Alan Richman Speaks – Sort OfAlan Richman won’t confirm if he quit Bloomberg or was fired, but denies that it was a dispute with his editors that led to the break. “Rumors that I left Bloomberg because of a fight with an editor are obviously untrue. If that were a cause to leave a job, there wouldn’t be an employed writer left in America,” he tells us. Too true! So what’s next? Richman hasn’t announced anything yet, but we bet he won’t be working as a critic for the Times-Picayune.
Related: Alan Richman Confirmed Out at Bloomberg
British Toff Decries the Coarseness of Modern Food WritingWe’re still scratching our heads over an essay in Slate today, in which a British journalist, fretting over what he considers the unseemliness of today’s food writing, declares himself out of the game. Is it for real? Something about the piece had the whiff of a put-on, like Ernie Kovacs’s poet character, Percy Dovetonsils, or one of those stuffy authority figures who get hit with a pie in a TV commercial appealing to teenagers. “The food writing that’s in vogue today consists chiefly of a bellow of bravado,” writes Paul Levy, formerly of the British newspaper The Observer. Today’s food writers, he says, “thrive on the undertow of violence they detect in the professional kitchen, and like to linger on the unappetizing aspects of food preparation. The gross-out factor trumps tasting good as well as good taste.” Is he kidding?
Philadelphia’s Chief Critic Unmasked; Area Restaurants Say, ‘WhoAs a rule, every trend that begins in New York ends up in Philadelphia eventually, from punk rock to New American dining. Now, according to the September issue of Philadelphia magazine, the city has inherited our most inane and pointless debate, one which continues to fester here. Craig LaBan, Philadelphia’s chief restaurant critic, is being sued by the owner of Chops Steakhouse over a review he wrote some months ago. And in the process, he’s threatened with losing his anonymity. But as the critic of record in essentially a one-paper town (with due respect to the Philadelphia Daily News), LaBan is about as mysterious to Philadelphia as cheesesteaks or Legionnaires’s disease.
Soho’s Jerry’s May Be Reincarnated in a New SpaceAstoria: The owners of Sai Organics health-food store have opened an organic restaurant in the old Keystone Diner spot on 30th Avenue near 31st Street. [Joey in Astoria]
East Village: The prices of Gemma’s rustic fare are shocking “and not in a Kobe/Gilt kind of way.” [Gastro Chic]
Meatpacking District: PM may lose its liquor license soon if complaining neighbors sway the community board. [Down by the Hipster]
Midtown East: Menchanko-Tei has been closed by the Department of Health. [Midtown Lunch]
Soho: Jerry’s diner has closed, but the owner may be looking for a new space. [Eater]
Tribeca: Peat Week at Brandy Library starts August 20 bringing a series of public “peated” Scotch tastings and special menu offerings. [Brandy Library] Pomodoro’s II on West Broadway at Murray Street will soon share its space with a Cheesesteak Factory Express. [Grub Street]
West Village: Reservations by phone are required if you want to eat the last of the Chianina steak at Maremma only on offer through next Friday. [Grub Street]
Vegetables Suggest Liebrandt’s New Restaurant Is a RealityThe mystery and excitement surrounding Paul Liebrandt’s new venture is a testament to … what? Boredom? Curiosity? The shaggy dog story? The cutting-edge chef has never been a big favorite with the public; he’s more of a cook’s cook, much in the same way that A.J. Liebling was a writer’s writer, or Mark Jackson, a point guard’s point guard. But there’s a hint that his long-rumored restaurant might actually be more than just a rumor, thanks to Bret Thorn from Nation’s Restaurant News, who happened to receive a press kit for the Culinary Vegetable Institute. (What, like you’ve never been to a vegetable institute? Just stay with us here.) Liebrandt is named as having taken part in a chefs summit at the institute; more important, he’s actually listed as “Chef Paul Liebrandt, of his signature Restaurant Liebrandt, opening Fall 2007, New York City.” What? Thorn is on the case, and so are we. More as this develops.
Restaurant Liebrandt? [Foodservice Blog/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: Liebrandt and Nieporent, Sitting in a Tree…
Restaurant Girl News Makes Commenters DishYesterday’s Eater news of the installation Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman as the Daily News’ new restaurant critic unleashed a torrent of snarky hostility on the site’s message boards. Sadly, the comments were infinitely more entertaining than anything the victuals vixen is likely to write in the paper. A few choice selections are after the jump.