Restaurateur Suzanne Blech partners with local entrepreneurs and business owners to share, inspire and entertain during weekday lunch. The first event features sculptor and mixed media artist Simone Kestelman on Thursday, December 1st.
Orienta restaurant located at 55 Lewis Street next to sister restaurant Le Penguin is introducing a luncheon event series this winter. The series will include shopping and feature meet-and-greet opportunities with local artisans, fashion and accessory designers along with other inspirational business owners. The first event is scheduled for Thursday, December 1st at noon with renowned artist, Simone Kestelman of Scarsdale, New York. Reservations are required and a two-course prix-fixe lunch is included for the price of $35.
Kestelman is a sculptor and multi-media artist working in glass, ceramics, and photography. Her work speaks to archetypal themes of life, death, love, violence, and ambition. She began working in ceramics in her hometown of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil when she was only 7 years old. Kestelman has exhibited her work internationally in solo exhibitions and has been cited in The Brooklyn Rail, Nyack News & Views, Scarsdale Inquirer, WAG Magazine, Westchester Magazine, and Cottages & Gardens to name a few. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Newark Museum of Art and private collections in Brazil, the United States, and Europe. Simone lives and works in Westchester County, New York.”I’m a huge fan of what the Blech family is doing at Orienta and their other restaurants, I’m a longtime customer and I look forward to launching this event series with them! I will have my new collection of ceramic jewelry for sale at the event with pieces inspired by the camellia flower,” explained Kestelman.
Kestelman will speak to guests about her experience while they enjoy lunch items from Orienta’s one-of-a-kind French and Asian-inspired menu. New menu items include the Chin-Chin Paillard and Vietnamese Savory Crepe. “Operating a restaurant is a lot like producing a Broadway show,” said restaurant owner Suzanne Blech, a former model, and film executive. She continued, “The entire team works together for the production to be successful and our goal with this event series is to create a memorable experience for our guests. An experience that will make a bigger impact”. Through this program, the restaurant will share the stage with people, brands, and artists that appeal to its customer base. Each event collaborator is hand-selected by Blech and the Maitre d’, her daughter-in-law, Kate.
The idea to add special events to weekday lunch is a response to the restaurant’s exciting story and interesting cast of characters. Orienta first opened in the Upper East Side in 1995 as a result of Blech’s husband, Antoine, working at two iconic NYC restaurants, Le Bilboquet and Le Colonial. Back then, [Antoine] Blech was a Westchester County-based husband and father with two small children. He decided to open his first New York City restaurant and combined a cozy bistro ambiance with Asian flavors that resulted in a distinct space and captured rave reviews. A decade ago he closed its doors and transitioned his focus to Connecticut with the opening of Le Penguin in Greenwich, and later Le Fat Poodle in Old Greenwich. Once the right space opened nearby the Blech’s decided to reopen Orienta and bring the beloved restaurant’s magic to Fairfield County now with Suzanne at the helm.
Known for welcoming guests who are more like family and friends to the restaurant, Blech’s son Adrien is the talented Executive Chef leading the kitchen. As the director of operations, she is a matriarch that works side by side with the next generation. Since opening the restaurant in the spring of 2020, Blech has hosted several shopping events with local fashion retailers. These events were well attended and generated thousands of dollars in sales for vendors like Walker & Wade and Blazers by Design. “Structuring an event series with a storytelling angle allows our guests to enjoy Chef’s delicious food while they are entertained and make new connections. We will also emphasize an opportunity to shop for really unique items as this is something our customers will love,” she explained.
Blech is a dedicated businesswoman with a passion for cultivating a space that is inspiring and memorable. “We designed the restaurant to be an escape. When guests dine at Orienta they feel like they’re traveling ” said Blech. The restaurant’s French and Asian cuisine has a heavy Vietnamese influence and is just as “instagrammable” as the restaurant’s interiors. It was recently used for a couple of fashion and accessory photoshoots. The juxtaposition of a unique menu and whimsical interior sets this restaurant far apart from anywhere else in the area. And the personality that comes with it adds a charismatic charm that is hard to find. Blech jokes that a successful restaurant owner can always find a pair of reading glasses or an umbrella, as these items are often left behind by satisfied customers.
“I’m excited to welcome new faces to the restaurant and expand our reach further into Fairfield and Westchester County with this new lunch program. I believe it will be a win-win-win for everyone”, said Blech. Orienta is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and only for dinner on Sunday. Visit Orienta online to learn more or book a reservation (orientarestaurant.com).
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Antoine Blech originally opened Orienta restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 1995. Over two decades later Blech and his wife Suzanne reopened the iconic French and Asian-inspired restaurant in Greenwich with a menu that is highlighted by Vietnamese flavors. Today, this restaurant is truly a family affair, their son, Chef Adrien Blech joins their team as Executive Chef with his impressive resume of over 13 years working at world-renowned establishments such as Le Bernardin, Soho House LA, Le Royal Monceau, Guy Savoy, in addition to sister restaurants, Le Penguin, and Le Fat Poodle. Chef Blech’s multi-talented wife, Kate is maitre d’ and mother to their 1-year-old daughter who Antoine and Suzanne hope will be leading the team one day in the future.