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7/10/09

Posted 7/10/09 at 6:39 PM

Neighborhood Watch

Nouveau Beer Garden Now Serves Cupcakes; Grass-Fed Jerky at Brooklyn Flea

More food for Brooklyn Flea.

More food for Brooklyn Flea.

Astoria: Studio Square steps farther away from the traditional beer-garden model by adding sushi and housemade cupcakes to its menu. [Joey in Astoria]
Fort Greene: Brooklyn Flea’s latest food stuff: Gerald Jerky’s grass-fed-beef jerky. And the new location in Dumbo debuts a fish taco stand called Choncho's. [Brownstowner]
Lefferts Gardens: One of the few food options at the Caton Flatbush Market is Back Home Bakery at 794-814 Flatbush Avenue near Caton Avenue, where you can get squares of a starchy cassava pudding for $1.25. [Eating in Translation]
Meatpacking District: The former Florent space has been gutted. [Eater]
Williamsburg: Sam Mason’s cooking for the next Finger on the Pulse & the Door BBQ series at Hope Lounge on July 29 from 7 to 9 p.m.. A $5 plate comes with a beer. [Grub Street]

Posted 7/10/09 at 5:50 PM

Celebrity Settings

Shaq Celebrates Cavs at Civetta; A-Rod and Kate Hudson Enjoy Obligatory Binge at Serendipity 3

Jack Nicholson spent some quality time uptown this week (he was spotted at both Fishtail and Elaine’s) while Kate Hudson and A-Rod dined at Serendipity 3 (yes, the Olsen twins also stopped in, too). Meanwhile, below 14th, Shaq graced the still-not-open Civetta and Jason Lee kicked it old-school (literally, with kung fu) at Max Fish. Check out the rest of this week’s star sightings in our weekly Celebrity Settings column.

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Posted 7/10/09 at 4:46 PM

The Great Outdoors

Locanda Verde Is Now Seating Diners in the Courtyard

Locanda Verde Is Now Seating Diners in the Courtyard

Photo: Courtesy of Greenwich Hotel

The heavens are right on this lovely bella notte because Locanda Verde has started seating folks in the fantastic courtyard we’ve been waiting for. When we called to ask for a table tonight, they said they had a 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., and that they’d indicate preference for the courtyard, open nightly. As you can see from this shot off of the Greenwich Hotel’s website, this is a genuine refuge. (You can find another photo here.) The abutting lobby lounge, designed by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode (so, same aesthetic as the Bowery Hotel’s lounge) is, officially, still open only to hotel guests and their friends, so wear a fanny pack when you wander in.

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Posted 7/10/09 at 4:35 PM

Celebrity Settings

Il Buco Chandelier Saves Marriage

Il Buco Chandelier Saves Marriage

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Although Il Buco no longer sells antiques in its Bond Street space, one of the restaurant’s chandeliers is now in Mad Men star Christina Hendricks’s L.A. home. She loved the fixture and yearned for it for years, so her fiancé, Geoffrey Arend, decided she would have it, and that he would propose marriage underneath it. Despite his lovelorn pleas, Il Buco owner Donna Lennard was reluctant to part with it, however, so Arend appealed to renowned lighting designer Warren Muller, who created the piece. “I told him the story, and he was really touched by it. And I said, ‘I have one more idea. I’ll send you a check, you make a new chandelier, you bless her restaurant with love from us, and then you bring that chandelier back to me, and you bless my marriage with love,” Arend told us last night at the Cinema Society screening of his new movie (500) Days of Summer. Muller made a new, different chandelier for Il Buco and sent the original out to L.A. “I went through this whole ordeal; it was like my own slaying of a dragon,” Arend said. “And I finally got it and I hung it in her house, and I proposed underneath it, and it was incredible.” Fortunately, Hendricks said yes, and the two are planning to marry in October. We hear unconfirmed rumors that their wedding reception will be at — you guessed it — Il Buco.

Posted 7/10/09 at 4:00 PM

Two for Eight

Tables Available at Elettaria, One If by Land, Two If by Sea; Scarpetta Fully Booked

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 a couple in for dinner; you need only make your chosen reservation. (As always, we make the calls but don’t guarantee the results.) Today: Romance.

