Self-described “vegetarian bistro” Counter, home of the iridium martini, has become a Certified Green Restaurant™ (we’re required to put a ™ after that, or they’ll force us to drink iridium). Becoming a truly green restaurant in the eyes of the Green Restaurant Association doesn’t happen overnight, but Counter has taken the initial steps by using nontoxic chemicals, energy-efficient lighting, recycling used fryer oil, and using occupancy-sensing lights. Not all green restaurants seek the GRA’s blessing (take what might be the greenest of them all, Birdbath), but for good measure we broke the certified restaurants down according to their current ratings.
Top Chef has announced its new cheftestants, and we, like everybody else who got the press release, were delighted to see that there are even more NYC cooks than ever before, from restaurants including Mai House, Buddakan, Public, 24 Prince, and Dos Caminos. You can’t go by where they work, though: Among last season's rivals, Casey was a “personal chef,” whatever that means, and made it to finale, while poor Lia was at Jean Georges and got bounced halfway through the season. Still, we’re already thinking deeply about this crew — and looking forward to making fun of them in IM conversations a few months hence.
'Top Chef' Chicago Premieres in March [Bravo press release]
Related: Adam Platt Was Right About ‘Top Chef’ All Along
Danny Meyer and the Union Square Partnership are planning to renovate the north end of Union Square Park, including a transformation of the decaying pavilion into a windowless restaurant space. [NYO]
Mia Dona, Donatella Arpaia and Michael Psilakis’s newest baby, will start serving up rustic Italian with Greek influences in midtown next month. Marc Forgione, most recently the corporate chef for the BLT Restaurant Group, is planning an American restaurant for a spring opening. [NYT]
Forget about bringing your junior gastronomes to the finest restaurant Disney World has to offer: Victoria & Albert’s has banned all kids under the age of 10. [NYP]
Earlier this week we linked to a Daily News item claiming Padma Lakshmi rudely refused complimentary dishes from Fiamma’s chef. A commenter wrote, “I was at Fiamma the night Padma was dining there and it absolutely did NOT go down that way. When the dishes arrived at the table, she thanked them profusely and apologized for being too full to eat any of them!” Whatever happened, Padma was just one of many celebs to chow down (or at least show up) at local restaurants this week, and here’s our gossip-column compendium of just who went where.