Pamplona’s Supersoft Poached Salmon (and Ultracrispy Skin)Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
More and Weirder Trends From Restaurant Guru Michael Whiteman
We recently had occasion to assay the National Restaurant Association’s somewhat dubious restaurant trends piece. Today brings us a far more formidable attempt — that of Michael Whiteman, the restaurant-business guru who, with his late partner Joe Baum, created Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, and who is now a full-time restaurant consultant. Whiteman’s trends are even more disturbingly freaky than were the NRA’s but seem mostly accurate to us. Here’s how they break down.
The Orange Line
Riding the V Line: Thai Heat and Genius on Elmhurst AvenueWe’re riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants along the way.
It’s not much of a secret anymore, but it would be madness to get off at Elmhurst Avenue and not eat at Chao Thai, a Thai restaurant nearly as good as Woodside’s legendary Sripraphai.
Ring in the New Year With David Chang!We just got a look at the Ssäm Bar New Year’s Eve party, and while we won’t be attending (that $300 is earmarked for a new car), we have to say that it looks pretty impressive. For your three bills, you get open bar (beer, sake and wine only), plus Champagne (but for how long?), and, in the food department, such Ssäm standbys as artisanal-ham plates, aged steak, and a slow-cooked pork butt, d.b.a. Bo Ssäm — usually $180 when you order it on the menu. We still can’t figure out the economics of Ssäm Bar, but given Chang’s resistance to moneymaking (through expansion, cookbooks, etc.), we doubt he’s looking to make much money. And if the “unlimited beer, wine, and sake” really are unlimited, the Soupman could well end up on the red side of the ledger.
David Chang’s New Year’s Party
Misled Socialites Outraged by Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper ClubIt looks like Tamsin Lonsdale, the London socialite looking to make a splash with her new private dinner club, might just have a flop on her hands. The Observer today chats with a couple of the club’s disgruntled ambassadors, one of whom says, “She’s not offering a service to the boldface names. She’s using these people to bring in the mass.” Shocking! You mean this wasn’t merely a way to get people together to talk about the new Ang Lee flick? It was a marketing gimmick? Hilariously, one member gripes that she paid $100 for a meal at the Spotted Pig that normally would’ve cost her $40, and Londsale defends herself by saying that Jay-Z ended up dancing with everyone. But really — if Gawker types can rub elbows with Jay-Z at the Pig, can’t anyone?
BURP! Sykes Sister Strikes Out! ‘Exclusive’ Brit Supper Club Lays an Egg [NYO]
Earlier Socialite Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper Club Probably Doesn’t Want You
Gusto Now Going to Look and Taste Like Centro VinotecaChelsea: It doesn’t look good for those who are just getting used to the belly; pig’s ears are the latest trend, and even the version at stellar tapas spot Tía Pol was described by Peter Meehan as “crunchy and sticky with a funky pigskin flavor.” [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Financial District: Don’t forget, the trial run for the proposed year-round seasonal market at South Street Seaport starts on December 16 (and Molto Mario will be there). [Grub Street]
Park Slope: Tempo Presto is closing this Friday because the restaurant can’t keep up with the pricey rent. [Gowanus Lounge]
Upper West Side: Dovetail‘s opening next week. [Zagat]
West Village: Sasha Muniak must feel really good about the Centro Vinoteca formula; after tapping chef Anne Burrell to take over for Amanda Freitag, he plans to redesign the Gusto space by next year with help from Centro Vinoteca and Jean Georges designer Thomas Juul-Hansen. [Restaurant Girl] Andrea Strong unveils renderings of Jason Neroni’s new gig, 10 Downing. [Strong Buzz via Eater] Magnolia Bakery will be open regular hours every day this holiday season except for Christmas, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 24, kids can pick up a cupcake that comes with a note to Santa. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Williamsburg: A benefit party at Supreme Trading tomorrow night promises an open Bass Ale Beer bar from 7 to 8 p.m. and “one of the most difficult cuisines to find in New York City: Rwandan.” [Cakehead]
Breaking: Hotel to Take Over Good World?
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.
FR.OG Had to Choose Between Death and DidierHere’s what we know about the departure of Didier Virot from FR.OG. The fact that he’s gone and the restaurant is still there may just prove something we had heard and only half-believed: that the chef was in fact an employee and not a partner. A source tells us that that the restaurant had been struggling (not helped by its name, which every food writer with an Internet connection had sport with). Rather than just close shop — a real consideration, we’re told – owner Philip Kirsh let the chef, who made a very significant salary, go to his next job, a cushy gig at the Palm Court. Currently, the menu is being produced by the line cooks. Efforts to reach Virot haven’t been successful, but should he be up for talking about the endgame at FR.OG, we’ll let you know the score.
Leaping From FR.OG [NYT]
Back of the House
Jeffrey Chodorow Still in the Steak Game With Latest RestaurantThe Observer has the dope on Jeffrey Chodorow’s latest restaurant in the Empire Hotel: It’s to be a “classic American steakhouse.” Not a surprising choice, given how hassle-free, popular, and profitable steakhouses are — when they’re not Kobe Club, anyway. Jay-C is in Italy for a week, but as soon as we can get ahold of him, we’ll have the details. Given the ambition of his latest ventures, we’d be surprised if this is just another meatery.
Chodorow to Open ‘Classic Steakhouse’ in Empire Hotel [NYO]
Cipriani Still Living High on the Hog; Another Mechanical Bull Comes to New YorkThe nation can rest easy in the knowledge that Giuseppe Cipriani is still cruising around in a Rolls-Royce, has kept his private jet, and may even build another yacht in addition to the one he already owns. [NYP]
The Shamalian boys opened their rockabilly bar on Essex last night even though it’s unfinished, and there really is a bull! [Eater]
The Federal Trade Commission has launched their second attack against the Whole Foods–Wild Oats merger vowing that even though money has already exchanged hands that the integration can still be stopped. [NYT]