EPA Joins Mercury Craze; A ‘Seinfeld’–Inspired Food StudyThe Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to examine the mercury levels in the twenty most commonly eaten fish in the New York City region. [NYT]
Top Chef seductress/hostess Padma Lakshmi is moving into a full-floor loft in Alphabet City. [The Real Estate/NYO]
The holy triumvirate of burgers, fries, and milk shakes continues to dominate the nation’s culinary imagination. [NRN]
Huynh Still In at Bun, But Reluctantly SoYesterday Bret Thorn seemingly debunked Gael Greene’s assertion that Michael Huynh left Bun because he wasn’t getting along with his partners and was opening a noodle shop near his other joint Mai House. Thorn had it from the restaurant that Huynh was merely on vacation. Bun’s publicist, Sam Firer, e-mailed something to that effect: “Michael just came back from Vietnam last night and he’s a wee bit surprised to find out he’s left two of his restaurants. He hasn’t. Just a malicious rumor.” However now the Insatiable Critic, who started all of this in the first place, hears from Huynh that although he considered leaving the restaurant, he decided he didn’t want to lose his investment.
Michael ‘Bao’ Huynh Out at Bun; A Le Cirque DocumentaryMichael “Bao” Huynh has left his post at Bun, saying he couldn’t get along with his partner. Next up: a new noodle shop in Tribeca. [Insatiable Critic]
Burgerphilia: a new term about burger obsessives we won’t be using. [Time]
Related: Daniel Boulud’s Downtown Burger Place Finally Signs the Lease
A Table in Heaven, a documentary that looks at Le Cirque’s move from the Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg building, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and promises to show Sirio Maccioni’s tendency to exceed the restaurant’s 2 percent cap on free meals. [NYDN]
Bao 111 Seeks New Owner, New Space
East Village favorite and the launching point of Michael “Bao” Huynh’s mini-empire, Bao 111, is on the market. We noticed an item in Community Board 3’s minutes indicating that French–Caribbean joint Japy has been cleared to receive Bao 111’s liquor license pending certain provisions and State Liquor Authority approval, but a call to the restaurant reveals it hasn’t been sold. Yet. Owner Chris Johnson told us he’s looking for someone who has the cash to buy him out (he’s hunting for a bigger spot, perhaps in a different neighborhood), but, in the meantime, Bao 111 remains open Wednesday through Sunday. Which is good news, pho sho.
Bun Asks the Age-Old Question: ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’
The trend Frank Bruni got hip to a year ago restaurants piping in obnoxious music seems only to have gotten worse. We were willing to let it go when recently opened Jamaican bar/restaurant Red Stripe subjected us to reggae interpretations of Madonna and Prince (they were not without their charm, and people do dance to it), but this weekend Michael Huynh’s mostly empty Vietnamese joint Bun hit a low note by blasting a techno remix of “Who Let the Dogs Out.” Really, Bun? Really? Foie gras and Baha Men?
Back of the House
Gael Reports on Spring Rolls and Marital Strife at BunNobody can put together food and matters of the heart like Gael Greene, and the Insatiable One really brings it in her blog today with a tale of love and dumplings. Michael Huynh just opened Bun with his new wife, and Greene was on hand to witness the marital strife between the two: “The bride, Thao Nguyen,” writes Greene, “stands at the counter in another world, seemingly wrapped in serenity, her hair tightly bound, eyes black with mascara, as she fashions classic spring rolls in fragile paper, two by two, for waiters — both freshly hatched and speedy veterans — to carry away. ‘He doesn’t like my food,’ she whispers. ‘He criticizes my food.’” A bad omen! Greene, at least, likes the food there. A lot. But it’s the threatening clouds looming over the Huynh union that you’ll remember after reading this. Anyway, they say the first six months are the hardest.
Is it Soup or Soap Opera at Bun? [Insatiable Critic]
‘Times’ Discovers Molecular Gastronomy; Invite Yourself toCooking as chemistry has never had more meaning with the use of “hydrocolloid gums — obscure starches and proteins usually relegated to the lower reaches of ingredient labels on products like Twinkies … helping Mr. Dufresne make eye-opening (and critically acclaimed) creations like fried mayonnaise and a foie gras that can be tied into a knot.” [NYT]
Marco Pierre White claims he never reads reviews, and Thomas Keller knows blogs are out there but doesn’t read them. [Epicurious]
These tips for dining in high-end restaurants insist that while some may consider it crude to ask the price of a special, even the owner of Aquavit believes “it’s tacky if the waiter does not volunteer the information without having to ask.” [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Michael Bao Huynh’s Vietnamese to be Taken to the Next LevelGood news for Bao 111 fans: Chef Michael Bao Huynh is opening Mai House, a much bigger, more ambitious restaurant, backed by the Myriad Restaurants Group (Nobu, Tribeca Grill, et al). He’ll be cooking straight-up Vietnamese food, but whatever it lacks in fusion flash, we’re betting will be made up for by the guy’s way with flavor. And the 4,500-square-foot, 120-seat space sounds like it’ll be lovely, with “hand-carved wood fixtures from Vietnam, crushed sunflower-seed walls, Zebrawood banquettes, a mother-of-pearl and bamboo butcher-block bar and Vietnamese lotus flower light fixtures,” according to the Myriad Group. It should open at the end of the month.
186 Franklin St., nr. Greenwich St.; 212-431-0606.