There was never any doubt the Water Club, the $800 million hotel-casino being put up by the Borgata in Atlantic City, was going to have a high-end food pedigree. The Borgata’s a class act! But they did especially well in hiring Geoffrey Zakarian of Town and Country. We’ve had a close look at his menu, and it’s a cut above the usual institutional food: Room-service entrées include filet of bison, braised lamb shank with basmati rice and pomegranate (a nod to Zakarian’s Armenian heritage), and, for when you really don’t want to leave the room, a rib-eye center-cut dry-aged beef chop on the bone with potato purée and field mushrooms. Even the breakfast menu's four options are hipper than you would expect, among them "The Manhattan" (coffee, bagel, New York Times); the "Long Night" (hanger steak and eggs, grilled tomato, Emergen-C vitamin powder, coffee, water), and, inevitably, "Still Awake From Yesterday" (Philly cheesesteak, French fries, Coca-Cola.) There are 800 other things on Zakarian’s menu, but we somehow doubt we could stay long enough to try them out. In fact, it will be a miracle if we can afford to stay there at all.
Geoffrey Zakarian, at both Town and Country, remains one of city’s most eclectic haute-cuisine chefs, as evidenced by Town’s globalist roast duck breast. “I wanted to make a very slight nod to duck l’orange meeting Peking duck,” says the chef, “but with Middle Eastern flavor elements as well,” including a buckwheat pilaf close to the ethnically Armenian chef’s heart. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to see them described in the chef’s own words.
Clinton Hill: A Nigerian restaurant, EN of Africa, is opening on the corner of Cumberland and Lafayette, and there’s relief that it’s not another French spot. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Flatiron: Frank Bruni finds the newly instated lunch at Craft a good, logical fit, in that “Craft doesn’t project the kind of fussiness — on the plate or in terms of décor — that can feel more stilted and constraining at lunch than at dinner.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Hell's Kitchen: Xai Xai, a new wine bar, has opened up. [Endless Simmer]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: From November 7 to 10, the Champagne room at Country will be transformed into a bonbon shop where you can pair pastry chef Hsing Chen’s house-made chocolates with specialty cocktails or order a chocolate tasting menu as part of a collaboration with the upcoming Chocolate Show. [Grub Street]
Park Slope: Katina’s seems to have been taken over by super Greek diner Purity and may now be called Little Purity. [Grub Street]
Upper West Side: Blue Ribbon Six Columbus is poised to open this week, and here’s a sneak peak of the interior. [Zagat]
West Village: Mary’s Dairy has closed both of its locations supposedly because the shops weren’t making enough money. Can ice-cream-only stores no longer cut it? Mary’s comes on the heels of Emack & Bolio's Seventh Avenue closure and Ben & Jerry’s Bleecker Street failure. [Eater]
Williamsburg: Three of the ten-plus restaurants that serve sushi in the nabe made the cut in this Brooklyn raw-fish roundup. [Gridskipper]
Doug Psaltis at Country is a native of New England with a predictable seafood bent. In his case, however, it’s taken to an extreme: With this dish of cod braised in its own ocean water with local seaweed, he’s done everything except put a raincoat on the diners and blow an angry nor’easter in their face. After the jump, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Chelsea: Bungalow 8 and Cain may be outtie, but South Beach’s Eric Milon hasn’t abandoned plans to bring Mansion to the old Crobar space. [Down by the Hipster]
East Village: Bouncers at Drop Off Service bar (in a former Laundromat) hang drunken oafs out to dry, plus a killer happy hour lasts till 8 p.m. [Gridskipper] But at Angels & Kings on East 11th Street, the bathrooms are meant for sex. [NYP]
Gramercy: I Trulli’s outdoor garden opens today. [Grub Street]
Meatpacking District: Paradou kicks off “Mother’s Week” May 14: E-mail the restaurant with a dish your mom used to make, and if it gets served as a special, you win a free bottle of wine. [Grub Street]
Midtown West: A branch of ’wichcraft is coming soon to the shopping concourse below Rockefeller Center. [Grub Street]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: Hsing Chen, executive pastry chef at Country, has reinstated a dessert trolley that could inspire a food-caddy renaissance; plus, she makes what might be the first popcorn ice-cream float. [Gothamist]
You would think that Drew Nieporent, as one of the most famous and influential of New York restaurateurs (not to mention one of the most recognizable) would be able to get decent service at a good Manhattan restaurant. You can see where we’re headed with this: Yesterday at the Cafe at Country, the jolly mogul was made to wait and wait and wait for his meal. “This is my worst nightmare, that this would happen in one of my own restaurants,” Nieporent said. Find out the full story at Daily Intel.
Celebrity Restaurateurs: They Get Slow Service Just Like Us! [Daily Intel]
Earlier we reported that Sasha Petraske has his eye on the vacant Blue Mill space, which is begging for a Waverly Inn–style revival. Turns out he’s not the only one: We noticed, in the agenda for tonight’s Community Board 4 meeting, that Geoffrey Zakarian of Town and Country has applied for a liquor license at 50 Commerce Street. Zakarian concedes that he and some unnamed partners are looking at several spaces in the West Village and Lower East Side with a small bistro in mind, but he hasn’t signed a lease and needs to crunch more numbers before he’s ready for the community board. “I spoke to the landlord and evidently there’s someone else she’s interested in,” he tells us. The plot thickens … Daniel MaurerEarlier: Sasha Petraske to Take on Fine Dining, Too