.
KS: Bustling. Diverse. Innovative.
Header & Thumbnail Photo Credit: Nick Johnson