This Week’s Issue Is All About Simplicity
The Food Network dumps Mario Batali, and he dumps Iron Chef America in return. [NYP] Da Silvano‘s media connections won’t keep rat spottings out of the news as Inside Edition will air footage of the vermin tonight alongside similarly damning video of both Peter Luger and Blue Ribbon. [Eater] "Nobody at the Bryant Park tents has to starve, sleep or stay sober" during fashion week thanks to sponsorships including Eleni’s cookies, Nespresso, and most importantly the entire Spanish wine region of Rioja. [NYDN]
In an effort to change its image as an “upscale Hooters,” Hawaiian Tropic Zone is hiring a beefy male staff "with personality." [NYDN] Does Sam Mason need a new financial backer to open Tailor? Those delays cost major cash. [Down by the Hipster] China has formed a cabinet-level committee to monitor food safety but still calls the national coverage of tainted exports “viciously sensationalized.” [NYT]
The Upper West Side is “Manhattan’s hottest restaurant neighborhood” with a confluence of good places from name chefs and anonymous but high-quality local eateries. The addition of Daniel Boulud’s new wine bar is just the icing on the cake. [NYP] If you like Peter Luger, Magnolia Bakery, or Pearl Oyster Bar, know that there are clones all over town. [TONY] The glories of hidden Queens range from an Argentine steakhouse with “insane” portions to an ancient ice-cream parlor in Jackson Heights. [NYP]
Forest Hills: The layout for Trader Joe’s coming to 90-30 Metropolitan Avenue. [Forest Hills 72] Midtown West: Sample cuisine from more than 50 restaurants including Aquavit, Buddakan, and Eleven Madison Park at tonight's Taste of the Nation at Roseland Ballroom; tickets are $200 and benefit the fight against childhood hunger. [Cakehead] Soho: Pegu Club accused of shaking down its customers by pouring drinks that haven’t been ordered. [Majikthise] South Hampton: Dune should pick up the slack where Cain left off. [Down by the Hipster] Upper West Side: The lobby lounge of the Mandarin Oriental now has a cart offering $75 flutes of Dom Perignon, but at least the price includes dried fruit. [NYS] Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe hopes to see a bidding war over Warner LeRoy’s Tavern on the Green between top “concessionaires” including Dean Poll of the Boathouse and Danny Meyer. [NYO] West Village: Awkward zoning prevents Camaje bistro on Macdougal Street from setting up outdoor seating, though it’s allowed for virtually all its dining neighbors. [NYP]
What's it like to eat dinner with Tim Zagat? Something akin to eating with royalty. [Slate] As Texas and New Haven fight it out for the title of who invented the hamburger, Grub Street's editor weighs in. [LAT] How did eating and diet get so complicated? Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, and one of the guys who helped make it so complicated, sorts it all out. [NYT]
In recent weeks, the Gobbler has found himself sitting night after night in a succession of new steakhouses, staring glumly at the mounting platters of T-bone and porterhouse along with thrombotic servings of greasy hash browns and au gratin potato. The Gobbler has nothing against these restaurants per se. He enjoys a good sizzling hunk of cow as much as the next fellow. But the presence of so many high-profile new ones on the landscape is an unsettling sign. Steakhouses don't perish in times of trouble; they propagate. This fall, the city's superstar chefs are away opening spinoffs in places like Vegas and Shanghai, and the buzz, to the extent there is any, is being created by aged revivals (like the Russian Tea Room), and new ventures by venerable out-of-towners (like L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon). Into this vacuum, invariably, rush more steakhouses. The recipe for the successful New York chophouse is precise, however, and you tinker with it at your peril. So here is the Gobbler's list of random, highly subjective Steakhouse Commandments.
KFC may lose trans fats, giving health nuts a reason to rejoice. But then there are new cupcakes made with duck fat … • Boulud brings headcheese to Lincoln Center. [Snack] • Sam Mason brings foie gras cupcakes to Soho. [Snack] • The West End turns into a Havana Central; Kerouac turns over in his grave. [Eater] • Bruni on Michelin. [NYT] • Another Luger chef defects. [TONY] • Colonel's secret recipe to lose trans fats? [NYS]
Michelin dropped its ratings bomb today, and it's safe to say that the New York restaurant world is, as usual, reeling. Though not as consequential as a Zagat snub, business-wise, the Michelin ratings are closer to the hearts of top chefs. (French chef Bernard Loiseau was widely believed to have killed himself over a Michelin downgrade.) The book is supposed to be in stores tomorrow (though our local Barnes & Noble says it's not even at the distributor yet). We do, however, know of some surprises. Messrs. Boulud, Bouley, and Takahama are no doubt having lousy afternoons.
This week in the news you can use, you'll find guides to everything from sports grub to beets, plus an argument for why size matters. • On the heels of Planet Thailand's move to Chelsea, a roundup of chili-deploying joints in Hell's Kitchen. [NYT] • Ravioli and pierogies with beets sexify the "sturdiest of root vegetables." [NYDN] • Swear off Peter Luger after Alan Richman's thrashing? Check out the new "tenderloin district" around Penn Station. [AMNY] • Grub for sports fans, including all-you-can-eat wings at Blondies. That's right — they went there. [AMNY] • Size does matter: gems like the Little Owl versus trendy juggernauts (hello, Hawaiian Tropic Zone). [MUG] • We're also psyched about Ruby Tuesday: Chains like Japan's grill-it-yourself-joint Gyu-Kaku and tofu-cheesecake purveyor Kyotofu to take Manhattan. [TONY]
This week, the big boys decided to tip some sacred cows. • Alan Richman, battling Peter Luger, delivers what might be the most damning takedown of a major New York restaurant since his famous indictment of Jean Georges in GQ. Sundry are the crimes of this tavern: It has "lost touch with the concept of restaurant hospitality"; deploys cheap flatware and snarling waiters; serves inconsistent steak, mundane sides, and a "hostile burger." [Bloomberg]