It’s Winter, So That Means Savoy’s Cassoulet“Cassoulet,” wrote Julia Child, “is everyday fare for a peasant but ambrosia for a gastronome, though its ideal consumer is a 300-pound blocking back who has been splitting firewood nonstop for the last twelve hours on a subzero day in Manitoba.” The serving of the classic French bean-and-meat casserole, a pillar of French cookery, is a yearly event at Savoy, Peter Hoffman’s Haute Barnyard restaurant in Soho. The cassoulet is served in individual cast-iron Dutch ovens that cook in the restaurant’s two fireplaces. They’re in demand, though, and if you want one, you would do well to mention it when you make your reservation. Mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear chef de cuisine Ryan Tate describe this mixture of beans, bacon, sausage, lamb, and bread crumbs.
Peter Hoffman Served a Rubber Band to His Mentor; Bloomberg to the Veggie RescueAstoria: La Flor de Puebla on Astoria Boulevard between Steinway and 38th Street makes a mean carnitas taco. [Joey in Astoria]
East Village: Peter Hoffman of Back Forty (and Savoy) reveals to Frank Bruni that he “once served a watercress salad to Richard Olney, my mentor and culinary hero, only to discover upon going to his table to see how he liked it that we had also served him a rubber band.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Harlem: Only 3 percent of bodegas in the nabe carry leafy green vegetables, so Mayor Bloomberg’s coming to the rescue. No wonder Mizrahi loves him. [NYS via Uptown Flavor]
Park Slope: The end of Donuts Coffee Shop on Fifth Avenue is near; Associated Supermarket is about to swallow up the landmark diner. [The Gowanus Lounge]
West Village: It’s a Q&A kind of day: Centro Vinoteca and newly anointed Gusto chef Anne Burrell says her trademark “cowgirl skirts are a good luck charm when we do Iron Chef … I figure if all the old ladies in Italy wear dresses in the kitchen, why can’t I wear a skirt in NYC?” Though she may not have seen our kitchen fashions for the preening chef. [Restaurant Girl] Gusto is also hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, which includes this recipe for zuppa di pesce. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Virginia Pig Farmer Is the Toast of the New York Pork WorldIt sounds like a fairy tale: Some Spanish hogs, brought over by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century, take over an island off the coast of Georgia and run wild there for hundreds of years. Feral and boarlike, they are also about the best tasting pork imaginable, and cousins to the world’s most celebrated ham. Is it a fable, conjured by the heated imagination of foodies? Or an eye-opening truth, as irrefutable as a piece of gamey and rich roast pork? We’re happy to say that it’s the latter. Bev Eggleston, of Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia, has started selling his amazing pork to a handful of New York restaurants, and soon he may be giving the Spanish a run for their money in the ham business.
Josh DeChellis Frying Lunch in the West Village; Gray’s Papaya Still PoliticalClinton Hill: Il Torchio may have only opened in August and be prone to underseasoning and overbearing Italian accents, but the restaurant is already gearing up to expand. [Eat for Victory/VV]
East Village: Savoy chef Peter Hoffman’s new restaurant Back Forty has a soft opening today and will officially begin service on Wednesday. [Grub Street]
Greenwich Village: The 70-year-old founder of Gray’s Papaya who posted the “Bloomberg for President” sign on 8th Street “has never been shy about using his store windows for political expression; Jimmy Carter, in 1976, and Bill Bradley, in 1999, both earned his presidential endorsement. And in 1998, when Bill Clinton was facing impeachment, Mr. Gray displayed a sign that read, ‘Hang in there, Mr. President.’” [NYT]
Midtown: Beacon has added a “kitchen counter” which functions as a chef’s table, a burger bar, and the site of a weekly tasting menu. [Strong Buzz] A midtown pizza-truck war has broken out. [Midtown Lunch]
West Village: BarFry kicks off lunch service today. [Grub Street]
Porta-Café Touching Down in Columbus Circle; La Marmite Back in HarlemAstoria: Sorriso’s Italian Salumeriaa at 44-16 30th Avenue makes a serious Rosino Panino. “It may look like chicken, but those thick white slabs in the middle of the sandwich are actually house-made slices of fresh mozzarella (made three times a day) piled atop a generous helping of prosciutto cotto.” [Serious Eats]
Chelsea: P.S. 11’s fall festival this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. features a ten-piece salsa band, free food, and a bake sale, plus it’s open to the public. [Blog Chelsea]
East Village: Back Forty from Savoy chef Peter Hoffman is opening October 17. [Grub Street]
Harlem: La Marmite restaurant has finally opened in its new location. [Uptown Flavor]
Lower East Side: Now’s your chance to be the next Sam Mason: Thor is looking for its own rock-star pastry chef. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Tribeca: The new home for Steak Frites will be the same space that was temporarily the doomed Charolais. [Eater]
