Tickets Still Available for Taste of the Nation; Jean-Jacques Rachou Cooks Classics for Free at Benoit (But You Have to Pay for Them)

Midtown West: Alain Ducasse lets septuagenarian chef Jean-Jacques Rachou (who owned La Côte Basque, which once occupied the Benoit space) cook the quenelles de brochet (classic pike dumplings) and cassoulet served at Benoit. He does this for free from 9 a.m. to noon. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event still has tickets available; visit the event site to get in on tomorrow’s huge tasting. [Grub Street]
Nolita: Small, quality bar the Randolph might be opening up its basement to drinkers. [Down by the Hipster]
Red Hook: The Pioneer Inn, which was shuttered on Van Brunt Street, has changed hands and will reopen as the Brooklyn Ice House. The 360 space isn’t so fortunate: Since the owner “cracked,” the spot’s “for rent. Still looks like 360 inside. But there’s a new message, emblazoned on a t-shirt, hanging in the window: ‘Stop and Think.’ Stop and think about what? About renting the place?…About life?” [Lost City]
West Village: The new “Mr. Skewer (at 43 West 14th Street) has about as much in common with a Brazilian churrascaria as its neighbor Quizno’s does,” but the chorizo plate is pretty tasty. [Gothamist]
The Rusty Knot has pros (like the space) and cons (sugary cocktails). [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]