The first details on Charlie Trotter’s still-unnamed restaurant on Madison Square Park emerge: It will have 80 seats as well as a bar and lounge. [NYT]
Merkato 55 may be turning New Yorkers on to African cuisine, but there have been plenty of excellent, albeit under-the-radar, restaurants offering the continent’s cuisine for years. [TONY]
Related: Merkato 55’s Most Popular Dish: Doro WatThe Modern’s new wine director, Belinda Chang, is the kind of sommelier we want to be someday: “I’m definitely obsessed with magnums. They’re so fun to pour!” [NYS]
The Shitty Tipper Database on bitterwaitress.com keeps track of people like David Lee Roth, who recently left a $20 tip for a $200 lunch. [NYP]
Alan Richman is out as Bloomberg’s food critic. [Eater]
The bhut jolokia chile pepper is 200 times hotter than a jalapeño and could potentially be used in pepper sprays, but people like eating it and U.S. sales are projected to increase 500 percent this year. [WSJ]
Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill is one of the pioneers of what used to be called the New American cooking. His style, a combination of dramatic vertical presentations, French technique, and urban pizzazz, perfectly encapsulated the energy of the movement in the eighties and nineties. All these years later, Portale is still at Gotham, and still turning out some of the city’s best food, minus the towering drama of old. “As for all that verticality, once it became very trendy and talked about, that’s when I began to back away from it,” Portale says. “My style has changed and evolved.” At least one dish still reaches for the stars: Portale’s roasted lobster, a constant on Gotham’s menu. Scroll over the different parts of the dish to see it described in the chef’s own words.
When Howie Kleinberg, after twice coming to the brink of elimination, returned last week to win a Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef, he was rewarded with a one-week internship at Gotham Bar and Grill, courtesy of the guest judge, Alfred Portale. Kleinberg, whose unremitting hostility originally endeared him to us, has gotten on swimmingly with the chef, we hear. “He’s a very likable guy,” Portale tells us. “He’s a big guy, kinda cuts a pretty wide path through the kitchen, but he shows a lot of respect and poise.”
Last night's A Taste of New York, a major culinary gala presented by New York Magazine at the Puck Building and benefiting City Harvest, was an orgy of food and mirth. Over 30 of the city's best restaurants, from Alain Ducasse to wd-50, set up tables with a signature dish, and a boisterous crowd of well-heeled foodies circulated around, trying the food and chatting up the chefs.