The Original Sturgeon Queens Look Back on the LESThe Jews of New York, the PBS documentary we wrote about last week, was on the other day (it will air again Thursday at 9 p.m. on Channel 13) and it was as good as we had hoped. One highlight, included here for your viewing pleasure, is an extended interview with Anne Russ Federman and Hattie Russ Gold, the two surviving daughters from Russ & Daughters, talking about the Lower East Side back in the day. Keep an eye out for an image of Katz’s in its original incarnation!
The Jews of New York [WNET]
Earlier: Russ & Daughters Immortalized on PBS
Video: Russ & Daughters Excerpt From PBS’s The Jews of New York
Rachael Ray Brushes Off Her Starbucks Scandal As ‘Ridiculous’
The blowback from last week’s item about Rachael Ray, in which the Food Network star was reputed to have demanded Starbucks rather than her own officially endorsed Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, has apparently reached Ray. OK! magazine sent a reporter to a Friday taping of The Rachael Ray Show to ask the inexplicably omnipresent food personality about the rumor and its possible damage to her relationship with Dunkin’ Donuts. The wholly predictable response? “It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.” We agree, Rache! But you didn’t say whether it was true!
OK! Exclusive: Rachael Ray Denies Starbucks Rumor [OK!]
Related: Rachael Ray Doesn’t Like Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Any More Than We Do
Kerry Heffernan’s South Gate Slated for February OpeningWhatever happened to 154 South Gate, the restaurant helmed by Eleven Madison Park’s Kerry Heffernan that will fill the void left by Alain Ducasse’s old eatery in the Essex House? Turns out it’s going to be called just South Gate and will go into the space that was formerly Café Botanica. The latest from maître d’ Marc Mover is that it will start taking reservations around January 15, will start serving friends and family the week after that, and will open to the public on the first week of February. (Ducasse’s new venture, Adour, is scheduled to open January 28.) Unsurprisingly, Mover describes the menu as “greenmarket — fresh produce, local farmers, American style with a little bit of French influence or infusion.” And so the Haute Barnyard tear continues…
Earlier: Decent Tables Still Available for Ducasse’s Opening Night
Carroll Gardens May Get a Swank New Cocktail Lounge — Pending CB ApprovalDoes Alan Harding, the king of Carroll Gardens, have a new project up his sleeve? We hear talk of an “upscale cocktail lounge” on Hoyt Street near Union Street’s Black Mountain Wine House. A neighborhood foodie tells us that this new venture depends on the community board, which will vote on the liquor license tonight. Sure enough, right there on CB6’s land-use committee agenda tonight is “Discussion and formulation of recommendation on an on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of 415 Union Street Inc. at 303 Hoyt Street (Block 430, Lot 78) between Union/Sackett Streets.” Will Brooklyn Social or another neighborhood competitor try to protest? Find out tonight.
Charcuterie Continues to Wow on the UWS; Beer, Cheese, and Chocolate Go TogetherChelsea: Cain’s Website is already “pimping” a London opening. [Down by the Hipster]
East Village: Jimmy’s No. 43 is hosting a cheese, beer, and chocolate pairing on January 22. Luckily, cheese before beer, you’re in the clear. [Gridskipper] Danal on 10th Street has given up the ghost. [Zagat]
Hell’s Kitchen: Tasting World is hosting its first Wine Essentials course of 2008 on January 17. [Tasting World]
Midwood: The Amateur Gourmet’s “Best Place I Should’ve Been To Already and Where I Should’ve Already Gone Back To” for 2007: Di Fara Pizza. There are surely too many out there who can relate.
Upper West Side: Ed Levine is as wowed by Sylvain Gasdon’s charcuterie at Bar Boulud as we were. [Ed Levine’s New York Eats via Eater]
West Village: David Page and Barbara Shinn have left Home to focus on their North Fork winery and have taken the wine-sensitive heart of the restaurant with them. [Eater]
Shake Shocker: No Lunch Line on Opening Day
It seems that even on the Shake Shack’s first day of winter operation, not many have decided to risk frostbite by ordering a Concrete. (Danny: Better put disclaimers on those cups, fast.) From noon till 1:30 p.m., we didn’t see more than a couple of people in line at a time when we periodically checked in with the Shake Cam. So, yes, a measure of sanity sometimes prevails in matters Shack — which’ll make it easy for us to snag a frozen custard on our way to buy a winter jacket and some hats and gloves at H&M.
