Astoria: The guacamole at Luna de Juarez is prepared tableside. [Joey in Astoria]
Central Park: Someone may take over the Tavern on the Green someday, but they won't be calling it Tavern on the Green. That name belongs to owner Jennifer LeRoy. [Insatiable Critic]
East Village: From a tipster comment on yesterday’s nabe watch: Danal is reopening on January 10 in a new Fifth Avenue space just south of 13th Street. [Grub Street]
Lincoln Center: Bruni gives Rosa Mexicano thumbs up for its kid-friendly service and adult-friendly fare. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Lower East Side: Móle might make some of the tastiest tamales in town. [Gothamist]
Midtown East: Reservations are required for Gastronomica editor, Russian professor, and cookbook author Darra Goldstein’s sustainable-caviar and vodka tasting next Wednesday in the Williams Club at 24 East 39th Street. [Williams Club]
Nolita: Ceci-Cela on Spring Street will bake you a buttery galette des rois with only one day's notice … [Snack]
Tribeca: … while Ceci-Cela on Chambers has officially closed after rising rents compelled the bakery to give up its lease. [Grub Street]
Upper East Side: Rome expat Enrico Proietti (Baraonda, Per Lei, and Bella Blue) is opening a fourth Italian restaurant, which he’s named Ciaobella in commemoration of his first, long-closed, New York venture. [NYS]
Upper West Side: Not only does DB source great charcuterie for Bar Boulud, the chef also knows how to throw a party. [Eater]
We just returned from a first look at Bar Boulud, and our immediate reaction: dumbstruck awe. Here we thought the place was supposed to be a wine bar! In fact, it’s a full-scale restaurant with three private dining rooms, a huge kitchen, a separate charcuterie kitchen, and enough dried sausages and glistening terrines on display to get any gourmand hot and bothered. Even the design elements are special: The place is a wine shrine, with a vaulted ceiling (to suggest wine cellars), limestone floors (likewise), and white oak tables (an allusion to wine barrels). Along the walls is a series of framed photographs of wine stains made by Daniel Boulud and artist Vik Muniz. They look like red suns floating, Rothko-like, on their white backgrounds, and are slightly hypnotic. But so are the pork products!
“Life fades vision dims and all that remains is memory.” Such are the haunting first words of The Road Warrior, and we can’t help but think of them as we look back, through heavy lids, at the year that was. 2007 was a memorable restaurant year in so many ways, but there are a few that stick out in our minds. Our favorite moments of the last year would definitely have to include:
The Tenjune lads aren’t the only ones to recommend not-exactly-under-the-radar places in Belvedere’s “keys to the city” series: The interview with Marquee’s “head doorman/actor” Wass makes us want to hand him a douche card, Centro Vinoteca’s Anne Burrell plugs no fewer than four Batali restaurants, and pretty much everyone plugs the Spotted Pig.
It was a foodie fantasy last night at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the likes of Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Sirio Maccioni, Drew Nieporent, and Jacques Pépin had gathered for the lavish annual Food Allergy Ball. We caught up with Jacques Pépin in the grand ballroom before he was to be honored for his valiant fight against cross-contamination. Asked if he had any food allergies himself, the master chef admitted, “No, I don’t,” adding that “I’m a real glutton. I eat anything you put in front of me.” We found that hard to believe from a man known for culinary perfection. “Ask my wife!” he said, so we did. “He’ll eat anything I put in front of him!” Mme. Pépin testified. Still, we wondered if old Jacques can be a diva at home had he ever pronounced Lady Pépin’s grub “unacceptable”? “Are you kidding? She’d put it on my head, I say that!”
isn’t slated to open until January, but legendary good-time guy Daniel Boulud has decided to move up the place’s christening a little bit — to New Year’s Eve. The first night of Bar Boulud will be the site of two seatings: one at 5:30, consisting of three courses of charcuterie-heavy classic French bistro fare for $80, and a second, more festive “gala,” starting at 9, with four courses for $150, including a midnight Champagne toast with D.J. and dancing. That is, if eating the likes of hare terrine, warm saucisson aux lentils, and civet de lapin, and drinking inordinate amounts of red wine doesn’t take the starch out of you. (The menu isn't set yet, but Boulud's publicist says these are the type of dishes likely to be on it.) The man himself promises to swing by sometime after midnight to greet his debut crowd, which suggests to us that he’ll be leading the conga line sometime before dawn. Try calling the reservation line on Monday: 212-595-0303.
