Hot Chefs Invade Fictional Realm, TooEarlier today, we pointed out that hot chefs are all over the men’s mags, but you know it’s really gotten out of control when they’re subbing for Fabio in women’s romance novels. This from book-deal newsletter Publishers Marketplace:
Sophie Renwick’s HOT IN HERE, in which the kitchen heats up as a playboy celebrity chef who is about to lose everything tries to repair his image by dating his “safe” best friend in this fun, hot romance, to Tracy Bernstein at NAL, in a nice deal, for publication in 2009, by Mary Louise Schwartz at the Belfrey Literary Agency (World).
“Playboy celebrity chef who is about to lose everything”? Who could that be?
Related: Chefs Put on Something a Little More Comfortable
De Niro’s Ago to Open Soon?News about Robert De Niro’s New York outpost of Ago came to us from an unlikely source: Robin Leach. The former voice of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is now a blogger (of course) and posted last week about the opening of Ago at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. And while we were distracted by the sight of Mike Tyson in a blue bowler, we were happy to learn that De Niro plans to open his new Ago “later this month”!
Robert De Niro Opens His New Ago Restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel [Robin Leach’s Vegas Luxe Life]
New Chef Richard Lee Introduces Hamachi Jalapeño to GeishaAs the Strong Buzz has reported, Michael Vernon has left Geisha. His protégé, Richard Lee, who was also trained by consulting chef Eric Ripert in 2003, is now at the helm, and we’ve got our hands on his new menu. We’re already wondering if “hamachi jalapeño” will be the next big thing — kind of irresistible to order, isn’t it? As for sushi chef Don Pham’s oxymoronic new creation — sushi sandwiches — we’re not so sure. Check out the dinner menu here.
Changes in the Kitchen at Geisha [Strong Buzz]
Downtown Designer Gordon Hull Is a Burger Lover, But at What Price?
Gordon Hull, founder of downtown design collective Surface to Air, proves that “not all hipsters are vegan” (per the headline of a men.style.com video) by riding around in a limo visiting Burger Joint, Rare View, and Corner Bistro. The feel-good video curiously doesn’t mention that about four years ago Hull founded an underground burger club that had its own salute, a screening process that measured a potential recruit’s “burgability” based on questions such as “How many burger joints can you name in ten seconds?,” and a demerit system that resulted in the expulsion of certain members of the club when they failed to show for monthly “meatings.” Sounds cute, right? Except that we’ve heard from disgruntled members that Hull became “drunk with power” and ended up alienating more than one burger lover by enforcing these rules quite stringently and using the club as a vehicle for self-promotion. But, hey, it seems to have worked!
See, Not All Hipsters Are Vegan [Men.Style.com]
In the Magazine
Platt Pans Brasserie 44; Make Your Own Guacamole
Reading this week’s magazine — or at least the food-related parts of it — had its own special rhythm. First came the shock and guilty excitement of reading Adam Platt’s review of Bar Blanc, which he liked, and Brasserie 44, which he didn’t — zero stars. In a week with only one opening (Bridge Vineyards Tasting Room), Rob and Robin taught us how to make guacamole (there’s a video, too!) and turned us on to the rebellious risotto at Dell’anima. They also found local treats that are globally inspired and clued us in on the rabbits multiplying across city menus. Gael Greene managed to get a table in the early days of Chop Suey, and her pre-pre-pre-review is favorable.
Engines of Gastronomy
The Ferrari of Slicers Is Parked at San DomenicoThere’s a lot at San Domenico to attract the eye, like the Italian aristocrats or the celebrities periodically perched at table nine (Johnny Depp and Keith Richards ate there the other night). But the most striking thing in the restaurant remains the immense antique Berkel proscuitto slicer, a gift from Friuli to owner Tony May after September 11. “It’s the Ferrari of slicing machines,” May says. “It’s a simple machine, but it’s a jewel. It was a great gift.” Built in 1941 and powered by hand, it has a razor-sharp slicing edge that turns with the measured pace of a roulette wheel on its final spins.
