What to Eat at Barchetta, Esca’s Dave Pasternack’s New Chelsea Restaurant

Fresh head-on shrimp with fire-roasted lemon aïoli.Photo: Liz Clayman

Tonight, LDV Hospitality's John Meadow and Esca chef-partner Dave Pasternack's Italian seafood restaurant opens to the public. The menu looks fairly familiar — which isn't a bad thing at all: It includes 11 signature crudos ($30 buys you a tasting of six), three pastas, and classy mains, like Scottish salmon with dandelion-walnut pesto and sea scallops over fire-roasted chickpeas.

Cherry-blossom salt. »

New Williamsburg Café Serves Doughnuts With Jelly-Filled Syringes on the Side

Gothamist points out there's a decidedly nontraditional inject-your-own-filling doughnut situation going on at St. Balmain, a North 8th Street café in Williamsburg that recently introduced a full menu and table service. The sugar-rolled yeast doughnuts, which sell for $5 each, are served with fillings at the ready in plastic syringes. Unfortunately, the accompanying video makes it seem as if it's not at all easy to enjoy doughnuts in such a clinical way. On the plus side, however, there's perhaps never been a better time to yell out "I need 20 ccs of Nutella, stat!" and "How the hell do you expect me to intubate with all this damn Bavarian cream!?" in a crowded restaurant while everyone around you is relaxing with espressos.

They really don't make it look easy, do they? »

Starbucks Rumored to Be in Talks for a Piece of SodaStream

Getting fizzy with it.

The year started off rough for SodaStream — the Israel-based company continued to draw criticism for its so-called "blood bubbles," for starters — but shares spiked yesterday, then fell this morning, after "sources" told Globes that Starbucks, which has reportedly been courting the DIY carbonation company for a while, is in "advanced talks" to buy 10 percent.

Don't cross the streams. »

A Brief History of Barack Obama Eating at Trendy Restaurants

Deep in thought about where to eat next.Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

One of the defining characteristics of the Obama presidency has been the commander in chief's surprisingly excellent taste in restaurants, most recently put on display during this week's visit to Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three-Michelin-star restaurant immortalized in Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Here are 21 times Obama exercised his ability to score seats at some very hot spots.

Lots of chili and cornbread. »

Taco Bell Launches U.S. Taco Co., an Upmarket Competitor to Chipotle

100 percent American, whatever that is.Photo: U.S. Taco Co.

This summer, the fast-food giant is putting away its gonzo fried-waffle tacos and growing up a little by opening the official-sounding U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom in Huntington Beach, California. Much like Super Chix, the KFC spinoff that just launched in a strategic attempt to tap into Chick-fil-A's customer base, the test-market restaurant is Taco Bell's attempt to out-Chipotle Chipotle. To that end, the focus at U.S. Taco is "$4 premium tacos" that come in flavors like "Southern Squealer," which is kind of a sad way of saying pulled pork, and "Brotherly Love," the "cheesesteak-inspired" taco seen here, which one imagines a Philadelphian might leave on the doorstep of someone he does not like — it's got cotija on it instead of Whiz.

Mexican Car Bombs? We'll take two. »

Adam and Oliver Platt on Critics, Chef, and Molten Chocolate Cake

Oliver Platt, channeling his critic brother Adam in Jon Favreau's new movie.Photo: Courtesy of Aldamisa Entertainment

In Jon Favreau's new movie Chef, which had its Tribeca Film Festival debut this week, Oliver Platt plays a key role as a restaurant critic — excellent casting, since Oliver just so happens to be the brother of New York's own critic, Adam Platt. The two sat down to talk about the role, how chefs and actors react to reviews, and which critics Oliver looked to when honing his character's particular breed of vitriol.

Read more »

Will Guidara and Anthony Rudolf Announce Hospitality-Focused ‘Welcome Conference’

Don't expect any chicken beheadings.

Want to learn the art of hardcore coddling? Eleven Madison Park's Will Guidara and Anthony Rudolf, former director of operations at the Thomas Keller Group, will host a conference dedicated to hospitality on June 17. The impressive list of speakers includes Charles Masson, Frank Bruni, Nick Kokonas, Gabriel Stulman, and Rita Jammet — and they'll all share ideas about how to make diners feel good. The event will take place at Cooper Union, and $125 tickets go on sale here on April 30.

