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Hayden Harnett

  1. The Other Critics
    Critics Like Chop Suey Despite Themselves; One Star for IliliFrank Bruni awards one star to Ilili, establishing the restaurant’s critical reception as generally admiring but far from ardent. Bruni uses it as an occasion to discourse on the current trend of highlighting previously low-rent genres, but he seems to have liked all the food and not found the prices or noise too distracting. [NYT] Steve Cuozzo wanted to hate Chop Suey, he really did. The name was dumb, and he was skeptical of consulting chef Zak Pelaccio, whose “résumé of short-lived eatery associations … is as long as his list of bona fide accomplishments is short.” But he loved the food and its “bold, explosive” flavors. [NYP] Ryan Sutton also plays the “better than it has any right to be” card with Chop Suey, declaring the place as “jolting, gorgeous, frightening” and reluctantly praising its Korean-themed food. [Bloomberg]
  2. Mediavore
    Zagat Empire for Sale; New Low-Cal Girl Scout CookiesThe Zagat family has put their empire of burgundy books on the market, with Goldman Sachs handling the search for a buyer who will have to drop at least $200 million for the acquisition. [NYT] Stereo, the club outside which a patron was shot last week, closed after a weekend police raid. [NYDN] Howie Mandel’s mention of the Waverly Inn on Live With Regis & Kelly made Graydon Carter’s restaurant a highly searched Google item. [Gawker]
  3. NewsFeed
    One Restaurant Opening This Week Isn’t Enough for Alex Garcia These are busy days indeed for Nuevo Latino chef Alex Garcia. Having just opened Carniceria in the space formerly occupied by Porchetta, Garcia is about to open another restaurant, this one on Manhattan’s West Side. Gaucho Steak Co., which goes live today, is an Argentine steak concept based on the chef’s smaller establishment, Gaucho Steak, in Montclair, New Jersey. “In Argentina, if you want steak, they have a place called a parilla, which is just a guy behind the grill,” Garcia tells us. “He’ll make you a steak, French fries, chorizo on bread, whatever you want. It’s really casual, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” That plan seems to run counter to the fairly elaborate kind of cooking that established Garcia as an avatar of new Latin American cooking at Novo and Calle Ocho. However just as at Carniceria Garcia has found a way to express his style through the appetizers, presumably he’ll do something similar at Gaucho Steak. No Alex Garcia restaurant is ever likely to be really reminiscent of “a guy behind a grill.” Earlier: Porchetta Reborn as Carniceria, With Alex Garcia at the Helm
  4. Restroom Report
    Keith McNally: A Restro-spective As we noted when we toured the restrooms at Morandi, Keith McNally has pissed away a great deal of money to make his restaurant lavatories the gold standard. When Morandi failed to hit the mark, we were truly bummed, so to restore our faith in the master (and to make sure we weren’t remembering his previous works through Clorox-colored glasses), we decided to embark on an epic stall crawl of McNally’s previous loos, from Pravda’s Commie commodes to (pardon our French) the shitters at Schiller’s. Come flush with us.