Ethan Hawke Hits Qdoba; ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ Reunion at D’OrLast week Todd Barry told us he was a Chipotle man and we noted that a couple of respected chefs were too — but it seems Ethan Hawke, for one, prefers naked burritos to burrito bols, if a recent sighting at Qdoba Mexican Grill is any indicator. Are notable New Yorkers embracing casual dining chains? Lizzie Grubman did take her client Tailor Made to, um, the Olive Garden…
Crosby Connection Will Rise Again; Los Dados the Last Breath of MeatpackingMeatpacking District: With the wave of recent restaurant and nightlife closings, this area seems doomed, but Los Dados and long-delayed Merkato 55 might be able to salvage the hip destination, at least “on its western perimeter.” [Zagat]
Midtown East: Midtown Lunch finagled a sneak peak of Sakae Sushi’s conveyor belt and loses his cool: “If you’ve been to an outlet overseas, you may end up disappointed by the first US location which lacks some of the uniqueness or ‘cool’ factor of the locations in Asia. That’s because they felt a more subdued location would be more appealing to the clientele of Midtown.… Even when we get something cool, we get screwed.” [Midtown Lunch]
Park Slope: Lebanese Laila has closed, which doesn’t seem like a surprise since it was across the street from “the better, cheaper Olive Vine.” [TONY]
South Slope: The Fourth Avenue soup man has officially given up his spot in preparation for a new fancy condo. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Upper West Side: China Fun is getting in on the New Year shill fest: Submit 500 words (or fewer) on why you want to celebrate the Year of the Rat at China Fun (firstname.lastname@example.org), and you could win a banquet for eight.
West Village: After losing its lease, Italian sandwich destination Crosby Connection is moving from its hole-in-the-wall to an actual restaurant space a couple of blocks away. [The Gluttoness]
Meatpacking Moguls Remm, Birnbaum, and Rabin on How to Be CoolOur fave waitress Courtney Yates isn’t the only face Belvedere Vodka is using to try to look cool — the company, in association with UrbanDaddy, is running Web interviews with David Rabin, owner of Los Dados and Lotus, and Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, owners of Tenjune. Remm and Birnbaum don’t exactly steer toward the underexposed when asked for their favorite restaurants: BondSt, Nobu, Bar Pitti, Los Dados, Mr. Chow, the Spotted Pig, Pastis, Buddakan, Dos Caminos Soho, Cipriani, Butter, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn.
Ben Stiller Crashes a Party at Fiamma, Penélope Cruz Makes Out at
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?
Los Dados Fudges Things on Its Takeout Menu
We’re used to seeing misleading pull quotes on movie posters and book jackets, but takeout menus? Los Dados has plastered the paper menus of its recently opened taqueria with quotes from Thrillist, UrbanDaddy, DailyCandy, Andrea Strong, and others not exactly known for applying a critical eye. Front and center is a line from a Daily News piece: “TACO NIGHT IS NOW EVEN BETTER.” Riiight.
The Other Critics
Pamplona Given a New Lease on Life; Bobo Hit HardAlex Ureña’s somewhat mainstreamed restaurant, Pamplona, earns the catchall two-star rating from Frank Bruni — a great victory for them, since it legitimizes the restaurant and puts it on the solid footing it desperately needed. Bruni doesn’t sound especially impressed, however: “His best dishes are more than memorable enough to redeem Pamplona’s shortcomings.” Well, that’s good! [NYT]
Critics tend to like writing about restaurants that fail badly in one way (such as the food) while succeeding in another, less important way (such as the room). That disjunction gives Danyelle Freeman free rein to jump with both feet onto Bobo. [NYDN]
Randall Lane checks in on the two newly opened Mexican restaurants, Toloache and Los Dados and likes them both okay, but he has changed his ways and is now throwing around stars like they were manhole covers: three (of six) for Toloache, home of the famous grasshopper taco, and two for meatpacking trendhole Los Dados. [TONY]
Celebrity-Chef ‘Pop-Up’ Café Open in Midtown; Halloween RecipeAstoria: Freeze Peach is hosting a costume party Saturday at 8 p.m. and it’s BYO. [Joey in Astoria]
Boerum Hill: Balsamic vinegar is available as a topping at the new ecofriendly ice-cream parlor Blue Marble, on Atlantic Avenue near Bond Street. [Bergen Carroll]
Chelsea: Tekserv is hosting a Mac OS X Leopard release party tonight with free food and live jazz, and the winner of the leopard-themed costume contest gets an iPod. [Blog Chelsea]
Clinton Hill: New restaurant Mariam at 975 Fulton Street features cuisine from Senegal, Kenya, and Guinea, but even though okra was “cooked down to an indiscernible sludge,” it doesn’t feel overextended; the spot will soon add Jamaican food to the menu. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Flatiron: The Manhattan branch of Boerum Hill restaurant Lunetta opens Monday on Broadway at 21st Street. [Grub Street]
Lower East Side: Essex Street’s newest Shamalian bar may have opened for a night this week, but it’s closed now. [Eater] Just in time for Halloween house parties, the Stanton Social has provided a simple recipe for pumpkin croquettes. [Restaurant Girl]