Sushi Eaters Face Tuna FearsThe Times tested the mercury levels in tuna sushi served at twenty different city stores and restaurants this week. At most of them, mercury levels exceeded those set by the Environmental Protection Agency. On Wednesday, New York’s Tim Murphy set out to see who in the city was still buying tuna sushi, and why.
6 p.m.: Whole Foods, Chelsea
Rebecca, a redheaded Web editor, is picking up salmon sushi. She’d noticed that the Times report found the highest mercury levels in tuna from Blue Ribbon and the lowest levels at Fairway. “People who eat high-class sushi are more at risk for poisoning than people like me who eat ghetto sushi from Whole Foods,” she said with some satisfaction.
No Ssäm at Ssäm Bar; Neighbors Oppose Carroll Gardens RestaurantAstoria: Oleput reopened. But does it have a liquor license? [Joey in Astoria]
Carroll Gardens: Residents are opposed to a bar and grill next to Black Mountain Wine House. [Brooklyn Paper]
East Village: Is ssäm off the menu at Ssäm Bar? [Eater]
Gowanus: Look for a new coffee-and-sandwich shop called the Crooked Tail Café coming soon to Third Avenue and President Street. [Brownstoner]
Greenpoint: One patron at Greenpoint Coffeehouse wants his anti-brunch message heard. [New York Shitty]
Midtown: Combine dinner with people-watching at the food court at Grand Central Station. [Weblicist of Manhattan]
West Village: The panini at ’ino are salty and sweet. [Gothamist]
Meatpacking Mainstay Florent May Close in MayYesterday Eater broke news that Florent’s landlord has been showing the building to potential tenants (Eater originally misidentified the landlord, so take that rumor for what it’s worth). Florent’s future has been tenuous for some time now — a June 2007 Daily News item mentions owner Florent Morellet trying to renegotiate his lease while neighbors closed shop. We’re hearing from one source that Florent’s lease is up in May, after which Florent will close. Another source says that Morellet planned to sell the business because his health is worsening (his T-cell count is displayed on one of the menu boards). So was it the Florent space that Anthony Martignetti was referring to when he told us he was considering opening a restaurant near Pastis? Who knows, it may also have been the old Rhone space, abandoned by Double Seven. Morellet wasn’t available for comment today, but we’ll keep you posted on what may be a double blow (remember, Passerby will soon close) to the meatpacking district.
Update: Asked whether Anthony Martignetti is considering the Florent space, a rep tells us she has no new information at this time. Note: She didn’t say, “No.”
Related: SHOCK CLAIM: Florent Restaurant to Close This Year? [Eater]
Paris Shaped by the Pen [NYDN]
Earlier: Anthony Martignetti Plots a New Restaurant Over Croissants at Pastis
Passerby Hasn’t Quite Passed On
Eighty One Takes the Haute Barnyard, Locavore Thing 81 Steps Further
In what has to be the clearest example yet of Haute Barnyard run amok, Eighty One has sent us a scroll containing a list of “81 people who bring Eighty One to life.” Rob and Robin weren’t kidding when they said the ingredients were meticulously sourced — everyone gets credit from the “mushroom expert” to the frog’s-legs purveyor to exec chef Ed Brown’s body double. There are more shout-outs here than on a Diddy album, but we suppose it’s not the worst idea — Brown wouldn’t want to be accused of making false organic claims.
Little Chitaly Bakery and Bar Is Not As Gentrifying As It SeemsThe transformation of a Broome Street herbal-medicine shop into a twenty-seat daytime café and nighttime wine bar, Oro Bakery and Bar, might strike some as a sign of gentrification — especially with Papabubble across the street — but owner Dorina Yuen is actually a Chinese-American with deep neighborhood roots. She’s showing a commitment to proximity by using locally sourced ingredients for savory quiches and French country-inspired sandwiches including a jumbo shrimp rémoulade tartine, and a baguette of country ham with cornichons, butter, and fresh chive. During nighttime hours, the focus shifts from organic coffee to beers, sparkling sake, and ten wines by the glass. A bar menu coming later this month will soon include charcuterie, cheese plates, and pâté toast points.
