Restaurant Review: At Nomad Bar and Bar Primi, Bar Food Gets Some Serious Upgrades—but Bring Earplugs

Photo: Sarah Silberg/New York Magazine

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s loud, gilded, insanely crowded NoMad Bar, which opened in June around the corner from their popular NoMad Hotel operation on Broadway and 28th Street. There’s the vaulted, mostly windowless ­double-height space, which can feel faintly claustrophobic even if you’re sitting at one of the balcony tables peering down on the crowd of assorted nabobs and hedge-fund hustlers rioting around the bar. There’s the sepulchral lighting, which makes the room look, even on the brightest of summer evenings, like a basement nightclub in Vegas or the inside of a pharaoh’s tomb. There’s the long wait for a table, which was quoted as an hour and a half “at least” to one of my beleaguered colleagues, before he was recognized by the crack staff and whisked to one of the tables reserved, conspicuously, for VIPs.

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08/29/14

We’re Starting Our Last-Minute, Late-Summer Road Trip a Few Hours Early

You want sprinkles or not?Photo: Christopher Villano/Corbis

We're shoving off a few hours early, but just remember there's a lot to look forward to coming up right after the break: Thoughtfully devised Champagne and fried chicken pairings, smoked meat on Martin's potato rolls, killer ramen, and innovative Manhattan clam chowder piqued with mezcal and chiles. Also in the Department of Things to Look Forward To: Team Torrisi will go coastal on the high line, Alex Stupak will cook tacos al pastor, and Jody Williams and Rita Sodi will fry baby artichokes and stuff sardines with delicious things. Check out New York's fall drinking and eating previews when you get a chance, and have a great and safe Labor Day weekend. (And watch out for flying pturkeydactyls and nose-to-tail bros — they're the worst.) We'll be back here on Tuesday morning with some scoops to fill these cones.

Food Event at Housing Works; FeelFood’s Fashion Week Special

Housing Works will bring together the authors of The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail (Robert Simonson), The Meat Hook Book (Tom Mylan), and Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love and the Perfect Meal (Ava Chin) on September 3 at 7 p.m. More info here. [Grub Street]

FeelFood will offer an $18 prix fixe "Fashion Week Ready" menu, where you get one main, one juice, and one dessert. It'll be served from September 1 to 14. [Grub Street]

The Cleveland's hosting a Labor Day cookout, with an à la carte menu of wagyu hot dogs, grass-fed burgers, barbecue ribs, and a kale salad. [Grub Street]

• Next week, A Voce Madison launches a new happy hour: $7 cocktails, Prosecco and Peronis from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. [Grub Street]

Someone Went on an Emoji-Themed Diet for a Week

Food hieroglyphs in need of a rosetta stone.

Human guinea pig Kelsey Rexthroat puts herself on a weeklong all-emoji diet for The Atlantic, discovering firsthand the Atkins-unfriendly horrors of lots of rice and rice-derived things. Rexthroat is all set on emoji lore and history, academically speaking, but that doesn't get in her way of confusing the sake bottle for milk, or alarmingly discovering that 8 emojis involve rice, and 11 are desserts (12 if you count dango). But hey, the Unicode Consortium knows it can't please everybody, and there's tons of alcohol on there anyway, plus who complains about burgers, fries, pizza, and cake? [Atlantic]

Your Almond Consumption Is Killing California’s Salmon and Honeybees

Shelled or unshelled, it's a problem nut.

Americans sure love almonds these days, and for good reasons, we tell ourselves — the nut is practically the reigning champ of health foods and it's a great dairy alternative, and while it doesn't have Stephen Colbert commercials, what other nut is cool enough to have its own Twitter account? There are, however, apparent downsides: Almond mania is killing salmon and honeybees and otherwise hogging California's drought-stricken water.

Everybody eat cashews! »

Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Berg’n, Bâtard, and Lots More

Photo: iStockphoto

Each week, Grub Street surveys the entire restaurant landscape of New York, crunches the numbers, and comes up with this: the most-talked-about, must-visit places in the city. They might be new, or they could be older places that have gotten a recent jolt of buzz. No matter what, these are the restaurants where you should make a point to eat sooner rather than later.

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On-Break EMTs Rescue Applebee’s Customers and Staff From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Scary stuff.

