Posts for March 19, 2012

Five Leaves Offers Spring Cocktails; Kibo Launches an Omakase

Battery Park City: Atrio opens today in the Conrad New York, offering an all-day dining experience with a classic Mediterranean menu. [Official Site]
East Village: Vandaag is introducing a Tuesday fondue night, perfect with the spots cocktails or 30-bottle wine list. [Grub Street]
Gramercy: Kibo just launched a new omakase-style menu, which features miso-glazed cod with roasted eggplant and braised short ribs with pickled carrots and daikon for $59. [Grub Street]

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More Details on the Butterfly: Cocktails on Draft, Updated Brandy Old Fashioneds

The hard shake, in action.

Diner's Journal caught up with Eben Freeman, the man who will be heading up Michael White's forthcoming Butterfly, and got him to reveal a few more plans for the Tribeca cocktail bar. First up, he eventually wants to offer all of the drinks he's ever made anywhere. That includes plans to serve the Waylon — the bourbon and smoked-Coke drink he made famous at Tailor — on draft. He's also collaborating with Wisconsin's Lakefront Brewery on a "Fernet Stout." He tells DJ, "I thought of making an amaro stout, a licorice stout ... Then I thought, Fernet being such a huge thing among mixologists, it would be stupid to call it amaro stout. I should just call it Fernet stout.” And Badget State transplants will be happy to know that Freeman is planning some version of the Brandy Old Fashioned that should fit in nicely with the place's Wisconsin "supper club feel." [Diner's Journa/NYT, Earlier]

LDV Hospitality Takes Over Former XL Space; Is Scott Conant Involved?

What is this man planning?

Two interesting bits of information point to the possibility that Scott Conant is taking over the former XL club space at 357 West 16th Street, next door to the Dream Downtown. The first bit is an industry source familiar with the area, who tells us that, yes, he hears Scott Conant is taking over the space. The second bit is this recently filed liquor-license app, which lists LDV Hospitality as the principal on the location. Interesting, since LDV is the company behind Conant's Scarpetta locations and the more casual D.O.C.G. in Las Vegas.

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Tables Available at Millesime, Fish Tag; Within the Hour at Esca

It's 4 p.m., and that means it's time to play Two for Eight. We just asked ten restaurants the best time they can squeeze in a couple for dinner; you need only make your chosen reservation. (As always, we make the calls but don't guarantee the results.) Today: Seafood Experts.

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2012 James Beard Restaurant and Media Award Finalists Announced

The winners will be announced May 4 and May 7.

Today the James Beard Foundation announced its nominees for the 2012 awards ceremonies — media awards will be handed out on May 4, chef and restaurant awards on May 7. Check out the full list of finalists below. Congrats to everyone, especially New York Magazine's Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, who were nominated for best food coverage in a general-interest publication; and Grub Chicago's own Michael Gebert, who picked up his own fourth nom in three years for this Sky Full of Bacon video. Good luck to everyone!

2012 James Beard Foundation Nominees [PDF]

Nigella’s Husband: Feel Free to Covet My Wife

"Coveting is all everyone does, all the time, every day. It’s what drives the world economy, pushes people to make a go of their lives, so that they can afford the executive model of their Ford Mondeo to park next to their neighbour’s standard model. And who would want to be married to someone who nobody coveted?" — The extremely wealthy and incredibly cheeky Charles Saatchi on life, and being married to 'domestic goddess' and chef Nigella Lawson. [Daily Mail]

Watch the James Beard Nominee Annoucement Live [Updated]

This year, the James Beard Foundation is running a live video stream of its announcement ceremony in Vegas. It's happening right now! Feel free to watch it, straight ahead, or, check back in a bit and we'll have the full list of nominees when it's available.

To the stream... »

Ever More Restaurant Lawsuits

Another day, another crop of restaurant employees saying they were harassed on the job. The Post says a former bartender at the John's Pizzeria in Times Square is suing the restaurant after she was taunted about her age and then fired for complaining about the abuse. The bartender says at one point a manager called her "old hooker." Oh, but that's not all. A former server at the Union League Club is suing that restaurant, alleging sexual harassment from chef Jacques Thiebeult. There were rude comments, insults, pleas to have sex, and an alleged incident of breast-touching. [NYP, NYP]

Kate’s Joint Is the Latest Endangered EV Vegan Spot

Save Kate's.

Dairy-forward places (i.e., 10 million pizzerias) continue to proliferate in the East Village, while the historically crunchy hood loses more and more of its longtime veggie eateries (RIP Curly's Vegetarian Lunch and Quantum Leap). The latest endangered meat-free spot is Kate's Joint, which is at risk of eviction in April, as EV Grieve reports. But the tofu-scramble specialist is not rolling over: A campaign is afoot to drum up enough dough to save the place. Perhaps they could start a Kickstarter, like everybody else these days? [EV Grieve]

But the Portions Are Small

So what did Olive Garden critic Marilyn Hagerty think of the meal she had at Dovetail during her recent trip to New York? Well, she liked it. In fact, the halibut is "as wonderful as that served years ago at the Golden Hour CafĂ© in downtown Grand Forks." She later adds, when assessing her new-found stardom, "Being a so-called celebrity in this big city isn’t bad ... But I know fate is fleeting and after I settle in at home this weekend people will forget." [Grand Forks Herald]

Irving Farm Will Get a Little Less ‘Farmy’ on the UWS This May

Upper West Siders (and Grub Street Diet subject Sloane Crosley) will no doubt rejoice in the full-bodied, robust news that downtown bean stalwart Irving Farm Coffee Company is opening a new cafe at 224 West 79th Street. The 1,500-square-foot, 65-seat location will also mark the beginning of the company's rebranding.

