Last night at Peter Luger, around 9 p.m., Lindsay Lohan dined with a large party, sporting black patent-leather quilted ankle boots with black semi-opaque tights and a black crushed velvet jacket that came to mid-thigh. One man who wasn’t fazed by this? Waiter Bernard Patten. Since moving from his native Dublin in 1985, he’s seen it all, first at the Waldorf-Astoria and then, for the past eighteen years, at Luger. The Williamsburg bastion of dependability has been going through some changes lately — a new steak on the menu, an expanded kitchen, and a new dining room (seen here) that Patten tells us has eased waiting times. In about six months, there will also be an upstairs lounge and bar with an adjoining private-party space. We asked Patten how he’s been weathering the changes.
The unavoidable wager between the mayors of Green Bay and New York has been made, and AP has dutifully reported it. But as usual, New York is getting the worse of the deal. Green Bay mayor, Jim Schmitt, is betting a basket of cheese, some spread, and some New York strip steaks (New York strips! Imagine!), with some candy — a pair of cheese-wedge sunglasses. That’s if we win. If they win, the self-appointed “Titletown” gets twenty pounds of Peter Luger porterhouses, a case of Brooklyn Lager, and a cheesecake (take that, cheese heads!) from Carnegie Deli. Green Bay is getting the much better deal here. We suggest Bloomberg match Schmitt’s bet with a gristly steak from Tad’s and a black-and-white cookie from a random deli.
Bloomberg places bet on Giants-Packers game [Newsday]
East Village: BondSt has made its West Coast debut in the new Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills. [Snack]
Hell’s Kitchen: Sietsema doesn’t think Metro Marché feels enough like a real bistro; maybe stepping out into Port Authority to view a homeless man peeing into a Dunkin’ Donuts cup just takes away the mystique. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: 'inoteca is back, with new and improved wine storage. [Eater]
Soho: Bruni uncovers the history of Blue Ribbon (which began in 1992 with a fancy French restaurant on Sullivan Street between Prince and Spring) and finds it interesting. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Williamsburg: Diner has "begun doing Porterhouses for two, four, sometimes six, along with bone-in rib-eyes and T-Bones, cooked to order and slathered with marrow butter," right across from Peter Luger. Has anyone been to both to compare? [Brooklyn Based]
Now that Morton’s has announced that it’s opening a steakhouse in Brooklyn, the borough has lost its claim to a culinary soul. Morton’s a chain steakhouse that presents its meat to customers under plastic wrap is the culinary equivalent of the banks and drugstores that have pushed out mom-and-pop businesses all over town.
Oh, Nello! Fiesty Mr. Balan is in his latest rage because he lent a model his $1,000 leather umbrella “because it was raining because I am a gentleman … Stop behaving like a boulevardier [street person] and a petite voleuse [petty thief]. You don’t give me the umbrella, I sue you,” which he is now doing because she returned it broken in two. [NYP]
Related: A Model Breaks Nello's Heart, Umbrella
The newest Iron Chef is … Cleveland’s Michael Symon. [Serious Eats]
Laurent Tourondel tells Bruni he enjoys dining most in Vietnam, but the influence in the recipes for his Thanksgiving spread is all French. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
After Nino Selimaj was ordered to take down his photo of Chelsea Clinton at Osso Buco (it’s still hanging), we got to wondering where other restaurateurs fall on the political spectrum. All we had to do was run some names through the Huffington Post’s FundRace 2008 search engine to find out, for starters, that Mario Batali gave $1,000 to John Edwards while his business partner Joe Bastianich gave $2,300 to Rudy Giuliani (this could get ugly). So who are other restaurant honchos like Drew Nieporent, Danny Meyer, Siro Maccioni, et al backing?
Are you kidding us? Only a trio of New York spots made Esquire’s “best new restaurants” list. And while the places described all sound good, if the likes of Rialto in Cambridge have all but three New York restaurants beat, then Pace is the new Harvard. The fact is this list represents a kind of trans-Hudson affirmative action for the restaurant world. Food columnist John Mariani picks good restaurants located outside New York in place of the more deserving restaurants inside the city limits, such as Insieme, Sfoglia, Ssäm Bar, Suba, Hill Country, and many others. It’s not their fault that New York has more good places than the rest of the country put together!
Carroll Gardens: New wine bar Black Mountain Wine House on Union Street is filled to the brim with lovely sipping ladies. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Flatiron: Diddy has closed Justin’s because it’s not big enough. [NYP] Stephen Hanson’s steakhouse, Primehouse, opens Monday. [Zagat]
Harlem: Fall registration is open for free proper-dining lessons at “New York City’s only tuition-free etiquette school for children,” the Development and Finishing Institute. [Uptown Flavor]
Soho: New Fiamma chef Fabio Trabocchi “brought with him 12 members of the staff of Maestro, in McLean, Va., his previous employer" in order to ease his New York transition. [NYT]
Upper East Side: David Burke's Hudson Valley Foie Gras ‘PB&J’ Tourchon is pushing it. [NYO]
Williamsburg: The best way to be sure your beef is prime is to eat at a top steakhouse, and lucky for you, according to “Amy Rubenstein, whose family owns Peter Luger, the shortage is over.” [NYP]
Grant Achatz writes Ruhlman that the tumor on the great chef's tongue has been diminished by about 75 percent, thanks to aggressive chemo. [Ruhlman].
In his upcoming No Reservations holiday special, Tony Bourdain cooks a Thanksgiving dinner with L.A. rockers Queens of the Stone Age and spends "a fair amount of time spraying stage blood onto [his] niece and nephew’s face." [The Grinder/Chow]
Rickshaw Dumpling has officially opened. [Eater]
Details recently put out a list of “The Best New Steak Houses in America,” and it was not inaccurate. Most of the places across the country that delight enlightened meatheads made the cut: Cut in LA, Michael Mina’s butter-crazed Stripsteak in Vegas, and Robert’s (ill-served by an unrepresentative piece of choice beef in the picture) are indeed among the best going. But writers and diners alike are too happy to be served a big steak to gauge it accurately, which makes all steakhouse features unreliable at best.
Frank Bruni complains about the steak, the service, the sides, and the salad at Peter Luger but caves and hands it two stars. [NYT]
Restaurant Girl gives Elio’s two and a half stars, citing its “charming lure of old-world” Italian, code for a menu that has barely changed in 26 years. [NYDN]
Alan Richman visits Il Mulino and in crushing it strikes a blow against “this style of oversized, oversauced, overcooked cuisine” with all the force he can muster. [Bloomberg]