Times are changing in the restaurant world – but just how fast? Tonight’s James Beard Awards will help answer the question of whether the traditional tablecloth restaurants, which seem to be on the way out, still wield their old clout in the gastronomic Establishment.
The Gobbler recently introduced the world to what he called the “Refined Meathead” school of cooking. Meatheads are mostly male, pork- and offal-obsessed cooks who disdain classical (read “French”) haute cuisine in favor of an earthier brand of cuisine. Mario Batali is king of the Meatheads. David Chang is a Meathead. Daniel Boulud, who grew up eating robust Lyonnaise food and cooks the best pork belly in town when he feels like it, is a closet Meathead. Who are the rest of the Meatheads? How would you know one if you met one in the street? Here are the Gobbler’s Six Meathead Commandments.
Randall Lane gives Anthos its first full-out rave, granting the restaurant five of six stars and writing about it in adoring terms. It's a rare move for Lane, and a good omen for the more powerful critics still to come. [TONY]
At times, Alan Richman likes the food at Morandi a lot, but when it's late and the place gets busy, he considers it to be a kind of restaurant hell. He won’t be going back after 9 p.m. “any time in my life.” [Bloomberg]
Paul Adams felt much the same about Morandi, calling out its fine fried foods but dissing its heavy pastas, “theme park” atmosphere, and lousy entrées. It’s unanimous: The critics all dislike Morandi. Meanwhile, Keith McNally is crying all the way to the bank. [NYS]
Related: Not So Bene [NYM]
Fans, friends, and media have been besieging culinary "It" boy David Chang since he first opened Momofuku Noodle Bar about when he plans to expand. From what we're hearing, the day isn’t far off. A source within Chang’s orbit tipped us off that plans might be in the works to open a long-awaited Noodle Bar uptown. When we asked the pork-happy prodigy about it last week, he sighed exasperatedly and told us, “When we do it, we’re not telling anybody! We’re just going to do it.” Knowing Chang, that’s probably about as close to a confirmation as anybody is likely to get in the near future, so we present it to you for what it is. For our part, we would lay money enough to buy a Bo Ssäm on the likelihood of some kind of Momofuku expansion being announced in the next couple of months. Given that the crowds at the Noodle Bar currently remind us of the fall of Saigon, it can’t happen soon enough.
Related: The I Chang [NYM]
Dear Grub Street,
I’m hoping someone can explain Craft to me. I was taken there the other night for my birthday dinner and came away completely confused and disappointed. Really, what’s the big deal? What’s with all the glowing reviews?
After much speculation, the 2007 nominees for the James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant world, are in. Adam Platt, Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld, and Grub Street all filled out Beard brackets (or at least revealed whom we’d like to see win) on Friday. Here's how the academy's coming down.
The nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant industry, will be announced Monday morning. We’ll report on that as it happens, but for now, here are picks for the main categories from Adam Platt, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, and Josh Ozersky. Our choices are admittedly New York–centric (the awards go to restaurants across the country), but the ceremony is held here, and the city always looms large in the proceedings.
No chef in New York restaurant history has been more successful, or more influential, than Jean-Georges Vongerichten. As he begins his third decade of cooking and running restaurants in New York, we sat down to ask him some questions about the scene: how it’s changed and where it’s going.
Rod Stewart, banned for life at the River Café for pulling his own “rod” out, gets readmitted after a penitential jig for owner Buzzy O'Keefe. [NYDN]
McDonald's coffee "the cheapest and the best," according to Consumer Reports. Of course, it was only going up against Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, and Starbucks. [NYDN]
Frank Bruni also thinks Marcel got the shaft in the Top Chef finale. Does Ilan have any fans in the media at all? [NYT]
This spring — a season which we’re glad to remind ourselves of as we enter drab February — the Institute of Culinary Education will be offering a roster of recreational classes that we heartily recommend, despite the fact that (full disclosure) self-deprecating Grub Street editor Josh Ozersky will be teaching one. Many friends of Grub Street — and a colleague, Gael Greene, who will head up “An Evening of Excess” — will be passing along wisdom on everything from blintzes to methylcellulose.
Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan's fine new book, How I Learned to Cook, is a collection of first-person accounts of celebrated chefs' rocky beginnings. Some of the best chapters are by New York cooks: Andrew Carmellini of A Voce, Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune, David Chang of Momofuku and Ssäm Bar, and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. In case you have any doubts about adding it to your Amazon wish list, here's a breakdown of the hometown highlights.
Maybe you've thought about trying the high-flown recipes dreamed up by chefs David Burke and David Chang for our package on holiday entertaining (which you can check out here): Burke's scrambled eggs with lobster and caviar and Chang's spring rolls. But hey, that would involve reading. Wouldn't you much rather watch the men at work and perhaps follow along at home? If you answered yes, then have we got the thing for you: videos, not much longer than your average pop song, showing the guys throwing together the foods in their kitchens. The camera captures both chefs' personalities: Chang serious as a deacon, Burke gruff but good-natured — and ready with the wry comment on the pain and suffering of lobsters. Great stuff, courtesy of our own culinary editor, Gillian Duffy.
David Chang's shrimp spring rollsDavid Burke's scrambled eggs with caviar and lobster
Move over, Bouley! Step aside, Jojo! You're so over. There's a new generation of "emerging tastemakers," at least according to Food Arts magazine and their friends at Sterling Meats. Sunday night, meat purveyor and magazine jointly fêted ten young chefs who, they predict, "will be influencing what, where and how we dine out on a national level." The chefs were presented with framed, diploma-like certificates and envy-inducing Masamoto cobalt-steel knifes.
Visitors to Ssäm Bar, David Chang's sleek new "Asian burrito" emporium, may have noticed a big, unused kitchen that runs the length of the room. Chang fires it up tonight for the first time, rolling out a late-night menu of multiple-element small plates prepared by the chef and a rotating team of ambitious cooks — including his co-chef at Momofuku, Joaquin Baca; Cafe Gray and Cafe Boulud veteran Tien Ho; and several other classically trained Momofuku alumni.