Posts for March 26, 2012

Second Annual Tasting Brooklyn; Bantam (Not Elsinore) to Open in Stanton Public Space

Chelsea: Late last year, we reported the closings of Matsuri and the Hiro Ballroom in the Maritime Hotel. Now its owners will host an auction of the venues’ contents on Wednesday, April 4 at 2 p.m. Everything must go, from handmade treasures to flatware and flooring. [Grub Street]
Dumbo: The Dumbo Loft is hosting the 2nd Annual Tasting Brooklyn on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. Over twenty of the borough’s best restaurants, including Maison Premiere and Egg, are offering copious food and drinks to benefit the Brooklyn Food Coalition. General admission tickets are $50 and can be purchased here. [Grub Street]
Everywhere: Nonprofit bakers Hot Bread Kitchen are now supplying four new breads to their 28 metro retailers, including two Persian flatbreads and a Mexican sweet bread. [Tasting Table]

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Tokyo’s Ootoya Arrives in the Flatiron


Ootoya, the popular Tokyo chain, is set to open it's first Manhattan branch at 8 West 18th Street next Wednesday, April 5th. The 72-seat restaurant, which features high ceilings, an open kitchen, a long bar, and shoji screen, will feature a variation on Izakaya cuisine. Grub got an early look at the lunch menu (which is pending last-minute approval from Tokyo) and saw entrees — which are served with rice, miso soup, homemade pickles, and egg custard — such as grilled chicken and vegetables with black vinegar sauce, grilled pork loin in a cinnamon sauce, grilled washu beef tongue, grilled mackerel and homemade yukon-potato-and-cheese croquettes. Sushi, soba noodles, and homemade tofu are among the other menu offerings.

Do You Fear Your Food Because You’re Middle Class?

The book.Photo: Barnes & Noble

A new book by retired Canadian history professor Harvey Levenstein seeks to draw connections between modern-day food phobias in the United States, the germ theory introduced by Louis Pasteur, and twentieth-century middle-class hysterias (often media-driven) about the various ways one could die from foodborne bacteria. But Louis Pasteur actually did some kind of important things vis-à-vis food safety, and the world has had plenty of very good reasons to fear our food supply, so we're not totally clear on the point here.

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Celebrity Chefs, Keith McNally Still Hates You

"Because celebrity chefs are usually vain, temperamental, self-regarding, lazy, and arrogant beyond. As are celebrities in general. I just wish I were brave enough to bar them from my restaurants." — Keith McNally to Bon Appetit, on his famous distaste for celebrity-anything. [BA]

Tables Available at Eleven Madison Park, SHO Shaun Hergatt; Within the Hour at Craft and The Modern

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: Splurge.

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Shocker Alert: Placenta-Eating Not All Its Cracked Up to Be

For a hot minute there, chowing down on your own placenta threatened to become the new bacon, or at least the new coconut water. Now, a former Santa Monica resident who actually popped pills formed from her own placenta following the birth of a son is speaking out against the practice with her own horror story today in the New York Times.

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Francis Derby Leaves King

No more burgundy snails.

Just the other week, Grub Street had the pleasure of sampling the cooking Francis Derby (a veteran of Momofuku and wd~50) has been doing at King: fare like pig's-head terrine, beer-battered snails, and a darn good burger. So it's a shocker to learn today via Gael Greene that the toque has left the restaurant — "walked out," as she puts it (and right after her positive review dropped). The toque told Greene, "I never got the support I needed for the kind of food I do.” Derby and his talent are reportedly at large with no immediate plans, so keep your eye on this one. [Insatiable Critic]

Food Hall — With the Works — to Open in Tribeca

Try it, Tribeca.

A huge European food hall, possibly called "All Good Things," is opening in Tribeca and the Tribeca Citizen says that it could, hypothetically, feature Blue Bottle Coffee, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, Cavaniola Cheese, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Nunu Chocolates, and Orwasher’s Bakery, plus fish mongers, restaurants, shops and flower stands. No confirmations yet but it sounds like Tribeca-utopia. [Tribeca Citizen]

STK OUT Tackles Midtown’s Great Outdoors

While you're contemplating where to get your patio drink on, here's an alfresco lunch option to consider: STK midtown is launching a to-go kiosk, STK OUT, on Wednesday. The abbreviated menu offers some STK favorites and a few new options for the dash-and-dine crowd. There's a lobster wrap with arugula and avocado, the STK burger with truffle aioli, and sides including macaroni-and-cheese bites and sweet-potato tots — not to mention a birthday-cake shake. Sounds like maybe the kid critic should hit this place next.