Oro Bakery and Bar, 375 Broome St., nr. Mott St.; 212-941-6368.
Red Hook Vendors Bid for Ball FieldsIf Red Hook vendors want to cook at the ball fields, they’ll have to use approved food-preparation carts, according to a report in the Daily News. The city Parks Department is now accepting bids from vendors, but the traditional mom-and-pop stands may not be able to afford the upgrade. Plus, are those carts even suitable for the kind of deliciousness served in Red Hook? One vendor, who requires four grills to make her pupusas, says no: “We’re not just boiling hot dogs.” You said it, lady. The city will award vendor permits at the end of February.
New Rules May Grill Taco Stands [NYDN]
Earlier: Grub Street’s complete coverage of the Red Hook vendors.
Huckabee Skips Sushi; Super Bowl Snacks AboundFinally, the presidential candidates “respond” to the sushi crisis. Mike Huckabee’s stance? “Nowhere does the Bible mention sushi in the Garden of Eden.” [NYT]
If you’ve ever dreamed of being a Michelin Guide inspector, consider first that in a year “each inspector evaluates 240 restaurants, spends 130 nights in hotels, carries out 800 inspections, writes 1,100 reports and drives 18,000 miles.” [Guardian]
The international conservation group Oceana has issued a report saying that it found mercury levels in tuna sushi throughout the United States to be just as high as in New York’s supply. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
The New York Diet
Novelist Joe Weisberg Unlocks the Mystery of ‘Ugli Fruit’ and
Acclaimed author Joe Weisberg’s new novel, An Ordinary Spy, follows a CIA officer serving abroad in an undisclosed country. To preserve the anonymity of the country’s “very spicy” cuisine, the author redacted all references to specific ingredients in the text. Weisberg tells us that when he himself trained to be a CIA officer, he was taught to offer food — or “amenities” — to potential recruits and was graded on his ability to bring pastries to his instructor. Now that he no longer has access to Quantico’s all-you-can-eat buffet of ice creams and pies (he lives and writes in Park Slope and teaches in Jamaica Estates), we asked him how he satisfies his voracious appetite.
Carroll Gardens to Get ‘Fine Dining Without Being Fine Dining’Ryan Angulo, the talented chef de cuisine who has helped Chris Santos make Stanton Social such a hit, is taking his knives and heading off to make his own show in Carroll Gardens. The as-yet-unnamed restaurant will be going in to 458 Court Street, down the street* from Frankies 457 Spuntino, and aims to serve “upscale, well-developed food that’s still kind of casual fine dining without being fine dining,” Angulo tells us, mentioning Prune, Frankies, and San Francisco’s Zuni Café as models for the kind of thing he wants to do. “We don’t want to price anybody out. We want to make sure to get the neighborhood clientele included.” The place is looking at a possible mid-March/early-April opening.
*Correction: The original version of this item said Angulo’s restaurant would be across the street from Frankie’s 457.
Gavin DeGraw’s New Bar Promises ‘Best Cheeseburger in Town’UrbanDaddy has a first look at singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw’s new blues bar National Underground in the old Martignetti’s Liquors space (remember when Anthony Martignetti was just a lowly dive-bar owner?), which we’ve discovered will eventually include a downstairs where live acts will rock out after acoustic acts end at 10 p.m. upstairs. Co-owner Duggins King (longtime co-owner of Terra Blues) tells us he’s also planning to add about a dozen beers on draft and a food menu that he says will challenge Burger Joint for the best cheeseburger in town. Color us skeptical, but King assures us, “I come from Texas and my partner comes from upstate New York. We’re a couple of country boys who like cheeseburgers. If it tastes right, we’ll serve it. If not, we won’t.” We’ll have to wait till February to see about that, but in the meantime, the bar part of the operation opens on Thursday.
National Underground, 159 E. Houston St., at Allen St.; 212-475-0611.
