Trouble on East 65th Street: Why Does Daniel Keep Losing Stars?

Daniel Boulud.Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The biggest news in this year's announcement of New York City's Michelin stars, by far, is the demotion of Daniel Boulud's Daniel from three stars to two — another blow for a restaurant that's weathered its share of bad news recently. Last summer the Times also knocked a star off its rating, and this past spring, Daniel dropped from No. 29 to No. 40 on that global 50 Best Restaurant List. These are still outstanding honors for most restaurants, but a slow, steady slide down three major rankings for the world's finest dining destinations is bad news for a business built on the premise that it offers its guests the very best food and the very best service on a nightly basis (and charges accordingly). That's especially true for a restaurant like Daniel that, as recently as ten years ago, was still considered by many to be the very pinnacle of fine dining in New York City, if not the entire United States.

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Joël Robuchon Will Open His Comeback Restaurant in Lower Manhattan

Joël is in a New York state of mind, just like that other Joel guy.Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Joël Robuchon tells Florence Fabricant that just like Ace Frehley, he's back in a New York groove. In fact, the highly esteemed French chef will open a much larger and most definitely spiffier version of his L'Atelier, which closed at The Four Seasons in the summer of 2012. This time, though, instead of a midtown address, Robuchon's got a whopping 11,000 square feet to work with, and the new restaurant will be the "jewel in the crown" of Brookfield Place. Yes, that's 11,000 square feet.

Robuchon cubed. »

PepsiCo Wants to Patent Granola Bars Stuffed With Pop Rocks

Snap, crackle, and pop.

Right now in some windowless PepsiCo food lab, scientists are doing crazy and secret things to everybody's favorite exploding candy — enough, at least, to convince the Quaker Oats parent company it's time to go after a patent. Sure, companies file preemptively for all kinds oft-trademarked things, all the time, but a healthy-ish granola bar sold with some sugary, carbonated land mines embedded right in there seems so trashy it's destined to become a reality.

All-natural? »

Here Are the 2015 Michelin Stars for New York City

Who's he waving at?Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The little red guidebook announced its "Bib Gourmand" picks for New York City last week, and this afternoon Michelin published its collection of starred restaurants for its 2015 guide. Most notably, Daniel Boulud's flagship lost a star — it now has two instead of three — while Brooklyn's River Café, which was decimated by Hurricane Sandy, is now back on the list. The surprises include Patti Jackson's Delaware and Hudson, the sleepy Carroll Gardens restaurant Take Root, and Pok Pok Ny. The full list is straight ahead.

Blanca is now a two-star place. »

Rage Against the Machine Is Now Just Raging Against a Neighborhood Café

Ready to rage.Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

After rocking a solo performance this weekend in Seattle benefiting 15 Now, a group devoted to promoting a $15 minimum wage citywide for workers, Rage guitarist Tom Morello tried to waltz himself and his entourage into Seattle's 5 Point Cafe. The place was at capacity, however, and had quite the queue backed up outside already, so its doorman, "who's told bigger rock stars than him no," informed Morello they'd just have to wait their turn like everybody else. Upon hearing the news, the guitarist pulled out his phone to vent — where else at 4 a.m.? — on Twitter. Morello slammed the place, of course, but it turns out the restaurant's owner had some fighting words of his own.

"Just lost a ton of respect for you ..." »

New York’s Best New Bakery Is Located in an Office-Building Lobby

The aroma of freshly baked bread wafts through the lobby at 40 Worth.Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev

These days it’s possible to eat just about anything anywhere. And if you’re a roving omnivore like the Underground Gourmet, you don’t restrict your calorific intake to a particular setting — certainly not to your own kitchen or the type of restaurant that spoils its guests with actual chairs with backs and tables with legs. You may, in fact, have recently slurped oysters aboard a creaky old schooner docked along the Hudson, grabbed a ramen burger in the gravel-strewn lot of a hipster gastroflea, or maybe ordered a nice lamb-face salad in a Flushing mall basement. But when was the last time you tucked into a first-rate pain au chocolat in a downtown office building hallway? Probably never. Which is why we recommend you buzz over to the new Arcade Bakery in Tribeca. Otherwise your Unusual-Places-in-Which-I-Have-Eaten checklist is in grave peril of becoming obsolete.

The wafting aroma of freshly baked bread was its only advertisement... »

McDonald’s Japan Rolls Out Its Own Black Cheeseburger

No black cheese? Come on.