Rosemary’s Carlos Suarez to Open Provencal Restaurant Claudette

Coming next month to the former Cru space.Photo: Courtesy of Claudette

More proof that New York's in the midst of a French-food revival: Carlos Suarez, owner of Bobo and Rosemary’s, is opening the Provençal-flavored Claudette next month with partner Mark Barak, an old college buddy. The restaurant will be located at 24 Fifth Avenue, the corner spot that previously housed Washington Park and Cru, and has sat empty since the closing of the ill-fated Lotus NY. Chef de cuisine Koren Grieveson, who won a Beard Award for her work at Chicago’s Avec, will collaborate on the menu with Rosemary's Wade Moises; the pair will also hop the Mediterranean to look for inspiration in North Africa and the Middle East.

Sara Jenkins Unleashes Porchetta Banh Mi

You want this.Photo: Rob Patronite

The thought that springs to mind even before you’ve had a bite of Porchetta’s brand-new porchetta bánh mì: What took so long? Jenkins, an admitted bánh mì addict, already has a porchetta taco on the rotation, so a porchetta bánh mì always seemed to us like a no-brainer. It’s true, the trusty combination most Vietnamese sandwich shops list as a No. 1, consisting of various porky mystery meats, is hard to beat. But slow-roasted heritage-breed pork loins wrapped in bellies, combined with pickled veggies, Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, jalapeño, cilantro, and a squirt of lime is pretty much a match made in sandwich-mash-up heaven. They cost $10 each and will be available Thursday through Sunday, which means you can get your hands on one today.

Not Everyone Is Happy With Coffee Company’s New Tasting-Note Wheel

Does anyone really need to describe a cup as tasting like "black tea"?

From wine to cheese, lots of people find taste descriptions on food labels pointlessly annoying, but if it's that Yirgacheffe single-origin that's bugging you, blame the Specialty Coffee Association of America's 20-year-old flavor wheel. Critics say it's like a bad thesaurus — either too vague (a "mellow," "mild" sweet?) or too technical ("leguminous," "phenolic") — and so Timothy Hill, the buyer for roaster Counter Culture, has come up with a wheel he thinks is easier to follow.

Bergamot? »

50-Story Tower May Go Up on Junior’s Site in Brooklyn

Crain's reports that JPMorgan Chase is contemplating selling the "hundreds of thousands of square feet of untapped development rights" above its MetroTech Center home, which happens to be adjacent to Junior's. In February, owner Alan Rosen announced his famous cheesecake restaurant would close in advance of demolition and construction of a new building, but vowed to reopen Junior's inside whatever goes up next on the site. (Rosen also said he'd open another restaurant in the interim to supplant the pastry shortage.) If the parcels are combined, this means the iconic Brooklyn restaurant may eventually be returning to the base of a 50-floor, 385,000-square-foot behemoth building. “Every developer in New York City is looking at this,” Stephen Palmese, a partner at Massey Knakal Realty Services, tells Crain's. [Crain's, Earlier, Related]

Watch Anthony Bourdain Talk About Jiro Ono and Excessive Drinking on Late Night

Last night, Anthony Bourdain stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers to talk Parts Unknown, President Obama at Sukiyabashi Jiro, "child foodies," and more. On drinking in Russia, Tony says he can no longer keep up. "It's not, Am I going to vomit after this meal?" he says. "It's, Will I make it out the door before I throw up all over myself?" The TV host and writer also talks about the strangeness of ordering pay-per-view adult movies in hotel rooms that were clearly once bugged by the KGB. "I'm glad you like not just food porn," Meyers quips. "I'm glad you cover all the porns."

The video, straight ahead. »

So, What Happened to Grub Street Yesterday?

As you can probably see, we stopped posting mid-afternoon yesterday — not exactly our typical schedule. So, what happened? The short answer is that an error made during site maintenance temporarily took us down. The long answer — and Twitter reactions to the outage — can be found here. In any event, the important thing to know is that we're back in action today, ready to talk about Black Seed's bagels, a killer new bánh mì, and whatever else pops up. (Not the cat cafe, though. We just can't.)