The National [UrbanDaddy]
Back of the House
Breaking: Chef Nicolas Cantrel Out at BoboTime Out New York’s blog reports that Nicolas Cantrel, the chef at Bobo, is leaving — a seemingly strange move for a brand-new restaurant, but maybe not that surprising. The word on the street has been that while the décor is aces, the food was strictly junior varsity (we haven’t eaten there so we can’t say). Anyway, no word yet on who Bobo’s new chef will be. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear.
Exclusive: Bobo chef go-gos out the door [The Feed/TONY]
Back of the House
The Chef Comic We’ve Been Waiting For!
Grub Street’s with-it brother Vulture introduces us to new comics every week, but it’s taken almost a year to discover a manga that has to do with mangia. Vulture describes Wonton Soup as “a manga–meets–Gahan Wilson–meets–Iron Chef space-trucker opera,” which sounds pretty fantastic to us. Plus, this comic speaks truth! “My cooking is all about passion and fun,” laments the chef who trained at a ten-star restaurant. “Once all that gets taken away, it’s just food.” Click over to Vulture to read an excerpt.
A Hip-hop IHOP in Brooklyn; Grant Achatz Beats CancerMary J. Blige and Foxy Brown’s producer, known to fans as Don Pooh, owns what is already being called the “hip-hop IHOP” that opened in downtown Brooklyn yesterday. [NYDN]
Related: The Phantom IHOP of Midtown West
Meatpaper magazine is a popular read with both carnivores and vegetarians, which is how the founders learned that bacon, delectable treat of treats, “is how vegetarians change their minds” when they revert to their meat-eating ways. [NYT]
Today in unsubstantiated rumors: David Bouley’s forthcoming Japanese restaurant/cooking school will open across the street from Upstairs at Bouley. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Related: David Bouley to Open Restaurant With Japan’s Top Cooking School
The Other Critics
Primehouse’s Steak Saves Its Star; BarFry BlastedThe best steaks at Primehouse NY are good enough to earn a single star from Frank Bruni — which is saying something, given that he had problems with service, didn’t like the other entrées, and even found the rib eyes to be less than they ought to be. But the Creekstone strips carried the day, as they always do. [NYT]
The small, porky tapas at Jason Neroni’s Cantina seem to impress Robert Sietsema, but his review leaves you with the sense that, croquettes aside, the place is still a work-in-progress. [VV]
Paul Adams dines at Smith’s and praises the rich, possibly too rich, appetizers, while frowning over some of the mains. But on the whole he likes the place: “Some dishes are excessive by design, others poorly executed in the heat of the dinner rush, and a few, like the pasta, remarkably good and worthy of a return visit — perhaps after the first wave of crowds has moved on.” [NYS]
Meatpacking Moguls Remm, Birnbaum, and Rabin on How to Be CoolOur fave waitress Courtney Yates isn’t the only face Belvedere Vodka is using to try to look cool — the company, in association with UrbanDaddy, is running Web interviews with David Rabin, owner of Los Dados and Lotus, and Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, owners of Tenjune. Remm and Birnbaum don’t exactly steer toward the underexposed when asked for their favorite restaurants: BondSt, Nobu, Bar Pitti, Los Dados, Mr. Chow, the Spotted Pig, Pastis, Buddakan, Dos Caminos Soho, Cipriani, Butter, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn.
Engines of Gastronomy
Jean Georges’ CVap Oven Is ‘Better Than the Bag’
Jean Georges isn’t a restaurant known for its attachment to experimental cuisine; if anything, J-G Vongerichten’s highly formal flagship is considered a bastion of old-school tablecloth dining. But Vongerichten has always been in the gastronomic vanguard, and he and chef de cuisine Mark Lapico are among the city’s most ardent admirers of the CVap oven, a controlled-humidity technology they use so much that there’s three of them in the kitchen.
Back of the House
Steven Rinella Dons Locavore CamouflageSteven Rinella’s op-ed piece in today’s Times, in which the Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine author makes the case that hunters are not really hobbyists who enjoy killing animals, but rather proto-locavores, struck us as disingenuous on so many levels that we had to respond to it. First, Rinella wraps himself in green language as if it were a Thinsulate camo parka. “Hunters are the original locavores,” Rinella writes, bragging that his family used to eat three or four deer a year, along with various other unlucky birds and squirrels, and that he “carried that subsistence aesthetic into adulthood.” Subsistence aesthetic! Rinella’s from Twin Lake, Michigan! We would bet the closest he got to subsistence culture was running out of Pop-Tarts.