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Posted 7/10/09 at 3:18 PM

Truckin'

Le Gamin Truck Parks Outside of Joe Jr.: Too Soon?

Le Gamin Truck Parks Outside of Joe Jr.: Too Soon?

Photo: Jon Gluck

Spotted this morning outside of the shuttered and for-rent Joe Jr.: the Le Gamin truck! Is it shamelessly profiteering off the diner’s death, or just consoling the bereft with coffee and crêpes? And why are we having a Stephen King–esque nightmare vision of the future where trucks battle each other to the finish and ravage the empty husks of bygone brick and mortars? Maybe that’s a little dramatic: Joe Jr. in Gramercy is still up and running (the way it was explained to us, it was opened in 1973 by the owner of the West Village location, who sold each location to one of their respective employees a couple of years later). Take a look at the Gramercy holdover’s delightful signage, and don’t you cry tonight.

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Posted 7/10/09 at 2:22 PM

Cartography

Van Leeuwen Debuts East Village Ice-Cream Cart
Van Leeuwen Debuts East Village Ice-Cream Cart

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream has added a cart to its mobile fleet, serving four flavors at Second Avenue and 10th Street daily. If it gets lines in keeping with the trucks, the tiny cooler will have to restock often.

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Posted 7/10/09 at 1:24 PM

Chef Shuffle

Ryan Skeen CONFIRMED In at Allen & Delancey

That’s what the ’bag says. We’re awaiting confirmation that Irving Mill’s erstwhile porkestra conductor is to replace A&D’s bygone chef Kyle Bailey. If so, huge get. [Feedbag] Update: The official statement: "Allen & Delancey is pleased to announce Ryan Skeen as our new executive chef. We look forward to Ryan bringing his talents to the kitchen and continuing the tradition of exceptional food on the Lower East Side."

Posted 7/10/09 at 12:42 PM

Empire Building

Motorino May Take Una Pizza Napoletana Space

The bad news, from Eater: Una Pizza Napoletana owner Anthony Mangieri bought a ticket to the West Coast (he don’t care what you say anymore, because it’s his life) and it looks like his beloved pie joint is not long for this world. The good news: Motorino is looking to move in. Hey, at least that brick-fired wood oven will be in use more than just four days out of the week. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the sudden flourishing of pie joints, including Motorino, is what helped drive Mangieri out of the city? (Eh, we’re probably just projecting our occasional exasperation with the 5,000 restaurant blogs that have popped up since Grub Street launched.) Anyway, if you haven’t had the pleasure of UPN before, now may be the time to get in on it.

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Posted 7/10/09 at 12:06 PM

Trimmings

Food Blogger Splurges for Veselka’s Mural

Food Blogger Splurges for Veselka’s Mural

Photo: Youngna Park

Oh man, we’re totally jealous of Always Hungry New York — the site’s founder, Jeff Zalaznick, went ahead and splurged for Veselka’s mural, Veselkhiarascuro, and now it’s hanging on his office wall. (The price dropped from the $15,000 figure that artist Arnie Charnick quoted us in January.) Meanwhile all we have is a 2005 baby Jesus calendar we got from El Sombrero (the consolation prize we got when we attempted to acquire its awesome folk art). More fun facts about the painting: Eight of the 85 figures have more than three arms since people moved as they were painted, and Charnick, who was a short-order cook for eighteen years, hid his self-portrait in a newspaper. He lives by the motto: “Confucius says many men swallow, but few men chew.” Congrats, Always Hungry.

AlwaysInformed: Veselkhiarascuro [Always Hungry]

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Posted 7/10/09 at 11:46 AM

Lists

No. 1 Chinese

Sure enough, all this “high-end Chinese” squabbling sent us scampering to O.K. 218 (on 218 Grand Street) for some roast pork and ribs (for about seven bucks they threw some duck onto the rice, too, just because, well, they’re psychic). The Voice’s blog has Chinese on the mind, too: They’ve just named their top ten. Agree or disagree? [Fork in the Road/VV]

