(TIML NEWS) Sorry, Salt Bae haters — the meat-slinging Instagram star is “here to stay.”
It’s been only a few weeks since Nusret Gökçe’s new steak joint opened in New York, and people are already placing bets on when the restaurant will close following a slew of bad reviews from food critics.
To make things worse, the Turkish butcher’s signature move has landed him in hot water with the Health Department — after an online article pointed out how it was a code violation to handle cooked meals with one’s bare hands.
These things would shake most chefs to their core, but not Salt Bae.
“I love New York,” he told The Post on Wednesday.
“It’s beautiful. There is an energy here,” Gökçe said. “New York is the center of the world — and I’m here to stay.”
Asked about the bad reviews he’s received over the past two weeks, the salt-sprinkling phenom confidently said: “I only have the best meats.”
Health Department officials set their sights on Gökçeafter the website Eater notified the agency about his code violations.
A spokesperson told The Post on Wednesday that the department was “investigating” the infractions, which include “bare hand contact” with food that is “ready to eat” and wearing jewelry on the arms or hands.
Gökçe, who regularly dons a gold watch, seemed to take the Eater article to heart — and began wearing black gloves this week at his Midtown restaurant, Nusr-Et, in an attempt to make things right. He also ditched the fancy wristwear, as well.
“Now I know to wear the black gloves,” Gökçe said.
According to Article 81 in the health code, “food shall be prepared and served without bare hand contact unless the food will be heated.”
Gökçe became an internet sensation after clips of his showy culinary performances — which include slapping big slabs of meat and sprinkling salt down his unshaven forearm — went viral on Instagram.
The Turkish butcher has opened several restaurants, including locations in Turkey, Dubai and Miami. But his moves aren’t sitting well with New Yorkers.
“When [the salt] is on his elbow, I find that to be not the cleanest thing,” explained Chris, a line cook at a nearby restaurant.
There’s hair, definitely hair in there,” another cook said. “I guess you’re paying for the hair.”
One of Salt Bae’s friends, who chose to remain anonymous, insists that people are only hating on the man because they are jealous.
“He’s only been open less than two weeks,” the pal said. “The Haters dont know how to adjust. He’s a good-looking guy and he’s an artist. It’s different from what [people] are used to. He’s setting a new standard.”
Complaints from critics have included high prices, leathery meats and meager portions — but Gökçe isn’t letting the heat get to him.
“There was no soft opening, no friends and family to test out the restaurant. He’s getting the feedback now and he is working with it,” the friend said. “Coming here is like a Broadway show. It’s an experience. He doesn’t need to follow the same rules as everyone else — but he will when it comes to the health department.”