New Kosher Bistro Drops in Midtown West; Gribene Lovers Wanted on the East SideChelsea: Ellisa Cooper returns to Bottlerocket on January 8 to kick off her Tuesday-night Explore Wine Series. [Bottlerocket]
East Village: Pyramid Club might become the city’s first “drag landmark.” [Villager]
Midtown West: The owner of Le Marais and “Bourdain’s former boss at Les Halles,” Jose Meireilles, has transformed his Spanish joint Tintol into a kosher bistro called the Clubhouse Cafe. (Tapas lovers can expect Tintol to make a comeback at an undisclosed downtown location.) [Eater]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: 2nd Avenue Deli is hiring! So lovers of gribenes may have found their dream job. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: Two thieves stole $50,000 from a safe in the Hotel Rivington but were later apprehended. [NYP]
A Sneak Preview of the 2nd Avenue Deli
There’s been plenty of coverage of the new 2nd Avenue Deli, but our feeling on Grub Street is that there just can’t be enough. Into the Box TV, a real-estate video site, has an advanced tour of the deli. We like the finished interior, especially a mural depicting the old restaurant in its heyday that’s an instant classic. And while there’s a good video of owner Jeremy Lebewhol, we suggest reading Rob and Robin’s more detailed one in this week’s magazine.
Having Seconds at The Second Avenue Deli [Into The Box]
Related: You Can Take the Deli Out of Second Avenue [NYM]
Cha Cha, Maker of World’s No. 1 Cannoli, in Juicing ShockerWe’ve been known to stop into Cha Cha’s In Bocca Al Lupo for a Leonardo DiCaprio Frozen Titanic in a souvenir glass, though we’ve never actually seen Leo as the Website says we might. We do often see proprietor Cha Cha — friend of the Sopranos, former promoter of Tony Danza’s boxing career, and the “Unofficial Mayor of Little Italy.” In addition to the “#1 cannoli in the world” (natch), Cha Cha peddles gutbusters like a Mt. Vesuvius Tort consisting of three layers of brownies, cheesecake, and chocolate mousse — which is why we were shocked to hear, on WOR’s Joey Reynolds Show, that Cha Cha has become a health nut and a juicing fanatic and takes most of his meals through a straw. Basta! This is way more disheartening than yesterday’s revelations that Clemens juiced — Cha Cha, say it ain’t so!
Cha Cha’s In Bocca Al Lupo [Official site]
The Annotated Dish
Pamplona’s Supersoft Poached Salmon (and Ultracrispy Skin)Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
More and Weirder Trends From Restaurant Guru Michael Whiteman
We recently had occasion to assay the National Restaurant Association’s somewhat dubious restaurant trends piece. Today brings us a far more formidable attempt — that of Michael Whiteman, the restaurant-business guru who, with his late partner Joe Baum, created Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, and who is now a full-time restaurant consultant. Whiteman’s trends are even more disturbingly freaky than were the NRA’s but seem mostly accurate to us. Here’s how they break down.
The Orange Line
Riding the V Line: Thai Heat and Genius on Elmhurst AvenueWe’re riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants along the way.
It’s not much of a secret anymore, but it would be madness to get off at Elmhurst Avenue and not eat at Chao Thai, a Thai restaurant nearly as good as Woodside’s legendary Sripraphai.
Ring in the New Year With David Chang!We just got a look at the Ssäm Bar New Year’s Eve party, and while we won’t be attending (that $300 is earmarked for a new car), we have to say that it looks pretty impressive. For your three bills, you get open bar (beer, sake and wine only), plus Champagne (but for how long?), and, in the food department, such Ssäm standbys as artisanal-ham plates, aged steak, and a slow-cooked pork butt, d.b.a. Bo Ssäm usually $180 when you order it on the menu. We still can’t figure out the economics of Ssäm Bar, but given Chang’s resistance to moneymaking (through expansion, cookbooks, etc.), we doubt he’s looking to make much money. And if the “unlimited beer, wine, and sake” really are unlimited, the Soupman could well end up on the red side of the ledger.