Meatpacking District: The communal table at Los Dados is supposedly a hot singles scene. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Midtown West: Bon Appétit’s “Pop-Up” café opened yesterday and features sandwiches and salads designed by Emeril, Giada, Govind, and Pichet Ong, plus desserts from Will Goldfarb. [Midtown Lunch]
Related: Celebrity Chefs Flock to Former Home of Cheesy Celebrity Restaurant
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Papas & Sons market was busted Wednesday. “Word on the street is that someone in there was running numbers,” but no one’s talking. [Across the Park]
The Other Critics
Kudos to Park Avenue Autumn; Jeers to the Five GuysPark Avenue Autumn’s gimmicky concept might have turned Frank Bruni catty but for the fact that Craig Konketsu’s cooking is so flawlessly brilliant. The place got two stars, and the review reads like three. [NYT]
Paul Adams must be a happy man today just for the headline he came up with for his positive review of the cheese-centric newcomer Casellula: “The Cheese Stands Alone.” It sounds like it does, too, with what might be the best macaroni and cheese going. [NYS]
Peter Meehan puts the Five Guys, and their deliberately dried-out, overrated burger, in their place; Julia Moskin gives Market Table its first praise, a measured and thoughtful mini-review. [NYT]
In the Magazine
Where to Shop Like a Chef
The current issue of New York features a command performance by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld. Their extensive guide to the new trend of food markets spun off from restaurants belongs on every New Yorker’s refrigerator door — these stores are “stocked with the precision and artistry of museum curators.” And in their guise as the Underground Gourmet, they introduce us to a former art-supply store now serving what the Robs say is some of the best Mexican food in Brooklyn. Something tells us Dumbo General Store is going to be packed this week.
Jean-Georges Schools Chodorow in the Art of BloggingSo it’s not anywhere near as dishy as Chodorow’s site, but it seems Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s two-week-old blog is at least sticking to its promise to update us every Tuesday on “what I’ve been cooking, where I’ve been traveling, and what I’ve been thinking.” (It’s a Blogger site with a pretty standard template — did Jean-Georges make this himself?) Even if he isn’t slamming Bruni and Platt, Vongo is at least confessing to cooking with a machine developed for Kentucky Fried Chicken (scandalous!) and getting his daughter’s birthday cake from a bakery instead of from his dessert man Johnny Iuzzini (c’est impossible!). Another shocker: “I love eating in New York. From the tacos and margaritas at Los Dados (where I often stop after a night of cooking at Spice Market).” Jean-Georges is still cooking at Spice Market?
Jean-Georges Vongerichten [Blog]
Meatpacking Rent Party: Lotus and Pizza Bar for Sale
Last week “Page Six” reported that Tenjune owners Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum were eyeing Lotus and Pizza Bar. Sure, even Lotus’ waitress considers it a “tourist attraction” and the owners do have a lot on their hands (their new Mexican restaurant Los Dados is now up and running and Double Seven, previously slated for a mid-summer reopening is now scheduled to do business “in the next few months,” according to a rep), but is Lotus really for sale?
U.S. Open Stadium Eats; Red Hook Vendors’ Bread and Butter in JeopardyAstoria: Get your feet rubbed while eating ice cream at Freeze Peach this Saturday — or maybe just stick to sampling the variety of flavors at this $9 tasting event that will also feature reflexology and tarot-card reading. [Joey in Astoria]
Flushing: New reasons not to fill up before a match: Five serious restaurants including a steakhouse, seafood restaurant, and Cuban café flank the U.S. Open stadium, all under the supervision of Charlie Palmer–trained chef Michael Lockard. [NYDN]
Hell’s Kitchen: Mitchel London Pizza from the owners of Burgers & Cupcakes has been open for a couple of weeks, but they’re still working on good char. [Slice]
Lower East Side: Whole Foods’ beer room, which stocks over 200 international, domestic, and local beers, opened this morning. [Gridskipper]
Meatpacking District: Los Dados from Sueños chef Sue Torres opens Monday. [Eater]
Red Hook: Department of Health inspectors are now turning a critical eye to restaurants associated with the ball-field vendors. Honduras Maya is already closed. [Brooklyn Eagle]
Chatwal, Zakarian, and the Lotus Boys Teaming Up for Midtown HotelVikram Chatwal, who tells us Dream Downtown is about a year and a half from landing in the meatpacking district (he’s in talks with a Barcelona chef about the restaurant), reveals to us that he’s teaming up with Geoffrey Zakarian and designer Thierry Despont (who did the Carlyle Hotel and Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in London) on his other project, the Lamb’s Club, opening at 130 West 44th Street in August of next year. Zakarian was hesitant to discuss his involvement but indicated that David Rabin and Will Regan of Lotus were also partners. Rabin certainly has his hands full these days between the relocation of Double Seven and the opening of Los Dedos, the Mexican restaurant he and chef Sue Torres are launching next month in the old Meet space, but he found a moment to clue us in about the hotel.