Upper West Side: From November 28 to December 29, Illy coffee will maintain a “Push Button House” in the Time Warner Center; the installation is basically a large shipping crate that opens to reveal a full-service café that premiered at the 52nd Venice Biennale. [NotCot]
Varietal’s Kitchen Closes in ChelseaBronx: Italian pastry shop Egidio has a history steeped in family feuds, politics, and adultery; now a cannoli-wielding former owner has opened up shop nearby. [Lost City]
Chelsea: Varietal has closed its dining room, though wine’s still being served at the bar. [Restaurant Girl] Great Small Works performing-arts group will host a Spaghetti Dinner this Sunday evening on the roof of the 14th Street Y. Besides bowls of garlicky pasta, ticket holders can look forward to “puppet theater [and] New Orleans brass band music.” [Blog Chelsea]
Greenpoint: The Original Soup Man (a.k.a. the Soup Nazi) joins other chains on Manhattan Avenue and shocks customers by charging $9 for some selections. [Gothamist]
Hell’s Kitchen: Alex Garcia’s new restaurant, Gaucho Steak Co., at 752 Tenth Avenue, is now open for lunch and offering delivery. [Grub Street]
Soho: Savoy’s Clambake Dinners start July 6 and run through the end of the month. [Restaurant Girl]
Matt Weingarten Bids Savoy Adieu, Brings His Lamb Sandwich to Midtown
The last time we heard about Matt Weingarten, the bespectacled, red-bearded chef’s first restaurant, Porcupine, had gone belly up, and he had brought his checked pants and his knives to Savoy as chef de cuisine. But Weingarten, an intellectual type who thinks about food night and day, couldn’t be contained forever, and he will be leaving Savoy in early April to head up Café St. Bart’s, the terrace restaurant attached to St. Bartholomew’s Church at Park and 50th. Weingarten will be consulting on the food this summer and in the fall remaking the menu as executive chef. What can diners expect? “Well, there won’t be any foams,” he says. “I’m not a molecular-gastronomy kind of cook. Everything will be very simple and classic.” He does assure us that he will be bringing with him the leg-of-lamb sandwich with prune-hyssop butter that he has carted around with him since Porcupine. Good. We were worried.
Café St. Bart’s, 109 E. 50th St., at Park Ave.; 212-888-2664.
Openings for Dieterle, Pelaccio; Strange Beard BylawsZak Pelaccio and Top Chef’s Harold Dieterle open new restaurants. [NYT]
Related: Harold Dieterle’s Perilla to Open … on Jones Street! [Grub Street]
And Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Malaysian restaurant, for which Pelaccio was consulting chef, opens in London. [This Is London]
Related: Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible? [NYM]
The rat expert who instructed the Department of Health says the city is a rodent’s paradise. [WP]
Forget the Glaciers. Will Our Children Be Able to Enjoy Stews?
Clive Thompson’s November article about the warming of New York seems more and more apropos — birds that should be in Miami are luxuriating in the park, and New York has just experienced its first snowless November and December since Rutherford B. Hayes was president. But like everything else, global climate change comes down to just one thing: How’s it going to affect our dinner? Specifically, what will become of the rich, heavy cold-weather dishes that are the boon of the bitter-cold winter months? We’ve taken a look at how three restaurants — Savoy, Brasserie LCB J.J. Rachou, and Ouest — are coping with the winter warmth. All quite differently, as it turns out.
Ask a Waiter
Cody Landis of Savoy Knows You Don’t Mind a Little Abuse
After five years of serving the salt-crust baked duck (his favorite), Cody Landis has become the veteran waiter at Soho foodie institution Savoy. He’s also a massage therapist who knows his diners don’t mind a firm hand. He didn’t mince words talking about food nerds, wine moochers, and fireside-romance hounds.
The Haute Barnyard Hall of FameNew York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt files periodic musings for Grub Street, under the pseudonym the Gobbler.
Haute Barnyard restaurants like the Tasting Room have been around for a while now, but the phrase is new — so new, in fact, that the Gobbler is the only one using it. Therefore it requires a little elaboration. All Haute Barnyard restaurants are Greenmarket establishments, of course, their menus more or less dictated by the rhythms of the season. New York’s versions of the genre, however, have evolved their own highly self-conscious style.
Meet Pawpaw for Dinner Tonight at SavoyThere are some southern specialties all the world loves, as our guide to local gulf-shrimp dishes makes clear. But some of these regional foods rarely make it past the Mason-Dixon line. Tonight, New Yorkers get the chance to sample an obscure treat: pawpaw, a large, tasty fruit, used in a variety of dishes. Savoy is hosting the second annual Betsy Lydon Slow Food Ark USA Award dinner. (Appropriately enough, the name’s a real mouthful.) Southern preparations like rabbit burgoo and Kentucky ham will complement pawpaw daiquiris and ice cream, as well as other recipes made with North America’s native tropical fruits. (The dinner, which costs $150, including tax and tip, starts at 6:30 p.m.)
In honor of the pawpaw, here’s our list of five of the most delicious southern foods you’ll find in New York.