PDT’s Winter Menu Blows Our Minds, GI Tracts
PDT’s winter cocktail menu debuted last night, and we are still hung-over. Mixologist Jim Meehan consulted his peers for the menu, which includes contributions from Pegu’s Audrey Sanders, Tailor’s Eben Freeman, “International cocktail maven” Charlotte Voisey, and others. There’s even a nod to Adam Platt in the description of PDT bartender Don Lee’s Benton’s Old Fashioned, a combo of bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and angostura bitters: “the crossroad of Haute Barnyard and Barroom.” (If this keeps up, we’re going to have to add Haute Barnyard to the banished-words list soon.)
Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman Likes Your Sexy Stank
We can only imagine why Times writer Anna Jane Grossman rang Ken Friedman when she was looking for a quote about why folks forgo deodorant, but, boy, was he forthcoming about his use of what we call “meodorant”:
For those who managed to avoid underarm products, the idea of using them is anathema. “I never use deodorant,” said Ken Friedman, an owner of the Spotted Pig, a restaurant in the West Village. “I like girls who don’t use anything. They sort of smell like sex.”
Are you listening, Beyoncé?
Cast Aside Underarm Protection, If You Dare [NYT]
Center Cut to Serve Just That; Maxim Just What Meatpacking DeservesSo why is Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Lincoln Center meatery to be called Center Cut? Because it will be devoted to the center cuts of meat! There will be center-cut steaks, center-cut pork chops, center-cut venison, and so forth, says the chef’s rep Karine Bakhoum. We are flabbergasted. Such a proposition sounds insanely expensive and is also silly, since the first two ribs off the shoulder (ribs 1 and 2 in the trade) are by far the best ones, with the biggest portion of the spinalis dorsi muscle, also known as the “lip” or “deckle.”
Shake Shack Reopens Today; Fabio Trabocchi’s Last MealSweet glory, Shake Shack reopens today at 11:30! You can call ahead to place your order, but you won’t be enjoying the new heaters until next week. [Eater]
The British agree: Adam Platt’s term “haute barnyard” defines the prevailing dining trend. [Guardian]
Related: The Haute Barnyard Hall of Fame
The manager of Sarabeth’s on Central Park South caught a 50-year-old thief taking $27 from her pocketbook over the weekend. [NYP]
Calling All Web-Surfing Gourmands: Opinionated About Dining Now in the Book
We always wondered why Zagat has a monopoly on restaurant surveys. The same thought seems to have occurred to Steve Plotnicki, the man behind the blog Opinionated About Dining. Don’t be fooled by OAD’s resemblance to the rest of the blogger-with-a-digital-camera food sites. It hosts a very big and very vigorous private forum, whose members will be the backbone of a new book on the top 100 restaurants in America and Europe this March. The OAD members are deep-pocketed diners who eat all over the city, so the book’s core of opinions will be strong.
Dona Back and Cheaper Than Ever; Bowery Boys Spend Millions on West VillageBensonhurst: L&B Spumoni Gardens wants to cater your Christmas pizza dinner. [Lost City]
Dumbo: A liquor store is going in at 102 Jay Street next to Bridge Apothecary. [The Real Deal via Dumbo NYC]
Meatpacking District: Pizza Bar has closed just as Pop Burger rises. [Eater]
Midtown East: Dona returns at 206 East 58th Street … and it will be cheaper! [Restaurant Girl]
West Village: Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson have reportedly purchased the Riverview Hotel for $33 million. [Hotel Chatter via Down by the Hipster]
Zak Pelaccio’s Chop Suey to Open Next MonthZak Pelaccio has somehow found time to plan a new restaurant, in between taking over Borough Food and Drink from Jeffrey Chodorow, opening a new Fatty Crab uptown, and perfecting a haute Malaysian restaurant in London. Look for a big new Korean-themed restaurant in the Renaissance called Chop Suey to open (says Pelaccio with optimism) in late January. Last summer, the bearded wonder took a trip to Korea, where he fell in love with the marinated beef belly and other meaty delights he plans to implement in his new menu as consulting chef. At this pace, we predict Ditmas Park and Inwood will be only Pelaccio-free neighborhoods in New York. But if they’re lucky, they’ll get restaurants too.
