Patrice O’Neal became a comic after he decided he wasn’t really into football and has since gone on to host VH1’s Web Junk, as well as make appearances on HBO’s Def Jam Comedy Jam, Comedy Central, and The Office. If you catch his Valentine’s gig at Stand-Up NY tonight, you might hear him riff about his diabetes — “Why couldn’t the doctor tell me, 'Patrice, you can never eat Brussels sprouts again'?” — and, sure enough, he’s taking measures to control his weight: “When you get close to 40, you start to feel those years of ham hocks.” Nevertheless, his eating philosophy flies in the face of Mireille Guiliano’s. He tells us, “I don’t go to any sexy places to eat where they give you half a lamb chop and one bean. I like going, ‘Uhhh, I’m done’ when I eat.” And where can a man find that experience?
Gawker has footage of what videographer Alex Goldberg claims is a secret venue operating out of an abandoned vaudeville theater [Update: The post has now been removed]. Don’t get too excited, though: A commenter says it’s a theater operated by the music consortium the Rumor Mill, and we’ve confirmed it’s a recording studio that has private functions every now and then. But is there more to it? If you can tell us anything about what goes on at the place, do let us know — the photos on its Website make us want to get in on the action.
Update: The great site Cinema Treasures has the exact address of the venue, a little bit of history, and some advice on gaining access. If you dare!
Drunk Gawker Contributer Stumbles Upon Awesome Secret New York Venue You've Never Been To [Gawker]
We’ve always dreamed of scoring one of the très elegant jackets that Balthazar waiters wear (hint, hint, guys), but on a recent Martha Stewart Show, Balth chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr modeled an even more stylish item — Balthazar bathrobes! (“We were going to wear teddies, but it would not have been good for ratings,” a handlebar-mustached Lee Hanson quips.) If you want to make your V-Day date a pretty mean breakfast in bed tomorrow, check out the clip in which the boys demonstrate “the French take on breakfast burritos.” Just pretend not to notice the amount of butter that goes into this dish.
Last week ’wichcraft jumped on the know-where-your-food-comes-from bandwagon by replacing the plain ol’ numbers on its “table cards” (doled out to customers so servers can locate them) with semi-campy descriptions of how its food is sourced. We’re glad we can now bite into a BLT (served only during “BLT season”) knowing that the applewood-smoked bacon was custom-made by D’Artagnan and the Ozark Mountain Pork Cooperative, and the heirloom tomatoes come from Eckerton Hill Farm in Pennsylvania. As you can see by reading the cards, there are other fun facts: The pastrami comes from the West Coast (via David’s Old World), the jelly is made from “greenmarket fruit that [our chef] just can’t resist,” and the tuna comes from our own Primizie Foods (hence mercury levels “so low they’re often untraceable”). One quibble: What’s up with referring to “soda” as “pop”? Did Jersey boy Colicchio pick this up from Danny Meyer when he was at Gramercy Tavern?
’wichcraft table cards [PDF]
Bedford-Stuyvesant: A “family-run seafood/soul food take-out spot” called 71.Ate has opened at 417 Nostrand Avenue, and while the fried whiting is tasty, the house-made banana pudding will definitely make you want to come back. [Eat for Victory/VV]
East Village: Ruhlman’s hosting a nose-to-tail dinner with “gut man” Chris Cosentino on Tuesday, March 4, at Astor Center. [Ruhlman]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: Can the 2nd Avenue Deli really be called kosher if it’s open on the Sabbath? Many observant Jews, whom Frank Bruni has chatted with, say no. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Tribeca: Bouley has been denied a liquor license for his proposed Japanese restaurant and cooking school, Brushstrokes, “based on the history of the owner, having problems with the community in the past, and the way he runs his establishments.” [Eater]
Upper East Side: Mia Dona is currently BYOB until the liquor license comes through next week. [Eater]
We just screened the first episode of this season’s Top Chef, and again, we find the show compelling. And just the same as previous ones! Padma speaks slowly, Tom is bald and cocky, and Rocco DiSpirito and Tony Bourdain are back onboard. The location is a nonfactor the main contribution Chicago makes is a Pizzeria Uno product placement. But the contestants still fit into those archetypes we love to argue about with Adam Platt.
A friend of Grub Street who was at the East Village Yacht Club last night gives us the following intel: “Apparently they are moving to a new space. Last night was their last open evening. They're moving to a two-floor space on Bowery and Bond. They'll open there in a week.” Perhaps he’s referring to the space on Bowery and Bleecker that used to house Mannahatta? An employee of the Bowery Poetry Club, which is leasing out its front café, says an owner of the East Village Yacht Club checked the space out but won’t be moving in. It took a hundred years, but the Bowery has officially gone from McGurk’s Suicide Hall to the East Village Yacht Club.
Dear Grub Street,
Where should I go for an anti–Valentines Day dinner? My girlfriend of four years just broke up with me, and I want to eat somewhere where I won't see any couples, or think of couples, or anything connected with couples. I want to eat out somewhere that is a million miles from Valentines Day.
Cupid’s Sworn Enemy