LeBron James and Anna Wintour Cozy Up at Waverly; Moby Makes Out at R BarWe weren’t surprised to read in “Page Six” today that Anna Wintour dined with LeBron James at the Waverly Inn. We passed their table on Tuesday, and when the ceilings are that low, it’s impossible to miss a six-foot-eight baller extracting himself from the center of a corner booth. James was patiently sitting next to the bathroom when we emerged, causing our waiter to remark, “You made LeBron James wait!” We couldn’t tell whether he was chastising us or congratulating us for no doubt costing the man a Benjamin of his time, but either way we felt a sense of accomplishment unknown since Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand queued up behind us at the Spotted Pig. The rest of this week’s sightings are heavy on the PDA.
Socialista Back in Business; 2nd Avenue Deli Still DeliversSocialista, now rid of that pesky hepatitis-A problem, is once again hosting celebs like Sting and Josh Hartnett. [NYP]
Conflict-of-interest alert! The soon-to-be-new president of the Obesity Society had to step down after drawing criticism for his paid consultant work for the restaurant industry, for whom he produced a puzzling affidavit asserting that posting calorie info on menus could have a negative effect on obesity. [NYT]
Good news: The 2nd Avenue Deli still delivers anywhere in town. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Bobby Flay a Fan of Chipotle (the Restaurant, Not Just the Sauce)?Earlier today, we pointed to our fashion blog’s outrage that Orlando Bloom was seen with Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr at Max Brenner, of all places. However, our combing of this week’s celebrity sightings reveals it may have been a momentary lapse, since Bloom was also spotted at the much more respectable Bobo. Phew. But what’s this — Bobby Flay filming outside of Chipotle? Is he a spokesman now? Who knows — if Rachael Ray can endorse Dunkin’ Donuts…
Did Ashton Kutcher Pick Up Hepatitis at Socialista?If you ordered a drink from Socialista on February 7, 8, or 11, beware of hepatitis A! According to the New York City Health Department, the bartender who worked those nights has the liver ailment, which “is spread by putting something in one’s mouth (even though it might look clean) that has been contaminated with traces of fecal matter from an infected person.” So who was celebrating his 30th birthday there on February 7? Unlucky Ashton Kutcher. The actor, and anyone else who may have been served at Socialista on those dates, can get a free vaccination at P.S. 41 in Manhattan. Good catch by the Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Looks like Rupert Murdoch is influencing even health stories.
Hepatitis A Crashes Ashton Kutcher’s Birthday Party [Health Blog/WSJ]
Momofuku Ko Hoping to Open in Two Weeks; No Malice Palace PrevailsDuring last night’s CB3 meeting, partner Andrew Salmon would reveal only that Momofuku Ko will hit capacity at fourteen, with no waiters and with fixed menus changing daily. “You sit directly across from the cook,” Salmon told the board. He kept the “vaguely Asian” food quiet, conceding only that it would include “all local ingredients … all sustainable development.” Unfortunately, he didn’t take the time to make sure a petition was including in the application, so no motion could be passed. Projected opening date: two weeks’ time!
Kobe Dines on Kobe at Kobe; Nobu Gives Manning a Standing OFashion Week brought the usual celebrity infestation to town last week for glitzy after-parties, but we’ve already covered those. The real question is, where did the “normals” catch a bite? And of course by normals we mean billionaires, Nobel Prize winners, and Super Bowl champs, all of whom made the scene this week.
Momofuku, Freemans, Spotted Pig Honchos Break Bread With Stephen Starr
Our favorite celebrity sighting of the week was, of course, Lindsay Lohan at Peter Luger on Tuesday night — that’s because we saw her with our own eyes. Of course, we can’t be everywhere and see everyone, so as usual we’ve combed the gossip columns for other stop-ins. We’re sorry we missed Tracy Morgan at the Plumm, shirtless and offering to father babies as usual, and boy do we wish we were a fly on the wall when partners Ken Friedman and Taavo Somer, along with David Chang, dined with Stephen Starr at Buddakan. Is there a Spotted Buddafuku in the works?