Maybe McDonald's saw Burger King's black-bunned and shiny black-cheese-topped burger and promptly rushed this anticlimactic thing into production? In any event, as part of a Halloween-themed duo, the "Squid Ink" burger has two patties, fried onions, and plain cheese. There's also a mysterious-looking jet black sauce, and the limited-edition burger is now available at three Tokyo branches.

Oh, no. »

The Not-So-New Guy: Chef Jamie Bissonnette’s Big Year in New York

"New York started off by punching me in the face, but now it's giving me a hug."Photo: Liz Clayman

When chef Jamie Bissonnette won his James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northeast earlier this year, he celebrated by whipping out his flask. It wasn't for him, though. Instead, Bissonnette — the chef and owner of Coppa and Toro in Boston, as well as the year-old Toro outpost in New York — passed it around to friends, family, chefs, total strangers, and whoever was close by. "I always have a flask when I go to events because I'm socially weird," he explains. "I just have it so that I can be the one to supply it."

"New York started off by punching me in the face." »

The 11 Strangest Starbucks Locations on the Planet

Sadly, the Starbucks in the Forbidden City closed down in 2007.Photo: Mr. Tickle/Wikimedia

"There's probably a Starbucks coffeehouse near you," the coffee chain's online store locator says, which turns out to be truer than you may imagine. As part of its generalized world-domination schematic, the green mermaid has infiltrated some of the most remote, highly patrolled, and otherwise deepest corners of society. For a long time, perhaps the oddest Starbucks on Earth could be found within the Forbidden City in Beijing, but that one closed down in 2007. Several more unusual and far-flung coffee counters have opened all over the world since then; here are a few of them.

At the top of a mountain. »

09/29/14

Here’s an 8,000-Calorie Breakfast That Requires a Signed Waiver to Eat

No, seriously, there isn't room for all that.Photo: Bear Grills/Facebook

The fry-up, with its eggs and bread and beans, is a real gut-buster of the British breakfast already, but a north England café called Bear Grills — get it? — has now created one so intense and gimmicky that owner Mark Winder makes intrepid customers sign a waiver absolving the restaurant of damages "arising from any injury received or incurred" through any attempt to finish it.

There's a kids' version. »

Celebrity Chefs Gina and Pat Neely Are Divorcing

They've been married for 20 years.Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Gina and Pat Neely, the hosts of the Food Network's Down Home With the Neelys and restaurateurs behind Neely's Barbecue Parlor on the Upper East Side, announced Friday that they will divorce after 20 years of marriage. People reports the pair's split in the most celebrity-chef-like way possible, noting that in the past year Gina gravitated toward a "weight-loss challenge" sponsored by George Foreman Grill, while Pat pursued a separate opportunity doing food and cooking videos with Family Dollar.

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Enrique Olvera’s Anticipated Restaurant Cosme Now Accepts Reservations

Cosme’s hamachi tiradito.

We've been looking forward to Cosme, the first New York restaurant from the Mexico City-based chef Enrique Olvera, for a while, after hearing about plans for "single-origin" tortillas and uni tostadas served with smoked tomatillos. Now here's news that the virtual reservations line has opened up, and the restaurant appears to be taking names for à la carte service from October 28 onward. Bring on the mezcal-and-chile-pepper-spiked clam chowder. [Official site via Eater, Related]

Hong Kong McDonald’s Rolls Out a Mysterious ‘Batman’ Burger

There are Squeezy Cheesy Fries under that utility belt.Photo: jc1593/imgur

It may not be the most thematically cohesive bit of fast-food merchandising, but maybe the Batman Double Diner Beef Burger is clearly the stunt hamburger Hong Kong needs now? Blissfully unconnected to either the TV show Gotham or the 2016 movie sequel, the Hong Kong McDonald's burger arrives on the scene immediately following the end of a terrible food-supply scandal. Perhaps the fast-food chain realized the only way to trump Burger King Japan's horrible-looking black cheeseburger was by bringing in the Dark Knight himself. In any case, very few things scream "vigilante justice" louder than Squeezy Cheesy Fries with a Sparkling Green Apple Tea on the side.

You've Gotham be kidding me ... »

Grand Banks Will Close Out the Season With Hot Toddies, Clam Chowder, and $1 Oysters

This boat is going on hiatus in one months' time.Photo: Melissa Hom

New York's premier oyster bar on a boat will batten down the hatches and do all kinds of other nautical things right after October 31, when the Sherman Zwicker goes on hiatus for the colder months. Partners Mark Firth, Adrien Gallo, Miles Pincus, and Alex Pincus say there are some renovations planned for the historic fishing schooner, which has been docked in Tribeca all summer, so it'll sail up the Hudson. For the final few weeks, however, they're adding an oyster happy hour and some new dishes.

