Chang Has Big Dreams for Vegas; Nobu to CaterDavid Chang plans to open a Momofuku in Vegas where everyone “wants you to do well. [And] there are no government officials who go after you and none of the bull[bleep] that’s in New York City.” [NYP]
Nobu heads to the Sundance Film Festival this January as the first push to establish a catering arm of the company. [NYP]
Gordon Ramsay at the London, Insieme, and Toloache are some of the newer restaurants spicing up pre-theater dining. [NYT]
Frying Pan Secure for Next Five Years; Whole Foods Selling Flat Beer on the LES?Chelsea: The Frying Pan has signed a five-year lease that will begin next May. [Chelsea Now via Eater]
Clinton Hill: Get your Oktoberfest on with a beer, cider, and sausage fest at 55 Lexington Avenue on September 29. [A Brooklyn Life]
East Harlem: Italian Americans are still mourning the August closure of Morrone & Sons bakery on East 116th Street. Especially the 72-year-old matron who opened the shop in 1956. [NYT]
Fort Greene: Crisp artichokes make a great burger topping at 67, even when the beef is greasy and overcooked. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Jackson Heights: Jackson Diner and Rajbhog Sweets are among some 85 restaurants participating in Queens Restaurant Week running September 17 to 20 and 24 to 27. [About.com]
Lower East Side: Whole Foods should top off beer-container refills with CO2 if they care about customers getting home to find flat beer. [Eat]
Park Slope: Frank Bruni was inundated with responses to his feature on handicapped-accessible restaurants, including one about his “beloved Franny’s” who wouldn’t slice “a pizza for someone who had just undergone neurosurgery on her (writing) hand because ‘the chef doesn’t do that.’” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Soho: Barcelona’s artisanal-candy chain Papabubble has settled on a U.S. location at 380 Broome Street and an opening date of October 18. [Papabubble via Down by the Hipster]
The Other Critics
Franny’s Gets the All-Purpose Two Stars; Southern Hospitality Praised forFranny’s is the recipient of one of Frank Bruni’s periodic low-end caprices, and gets awarded an absurd two stars as a result. [NYT]
Paul Lukas, a pretty serious student of barbecue, delivers the verdict on the new barbecues, and the surprise is that Southern Hospitality has some pretty damn good Memphis ribs. Hill Country, it goes without saying, gets lauded as the best BBQ in town. [NYS]
Related: Insatiable Critic: Southern Hospitality
“Rivulets of delicious grease are a common theme” is the key note to Paul Adams’s review of Borough Food and Drink. Mmmm…grease…. [NYS]
In the Magazine
What Is Summer for But Barbecue, Ice Cream, and Vegetables?Summer’s end is already in sight: The All-Star Game is in the books, and another Fourth of July has passed without America being challenged by either the British or savage conquerors from another planet. All that remains are the most basic elements of summer eating: barbecue, ice cream, and fresh vegetables. And that happy trinity constitutes this week’s food section. Adam Platt finally finds barbecue happiness at Hill Country, so much so that the loquacious critic was reduced to declaring the ribs “really, really good.” Also on the subject of barbecue, Rob and Robin announce the debut of three more places, from a New Hampshire Yankee, a former boy-band star, and two ex–Blue Smoke cooks. The Robs also give the world their definitive list of the city’s top four ice-cream places (the best one rhymes with “Tom”). Finally, there’s a conspicuously healthy recipe for zucchini with mint and scallions via the Slow Food haven Franny’s, in (where else?) Park Slope.
