Women Chefs Take the Reins in This Week’s Issue“It’s a man’s man’s man’s world,” James Brown once sang. Was it the official anthem of the restaurant world? Sometimes it seems like that, but this week’s issue has eight reasons to the contrary. The names of the first seven are April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Rebecca Charles (Pearl Oyster Bar), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter), Sara Jenkins (formerly of 50 Carmine), Anita Lo (Annisa), Jody Williams (Morandi), and Patricia Yeo (formerly of Monkey Bar and Sapa). All talked about a woman’s place in the kitchen in a special New York forum. The eighth reason? Alex Raij, whose new tapas restaurant, El Quinto Pino, gets three stars from the Underground Gourmet. All this, and a recipe for pan-roasted chicken (plus a video!), come at you in this week’s issue of New York.
A Woman’s Place?
Small Is Beautiful
In Season: Pasture Raised Chicken [NYM]
Chef Roman à Clef: “I’m Not Abbe”Yesterday we speculated that Sympathy for the Restaurant Industry — a new site that is fictionalizing restaurant-industry players — was the work of PXThis blogger Abbe Diaz. The pillorying of Sam Mason, Keith McNally, et al sounded pretty much like e-mails from Abbe. But the author insists to us: “No, I’m not Abbe. She’s the original, the godmother of restaurant blogs and general awesomeness. I’m not worthy.” Hmm — suspiciously high praise.
Jody Williams Knows What to Do (and Not) With an Artichoke“I get a kick out of things that are so easy,” says Jody Williams, whose raw-artichoke salad at Morandi basically consists of the vegetable, some lemon juice, olive oil, and good cheese. Sometimes, especially in Italian cooking, the smartest thing a chef can do is get out of the way. Williams demonstrates the best possible method for making a perfect, simple summer dish in this Grub Street video.
Related: In Season: Local Artichokes [NYM]
Doug E. Fresh Bringing Boxes of Chicken and Waffles to HarlemHarlem: Doug E. Fresh’s chicken-and-waffles restaurant is opening on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 132nd Street. [Uptown Flavor]
Long Island City: It was an orgy of animal fats at Saturday’s burger bash at Water Taxi Beach, as this slideshow dramatically demonstrates. [Off the Broiler]
Park Slope: Hotel Le Bleu (and its rooftop restaurant, Vue) has pushed back its opening to August 13. [NewYorkology]
Upper West Side: Grom has been stealing Beard Papa’s thunder, but the latter’s mango ice shower is just as refreshing as any gelato. And cheaper. [Ed Levine Eats]
West Village: Jody Williams’s new wine bar, Gottino, is coming along nicely on Greenwich Avenue. [Eater]
Williamsburg: The grubby Chinese place on Bedford Avenue by North 7th Street is turning Japanese. [Lost City]
Nello Buys ‘Page Six’ on the Cheap; Jody Williams Trying Not toNello’s Nello Ballan gives Richard Johnson a $1,000 gift, and fifteen “Page Six” mentions of Ballan’s restaurant later, the embattled gossip column has the devil to pay. [NYT]
Jody Williams claims not to have read Frank Bruni’s review of Morandi, though she knows that people are laying odds on the date of her departure. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Related: Not So Bene [NYM]
Restaurant-industry lobbyists express a not-unexpected disappointment with the federal minimum-wage increase passed by Congress, finding it “entirely out of place” in a war-spending bill. [Nation’s Restaurant News]
City Gears Up to Better Police Labor Violations; Beef Threatens Fish at LeCity Council to introduce a bill giving authorities more power to crack down on restaurant labor violations like the alleged ones at Saigon Grill. [MetroNY]
Related: 100 Students to Protest Saigon Grill [Grub Street]
Kobe beef, having once appeared on Le Bernardin’s menu, is taking over and chasing the fish away – a fact chef Eric Ripert is less than thrilled about. [NYP]
Bizarre details of Mr. Chow’s abuse emerge from the lawsuit, including information about one employee who was forced to lie on the floor and be menaced and even kicked by the diminutive restaurateur. [Gawker]
McNally Takes a Cheap Shot at BruniIn yet another retributive strike by a restaurateur against Frank Bruni (Jeffrey Chodorow’s much-discussed broadside being the first), Morandi owner Keith McNally has planted a letter with Eater accusing the Times critic of being biased against woman chefs. “Bruni had never given a female chef in Manhattan anything more than one star, ever,” McNally writes. The complaint goes on for a long time and seems unlike McNally, who has almost always stayed above the fray. What’s especially unseemly is the way the letter dwells on Bruni’s attitude toward gender (“…when the chef is a man Bruni often makes quite a song and dance about it.”) Given the amount of food-world speculation about Bruni’s sexual orientation, this seems like a low blow, especially since the Times’ review echoed a near-universal critical consensus about Morandi. Times dining editor Pete Wells, asked to comment about the letter, agrees, saying simply, “Frank’s review speaks for itself. Period.”
Keith McNally: Bruni Has ‘Unremittingly Sexist Slant’ [Eater]
The Annotated Dish
Morandi’s Deceptively Simple Duck Sandwich
Chef Jody Williams had made her mark as a master of Italian cuisine at Gusto when Keith McNally hired her to run the kitchen at Morandi. Like most of her cooking, this duck sandwich with quince and apple mostarda and green savoy cabbage appears simple and rustic but was created with a great deal of thought and technique. Mouse over the arrows for Jody Williams’s explanation of each ingredient.
Morandi Is On for Lunch: Care to See the Menu?Morandi, the love child of Keith McNally and Jody Williams, has started serving lunch. Allow us to show you the menu, which is available from noon until 3 p.m. weekdays (reservations are taken up to one week in advance) and features poached-salmon paninis, saltimbocca, and pollo alla diavola. Good as the food sounds, you may be more excited by the fact that, first, you’ll now be able to score a seat during civilized hours (we just asked for a one o’clock table tomorrow and felt no pain) and, second, the weather is nice enough for them to have thrown open the French doors. Better still: outdoor tables in the summer and brunch coming soon. —Daniel Maurer
Related: Restaurant Openings [NYM]
The Underground Gourmet
Keith McNally on Why Morandi Will Be His Last Restaurant EverThis Sunday, if all goes according to plan, Keith McNally will fling open the doors of Morandi, his new West Village trattoria. (See our opening announcement; here’s the menu.) Until then, there is pine to be varnished, Italian bread to be baked at Balthazar Bakery, and pasta to be rolled and stuffed by chef Jody Williams, with the fortuitous help of a McNally deputy’s visiting 80-year-old Bolognese mother. In the midst of the pre-opening chaos, Mr. McNally took some time to explain why the Brit who invented the New York breed of French brasserie is opening an Italian place in his own backyard.
King of Cocktails Bringing Bubblyesque Concoctions to MorandiDetails are starting to trickle through the strainer about the bevy program at Keith McNally’s new joint Morandi. As with McNally’s others, Dale DeGroff is training the bartenders, and we’ve heard that while the menu is likely to include concoctions like a bloody bull as well as rum and tequila drinks, chef Jody Williams has requested a special list of Prosecco cocktails that don’t contain spirits, liqueurs, or syrups (with the possible exceptions of honey and agave). Those drinks will consist solely of the sparkling wine, fresh fruit like pineapple, and muddled ingredients like basil and mint. “I was very influenced by Jody,” was all the King of Cocktails would tell us. —Daniel Maurer
Related: Fall Preview: Keith McNally and Jody Williams