Clam and chorizo chowder. »

This Restaurant Gives a Gun Discount to Customers Who Prove They’re Armed

It's family night!

Gun-loving and food-establishment-owning Louisiana resident Kevin Cox is running a special deal at his place, Bergeron's Boudin & Cajun Meats of Port Allen, which rewards his like-minded customers: If you pack heat in addition to eating it, he says, you'll get a 10 percent discount on all your sausage, stuffed hamburger, and po' boy needs. "I just need to see a weapon. I need you to be carrying a gun," he says.

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How Nobu’s Most Famous Dish Helped Launch a Global Restaurant Empire

Still miso-glazed after all these years.Photo: Courtesy of Nobu

This year, Nobu's flagship location in Tribeca celebrates its 20th anniversary. It's hard to believe, but there was once a time when every metropolis in the world didn't have a Nobu outpost. It may be equally hard to believe there was also a time when the restaurant's signature black cod with miso hadn't become an international phenomenon. Yet there were signs two decades ago, when the very first Nobu opened at 105 Hudson Street: The soy-slicked fish was a must-order, called out even in the restaurant's earliest reviews. A kind of fame ensued, and today, black cod with miso is essentially shorthand for the Nobu empire itself. But in fact, as chef Nobu Matsuhisa and his famous partners expanded the restaurant portfolio from one to two to a dozen, and now, some thirty-plus Nobus, it happened that miso black cod wasn't simply delicious, it also turned out to be the ideal dish to help launch a global brand.

"Certain dishes are like the obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey ..." »

Here’s Where to Get Free (or Very Cheap) Coffee Today

The best part of waking up is either free or doesn't cost a lot today.Photo: Shutterstock

Normally, we have a very low tolerance for fake national food holidays, but we can't ignore the crucial fact that many, many cups of coffee today are discounted or complimentary because it's "National Coffee Day." Predictably, it's mostly chains going in on this, but here you go.

Go to it. »

The Amy’s Baking Company Couple Is Back, Threatening to Stab Someone

They were doing so well up until now.Photo: FOX

Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares may be over, but Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, the proprietors of the Scottsdale restaurant featured in two of the show's nuttiest episodes ever, are apparently still causing trouble and making headlines for everything except for their food. Details are sketchy, but witnesses say that a drunk customer provoked the husband-and-wife restaurateurs and was asked to leave the restaurant. He did, but the altercation spilled out onto the sidewalk, and Samy charged at the customer with a knife. "You're going to go to jail for the rest of your life," an onlooker said. "Think about what you're doing."

The video, straight ahead. »

09/28/14

Restaurant Review: At elan, Downtown-Dining Pioneer David Waltuck Dates Himself

Photo: Sarah Silberg/New York Magazine

If you’d asked me a decade or so ago to identify the most likely survivors from the generation of “superstar” chefs who roamed the city’s fine-dining landscape like dinosaurs before the great gourmet apocalypse, David Waltuck would have been right at the top of the list. After all, he was incorporating fusion ingredients from the markets in Flushing and Chinatown into his cooking while David Chang and Danny Bowien were still shooting spitballs in grade school. In addition to his considerable skills as a classical chef (at Chanterelle), he’s also an accomplished bistro cook (at Le Zinc), and if you’re looking for a primer on the Great Kitchen Slave Revolution, a good place to start is Waltuck’s durably excellent cookbook Staff Meals, which was published in 2000 and contains seminal chef-savvy recipes for now-trendy comfort-food specialties like burgers, fried chicken, and even a corn dog.

"...begins in a promising way but loses a little of its creative steam..." »

09/26/14

Some Brave Soul Vowed to Spend 49 Days Eating Nothing But Olive Garden Pasta

"No man's hand will stay my fork," the blogger says.Photo: Courtesy of All of Garden

Earlier this month, a lucky writer who goes by "Vino" managed to sidestep all of the black market fakes to score one of Olive Garden's vaunted Never Ending Pasta Passes. The chain issued only a thousand, and at $100 a clip, they entitle bearers to vast amounts of pasta bowls in various permutations, plus unlimited Coca-Cola soft drinks. Naturally, Vino set out to document seven straight weeks of eating nothing but the stuff on the punnily named All of Garden. Less than a week in, it's clear that the blogger has in fact embarked on the journey of a lifetime.

"I felt I could do it better than anyone." »

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