David Chang’s New Year’s Party
Misled Socialites Outraged by Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper ClubIt looks like Tamsin Lonsdale, the London socialite looking to make a splash with her new private dinner club, might just have a flop on her hands. The Observer today chats with a couple of the club’s disgruntled ambassadors, one of whom says, “She’s not offering a service to the boldface names. She’s using these people to bring in the mass.” Shocking! You mean this wasn’t merely a way to get people together to talk about the new Ang Lee flick? It was a marketing gimmick? Hilariously, one member gripes that she paid $100 for a meal at the Spotted Pig that normally would’ve cost her $40, and Londsale defends herself by saying that Jay-Z ended up dancing with everyone. But really if Gawker types can rub elbows with Jay-Z at the Pig, can’t anyone?
BURP! Sykes Sister Strikes Out! ‘Exclusive’ Brit Supper Club Lays an Egg [NYO]
Earlier Socialite Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper Club Probably Doesn’t Want You
Gusto Now Going to Look and Taste Like Centro VinotecaChelsea: It doesn’t look good for those who are just getting used to the belly; pig’s ears are the latest trend, and even the version at stellar tapas spot Tía Pol was described by Peter Meehan as “crunchy and sticky with a funky pigskin flavor.” [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Financial District: Don’t forget, the trial run for the proposed year-round seasonal market at South Street Seaport starts on December 16 (and Molto Mario will be there). [Grub Street]
Park Slope: Tempo Presto is closing this Friday because the restaurant can’t keep up with the pricey rent. [Gowanus Lounge]
Upper West Side: Dovetail‘s opening next week. [Zagat]
West Village: Sasha Muniak must feel really good about the Centro Vinoteca formula; after tapping chef Anne Burrell to take over for Amanda Freitag, he plans to redesign the Gusto space by next year with help from Centro Vinoteca and Jean Georges designer Thomas Juul-Hansen. [Restaurant Girl] Andrea Strong unveils renderings of Jason Neroni’s new gig, 10 Downing. [Strong Buzz via Eater] Magnolia Bakery will be open regular hours every day this holiday season except for Christmas, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 24, kids can pick up a cupcake that comes with a note to Santa. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Williamsburg: A benefit party at Supreme Trading tomorrow night promises an open Bass Ale Beer bar from 7 to 8 p.m. and “one of the most difficult cuisines to find in New York City: Rwandan.” [Cakehead]
Breaking: Hotel to Take Over Good World?
Richie Rich and Jenna Jameson may be opening a yet-to-be-named Chinatown bar in a former brothel, but the true original is rumored to be on its way out. A source close to Good World says the bar has lost its lease and its days are numbered. That source has heard that Ian Schrager is buying the block and will erect a W Hotel there — easily the most disturbing rumor since the one about the Bulgarian Bar being replaced by a Best Western. Good World GM Anna Ahlin firmly denies it, saying, “They sold the building we’re located in, and that has been a big misconception for some people.” Ahlin told us she can’t recall the term of Good World’s lease, but drinkers are safe for the foreseeable future.
Los Dados Fudges Things on Its Takeout Menu
We’re used to seeing misleading pull quotes on movie posters and book jackets, but takeout menus? Los Dados has plastered the paper menus of its recently opened taqueria with quotes from Thrillist, UrbanDaddy, DailyCandy, Andrea Strong, and others not exactly known for applying a critical eye. Front and center is a line from a Daily News piece: “TACONIGHTISNOWEVENBETTER.” Riiight.
Back of the House
What to Expect on Your Job Interview With Gordon Ramsay
Starchefs plugs big-name chefs as often as Heinz bottles ketchup, so you’ll find all the top toques in their new guidebook, Chefs to Know. Aimed at aspiring kitchen lackeys, the book is fun for civilian perusal as well, if only for the “offbeat restaurants,” favorite kitchen tools, and, best of all, their go-to job interview question.