Five Guys and ‘Lovely Ladies’ Now Serving Burgers in BrooklynBrooklyn Heights: Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries is open, staffed with “lovely ladies” and other employees responsible for an especially pleasant experience. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Fort Greene: Coffee plus muffins from Choice are available at new café Bidonville on Willoughby near Adelphi. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: The Bowery Hotel’s Italian restaurant Gemma opened Friday night and, though similar, is “800 times classier“ than Morandi inside. [Eater]
Soho: Moondance Diner has closed to make way for condos, but rather than be demolished, the building will travel to Pennsylvania and become an exhibit. [NY1]
Park Slope: Revered pizza haven franny’s has started serving pasta; recent specials have been dappled with house-made sausages and zucchini and herbs. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Tribeca: The Department of Health has tagged Gigino’s on Greenwich Street, though the Wagner Park location remains open. [Grub Street]
Car Plows Into Hop Kee; Neroni Keeps SpinningA car plows into the venerable Hop Kee restaurant in Chinatown. The restaurant is damaged, and one person is hurt. [Downtown Express]
Izakaya invasion! The city now boasts everything from simple sake joints with food to full-blown small-plate restaurants. [NYDN]
The official Times take on the Neroni Affair includes this classic quote, in defense of the Desperate Chef: “If Marco didn’t want anyone signing checks, including Jason, he should have put the checkbook in the safe.” [NYT]
The Underground Gourmet
Enviro-Friendly Eateries Take It to the Next LevelBy now, it’s become commonplace for restaurants of a certain environmentally correct ilk to cite their purveyors on their menus, especially when said purveyors are boutique organic farmers or tiny artisanal producers. But two restaurants, Franny’s (Brooklyn’s Chez Panissean pizzeria), and Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, might be the first establishments to name-check their energy suppliers. Franny’s credits the progressive ConEdison Solutions, while Shake Shack simply gives a shout-out to the wind, as in “The Shack’s electricity is now 100% powered by wind power!” In a similar vein, Maury Rubin’s East Village “green bakery,” Birdbath — in what might be an attempt to discourage anyone thinking of going on a cookie run in a stretch Hummer — has posted a sign advertising a 50 percent discount to customers arriving on a bicycle or skateboard. Pedestrians, presumably, pay full price. — Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld
Related: Danny Meyer on Shake Shack 2.0
Back of the House
Time to Fill Out Our James Beard BracketsThe 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.
In the Magazine
Kobe Club Gets the Bagel, and Foie Gras Foes’ Last StandThis week’s issue of New York is crammed with food news, including an Adam Platt slam, a Gael Greene discovery, and a very odd story about people who hate foie gras.
• Foie Gras foes, rebuffed in their efforts to get the delicacy banned in New York, converge on Fairway, much to the store’s delight. [Intelligencer]
• Adam Platt hands Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Kobe Club a bagel, faulting the restaurant as “less like a steakhouse than a bizarre agglomeration of restaurant fashions and trends, most of them bad.” And that was one of the nicer things he had to say. [Food]
The Underground Gourmet
Flatbush Farm Takes Haute Barnyard to the Next Level
76-78 St. Marks Ave., nr. Sixth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-622-3276
With the possible exception of the Bay Area, Brooklyn may be the world epicenter of so-called local, seasonal, and — in the prevailing menu-speak — “organic whenever possible” cooking. In the past, it’s been enough to cite farm sources (360, Franny’s) or host farmer dinners (Applewood). Now, Kings County Haute Barnyard restaurants are confusing matters by naming themselves as if they were, in fact, produce-purveying competition for the Park Slope Coop.
First came the Farm on Adderley, in Ditmas Park, and now there’s Flatbush Farm, a bar and restaurant in the old Bistro St. Mark’s space that started serving small plates over the summer and launched its dining-room menu late last month. Chef Eric Lind, late of Bayard’s, has the right rural connections: His former boss, chef Eberhard Müller, co-owns Satur Farms on the North Fork and supplies Lind with locally grown produce. Aside from a few artfully displayed farm implements and staid portraits, the long, high-ceilinged space is more urban chic than country quaint; paper napkins and juice glasses for wine are the most notable signs of the restaurant’s commitment to the Simple Life. But Lind’s menu lives up to its rustic promise with hearty dishes like spaetzle with mushroom ragout and lamb shoulder with bubble and squeak. One night’s pork goulash was a tough, chewy disappointment, but the special salmon-cake appetizer was a textural triumph, moist and meaty over a bed of leeks and grainy mustard. One of those and a Pinkus Organic Ur Pils in the Indian-summer-worthy garden is about as bucolic as Brooklyn gets.
— Rob Patronite and Robin RaisfeldRead Adam Platt’s Haute Barnyard top ten.