Note: An earlier version of the story misspelled the name of the new chef. It is Rajesh Ramaih.
We know a little more about the fate of American Gymkhana, the very good fine dining Indian restaurant on Sand Lake Road that announced its imminent closing. As I told you then, the management of AmGym and the investment backers have split due to irreconcilable differences. The American Gymkhana concept — as well as its name — was developed by Rajesh Bhardwaj, a Manhattan restaurateur who was approached by the owners of Raga, the restaurant that occupied the space prior to AmGym, to try to turn the business around.
He did that, at least from a critical standpoint, but people close to the operation tell me that the partners were not happy with the business side of the operation and wanted Bhardwaj to implement changes that he found contrary to the concept.
The chef that Bhardwaj brought in from the kitchens of his Michelin-starred Junoon restaurant in New York, Aarthi Sampath, has left American Gymkhana and is returning to New York (where, it is rumored, Bhardwaj may open an American Gymkhana). Now cooking at Sand Lake Road is Rajesh Ramaih, who recently moved from San Francisco.
Although it was previously reported that American Gymkhana would cease to exist at the end of April, it now looks like it will continue to operate under that name until the middle of May. Then it will be known as Fusion 360. A spokesman at the future Fusion said that the menu would continue to have Indian dishes but would also feature “American” items with an Indian twist — a steak, for instance, marinated in the same ingredients currently used for the lamb chops.
The restaurant is expected to stay open throughout the transition, though the person I spoke with said it may have to close for a few days just prior to the opening, which is projected for May 15.