Tables and electric chairs?
The anonymous creators of Death Row Diners Club, a London pop-up that, for £50, proposed to serve guests inmates' last meals, all "without the nasty execution bit," now are "shocked and saddened" by Twitter's nearly unanimous rejection of their concept, adding that they feel "very sorry for any offence." Even in a world of Final Fantasy cafés and toilet-themed restaurants, this one seemed a little off from the get-go.
"... some of death rows most interesting and popular last dinners ..."
Daniel Humm's limited-edition Shake Shack burger.Photo: Evan Sung, Courtesy of Shake Shack.
Let's discuss something important: NPR reports on research that says "you can to some extent feel satisfied by the mere sight of food." The story has since gotten traction in several media outlets, but Grub is ... skeptical. In the spirit of scientific advancement, we're putting this theory to the test: Take a look at 20 mouth-watering images and see what happens. Will you be more or less hungry by the time you're done?
Ramen, pizza, fried chicken.
Executed much more elevatedly.Photo: Courtesy of Olive Garden
Last week, we learned about the activist investors from Starboard Value who seek to take away our unlimited breadsticks at Darden Restaurant Group's Olive Garden, owing to a notion that the in-house generosity is just food waste by another name. Darden, it may surprise no one, is now trying to set the record straight with a 24-page slideshow that addresses Starboard Value's complaints in the most withering of business-speak. Basically, it wants the world to know its breadsticks should remain unlimited.
"Conveying Italian generosity ..."
Pomodoro Fresco: arugula salad, buffalo mozzarella, and heirloom tomatoes.Photo: Melissa Hom
Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group has officially opened Marta inside the Martha Washington hotel, where former Maialino chef Nick Anderer is cooking up an Italian-ish menu of super-thin pizzas, fried pasta "meatballs," beer-brined half-chicken, and short ribs. Plus: Many of the larger dishes are cooked "alle brace" — which is to say, over open embers. (Meyer told Grub Street during a recent dinner that the restaurant's custom-built wood-burning grill can cook an entire fish in two minutes.) The restaurant is closed today, but it will soon be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner service seven days a week. Take a look around and check out many of the new dishes, straight ahead.
Pizza with zucchini flowers.
Fig-spiked crème fraiche panna cotta at the Clam.Photo: Courtesy of the Clam
The (almost) end of summer does carry one great perk: the start of fig season. And while the phrase "figs on a plate" may still carry a slight stigma, the appeal of this fruit when it's perfectly ripe — soft but not mushy, sweet enough that it constitutes a dessert on its own — is easy to understand. And as New York chefs know, figs also taste great with savory pairings like duck, prosciutto, and soft cheeses. Grub's advice: Check out these exceptional fig-focused dishes, ranging from savory to sweet, before the season's over.
Salads, desserts, and blood pudding.
That little guy isn't so sure about this deal.Photo: Pizza Hut needs to make amends for live animal promotion/Facebook
A Melbourne, Australia Pizza Hut restaurant says it made a huge mistake by putting up a sign intended to drum up business for a neighboring pet store. The chain restaurant actually advertised a pets-for-pizza giveaway very similar to your coffee shop loyalty card, apparently, with a sign reading "Buy any 10 pizzas and get one free small animal." It turns out, however, one small and crucial word was left off, and the sign should have read, "Buy any 10 pizzas and get one free small animal kit."
"There is no way we would give away free animals ..."
Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite
Wilma JeanPhoto: Sarah Silberg/New York Magazine
Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, shouldn’t blame Robert Newton if Brooklyn’s collective cholesterol count suddenly skyrockets. Nor should she find him at fault if that borough is seized by a gout epidemic. After all, at Newton’s recently shuttered Seersucker restaurant, the Le Cirque vet and Arkansas native tried to get New Yorkers to appreciate a more refined, less clichéd (and not-so-artery-clogging) version of southern cooking. In pursuit of that goal, he supplemented what he called his “cleaned-up southern” menu with rigorously sourced ingredients and not a few fruits and vegetables from his neighborhood Greenmarket. He also heroically attempted to wean the locals off their barbarian zeal for fried chicken by initially restricting it to Tuesday nights. Well, it didn’t work. In short, Newton wanted to channel the spirit of Edna Lewis, the grande dame of southern cuisine; his customers, he discovered, were hoping for a role model built more along the lines of Pies-N-Thighs co-founder Stephen Tanner, the bad boy of deep-fried dive-bar food.
Now, Newton is giving his public what it wants.
Gather ye breadsticks while ye may.
The Never Ending Pasta Pass's instant popularity may have spawned a black market, but the viral, carbo-loaded stunt apparently failed to impress a group of investors apparently willing to sacrifice the most Olive Garden–y thing of all for higher profit margins: One of 294 slides listing reasons why investor Starboard Value should take over Darden Restaurants Inc., "Breadsticks: Just One Example of Food Waste" slams the chain, because locations today "lack training and discipline," with servers trotting out "an excess of breadsticks significantly outnumbering the number of guests."
Shots fired! (Plus, breadsticks.)