L’asso Ropes in a Full Liquor LicenseWe didn’t think things could get any better at L’asso, the hipster’s go-to pizza place in Nolita. After all: Nutella pies! Marshmallow pies! But after over three years of tossing them into the wood-fired brick oven, L’asso finally has a liquor license. They’re adjusting from wine and beer slowly (last night our server didn’t know what a Dark and Stormy was, though it was on the menu), but once they come around, we’re confident there will never again be a reason to join the line at Lombardi’s.
Fresh-Killed Turkeys Coming to Union Square; Last Chance for Dumbo PiesAstoria: A new Venezuelan spot called the Arepas Cafe has opened at 33-07 36th Avenue. [Joey in Astoria]
Boerum Hill: Canteen, a new deli-café aspiring to unite cappuccino with pastrami, opens today on Fourth Avenue and Bergen Street. [Brownstoner]
Chelsea: The name Potluck may conjure “the image of weird recipes like lentils with nutmeg or noodles drenched in canned soup served up in a covered dish” for some, but this new eatery on West 26th Street between Seventh and Eighth is actually an Asian restaurant with Japanese and Thai influences. [Blog Chelsea]
Dumbo: Today is the deadline for ordering pies from Jacques Torres’s Almondine and Bubby’s. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: Starting this Sunday, Una Pizza Napoletana will start serving pies at noon on weekends. [Slice]
Union Square: DiPaola Turkey Farms will bring extra birds to the Greenmarket Wednesday, but if you don’t want to abandon Thanksgiving’s main course to chance, you may still be able to order a size in advance. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Gimmicky Drink Names Reach New Nadir With the ‘Striketini’We get pitches for preposterously named cocktails all the time, but this???
Just a quick note to let you know about a new signature cocktail being served up at the W Times Square to help tourists (and weary picketers) cope with the Broadway Strike. Available at the hotel’s Living Room Lounge and Whiskey Bar, it is made with bourbon, Grand Marnier and white cranberry juice and is dark in color as a result of the dark lights on Broadway.
This is ridiculous enough to make us pound a Gisele, made with CABANACACHACA and being served at D’Or (are you happy Nike Communications — we finally got an excuse to mention it!).
Where to Get Your Real-Deal Chicken and Waffles On
Last week not-exactly-starving comedian Aziz Ansari waxed poetic about chicken and waffles, to the delight of a commenter who wrote:
Sweet. A famous person who actually eats!
Also, we ARE talking waffles and dinges right? How long do you have to hunt for this thing? I mean I know they put the vicinity it is in on their website, but somehow I imagine hunting for it to be on part with a stoner-type cross between Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the hunt for Excalibur.
FR.OG Had to Choose Between Death and DidierHere’s what we know about the departure of Didier Virot from FR.OG. The fact that he’s gone and the restaurant is still there may just prove something we had heard and only half-believed: that the chef was in fact an employee and not a partner. A source tells us that that the restaurant had been struggling (not helped by its name, which every food writer with an Internet connection had sport with). Rather than just close shop — a real consideration, we’re told – owner Philip Kirsh let the chef, who made a very significant salary, go to his next job, a cushy gig at the Palm Court. Currently, the menu is being produced by the line cooks. Efforts to reach Virot haven’t been successful, but should he be up for talking about the endgame at FR.OG, we’ll let you know the score.
Leaping From FR.OG [NYT]
Back of the House
Jeffrey Chodorow Still in the Steak Game With Latest RestaurantThe Observer has the dope on Jeffrey Chodorow’s latest restaurant in the Empire Hotel: It’s to be a “classic American steakhouse.” Not a surprising choice, given how hassle-free, popular, and profitable steakhouses are — when they’re not Kobe Club, anyway. Jay-C is in Italy for a week, but as soon as we can get ahold of him, we’ll have the details. Given the ambition of his latest ventures, we’d be surprised if this is just another meatery.
Chodorow to Open ‘Classic Steakhouse’ in Empire Hotel [NYO]