‘New Yorker’ Food Issue: Plenty to DigestThis week’s special food issue of The New Yorker would be worth reading without any specifically New York–oriented content. But fans of the locavore movement will probably want to flock to Adam Gopnik’s long piece on eating the fruits of the five boroughs (if you consider live poultry from the Bronx fruit, that is). Friend of Grub Street Gary Shteyngart has a moving little memoir about his boyhood love of McDonald’s that got us right in the kishkas. (Similar essays are by Anthony Lane, David Sedaris, and Nell Freudenberger.) But most enjoyable of all was Calvin Trillin’s essay about Singapore street food.
Smith and Mills: The Smallest Next Big Thing Ever
Last November we were the first to predict that the Beatrice would be the hipstaurant of the season. Um, we told you so? Now from Beatrice (and Employees Only) partner Matt Abramcyk comes another contender — this one occupying a former carriage house in the Tribeca nether lands. Smith and Mills is one of the smallest restaurants we’ve ever set foot in, but on this, its opening day, we don’t think it’s too early to say it may just be the next big thing.
This Is Why New York’s Not HotThe question the Gobbler gets asked more than any other is “What’s hot?” And for a several months now, the Gobbler has answered, with tedious regularity, “Nothing.” People are still clawing their way into Waverly Inn, and if you enjoy offal products done up in an elegant, Asian-fusion style, Momofuku Ssäm Bar is the place for you. But the grandiose cycle of openings which began with the arrival of Masa and Per Se at the Time Warner Center four years ago and reached a crescendo early last year with the giant Meat District extravaganzas like Buddakan and Del Posto has more or less petered out. Sure, there have a been a few tepid revivals (the Russian Tea Room), and bigfoot out-of-town chefs like Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay have opened franchise outlets. There are plenty of restaurants in town, and plenty of them are busy. But this most recent boom may have run its course. Here are some possible reasons why.
What to Eat Tonight
A Seasonal Summit of Tilefish, Fava Purée, and Rhubarb Salad at Amalia
At Amalia tonight, chef Ivy Stark has reeled in a fish seldom seen in New York dining circles – which is too bad, because golden tilefish is one of our favorites. Meaty, dense, and full of oily goodness, it’s similar to mackerel in taste, but much, much bigger, typically weighing about twenty pounds. Since it can’t be done whole, Stark serves a pan-seared, skin-on filet of the fleshy creature, with a very springlike purée of fava beans and pineapple-mint leaves (the latter being one of the latest designer hybrid herbs on the market). “It’s really very Egyptian,” Stark says. “I was looking through my cookbooks, and I came across it and decided it would be perfect.” The dish is also served with an Iranian-style salad of raw salted rhubarb with whole mint leaves, spring chives, lime, and garlic. “I saw people eating raw rhubarb on the street in Iran,” Stark says, “and the salt completely takes away the sourness and bitterness … I love not having to cook it. It’s so much more refreshing this way.”
Tom Carvel’s Mysterious Death; Tom Valenti’s Awesome Uptown DigsThe old technique of force-feeding geese with a metal tube was the evil secret behind foie gras. Now there’s a new, gentler method: force-feeding them with a rubber tube. [NYT]
Tom Carvel’s niece is convinced that her uncle, the late custard king, was murdered, and she wants his body exhumed. [The Journal News]
Ouest chef Tom Valenti shows his museumlike 157th Street apartment to the world. [NYP]