A Grand Birthday Dinner: Kate Rheinstein Brodsky

Possessing effortless self confidence to freely entertain in one’s home is something many people spend a lifetime trying to achieve. For others it comes as naturally as breathing and Kate Rheinstein Brodsky would be one of those people. She can as easily host a fun seated dinner for sixteen or swinging cocktail party for eighty without a second thought. All the while being a mom to three youngsters and running the renowned New York store KRB. As the only daughter of noted designer and hostess Suzanne Rheinstein, it comes as no surprise that the shop is known for its exquisite selection of objets and is a favorite resource for many top designers and other style savvy types. 
Some readers may recognize the dining room from the pages of a not too distant past issue of Elle Decor. The apartment was featured and was the cover of the May 2015 issue. 

The splendid dining room features an amazing geometric painted floor 
and a table that expands to seat sixteen. 

Tell me about the occasion and meal you made:

This is the table set for an intimate birthday party for my dear friend, Charlotte. I have three small children and most often when we entertain, it’s either casually for weekend brunch or festively for cocktail parties of 80+(I like everything to look just as good for 8 as it does for 80). So when I have a dinner party, I really like to make it special and use all my most favorite things. For Charlotte, I wanted the food to feel Special Occasion-y, and so I started with a salad of mache and butter lettuce with walnuts, pear and Roquefort, and then served sliced filet, green beans, and potatoes dauphinoise. Though I’ve found Ina Garten’s recipe for filet to be foolproof, I am not going to lie—I ordered this from Mitchell London. I made the yellow cake with swiss meringue buttercream frosting and decorated it with sugared pansies I found on Etsy. 
A beautiful setting for an elegant table.

What influences your menu choices when you entertain?

For me entertaining is not a time to experiment with food. I love trying new things, but that is why I go to restaurants!  
Almost any recipe I didn’t lift from my mother, I stole from Julia Reed. 
Julia wrote these fabulous food columns for the NYTimes magazine in the 90s and I kept them all. The BEST recipes and ideas. I also tend to make things that my mother (who is from New Orleans) cooks for parties—jambalaya and butter lettuce salads with green goddess dressings for lunch on your lap (ie a buffet), country ham and rolls, hot artichoke dip, pencil asparagus and pink sauce for cocktail suppers; turkey chili and corn bread with lots of toppings for early dinners with other families. I love to read cookbooks and to be honest, I probably read them more than I cook FROM them! My mother does not bake or make sweets, so I taught myself to.

Kate Rheinstein Brodsky 

Kate's 3 tips, tricks or must haves.
Always have enough wine and spirits. It may actually be a fate worse than death to run out of wine. Much better to have excess!

Choose to NOT make (at least) part of the meal. Many people happily buy dessert for their dinner parties. I love to bake, so often I will make dessert and pick up dinner from Mitchell London or William Poll.

Buy tableware, glassware, and linens in quantities of 12 or more. It gives you flexibility for breakage, loss, stains...

William Yeoward crystal and Julia B. monogramed napkins.

Who or what has most inspired your entertaining style?

One of the best things about being an only child was that my parents brought me not everywhere but to MANY places. And I just sort of soaked it all in. I got to tag along with my mother on weekends at Gep Durenberger’s in San Juan Capistrano and I was 8 the first time I went to Dawnridge for a dinner party.  Clearly my mother is a huge influence on me . For beautiful unpretentious entertaining, I look to Bunny Williams. For insanely good food and insanely good times, Julia Reed. My mother-in-law, Esty Brodsky, sets a supremely elegant table, TOO.

The birthday girls crown made by Weddy Addison from Tinsel Trading

Has anyone been a strong influence in teaching you the l’art de recevoir? 

My mother, AGAIN! For her, entertaining is as natural as taking a breath. She is graciousness personified. She excels at bringing interesting people together for good food in beautiful settings.  I have always loved that she puts as much thought and energy into making up trays for the two us for lunch in her garden as she does to a sit-down for 36. That said, I think the best thing she taught me is that once the party starts—you just have to let go and have a good time. For sure, something unexpected will happen – an extra guest, a dropped plate, a power outage—but it’s usually nothing an extra bottle of wine, a broom, or more candles can't fix. She is also positively evangelical about candlelight — it hides a multitude of sins. From dust to that tart that broke in half, it all looks fine in low light. 

“Turn that overhead light up so it can cast shadows all over my face," said No Woman Ever. 

Dessert service: candies, Laduree Macarons (not shown) and a homemade 
birthday cake made by Kate.

Do you have a favorite china or tabletop item that you collect?

I collect antique Chinese export (Sacred Bird and Butterfly) which I mix with the reissued Mottahedeh version. I also love Flight Barr and Barr, especially an orange border with a big gadrooned edge and an armorial in the center . . . OH, I also have a pathological weakness for Vieux Paris porcelain with simple bands of color and gilt.  Especially in colors that look like they are from a Smarties roll . . . YOU KNOW THE ONES? LOVE! 

An assortment of roses, sweet peas, poppies and ranunculus made up the arrangements for the table. by Plaza Flowers

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