Related: Exclusive: Feast Your Eyes on Bar Boulud, Coming in November
Carroll Gardens: Renovations seem to be happening at Jason Neroni's old haunt, Porchetta, but as of yet there are no reliable rumors about the new restaurant's pedigree. [Eater]
East Village: Tasty Falafel’s eight-cent sandwich deal set for this Friday might come with more than you bargained for, like the roach pictured in this order. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Flatiron: Shake Shack now accepts phone-in orders that allow burger fiends to skip to the front of the line; plus, Meyer has added heat lamps for those eating in the park. [Eater]
Forest Hills: Little Danny Brown’s db Wine Bar & Kitchen at 104-02 Metropolitan Avenue just lost a trademark battle to the original DB, Daniel Boulud. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
West Village: The trick to scoring a table at tiny, cozy, exceptional restaurants like the little owl: Show up late like Charlie Rose. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]
Katz's Deli denies selling out to developers and claims it would take “like $50 million” for them to sacrifice the historic deli. [Villager]
Related: Mother of Mercy! Is This the End of Katz’s?
Daniel Boulud reveals his tips for stocking a global pantry, noting that buying locally is all relative: “You drive from Vermont or you fly from California, in less than 24 hours you get it.” [The Canadian Press]
Sort out the growing food-truck scene with this list of the trendsetters including Taco Truck, Dessert Truck from a former Le Cirque pastry chef, and Wafels & Dinges Truck serving "Soft and Chewy waffles or a Light and Crispy covered in powdered sugar, Nutella, strawberries, whipped cream, or maple syrup." God bless the Belgian Ministry for Culinary Affairs. [Gridskipper]
Related: Taco Wars: Rockers Open New Front in Williamsburg
Watch out, Daniel Boulud! Your downtown burger barn is about to get some stiff competition. Veselka, home to our all-time favorite hamburger in the East Village, is in negotiations to lease a 5,100-square-foot space in the very same building as Daniel, but on 1st Street. Owner Tom Birchard tells us, after the obligatory caution that nothing has been signed yet, “Veselka has been working pretty well for 53 years, so it’s going to be pretty much the same, Ukrainian and American comfort food— although maybe with a little tinkering on the menu. We’re thinking of calling it Veselka Bowery, and it will take about a year to build and open.” But what about going head to head with the inventor of the DB burger? Can the lush and lavish Veselka bacon cheeseburger, with its double layer of American cheese and thick, salty-sweet bacon, compete with foie gras and short-rib stuffing? “Bring it on,” Birchard says. We’re already geared up: Happily, in any burger battle, the true victors are always the customers.
Earlier: Veselka 2: Electric Boogaloo
There are book parties, there are banquets, and then there was the event held last night at Le Bernardin for Melanie Dunea’s My Last Supper. From the start, you knew it was going to be out of control: Rather than entering the front door, guests were led, à la the Copa scene in Goodfellas, through winding back stairs, hallways, and the kitchen, where winged dancing girls, identical twin Lenny Kravitz look-alikes, and even a Grim Reaper awaited. Eric Ripert’s meal was an astounding sleigh ride from a Puerto Rican whole hog to the most ethereal escolar imaginable, and included both a D.J. and cabaret performer Lady Rizo singing “White Wedding” on top of a piano, while dancers in veils and thongs frolicked underneath. The less said about the after-party, which inevitably ended with Daniel Boulud dancing on top of the banquet table, the better. But enough talk. On to the slideshow.
Daniel, arguably the grandest of the city’s top dining rooms is planning a rehab, though it won’t be until the summer. Though neither the restaurant nor its patrons are dissatisfied with the current room (and why would they be? It looks like the gateway to the afterlife, circa 1895!), the renovation will keep the place fresh. “Upper East Side ladies get their face-lifts before they’re needed,” spokeswoman Georgette Farkas tells us. “It's something we’ve been thinking about. But Daniel doesn’t want to do anything too revolutionary.” Farkas wouldn’t name names, but a source close to the restaurant says designer Adam Tihany, who did Le Cirque 3.0 and Osteria del Circo, is topping the short list of candidates. In the meantime, the Daniel empire has plenty to keep it busy: Bar Boulud is still slated for a December opening; Maison Boulud, in Bejing, will open in March; and Boulud’s downtown burger bar is, sadly, still unnamed.
Related:Exclusive: Feast Your Eyes on Bar Boulud, Coming in November
A New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that Daniel Boulud is a good neighbor, the Post reports. The court dismissed a complaint filed by Robert and Frances Pildes against Restaurant Daniel for excessive noise. The court found, essentially, that the Pildes knew what they were getting when they bought a condo above a restaurant. While the Pildes made it sound like they complained all the time about noise, the court found only one instance that the Pildes had made a written, legitimate complaint. Only once could the Pildes prove that noise levels were too high at Daniel, and that was on New Year's Eve.
