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You can now text Dos Caminos for reservations.

By Daniel Maurer

‘Top Chef’ Contestants a Tame, Lame Bunch

nikki cascone and manuel treviso
Metromix does a nice job of fleshing out the backgrounds of the New York cheftestants on the upcoming season of Top Chef. But reading the not very scandalous “dirt” on these guys make us wonder if there weren’t five or ten or a thousand more interesting cooks in the city that could have been on the show. Manuel Trevino of Dos Caminos likes football? Whoa! Nikki Cascone of 24 Prince keeps Italian greyhounds? Quel scandal! Given the propensity of New York cooks for drinking, copulating, getting into street fights, and even hitting the dummy pipe, this all strikes us as kind of tame. 'Top Chef' Season Four: We’ve got the dirt on this year’s crop of NYC contestants [Metromix] Related: What to Expect From the New ‘Top Chef’

What's the City’s Greenest Restaurant™?

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’ Recruits Seven NYC Toques

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 Might Fix Up Union Square Park; Welcome to ‘Mexhattan’

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]

Meatpacking Moguls Remm, Birnbaum, and Rabin on How to Be Cool

Our fave waitress Courtney Yates isn’t the only face Belvedere Vodka is using to try to look cool — the company, in association with UrbanDaddy, is running Web interviews with David Rabin, owner of Los Dados and Lotus, and Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, owners of Tenjune. Remm and Birnbaum don’t exactly steer toward the underexposed when asked for their favorite restaurants: BondSt, Nobu, Bar Pitti, Los Dados, Mr. Chow, the Spotted Pig, Pastis, Buddakan, Dos Caminos Soho, Cipriani, Butter, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn.

Tom and Gisele Lock Lips at Nobu, ‘Full House’ Cast and the B-52s Hit Bowery Hotel!?

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.

Pinkberry Domination Continues Apace; Chumley's in Trouble Again

Pinkberry’s quest for world domination becomes more tangible: Its founders have raised $27.5 million in the company’s first round of venture capital. [NYT] Related: The New Cold War: The Battle for Bleecker Street Hear the Pinkberry Jingle, Attempt to Get it Out of Your Head Chumley’s prospective opening date of October 1 has come and gone, possibly because of certain “surprises” the engineers have found, including asbestos and an eroding foundation. [NYP]