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Save Table One for Kim Jong-un

"My compliments to the chef."Photo: Yonhap News via Newscom

Over in Amsterdam, Europe's first North-Korea-themed restaurant has opened its doors, according to a report from Filipino news organization ABS-CBN. The place is called Pyongyang, and the menu includes dishes like roasted oysters, black chicken soup, and kimchi. (Nine courses runs $104.) And, hey, even though the North Korean ambassador to Switzerland did attend the opening, the owners totally pinky-swear that the restaurant isn't actually affiliated with the North Korean regime, nor is it connected with the Pyongyang restaurant chain in Asia, which has been accused of ties with the regime. Also worth noting: There is a karaoke machine. [ABS-CBN]

Starbucks’ First Evolution Fresh Juice Shop Opens Today

Vegatables!Photo: Courtesy Starbucks

Remember how we mentioned that Starbucks had recruited a Liquiteria employee and was making plans to dominate the fresh-juice business? Well, better enjoy your mom-and-pop juiceries while you can: the coffee giant's first Evolution Fresh store opens today in Bellevue, Washington. (As genius as the company normally is at branding, it's evidently not so great at spelling, as the "vegatables" advertised in the photo proves.) USA Today got a look at the shop and reports that baristas have given way to "juice partners," who mix cold-pressed elixirs by pouring them to order from eight taps. Sample combinations: Field of Greens (greens, ginger, apple and cucumber), or Coconut Zen (coconut water, pineapple and cucumber); you can also buy 15.2-ounce bottled juices in similar flavors.

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The Brewster Aims to Add a Little Gilded Age–ness to Nolita

Craig Hopson's menu will take you back to the days of carriages and cabbages.

Some new details today about the Brewster, that massive and ambitious-sounding Gilded Age–themed project that's marching into 177 Mott Street from developer Ross Morgan, industry vet Frank Roberts, and former Le Cirque chef Craig Hopson. Morgan tells the Post that the team is busy building a complex of food-related features inside the space, including a bi-level, 5,000-square-foot restaurant evocative of mid-nineteenth-century New York culture, with a menu matching the British, German, French, West Indian, and African influences of the neighborhood. Intriguing.

Freshly made jams and personal wine lockers! »

Man Stabbed Outside Staten Island Resto While Fiancée Looks On

Over the weekend, Antonio Lacertosa was stabbed to death outside the Espana restaurant in Staten Island. Witnesses say someone thought to be a kitchen worker stabbed Lacertosa with a butcher knife, reportedly right in front of Lacertosa's 24-year-old fiancée, after an argument. Grim stuff. [NY1, NYP]

Adam Platt on North End Grill; Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite on Spring’s Hottest Openings

North End Grill.Photo: Danny Kim

In this week's New York, Adam Platt heads south to Danny Meyer's North End Grill, which, he concludes "doesn’t rise to destination level." Our critic writes that, "although it isn’t located among the anonymous office towers of Dubai, to admirers of the other great Meyer restaurants, it can feel that way." He cites the "dining room decorated in utilitarian, even corporate shades of black and white," and "clean, straightforward menu featuring old gourmet favorites" by chef Floyd Cardoz (Tabla), noting that "there isn’t much at the North End Grill that you haven’t seen before." Platt does like some seafood entrees, particularly the turbot and "the Nova Scotia halibut, which Cardoz pairs with a pile of fresh clams in a smoky broth flavored with anise and a dash of Mexican chile"; the restaurant receives one star.

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Gwyneth Paltrow ‘Wrote Every Word’ of Her Cookbook, Just So You Know

On Twitter over the weekend, Gwyneth Paltrow politely made it known to the entire world that in light of assertions made in last week's New York Times feature on cookbook ghostwriters, the newspaper needs more diligent fact-checkers. The actress says she did not use a ghostwriter while putting together last year's My Father's Daughter. "Love @nytimes dining section," Paltrow wrote on Saturday, "but this weeks facts need checking. No ghost writer on my cookbook, I wrote every word myself."

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Brooklyn Arena Will Sell ‘Brooklynized’ Water, Formulated (and Facing Legal Scrutiny) in Florida

Kind of a misnomer.

Even more Brooklyn branding: When the Barclays Center, the new Nets arena at Atlantic Yards, opens in September, all of the bottled water on sale will be "Brooklynized." It may seem to fit with Bruce Ratner's statement that "we are excited to ... make Barclays Center’s culinary experience as quintessentially Brooklyn as it gets." Unfortunately, the water itself comes from the Original Brooklyn Water Bottling Company — which is based in Boca Raton, Florida. And the water doesn't just present a curious, almost Borgesian selling proposition, it also comes with a few legal questions about its legitimacy.

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Jessica Simpson Wanted to Name Her Baby Zinfandel; That Ground Beef You Bought Probably Contains Pink Slime

• Among the baby names that Jessica Simpson and fiancĂ© Eric Johnson had considered was Zinfandel. Because the kid wouldn't grow up to be a raging alcoholic or anything. [In Touch]

• Don't kid yourself: Chances are grocery-store ground beef contains some pink slime. Will this news finally squelch the burger trend? [Salt/NPR]

• For Jerry Lewis's 86th birthday this past Friday, a group of French fans commissioned Daniel Boulud to create a one-meter-long jambon-beurre sandwich, which was delivered to the comedian at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. [Page Six/NYP]

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