Ask a Waiter
Socialista Doorman Jeffrey Trunell Wants to Let You In But Sometimes Can’t
Jeffrey Trunell was an actor who did commercial work in L.A. before moving here. He was a doorman at La Esquina when Armin Amiri asked him to help open his new club. (Amiri must have reconsidered once turning Trunell away from Bungalow 8.) In the time Trunell’s worked the door at Socialista, he’s been spat on by at least one person he turned away, something he says was “exciting in a disgusting way” — all part of the “fluid experience” of his equally enviable and unenviable position.
Ben Stiller Crashes a Party at Fiamma, Penélope Cruz Makes Out at
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?
Green Coke in the Bronx a Good Thing; Eat a ‘wichcraft Sandwich, Save theAstoria: New Mexican restaurant Luna de Juarez at 25-98 Steinway is ready to be sampled. [Joey in Astoria]
Bronx: Coca-Cola’s added a handful of hybrid-electric trucks to its 90-vehicle delivery fleet based in the South Bronx. [NYP]
Cobble Hill: Sahadi’s has put up a new sign, possibly in preparation for the onslaught of Trader Joe’s. [Lost City]
East Village: A sushi bar called Nori will refill the Hip-Hop-Chow space on Second Avenue in hopes that this more banal concept will survive in the space for more than a few months. [Eater]
Meatpacking District: Paparazzi aren’t the only ones not allowed to photograph the hallowed spaces of Socialista; civilians were hampered from shooting as well. [Down by the Hipster]
Rockefeller Center: An eggplant sandwich “invented by three teenagers from New York City who spent a summer learning about the food business as part of a program connected to the Fresh Air Fund” (which will also snag some of the proceeds) has been added to the menu of ’wichcraft’s newest location at 1 Rockefeller Plaza near 50th Street and will be available at ten other locations by next week. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Theater-District Restaurants Saved; Bobby Van, Tragic Steak Man, DiesWith the Broadway strike officially settled, area restaurants breathe a collective sigh of relief. [NYT]
Related: Theater Strike Could Drop Curtain on Midtown Restaurants
Bobby Van, “who had unhealthy appetite for booze and cocaine” and was forced out of his own steakhouse business years ago, died on Tuesday as an obscure taxi driver out in Long Island. [NYP]
After a few paparazzi sneaked into Socialista to confront Penélope Cruz & Co., Armin Amiri confiscated their memory cards and returned them to the sultry star. [NYP]
Cuban Flavors Dominate New Socialista Downstairs Menu
If you finagled your way into Socialista last week and weren’t too busy being impressed with yourself, you may have noticed a new menu at Socialista Downstairs. It’s the handiwork of new head chef Sarah Pliner, formerly of Tabla, Tocqueville, Ducasse, and Aquavit. “We’re using classical French and American techniques with Cuban flavors,” Pliner tells us of the retooled food program.
LeNell’s Looking to Open a Bar, In or Out of Red HookAstoria: Ovens being removed from Le Petit Prince sparks fears that the bakery will be closed permanently. [Joey in Astoria]
Gramercy: The rooms at the Gramercy Park Hotel might start at $750 per night, but for the remainder of the summer, the third day is free and includes breakfast on the magically exclusive roof deck. [NewYorkology]
Harlem: Doughnuts and dogs will both be present at St. Nick’s Dog Park Coffee Bark this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. [Uptown Flavor]
Red Hook: LeNell Smothers is not only hunting for a new space for her bourbon-heavy liquor store, she also plans to open a (bourbon-heavy) bar right next to it. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Meatpacking District: No word on the fate of Socialista now that its backers, the Cipriani boys, have pleaded guilty to evading $10 million in taxes. [NYT]
Soho: A boutique hotel being raised at Broome and Thompson will feature a glass elevator that whisks guests from the street to an elevated lobby while simultaneously allowing them to point and laugh at nearby 60 Thompson. [Down by the Hipster]
The New York Diet
Socialista Co-owner Armin Amiri Takes His Guilt Trips to the Juicer
Ever wonder how alpha doormen spend the eighteen hours of their lives during which they’re mere mortals? Granted, Armin Amiri is now the co-owner and face of hot spot Socialista and a budding actor soon to appear with Joaquin Phoenix in Terry George’s Reservation Road — but those of us whose egos have not yet healed from being turned away at Bungalow 8 will always remember him as the place’s dapper doorman. So what does the “Prince of the Night” eat when he’s not hobnobbing with the stars?