STK OUT, 1114 Sixth Ave., nr. 43rd St.; 646-624-2433

Kid Critic Publishes Guidebook

Foodies just keep getting younger.

This week's New York Magazine feature about youthful foodies didn't have anybody quite this young in mind: Fork in the Road brings word that 12-year-old critic David Pines has published a restaurant guide. Dubbed Pines Picks: A Kid's Guide to the Best Things to Eat and Drink in New York City, the handbook reviews favorite dishes at short-set-friendly places like Pommes Frites, Chinatown Brasserie, and Baked by Melissa. Not exactly sophisticated, but hey, isn't that the point? However, underage foodie-ism does have a few drawbacks: If you want to know about restaurant wine lists, probably better to consult Zagat. Also, we wonder how David Fishman, the other kid critic (who has to be 14 or 15 by now) feels about this. [Fork in the Road/VV]

Adios, Bar Basque

Basque missed a beat.

Gael Greene breaks the news that Jeffrey Chodorow's Bar Basque is out of Eventi and Jimmy Haber's ESquared Hospitality is in, explaining that "the lively young bar crowd never did quite mesh with the gourmand aspiration on the dining terrace. And serious eaters, me included, complained about the monster television screen across the courtyard intruding in our great mackeral moments." Basque's last day is April 29th, with Haber's new project sliding in May 1. [Insatiable Critic]

Doughnut Plant LES Expands, Adds Seating

The Plant's former (tiny) digs.

Lovers of Doughnut Plant's sublimely pillowy rounds know it as a tiny hole of a shop — but no longer: Bowery Boogie brings the happy news that the original LES location has moved into the next-door (larger) space at 377 Grand Street. The blog reports that the new shop is more "cafe-like," with seating, although sadly it doesn't sound like the line out the door is any shorter. In other sweet news, Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us, and if you don't feel like stalking area elementary schools, the Post tips us off to this handy cookie-locator app for iPhones, available for free on iTunes. Could someone please score us some Thin Mints? [Bowery Boogie, NYP]

Don’t Worry About the Drugs, Cop-Dog Is Looking for Grub

Izzy, an FBI agent in the form of a beagle, has been busy at JFK busting travelers for everything from apples to duck tongue to "notorious" sausages. What's the point? Protecting the country from dangerous food, plants, and forbidden fruits like an apple that "could carry the larva of a Mediterranean fruit fly." [HuffPo]

Adam Platt on Isa and Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria; Foodie-ism As Youth Culture

Isa.Photo: Danny Kim

In this week's New York, Adam Platt crosses the East River to Isa, "Taavo Somer’s [Peels, Freemans] quirky, unpredictable, singularly interesting new Williamsburg restaurant." Our critic notes that Somer and chef Ignacio Mattos (Il Buco) have "exchanged high rents and glitter for the freedom to pursue their own quirky ideas and experiments at a languid, agreeably neighborly pace." That means "highly refined lumberjack food," including "a sizzling flap of pork steak garnished with yogurt and sprigs of purslane," and a winning "sugary confit of duck leg." However, it's not all winners: Platt also encounters an "inert lump of codfish," and a "rubber-skinned chicken"; the restaurant receives two stars.

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In With the ‘In’ Crowd: A Night With the Regulars at Rao’s

Not many people know what goes on behind these doors.Photo: Courtesy of Rao's.

When my close friend Nan scored a 50th birthday dinner reservation at Rao’s, she was so ecstatic, I’d have thought she’d booked a seat at Denmark’s Noma rather than some century-old, twist-of-kitsch Italian joint in Spanish Harlem. I asked why the breathlessness and she answered, "Everyone will be jealous." Maybe, but I was dreading the trip.

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The Man Who Coined ‘Pink Slime’; Paris’s Hemingway Bar to Close

• If you wince and lose your appetite every time you hear the term "pink slime," you can blame a government scientist named Gerald Zirnstein for coining the term. [Reuters]

• Tristesse: The famed Hemingway Bar at the Ritz in Paris is closing. Here's a look at its history. [WSJ]

• FYI: Store brands are now cool. Also, half the time shoppers don't even realize something is a store brand, as with Target's Archer Farms label. [USAT]

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