Bertrand Chemel, the chef recently praised in Frank Bruni’s three-star review of Café Boulud for deftly filling Andrew Carmellini’s shoes, is leaving the restaurant in mid-December. A source says he made his announcement three days after the Times rave and will be starting his own restaurant in the Washington D.C. area. Boulud spokesperson Georgette Farkas confirms, “Bertrand is spreading his wings. He’s made an amazing contribution. Daniel has chosen a new chef, but he’s not prepared to announce it.” Daniel is, however, ready to name the head chef at his soon-to-open Bar Boulud, and that will be Damien Sansonetti, a sous-chef at Daniel for almost five years. So did media outlets jump the gun when they said Ed Cotton would be exec chef there? “He was someone Daniel had considered but decided it wasn’t his choice,” Farkas tells us. Not that Daniel left him in the cold we hear he’s the one who scored Cotton the interview at Veritas, his new home.
Reading Fortunes in a Bowl of Pasta [NYT]
Chef demonstrations tend to be pretty grim affairs, and the so-called “tastings” that come with it even worse. (Usually, it’s a sample of whatever horrible product the chef is currently hawking in groceries.) Tomorrow’s demo by Daniel Boulud at the Time Warner Center's Williams Sonoma, though, will be a rare chance to actually eat the chef’s actual food. The chef is promoting The Cafe Boulud Cookbook, but there's a bonus Bar Boulud tasting, too.
Nothing could have prepared us for the avalanche of suggestions that resulted from last Friday’s invitation to name Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant on the Bowery. The entries were overwhelmingly similar, with DBurger and Boulud Burger accounting for the majority. Come on, people! Do you think the intelligences behind the Dinex group were incapable of coming up with that on their own? Several readers suggested names invoking French burgers, with names like Juteux (“juicy”) or, as an homage to Pulp Fiction, Royale With Cheese. Multiple readers posited B3 for Boulud Bowery Burger, and reader Sarah Kimball even had a rough idea for a logo. Then there were the wild cards: Genevieve Bahrenburg’s True Boulud, which we liked, and Beza Lemma’s The Happy Patty, which we liked even more. (Our own entry, Bowery Dan’s Hamburger Hotel, was not eligible.)
The suggestions for a name for Daniel Boulud's new burger place on the Bowery have been coming in to Grub Street, and no one quite seems to have hit on it yet. The ante has been upped, however: The prize for the best entry, awarded by us, is a free burger, beer, and ice-cream dinner for two at the place when it opens. As for the suggestions so far?
Daniel Boulud’s burger bar is in the prelim stages the lease was just signed, and it’s still without a name but lucky for those who crave visual stimulation, his uptown wine bar and bistro Bar Boulud, opening in November at 1900 Broadway (at 64th Street), is a little further along. Thomas Schlesser has already designed the wine cellar’s barrel-vaulted ceiling and doughnut-shaped tasting table and is preparing to line the walls with vineyardlike gravel. And that’s just the start of it. We’ve acquired an exclusive PDF of Bar Boulud’s design scheme, featuring renderings of the main room, floor plans, even upholstery samples. We look forward to pocketing the glass holders.
Bar Boulud Renderings [PDF]
Earlier:Daniel Boulud's Downtown Burger Finally Signs the Lease
Breaking news on the as-yet-unnamed Daniel Boulud burger restaurant (the “DBGB” moniker is gone): The lease has been signed and the restaurant is officially a go, according to Boulud's spokeswoman Georgette Farkas. The much-ballyhooed burger place at 299 Bowery will be opening in the summer of 2008, and will be designed by Thomas Schlesser, the same intelligence behind the look of this fall’s DB entry, Bar Boulud. “The DBGB name isn’t happening,” Farkas tells us. “So in-house we’re calling it TBDB.”
There have been a flurry of Chef Q&As in the blogosphere lately, but Gothamist’s sit-down with Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park really stood out for us. Part of it was the chef’s unabashed enthusiasm for three-star European chefs nobody has ever heard of. (Nobody, that is, who reads blogs.) Then there was this tidbit, which interviewer Hugh Merwin saved for last: After this year’s James Beard Awards, Humm threw an informal party at Eleven Madison. The highlight was 80 drunken guests pouring into the kitchen, where Daniel Boulud made scrambled eggs with truffles. This just highlights an important food rule: Always follow Boulud. Last year, the highlight of the after-party at Thor was Boulud jumping up on the bar and spraying everyone with champagne at three in the morning. If you can’t hang out with the man, at least read about it in Gothamist.
Daniel Humm, Chef [Gothamist]
Top Chef villain Howie Kleinberg, beloved in some corners but reviled in most, was finally eliminated last night. Despite his last minute conversion from self-serving aggressor to avowed team player, the judges unanimously agreed that his hors d'oeuvre lacked imagination and flavor. Today Howie talks to us about his sweaty head and why you don't want to be his enemy.