Richie Rich and Jenna Jameson may be opening a yet-to-be-named Chinatown bar in a former brothel, but the true original is rumored to be on its way out. A source close to Good World says the bar has lost its lease and its days are numbered. That source has heard that Ian Schrager is buying the block and will erect a W Hotel there — easily the most disturbing rumor since the one about the Bulgarian Bar being replaced by a Best Western. Good World GM Anna Ahlin firmly denies it, saying, “They sold the building we’re located in, and that has been a big misconception for some people.” Ahlin told us she can’t recall the term of Good World’s lease, but drinkers are safe for the foreseeable future.
Although Wakiya, the new high-end Chinese restaurant in Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel, is staffed almost entirely by Japanese chefs, the food is traditional Chinese, only slightly modernized. A good example is this “Bang Bang Chicken,” a classic Szechuan recipe in which, historically, a stick was used to soften the meat (hence the name). As prepared by Yuji Wakiya’s able chef de cuisine, Koji Hagihara, there are some hidden Japanese elements as well, but none that the eye can easily detect. As always, mouse over the different elements to see them described in Hagihara’s own words.
Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street
Ian Schrager’s Wakiya opened last night, bringing a much-awaited conclusion to the search for a luxury restaurant for the Gramercy Park Hotel. After an aborted engagement with Allen Yau, Schrager was able to bring over famed Japanese chef Yuji Wakiya to create a Chinese restaurant in the hotel. Grub Street correspondent Alexandra Vallis was on the spot to see what guests thought – including, we were happy to see, none other than Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, who noted approvingly that “this is what American people want.” Did the other diners agree? Check out the video and see.
According to a revealing new profile by Heat author Bill Buford, Gordon Ramsay isn’t a bad guy, “but he does get angry, helplessly and uncontrollably angry — not an earthly anger but something darker — and has trouble knowing how to stop.” [NYer]
State legislator proposes an A through F system of grading restaurant hygiene, but the Department of Health is against it. [amNY]
A Staten Island pizzeria beats out a field of 65 from six countries to win the 23rd International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. It’s Denino’s, right? Joe and Pat’s? No. It’s Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza. [NYDN]
Ian Schrager has already found a star chef to replace Allen Yau at the Gramercy Park Hotel: The Japanese-born nouvelle-Chinese star Yuji Wakiya, who almost came here two years ago to do a restaurant at the Bryant Park Hotel. [NYP]
Related: Restaurant Happenings: Sirio’s New Address? [NYM]
Bruni won’t have to bear the Diner’s Journal load alone anymore; we can now also look forward to the musings of Julia Moskin, Kim Seversen, and other contemplative food writers. [NYT]
Meanwhile, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert and the Food & Wine staff have launched their own blogs. (The Ripper’s requires a subscription to The Wine Spectator.) [Snack]