Justin Gau and Kyle Page, two Long Island volunteer EMTs, had hardly even sat down to get some riblets at their local Applebee's in Hauppauge before the carbon monoxide detector they were carrying "went crazy" with a reading that registered twice the safe limit. In slight disbelief, they reset it twice to make sure it wasn't the kind of glitch that might "screw up everyone's evening," and it turned out that an errant hot water heater was filling the place up with odorless and lethal gas. Thanks to Gau and Page, the more than 100 customers and staff got out just fine. Six months ago, a defective water heater at a nearby Legal Seafoods leaked carbon monoxide, killing the restaurant's general manager and sickening 27 others. [ABC 7]

Iconic Katz’s Deli Has Sold Air Rights, But the Pastrami Is Safe

Coming soon: Some kind of cantilevered building right behind here?

The structures surrounding the Katz's Delicatessen have been soaring to all kinds of new luxury condo heights for some time — just look here for the current state of things — and now with the inexorable rush to crowd Houston and Ludlow Streets with the tallest buildings city zoning will permit comes the news that the venerable, 126-year-old restaurant has sold its air rights. The buyer, along with the details, have not yet been identified, but Katz's proprietor Jake Dell says the pastrami sandwiches will keep on coming no matter what happens.

"The most important thing is that the future of Katz’s is secure ..." »

Jared Leto Stops at Bar Primi; the Clintons Dine at Sotto Sopra

Drama on Bowery.Photo: Splash News/Corbis

In this week's installment of Celebrity Settings, Joaquin Phoenix picked up tofu sandwiches in the East Village, the Clintons dined out in the Hamptons, and Michael Jordan partied at Tao Downtown and Avenue. Read it all, straight ahead.

Tory Burch, Robert Pattinson. »

You Should Totally Apply to Become Noma’s Next Pastry Chef

Go, spin sugar out of juniper and pipe fermented green strawberries into florettes.Photo: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters/Corbis

Can you curl together two perfect quenelles with your left and right hands simultaneously? Have you been itching to make fruit leather out of sea buckthorn and beets? Are you the bomb at pâte à bombe? If you answered yes to any of these questions, but even if you didn't and you're qualified, you may want to check out this listing René Redzepi has posted in search of a pastry chef for Noma.

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Dunkin’ Donuts Belatedly Debuts a Dark-Roast Coffee

Boldly going where every roaster has gone before.

Hard to believe, but somehow, Dunkin' Donuts made it through the several-decades-long dark-roast-coffee era without ever having sold its own. Luckily for people living in the year 2014, it is now correcting that oversight. The chain's first hot dark roast in its 64-year history went on sale yesterday in Modesto, California, and will be available in stores nationwide on September 22.

"... a bolder flavor ..." »

Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls

"This diary would be a waste if I didn't get drunk at least once with my mom."Photo: Grep Hoax

"Are you tired of reading food diaries from people who go to too many restaurants?" Patricia Lockwood wrote us when she sent in this week's Grub Street Diet. "Let's try one from someone who isn't even ALLOWED in a restaurant." Lockwood, the Kansas-based "poet laureate of Twitter," writer behind "Rape Joke," and author of the the book Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, continued on: "Have you ever noticed how in English, when someone is crazy, it's always in a food way? They're crackers, or they're nuts, or they're a fruitcake, or they're off their crocker (Betty). Well. I just thought I would bring that to your attention, as I spread before you the banquet of this 'bananas' food diary."

Read it all, straight ahead. »

08/28/14

Fair Folks Opens Coffee Bar in the East Village; Labor Day Parties

The Cannibal is hosting a Labor Day party. Forty dollars at the door gets you burgers, free-flowing beer, and more. It starts at noon. [Grub Street]

• And Extra Fancy is hosting its annual Labor Day Jammy, which also starts at noon. The backyard will be open, and the bar will be pouring $3 Brooklyn Lager all day. Tunes by DJ Nook. [Grub Street]

The Windsor has daily U.S. Open specials that will be available for the entirety of the tournament. [Grub Street]

• The coffee bar at Fair Folks is now open in the East Village, at 330 East 11th Street. To celebrate the launch, there will be free coffee on Saturday and Sunday, August 30 and 31, all day. [Grub Street]

Maryland Stadium Unveils 1-and-a-Half Pound Pretzel Smothered With Cheesy Crab Dip