Posted 7/10/09 at 10:40 AM

Openings

Bua and Wilfie & Nell Brothers Expand to Queens

We hear that Mark and Simon Gibson, the Dubliner brothers who own Bua as well as New York’s Best Pickup Bar, Wilfie & Nell, are about to open a new bar at 34th Street and 30th Avenue in Astoria. Last time we hit Astoria, we ended up at a newish “tapas bar” (tapas meaning quesadillas, burgers, etc.) called Vikingo’s Dungeon at 33rd Street near 36th Avenue. It was like Medieval Times with a house-music D.J. instead of jousters, and they had a cocktail called a Dungeon Libre that was really just a rum and Coke. Not that we didn’t enjoy playing with the fake Viking hats and the mace (and not that there aren’t already a lot of good bars in Astoria), but yeah, we’re looking forward to the Bua boys’ new effort.

Posted 7/10/09 at 10:19 AM

Rants

What Do We Have to Do to Get a Phone Charger Around Here?

Can we get all Andy Rooney on you for a second? It’s a known fact that iPhone batteries are complete crap (yes, even the new ones), and yet everyone has an iPhone, or will have one eventually — so why don’t bars and restaurants keep chargers around? Our 3G has died on us mid-risotto so often that we figure this is a common problem, but even if it isn’t, we’re begging enterprising restaurateurs to sink some ducats into a docking station or two (or if they’re in Williamsburg, six or seven) so we never again need to decide between ordering another Lambrusco or running home in order to juice our phone. It’s like, how many times have we spotted Rocco DiSpirito making out with twin sisters and been unable to photograph or tweet it for Grub Street? (Okay, that’s never happened.) Just think of iPhone chargers as the new purse stools — they’re an easy solution to a common problem. But you know what, forget it — we’re not out to change the dining world. Just, if you know of any establishments that are thoughtful enough to provide these (and fine, BlackBerry chargers, too), will you let us know in the comments? We don’t care if all they serve is Boone’s Farm and Hudson River hogchoker — we’re totally hitting them up next time we’re in need of voltage. And if you’re a restaurateur or tavern keeper who wants to get with the program, e-mail us — we’ll give you a shout-out. Heck, you can even charge us for them.

Posted 7/10/09 at 9:31 AM

Mediavore

Ravitch Signed Oath at Peter Luger; Katie Lee Joel Moves to Burger County

• New lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch signed his oath of office at Peter Luger. [City Room/NYT]

• After her divorce from Billy Joel, plans for Katie Lee Joel's burger restaurant (now called Burger County) have migrated to the West Village, where Joel will open the restaurant with Sean Largotta of the Charles. [NYP]
Earlier: Katie Lee Joel Finds a Permanent Home for Her Patty Melts

• A twenty-year study found that monkeys on a reduced-calorie diet lived longer, and researchers think humans could as well. [NYP]

• It's safe to eat raw cookie dough again! Nestlé has reopened its factory after an E. coli scare. [WSJ]

• In response to news that some New Yorkers are fishing off the city's polluted piers, warning signs are being posted saying that locally caught fish may be unsafe. [City Room/NYT]

Posted 7/10/09 at 9:25 AM

Lawsuits

Philippe Owner Stratis Morfogen: ‘The World Doesn’t Revolve Around Michael Chow’

Stratis Morfogen.

Stratis Morfogen.

In our experience, restaurateurs generally keep mum when they’re smacked with a lawsuit, but not Stratis Morfogen, God love him. We found him more than willing to talk about allegations that he and his chef, Philippe Chow, infringed on the Mr. Chow’s trademark in order to lure customers away. Our conversation was a long and lively one (Morfogen even ended up sending us his chef's passport in order to show us he legitimately changed his name to Chow), so let’s get right to it. (By the way, if you thought Mr. Chow was taking the hard line, check out yesterday’s am New York article about Mister Softee sicking investigators and tow trucks on imposters.)

