Do Morandi’s Restrooms Live Up to the Rest of McNally’s?As far as restrooms go, Keith McNally’s are the gold standard. The man has pissed away a great deal of money importing gigantic urinals and sinks (as Schiller’s barkeep Corey Lima told us, boozed-up patrons often mistake one for the other), and his restroom lounges are bigger (and have nicer furniture) than certain apartments we’ve lived in. When he built the bathrooms at his new venture Morandi, he must’ve known everyone was watching. Did he suffer from performance anxiety?
Ilan Hall Gets His Bling On; Chodorow Seeks His White WhaleTop Chef winner Ilan Hall is seen walking in the airport with paired Louis Vuitton bag and belt, white Nikes with pink laces, and a $12,000 Patek Philippe diamond watch. [Snack]
Jeffrey Chodorow offers an Ahab-like reward for the first employee who spots Frank Bruni, promising him a Caribbean vacation. [NYP]
Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately
The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside [Grub Street]
The social scene at Morandi is predictably exclusive: “When Keith McNally opens a restaurant, the famous will come. The fabulous will follow. The walk-ins will wait.” [Bloomberg]
Related: Keith McNally on Why Morandi Will Be His Last Restaurant Ever
What to Eat This Week
Get a Leg Up on the Critics: Sample City Sicilian Before Morandi OpensThe impending arrival of Morandi, the amply covered, Sicilian-inflected restaurant from Keith McNally, may have whetted your appetite for the island’s regional cooking. (Seeing the menu certainly did it for us.) But Morandi isn’t open for another week, and if you’re anything like Jeffrey Chodorow, you’ll want to be prepared to offer your own informed critiques of the place should the mean ol’ major critics review it harshly. So where can you train your tongue by sampling Sicilian specialties in the meantime? We’ve got just the three places for you.
Morandi! McNally! And Now — Menu!Morandi may be the opening of the winter, and Rob and Robin have come through with a sneak peek at the much-awaited Italian restaurant and an interview with owner Keith McNally. And now, in a powerful addition to the ever-growing glory that is our database, we’ve got Morandi’s menu, too. We could tell you how tasty these Sicilian-inflected classics look, but why not just click through yourself?
Morandi Menu [NYM]
The Underground Gourmet
Keith McNally on Why Morandi Will Be His Last Restaurant EverThis Sunday, if all goes according to plan, Keith McNally will fling open the doors of Morandi, his new West Village trattoria. (See our opening announcement; here’s the menu.) Until then, there is pine to be varnished, Italian bread to be baked at Balthazar Bakery, and pasta to be rolled and stuffed by chef Jody Williams, with the fortuitous help of a McNally deputy’s visiting 80-year-old Bolognese mother. In the midst of the pre-opening chaos, Mr. McNally took some time to explain why the Brit who invented the New York breed of French brasserie is opening an Italian place in his own backyard.
In the Magazine
Platt and Nieporent Meet Again; Anna Nicole’s Refrigerator SpeaksThis week’s magazine spans the world of food, from Anna Nicole’s refrigerator to Drew Neiporent’s latest big-box feeding hall, reviewed this week by Adam Platt. Rob and Robin write about one of the most buzzed-about openings of the season, and Gael Greene checks out Sam DeMarco’s Fireside. And to round it out, we take stock of what, if anything, the skinny types consumed during Fashion Week.
King of Cocktails Bringing Bubblyesque Concoctions to MorandiDetails are starting to trickle through the strainer about the bevy program at Keith McNally’s new joint Morandi. As with McNally’s others, Dale DeGroff is training the bartenders, and we’ve heard that while the menu is likely to include concoctions like a bloody bull as well as rum and tequila drinks, chef Jody Williams has requested a special list of Prosecco cocktails that don’t contain spirits, liqueurs, or syrups (with the possible exceptions of honey and agave). Those drinks will consist solely of the sparkling wine, fresh fruit like pineapple, and muddled ingredients like basil and mint. “I was very influenced by Jody,” was all the King of Cocktails would tell us. —Daniel Maurer
Related: Fall Preview: Keith McNally and Jody Williams
Ecofriendly Bakery Suddenly Bent on World DominationCity Bakery’s Maury Rubin employed CIA-worthy stealth tactics last winter to open Birdbath, his environmentally friendly, sustainably built organic bakery where the staff wears hemp and the walls are made from sunflower-seed husks. Now, though, with two new branches under way and more on the horizon, an expansionist-mode Rubin dispenses with the cloak-and-dagger routine. By January, he expects to open Birdbath No. 2 in a highly visible West Village location across McCarthy Square from Keith McNally’s impending Morandi, at the corner of Seventh Avenue South and Charles Street, and next fall, the third outpost should materialize at the megagreen Riverhouse luxury-condominium project in Battery Park City. Besides keeping Manhattan well supplied with oversize chocolate-chip cookies and raspberry bran muffins, Rubin aims to align the organic ingredients in his food with the renewable, ecofriendly construction materials used to build the stores where it’s sold. Learn more at buildagreenbakery.com.
— Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Mystery Muffins [NYM]