04/23/14

Empellón Taqueria’s Next Taco Tasting; Organic Avenue’s Flagship Opens Friday

Melvin's Juice Box is offering a new menu for children: Melvin's Junior. The most popular juices and smoothies come in kid-friendly sizes. [Grub Street]

• On Monday, April 28, Empellón Taqueria will host another taco tasting dinner, which includes a margarita upon arrival. Reserve a seat here. [Grub Street]

Sotto 13 will debut its weekly Italian-style Clambake for Two on Thursday, May 1. [Grub Street]

• Grab-and-go destination Organic Avenue will open its New York flagship on April 25 at 5 Bryant Park. Menu items include a hot curried vegetable wrap, kimchi wild rice bowl, and a green bean wrap served with Romesco sauce. [Grub Street]

Suntory Whisky Made the Most Beautiful Ice Cubes Ever

That's really ice.Photo: Suntory

Japanese liquor giant Suntory commissioned more than a dozen of what are easily some of the neatest ice cubes ever made, carved from solid blocks using a computer-assisted router before being dispatched to cool two fingers each of whisky in rocks glasses. (Watch a futuristic pagoda-etching video here.) Because 3-D-printing advocates say everyone's about to start chowing down computer-generated dinner, and because Suntory bought Beam, we're going to guess this ice artistry is the near future of all drinks on the rocks. For now, though, it's a gimmick that's really just one small step for cocktail-kind, which is exactly what this whirling-ice astronaut is probably thinking. The whole thing was no doubt really expensive; let's hope they used some fancy filtered water. [3D Rocks via Spirits Business]

Fast-Food CEOs Get Paid 1,200 Times More Than Workers

Recent walk-outs staged at chain restaurants throughout the country and class action lawsuits have drawn attention to what workers say are essentially criminally low wages, but a new study lays out how wide, exactly, the gap is between the bottom and top of the food chain. In 2012, fast-food CEOs out-earned the average worker by more than 1,200-to-1 — all of which contributes to what's been called the "most extreme pay disparity of all the sectors in the U.S. economy." Workers are winning wage increases in some states, but by way of comparison, some CEOs are pulling in roughly quadruple what they made in 2000. No matter where your opinion falls in the minimum wage debate, the study's results make typical responses from executives to workers like this one seem even more insincere. [WYNC, Related]

Nudist Beer Festival Headed to the Poconos

Mark your calendar: It only costs $18 ($16 in advance) to gain entry to Sunny Rest Resort's Beer Festival, which takes place June 28 in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Because Sunny Rest is a "relaxed clothes-free resort," you'll have to get naked to get past the bouncers, who may also be naked; we're not sure. On the other hand: Unlimited craft beer samples. [Drinks Nation via Foobooz]

New Regulations Threaten New York's Wood-Burning Ovens and Food Trucks

Coal and wood-burning ovens are affected.

Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio voiced support for an overhaul of the air-pollution control code — the biggest since 1975, in fact — which would have a profound impact on restaurants and food trucks throughout the city. The stated goal is to target "pollution sources that currently have little or no emission control requirements," the mayor's office says, and it turns out that most of those are food-related.

Fines for food-trucks not running "the cleanest technology." »

First Look at Cafe El Presidente, the Tacombi Team’s New Flatiron Food Complex

Tacos al Pastor.Photo: Liz Clayman

On Monday, the owners of Tacombi at Fonda Nolita and La Brisa in Montauk will open a 6,500-square-foot food complex on West 24th Street, complete with a taqueria called Tacos Madison, as well as a tortilleria and a Veracruz-style coffee bar. The idea is that Cafe El Presidente will feel like a traditional Mexican market, where customers can visit different little shops and bars. Luis Aguilar, the head chef at Fonda Nolita, will produce tortillas made of beetroot, calabaza, nopal, yuca — both corn and flour styles. Jason DeBriere, most recently of now-closed Peels, will head up the brunch menu.

Taco time. »

Eben Klemm Planning New Restaurant for Former Exchange Alley Space

EV Grieve scouts a flyer posted to the former Exchange Alley space on East 9th Street indicating that barman Eben Klemm is planning a restaurant called King Bee and will apply for a full liquor license. In his career as a consultant, Klemm has brought the world over-the-top things like boozy candy-cane milkshakes and popcorn-infused vodka, but he also created the less showy, aperitif cocktails served at Pearl & Ash, so it'll be interesting to see what's planned for the space. [EV Grieve, Related]

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