"Our lawyers will tear this apart." »

Posted 7/10/09 at 9:00 AM

The New York Diet

Theater Legend Joel Grey Accepts Keith McNally’s ‘Gifts to New York’

Breakfast at Pastis puts actor and photographer Joel Grey

Breakfast at Pastis puts actor and photographer Joel Grey "in a good mood."Photo: Melissa Hom

Joel Grey’s theater career spans 50 years; he most recently played the Wizard of Oz in Wicked (2003), but is legendary for winning a Tony in 1966 and an Academy Award in 1972 (beating Al Pacino in The Godfather) for his role as the emcee in Cabaret on Broadway and in film. He’s been on TV too, with roles on Oz, Alias, and Private Practice. In June, Grey published his third photography book, 1.3 Images From My Phone, inspired by a weekend trip without his regular Nikon 25 millimeter. “When you’re acting, you think about color, you think about shape and about size, and the stage is very much like a picture so it’s a very easy transition for me,” he explains. Not surprisingly, the creative spirit is still enamored with New York and specifically the West Village, where he lives and fills up in this week’s New York Diet.

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7/9/09

Posted 7/9/09 at 6:40 PM

Top Chef

Top Chef Masters: Put a Fork in It?

Maybe it was that season spoiler, but interest in Top Chef Masters seems to have pretty much fizzled out (well, ours certainly has, anyway). Anita Lo appeared on last night’s episode, and yet Eater seems to be the only major NYC food blog that bothered with a recap, and judging by how breezy it is, it’s pretty clear they fast-forwarded through the episode. Serious Eats’s experiment in live comment blogging (à la Gawker) garnered a lackluster fifteen comments. And the only sites that seemed to care about Anita Lo’s victory (yay!) were judge Gael Greene’s Bravo blog and the Rickshaw Dumpling blog, which finds Lo gabbing with her partner, Kenny Lao, about the dishes she prepared for Neil Patrick Harris. (That’s right, not even Doogie Howser/Barney could get us excited about this episode.) Safe to say the thrill is gone?

Posted 7/9/09 at 6:29 PM

Neighborhood Watch

Preview Fatty ’Cue at Water Taxi Beach; Shake Shack Custard Imitator in Midtown

Bushwick: Hana Food Corp — an organic bodega with subs that go by names such as Monkey Ass — will open a second location near the Jefferson subway stop that may also include a wine shop. [Bushwick BK]
East Village: The onetime Starlite Lounge space at 167 Avenue A will become the second location of Diablo Royale, expected to open mid-August with an outdoor garden. [Eater]
Greenwich Village: Num Pang has introduced snow cones flavored with either pineapple, ginger, and toasted coconut, or lemongrass, lime, and lychee. [Serious Eats NY]
Long Island City: You can get a preview taste of Fatty ’Cue at Water Taxi Beach on July 21 from 6 to 9 p.m., when Jimmy’s No. 43 owner Jimmy Carbone is hosting a Slow Food barbecue contest. All-you-can-eat admission is $35 and amateurs can enter by e-mailing brooklynbeerexperiment@gmail.com. [Feedbag]
Midtown East: A new takeout shop called Spoon City on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets claims to use the same frozen-custard machines and purveyors as Shake Shake, and you can get concretes with mix-ins. [Midtown Lunch]
West Village: Commerce has added new lunch-y items to its brunch menu, including pork schnitzel, a croque madame, and a chicken gyro with an herbed yogurt sauce. [Grub Street]

Posted 7/9/09 at 5:44 PM

Models and Bottles

Wass Up
Wass Up

Wass doesn’t say anything in this W Q&A that he hasn’t said in all the others (and the only thing he says about the alleged velvet-rope assault is “no comment”), but we’re linking anyway because every word out of this man’s mouth is a little nugget of gold. And the photo? Incroyable. [W Editor’s Blog/W]

Posted 7/9/09 at 5:26 PM

Talking Doughnuts, Coffee, and Canada With Über Restaurateur Dennis Riese

Oh, Canada! First poutine spreads like chicken gravy, and today there’s word that by Monday, Riese Organization, the city’s largest restaurant company, will replace its thirteen Dunkin' Donuts franchises with Tim Hortons — the coffee, doughnut, and baked-goods eatery started in 1964 by the onetime Toronto Maple Leafs player of the same name. (Starting at 6 a.m. on Monday, the Penn Station location will give out free coffee all day.) In Canada, Tim Hortons sells two billion cups of coffee a year; and it introduced the "Timbit," a bite-sized doughnut ball, over 40 years before Hardee’s inflicted the biscuit hole upon us. We gave Dennis Riese a ring to see why he ditched Dunkin' for a Canuck company, and to talk about the state of his empire in general.

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