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Saks Fifth Avenue

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Abrams Brothers Have Always Loved the UWS; Gay Talese Will Eat BBQ on the UES

Chelsea: The owner of the Cuban restaurant that replaced Havana Chelsea says he’s not trying to copy the former tenant: "It took years of grease to get on those walls and the smell of rotten wood and mice and stale water and dirt. We gutted the entire place, not even a tooth pick was worth saving." [Eat for Victory/VV] Clinton Hill: Greene Grape Provisions has opened with fresh fish and meats, and if you bring a receipt to their nearby wine store, the owners will take 5 percent off your purchase of their recommended pairings. [Clinton Hill Blog] Midtown East: Chocolatier Charbonnel Et Walker on the eighth floor of Saks sells a rich chocolate cupcake drenched in sticky toffee, which is well worth its $6 price tag and still "way cheaper than a pair of Chanel pumps" sold nearby. [NewYorkology] Midtown West: Brasserie Cognac is coming to 55th Street and Broadway. [Grub Street] Tribeca: Dekk seems closed indefinitely. [Grub Street] Union Square: In an unsurprising conclusion, Bruni finds that Indian and Italian restaurants are better equipped to satisfy vegetarians. Dévi is one example where even meat eaters may want to eat those vegetable-based dishes. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Upper East Side: Barbejew Steven Levy hopes his new BBQ joint, Smokin’ Q, which opens this week at 206 East 63rd Street, will succeed where twelve restaurants have failed since 1977. Levy may have an edge against predecessors, however, since writer Gay Talese, who included the doomed space in his memoir, plans to be the writer-in-residence. [NYT] Upper West Side: The Magnolia and Mermaid Inn uptown aren’t the first companies the Abrams brothers have introduced to the nabe; cupcake guru Steve owns "a construction company, high-end residential construction, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous sort of stuff. My clients are Samuel Jackson, Annie Leibovitz, Jeff Gordon." [NYO]

Spotted Pig and Freemans Owners Getting Cozy in the West Village

Astoria: Sparrow bar at 24-01 29th Street has outdoor seating. [Joey in Astoria] And Fresh Start health-food store finally opens its back patio — only to jack it up with distastefully painted bricks. [Joey in Astoria] Dumbo: Paella’s the main event at Rice today from noon to 11 p.m. [Dumbo NYC] Red Hook: A new blog, Save Soccer Tacos, tries to get the little guys as involved in saving Red Hook Park’s vendors as the food-world celebrities who’ve recently united. [The Gowanus Lounge] Prospect Park: The park is one of the few in the city that actually encourage public barbecues, with seven designated areas and three permanent grills. [Gridskipper] West Village: Freemans owners to pair with the Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman to redo the former West space — that, or to open a chain restaurant banking on little people serving drinks in pig costumes. [Eater]

Copper River Salmon and Spring Vegetables Come Together, Briefly, at Lure

Alaska’s Copper River is home to some of the most prized wild salmon, but they only come our way for a few brief weeks. The one being served (for $32) tonight at Lure Fishbar couldn’t be more basic. Chef Josh Capon grills the fish very simply, and then plates it with plump, earthy morels, crispy peas, and asparagus. “Copper River salmon is truly the king of all salmon,” says Capon. “They are the oldest wild-salmon species caught today. And due to their long swim upriver, they have a very high fat content, because they store a lot of fat to make the trip. It has a much sweeter flesh that almost melts when it cooked.” Which is one reason Capon barely cooks it, getting out of the way as much as possible so as to let its extraordinary flavor come through.