On March 31, Empellón Taqueria will host another taco tasting with brand-new tacos, like crab cake with sea-urchin guacamole, grilled shrimp with charred grapefruit and pumpkin seed salsa, and bacon with sesame and salsa negra. Just like the first one, it’s $55 per head and seatings are available from 6 to 9:30 p.m. [Grub Street]
La Vara celebrates its anniversary this month with its first-ever winemaker’s dinner, welcoming representatives from Castellroig as part of a five-course tasting menu with pairings. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. [Grub Street]
This weekend, Mas (farmhouse) launches a new prix fixe brunch menu. Highlights include a housemade bialy with salmon gravlax and horseradish cream, as well as a frittata with Swiss chard, black truffle, and hen of the woods mushrooms. [Grub Street]
Hollywood restaurant Pink's — known for its chili dogs, as well as its bacon-chili-cheese dogs with chopped tomatoes, as well as its mozzarella-topped Giada de Laurentiis hot dog — is opening a vendor stand within Bristol, Connecticut's Lake Compounce amusement park, where it joins (of course) kiosks and restaurants like Fried Bats, the Croc Pot Cafeteria, and the Funnel Cake Factory.
Josh Horowitz of MTV News bumped into Jeff Goldblum on the street downtown, and after the pair chatted about The Grand Budapest Hotel, the actor invited the Horowitz to Goldblums, his brand-new restaurant, and well, things seem to have gotten a bit weird after that. As these things tend to go, this one's got a surprise twist ending that veers toward full-on Goldblumian horror, but, to be honest, the thing that's really really troubling here is how much Goldblum's looks like Pravda in Noho. It's spooky.
We've known for a while that the acclaimed Mexico City-based chef is expanding his base of operations beyond Pujol this spring with the opening of what he says will be a "very casual" restaurant in Flatiron. Kate Krader at Food & Wine has got the first real details: The place is called Cosme, and Olvera will be serving things like uni tostadas "on a bed of smoked tomatillos," which sound delicious. More good news here. [F&W, Related]
Sylvain Chomet (The Illusionist, The Triplets of Belleville) gets a crack at directing and animating a very Frenchified Simpsons opening. In his take on the familiar scene, Homer has a pencil mustache and chows down on a jumbo bucket of snails, while Bart digs into his "DIY Goose Liver Pâté" kit and Lisa looks on with horror before consoling herself with an accordion. Better enjoy that escargot while you still can, Homer. [Vulture, Related]
This week, word spread that Per Se, Thomas Keller's ultra-high-end restaurant, received an excruciating 42 points during its most recent health inspection. It currently has a "grade pending" while the staff addresses the issues and Keller awaits a hearing on the grade. The media loved this story: NBC ran with "Exclusive NYC Restaurant, Per Se, Gets Enough Health Violations for "C" Grade." The Guardian went with the less-accurate "Michelin-starred restaurant Per Se earns 'C' grade from health inspectors." These headlines, and the many others like them, all imply the same thing: Fancy-Ass Restaurant Is Dirty As Hell. But the reality is that as a medium, the confusion between letter grades and violations points has less to do with any immediate threat to diners and more to do with the the health department's inscrutable rules. And the agency's online reports are so opaque that they don't offer diners, or restaurants, any useful information.
The East Village restaurant will begin its new "Cook Takeover Series" on March 10, in which a line cook will get to add his or her three best original dishes to join the regular menu for the night. First up is Casey Kusaka, whose dishes will include a char siu pork bun and a dessert involving mochi. More details are here. [Momofuku LP]
A reminder: Beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 3 p.m. today, Shake Shack is marrying its frozen vanilla custard with Stumptown Coffee (and a touch of Jacobsen Salt Co.) to produce a limited-edition affogato. This is going down at the coffee company's Brew Bar on West 8th Street. [Stumptown, Earlier]
With the Oscar festivities in full swing, many A-listers spent the week donning designer gowns and attending star-studded parties in L.A.. But here in NYC, Todd English engaged in some salacious antics in the Meatpacking District, Ja Rule celebrated his birthday at an izakaya, and Jimmy Fallon put on an impromptu performance at Bill's Food & Drink. Read all about it, straight ahead.
