Esca’s Pasternack to Pitch Fish-and-Chips at Citi Field
We’re not Mets fans or anything, but Gael Greene’s (Web-only!) scoop that David Pasternack of Esca was planning a Fish Shack for Citi Field has really got us in a Flushing frame of mind. Pasternack told us the new Fish Shack would feature “simple stuff” like fish-and-chips, fried clam sandwiches, and lobster rolls. As at other Citi Field concessions, you’ll be able to see the game while you wait. So what makes Pasternack’s menu special? “I don’t know yet,” the chef told us. “But it’s going to be really good.” Pasternack also hears that there will be a Shake Shack at Citi Field, the same rumor we told you about in August. Is this going to be the greatest stadium food court ever or what?
Related: Hark! New Shake Shack to Open at Shea Stadium
Esca Chef to Work for Mets; Bourdain Back on Food NetworkEsca chef David Pasternack will be right at home in the new Mets stadium come 2010, running a place called the Fish Shack. [Insatiable Critic]
Related: Hark! New Shake Shack to Open at Shea Stadium
Kim Severson just ruined our breakfast with a look at PETA’s “Got Pus?” campaign and the question of whether or not milk contains pus. Let’s all share the nausea, shall we? [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
A Brooklyn pizza maker accused of gunning down a mobster was acquitted yesterday, but the case still reinforces those old mafia-in-cahoots-with-Italian-joints stereotypes. [NYDN]
Chef Centerfold Calendar Ready for 2008
We just got our copy of the Gourmet Institute calendar, and though we expected it to be pretty good (the pictures are by My Last Supper author Melanie Dunea), it turns out to be almost surreal. Dunea really gets the the absurdity of chef glamour shots, but rather than try to tone down the portraits, she folds her insight back into the photograph. The pictures are so high-concept that they transcend their original food-porn purposes. Brilliant! The calendar, which helps to support City Meals on Wheels, features twelve big-shot chefs in her signature style, and includes such awesome shots as Maremma’s Cesare Casella in a cowboy suit, looking like a tough Tuscan sheriff of the plains; Esca’s David Pasternack, looking totally looped, pouring liquor into the mouth of his fish companion; and Barbuto’s Jonathan Waxman, throwing what we hope is flour around in a gleeful, Tony Montana–like spree.
The Chefs of the Gourmet Institute 2008 Calendar
Related: Eating the Last Supper
Back of the House
Michelin’s Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a WallEd Levine raises some points about Michelin today in what will no doubt be the first of many arguments and think pieces on the subject. There won’t be much debate, though, on the larger question about Michelin: Nearly everybody we know agrees that the book sucks. Unlike its French original, whose authority was well earned and absolute, and based on an army of incorruptible gourmands, the New York book seems more like the product of two Short Hills foodies passing the time on a red-eye airline flight. We haven’t seen the book itself, so we can’t say if the prose will be as insipid and amateurish as last year’s, which was straight from the South Bend Pennysaver, but we think we might get why Michelin is so weirdly arbitrary, a “combination of the Edsel and the Yugo” in Levine’s words.
Dave Pasternack Serves Fancy Food But Prefers Not to Eat ItToday over at Midtown Lunch, Dave Pasternack, the chef and co-creator of Mario Batali’s highbrow fishery Esca, sits down for a quickie profile. There’s nothing particularly revelatory (that angle was more than covered in a lengthy New Yorker profile from 2005), but we just couldn’t wrap our heads around one little thing:
Favorite Kind of Food: I mean, I like everything but my favorite is ethnic food. I find it more intriguing. I’ve worked in fancy restaurants for 25 years, but my favorite foods are still Chinese, Thai, Indian pretty much everything.
New York Is Tops; More Sam MasonNew York named the nation’s top restaurant city, based on total restaurants, number of internationally known fine-dining places, “a wide segment of second-tier restaurants,” and more. [MSNBC]
The shuttered Tonic holds a press conference at the steps of City Hall to demand the protection of cultural venues. [Gothamist]
Ed Levine goes inside Esca as they await yesterday’s Times review. [Serious Eats]
The Other Critics
Love and Hate for the Inn LW12; Esca Pulls Even With BabboThe Sun’s Paul Adams considers the Inn LW12 an out-and-out Canadian restaurant, to a greater extent than anyone else has, and praises the poutine, a Québécois version of disco fries, along with the rest of the menu. [NYS]
Poutine aside, Randall Lane thinks the Inn LW12 is a snobby “poseur sanctuary” still carrying the taint of Lotus, owner Jeffrey Jah’s other place. [TONY]
Esca gets a third star from the Times, moving it even with Babbo, and reminding everybody that David Pasternack is not just Mario’s fish guy, but one of the city’s great chefs. [Esca]
What to Eat Tonight
Snow Crab, Sure. Ritz Crackers — Definitely!The icy waters off the Canadian Maritimes bring special bounty at this time of year, and right now, that takes the form of one of the biggest and best of all crab species: Chionoecetes opilio, or snow crab. These monsters, which can easily weigh between five and seven pounds each, are just beginning to show up on menus, David Pasternack of Esca tells us.
Don’t Tell Al Gore: Soft-Shell Crabs Already HereWhen, in the very first week of March, soft-shell crabs appeared at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, they seemed as unnatural as two-headed kittens. These molted creatures, normally a summer treat, have been appearing earlier and earlier. (The Oyster Bar folks claim they’ve cornered the winter market.) Are they a product of global warming? And are these freaks any good? We asked David Pasternack, executive chef at Esca and our adviser on all things briny.
We Submit Ourselves to PrimeTime Tables
If you’ve read Eater in the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard of Primetimetables.com, a scalping-type service that gets you tough-to-score reservations for a flat fee. It’s true that the restaurant world could soon experience something similar to what’s happened on Broadway, where good seats at hot shows can go for as much as $500 – it’s simple market economics, and you don’t have to be a Marxist to see the downside. But it’s also true that $45 will get you a table at a top restaurant if you call that day before noon. Heady stuff. We thought we’d give it a whirl – see how well the system works, and just how dirty we felt afterward.
What to Eat Tonight
Nantucket Bay Scallops, Ripe for the Shucking
Rob and Robin recently described, in mouthwatering detail, the nuances of Peconic Bay scallops. Our thoughts quickly turned to their Nantucket Bay cousins, which are currently appearing on some of the best tables in the city.
The New York Diet
‘Page Six’ Editor Richard Johnson Eats on His Feet, Showers After
As the editor of “Page Six,” Richard Johnson knows that shock lurks everywhere, even in hors d’oeuvre: “Some of them are designed as if they’re booby-trapped to explode.” Suspecting that the city’s most popular gossip columnist can’t survive on raw-bar caviar alone, we asked him what else he wrestled into his mouth between Saturday, October 7, and Thursday, October 12.