Related: Zak Pelaccio Taking Over Borough Food and Drink From Jeffrey Chodorow
The Orange Line
Riding the V Line: The Life Aquatic at Ping’sWe’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.
This far along the V, you can tempt death crossing Queens Boulevard, wander for blocks alone on the sidewalk, and pop into several houseware stores and travel agencies. Or you could go to Ping’s, a citadel of classic Cantonese food that makes even doubters delight and shout, “This is why I love Queens!”
Tamsin Lonsdale Hanging With Jigga Hov? Not So MuchThe Observer today follows up on an earlier story in which Tamsin Lonsdale bragged that her Supper Club got to dance with Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Turns out, according to the Transom’s source, that Lonsdale was hoisted by Beyoncé’s bodyguard as she protested, “Do you know who I am?” The Supper Club’s spokesman insists Londsdale said no such thing and wasn’t manhandled, but still — we’re beginning to see why the snake-eating dinner club stuck to a place that was just a little bit more under the radar.
Spotted Pig Oinks At Supper Club Founder’s Tale of Hangin’ With Jay-Z [NYO]
Earlier: Misled Socialites Outraged by Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper Club
The Other Critics
Allen & Delancey Gets Its Two-Star Due; Irving Mill Continues to UninspireIn spite of lousy desserts and a misstep in the fish department there, Frank Bruni couldn’t avoid giving Allen and Delancey’s complex, accomplished food two stars. [NYT]
Alan Richman, no pushover, was also very impressed by Allen & Delancey, though he noted that the chef’s strength clearly lies in the realm of turf, rather than surf. Still, the respect is there: “The visceral satisfaction is high. He piles on flavors, and he does so with assurance.” [Bloomberg]
Irving Mill: tired concept, spotty execution. Restaurant Girl joins the chorus. [NYDN]
Win a Date With Thomas Keller; Year-end Lists AboundMix up your holiday charitable giving by entering a raffle for a coffee date with Per Se’s Thomas Keller or Ferran Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli. [NYT]
Related: Ferran Adrià, Molecular Gastronomist—Who, Me? [NYM]
On his No Reservations holiday special, Anthony Bourdain spoke with a veterinarian who explained that foie gras production is not the demonic act it has been portrayed as by animal-rights groups, so eat up! [Eat for Victory/VV]
If Amy Sacco didn’t convince you of the growing synergy between restaurants and real estate, consider that Centovini has just struck a deal with luxe condo Soho Mews that offers not only delivery to the building but also the option to have executive chef Patti Jackson provide in-home cooking. [NYP]
Pour One Out for Phil Lynott at Le LupanarIf you’re going to open a restaurant in the Lower Eastpacking District, it better ROCK. When we called Le Lupanar on Saturday, the hostess told us to expect French house music (“we’re still experimenting”), but when we arrived, we got a familiar mix closer to what you’d expect at Fat Baby up the block. Not that we’re complaining — we like TV on the Radio just fine, and the two beers the BYOB restaurant provided made us forgive the Thin Lizzy.
1 Oak + 1 Model = 2 Much Fun!We’ve just gotten our hands on this invite from 1 Model Management for their holiday party at the one and only 1 Oak. Looks like the “restaurant/lounge,” as it’s billed on the invite, will indeed be up and running as soon as next Friday, despite all the storm and stress, and what better way for the beleaguered owners to celebrate than with models and bottles? Space is extremely limited, so Emilio Barletta, the guy who thinks he owns the place, probably won’t be getting in that night.
Related: 1 Oak Embargo Is Lifted, Golden Restroom Faucets Are Promised