There is such a thing as a free lunch after all: The fast-casual chain is commemorating the opening of its 37th Manhattan store by doing what it always does — easing into business and warming up the kitchen by giving away large amounts of food at no charge. Customers are being asked to visit 319 Broadway (at Thomas Street) this morning to pick up a voucher, then return between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to redeem it. Supplies are limited. [Related]
A bit of news to warm the cockles of your heart: Delancey Street seafood restaurant Grey Lady has taken custody of the very cool, bright-red neon that illuminated midtown's Famous Oyster Bar for several decades. Partner Ryan Chadwick tells Bowery Boogie that the double signs will next shine brightly over Grey Lady. Famous Oyster Bar closed in January. [Bowery Boogie, Related]
Hironori Ikeno started off making these miniscule bites of sushi as a joke about a decade ago, in his restaurant in Tokyo's Nohachi district. Each piece of fish is delicately sliced and handled the same way any normal-size portion would be, except each micro-bite is crowned atop a single grain of rice. Ikeno presents a plate of octopus, tamago, and a few cuts of otoro, some or which come saddled to the rice with a thin band of nori. One loyal customer says the single-grain sushi may be tiny, but thanks to microscopic amounts of Japanese radish and chili used as seasonings, she claims her meal packed a lot of flavor.
Twenty-year-old actress AnnaSophia Robb — the star of The Carrie Diaries and The Way Way Back — has some time off at the moment, which means she can enjoy living in Williamsburg and "catching up on life." But that doesn't mean she's out raging at clubs every night with famous starlets: Robb's life in the city is calm and grounded. She eats grilled-cheese sandwiches at her yoga studio, goes to Chipotle with friends, and stays in to cook with her boyfriend. This week, Robb also found time to attend her first-ever Knicks game and indulge her sweet tooth at One Lucky Duck, Cookshop, and Gramercy Terrace. Read it all in this week's Grub Street Diet.
Daruma-ya, an Izakaya and soba house, will replace Tribeca’s Greenwich Grill in April. The 60-seat restaurant will serve a menu featuring duck, Japanese bottarga, and sashimi sobas alongside a selection of sake, beer, Japanese whiskies, and craft cocktails. [Grub Street]
Free food alert: Shake Shack is teaming up with Stumptown Coffee and Jacobsen Salt Co. on a limited-edition affogato, which they will serve up for free tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. at Stumptown’s brew bar on West 8th and MacDougal Streets. [Shakeshack/Instagram]
Steak lovers rejoice: Osteria Morini in Soho is now offering their 32-ounce 120-day dry-aged tomahawk steak along with two sides for $115 dollars every Wednesday. [Grub Street]
Perpetually busy Yakitori Totto spinoff Totto Ramen, which has two New York locations, is reportedly opening in Allston next to a branch of sports bar Tavern in the Green. A Chowhound user spotted the sign at a restaurant under construction that bears the Totto name, as well as its distinctive rooster logo. [Chowhound, Related]
There's nothing at all questionable about a line of Charles Bukowski—themed beer that promotes literacy in comparison to this completely objectionable use of the likeness of the Notorious B.I.G. by L.A.-based juice company Clover, to promote its latest line of "cleanses." A reader at Eater points out that March 9, which Clover Juice has dubbed #JUICYDAY, is the 17th anniversary of the late rapper's murder.
All your MFA-student friends will no doubt put a fist of joy (or two) through the nearest sheetrock wall once you inform them that writing legend Charles Bukowski is finally getting his own line of commemorative beer. The new project, which will continue throughout the year, originated at Boston's Bukowski Tavern, which is one of several establishments around the world either named for or in honor of the famous author, who liked drinking. (This includes Post Office in Williamsburg, incidentally.)
Thirsty NYC spots the coffee shop's distinctive logo in the window of the old Manhattan Art Gallery Space at 568 Sixth Avenue in Chelsea, along with a sign that reads “Coming As Soon As We Can.” The mini-chain, which has an outpost in South Korea, opened its first shop on Mercer Street in 2006. This will be its sixth in Manhattan. [Thirsty NYC ]
Art Bouvier, a New Orleans native who owns a Cajun restaurant in Indianapolis, claims to be genuinely shocked that people were offended when he posted a photo of himself in full-on blackface makeup, along with the phrases "Chocolate Soda" and "get down with the brown," on Papa Roux's Facebook page. "I could not be possibly prepared for the tensions I'm feeling today," he tells local NBC affiliate WTHR, explaining that his makeup was actually in tribute to the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club krewe, who've donned similar makeup, along with elaborate costumes, on Mardi Gras for more than 100 years. (By the looks of his gray sweatshirt, Bouvier seems to have left his krewe costume at home.) He further explains that "chocolate soda" was also not racist, but instead is a reference to the "newly introduced, locally-crafted" chocolate soda he's holding in the photo.