Exclusive Boîte Will Soon Get Inclusive Downstairs
Former Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri is still choosing a chef for the downstairs restaurant in his new lounge Socialista — “We should make a reality show,” he quips, “Who’s Going to Be the Next Socialista Chef” — but he expects it to open no later than July 9, at which time diners can chow down on light Cuban food with Spanish and Argentine touches, not to mention cocktails by a bar manager who was trained by Sascha Petraske when he worked at Double Seven. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, assuming you can get into Socialista in the first place via the secret reservation number (you may know it if you’re buddy-buddy with investors Sting and wife Trudie Styler or Harvey Weinstein, Giuseppe Cipriani, and Ben Silverman). Though Amiri says the furniture was salvaged from a forties Boston courthouse, he wasn’t going for anything too fancy. “The upstairs is a sophisticated, glamorous woman, and the downstairs is an older boxer who likes his red meat and gets into fights — hopefully one of these days he’ll clean up his act so he can meet the girl upstairs.” And hopefully one day you’ll clean up your act so you can get by the little-person doorman.
Socialista Downstairs, 505 West St., nr. Jane St.; 212-929-4303.
American Reclaims World Hot-Dog Record; Bruni Calls Out SietsemaAt a Nathan’s hot-dog-eating contest qualifier in Phoenix, American Joey Chestnut shatters the world record set by Takeru “the Tsunami” Kobayashi. [NYP]
In a rare critic-on-critic showdown, Frank Bruni comes down hard on Il Brigante, whose pizza the Voice’s Robert Sietsema called “the city’s most perfect evocation of the true Naples style.” Hardly, Bruni says. “Nothing about this pizza argued strongly for a trip outside your own neighborhood.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Related: New Restaurant Not Just for Lonely Mountain People [Grub Street]
A critical roundup of the city’s lobster rolls decrees Ed’s Lobster Bar “the world’s best.” [NYP]
Related: Consider the Lobster Roll [NYM]
Whole Foods Blamed for Beetle Infestation on the Lower East SideBushwick: Too hard to keep organic? Resident and Blue Hill at Stone Barns alum Kelly Geary will purchase your share of produce from Community Supported Agriculture, turn it into weekly meals (and pies), then deliver it (citywide). Just join by the first week in June. [DailyCandy]
Long Island City: New Greek restaurant Agnanti opens Memorial Day near the Astoria pool. [LICNYC]
Lower East Side: Bowery Whole Foods blamed for beetle infestation in apartments at Avalon Christie Place. [Racked] Rumor mill set a-cranking with speculation that Keith McNally might turn an empty space on Essex and Canal into a Parisian brasserie. [Eater]
Red Hook: The Added Value farm that employs South Brooklyn teenagers will be featured on a PBS series dedicated to sustainable food. [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
Times Square: You know that neon sign for Virgil’s? It’s a bowl of Chinese noodles. [Lost City]
West Village: A photo ode to Blue Ribbon Bakery’s indulgent sandwiches. [Gothamist] Former fab Bungalow 8 bouncer Armin Amiri’s new club, Socialista, will have a little person named Anthony manning the door. [NYP]