They also sell bottomless tubs of popcorn, if that's more your style.Photo: Dan Steinberg/DC SportsBlog/Twitter

Just in time for football season, here's the "Chessie," which is about to join the concessions lineup at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Officially, it consists of an enormous "24-ounce hot soft pretzel smothered in back fin crab dip and melted cheddar cheese, then topped with a dusting of Old Bay." Unofficially, it no doubt consists of some ancient, Tolkien-esque primordial force that can be used for good or evil. It serves four, in either case, and at $17.50 — $4.38 a person! — that's a steal, at least for a sports venue. [Washington Post via Foodspin]

Obamas’ Personal Chef Taking Over Stone Barns on Saturday for Giant Wedding

The happy couple.Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Sam Kass, who serves as a personal chef to the Obama family and an ambassador for the "Let's Move" initiative, will get married to MSNBC host Alex Wagner on Saturday at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Politico has learned, as did CNN's Brian Stelter, after he unsuccessfully tried to reserve a two-top for dinner. Few details have been made public, but the restaurant can hold 260 people, so while the whole thing may be small and low-key, we're guessing it won't be. Oh, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will also be there, much to the chagrin of millionaires with seaplanes in the general vicinity.

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Ex Employee Sues Little Caesars for Denying Same-Sex Spouse Insurance Benefits

Lawsuit! Lawsuit!

Frank Bernard, an ex-manager-in-training at a Little Caesars in California, hit his erstwhile employer yesterday with a lawsuit that argues the company discriminates against legally married people like him by refusing to extend health-care benefits to significant others, such as his husband of six years. The suit quotes the chain's matter-of-fact benefits policy, though, which defines "spouse" as "the one person to whom you are legally married under the laws of the state in which you reside, including common law spouse, and who is the opposite gender."

Cheesy bread, horrible policy. »

Magnolia Bakery Just Opened a Terribly Timed Moscow Location

Yesterday's cupcake-craving masses.Photo: Magnolia Bakery/VK

Right now is not really the best time to be a burger or a milkshake or two fingers of Kentucky bourbon in Russia, but Magnolia Bakery has blazed right into Putin's backyard regardless. It's hoping its poorly timed but incredibly bustling Moscow debut will be able to soar on the universal power of cupcakes and Russians' apparently very specific love for Sex and the City.

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Community Board Says Pranna’s Bottomless Brunch Has to Go

"What?! Sothing to nee here!"

Flatiron venue Pranna has been put on a three-month probation after videos were published online depicting apparently smashed weekend customers stumbling out into the street during the day. Ultra-boozy brunch has always toed a legally dubious line, and after YouTube user ProblematicPranna — the same person who discovered "My father owns half of fucking Manhattan" Gerry — followed up with a two-part, 15-minute montage of sloshed clientele leaving Pranna in the mid-afternoon, CB5 Manhattan took it as a sign.

"They loved Pranna." »

Watch a Tokyo Chef Explain the Rules of Eating Sushi

If Anthony Bourdain's 2012 graphic novel taught us anything, it's that diners at high-end sushi counters enter into an unspoken kind of contract the moment they pull up a stool: The chef agrees to prepare an exquisite meal of carefully selected, delicately handled rice and fish, and the customer agrees to not be a total moron. That in mind, here's a video primer on sushi etiquette put together by Vice's Muniches. Use fingers, not chopsticks, and don't even think about putting that pickled ginger on the fish. Dip the fish side of the sushi into soy, Tokyo chef Naomichi Yasuda says, and whatever you do, never, ever shake off the excess soy.

"Don't shake it ... don't shake it." »

Stephen Tanner on Being a Germophobe, Killer Boston Pizza, and Why He Hates ‘Munchies’

Tanner will open El Cortez this fall.Photo: John Fell

If you’re up to speed on your fall preview news, you know that Stephen Tanner, the Commodore chef and reluctant father of Williamsburg’s Southern-fried food scene, will soon be cooking up some vittles at the Bushwick bar and restaurant El Cortez. The Harvey Milk bassist also has a new solo LP out called Things Haven’t Gone Well. So it goes without saying that he’s a busy man. But not too busy to interrupt his evening repast the other night and chat with us between bites of a McDouble cheeseburger.

"I don’t give a fuck. I’ll name names." »

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