Ethan Hawke Hits Qdoba; ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ Reunion at D’OrLast week Todd Barry told us he was a Chipotle man and we noted that a couple of respected chefs were too — but it seems Ethan Hawke, for one, prefers naked burritos to burrito bols, if a recent sighting at Qdoba Mexican Grill is any indicator. Are notable New Yorkers embracing casual dining chains? Lizzie Grubman did take her client Tailor Made to, um, the Olive Garden…
Clubland’s Toughest Door Is in, Um, Times Square?
Clubs have long vied for celeb-studded Tuesday nights, so what’s the hottest one going these days? By one account, it’s Spotlight Live??? We were tempted to dismiss the Times Square karaoke complex as “strictly for the tourists” when it first opened, but that changed when we heard hip-hop stars were in the house during the recent Monday morning when a knife fight broke out. According to MTV.com, Beyoncé, Mya, Fantasia, Ne-Yo, and others have taken the stage for Tuesday’s “R&B Live” night. This week, when Diddy hosted a Bad Boy showcase, Fat Joe, Ray J, and Missy Elliott were in the audience, and Naughty by Nature and Danity Kane performed. We called the club looking to get in on the action, but were told it was a private event put on by an entertainment group affiliated with Universal Records. In other words, that door is tight.
Related: Diddy, Beyonce, Ne-Yo Make ‘Spotlight Live’ New York’s Hot Tuesday-Night Ticket
Deadly Brawl in Times Square [NYDN]
Carrie Jennings of Spotlight Live Doesn’t Mind If You’re Horrible at Karaoke
City to Reenact Calorie-Display Rule; Bloodbath Near Spotlight LiveThe city’s Board of Health is set to reenact its legally contested rule requiring all restaurants with fifteen or more eateries nationwide to post the caloric value of food items on their menus. [NYDN]
Related: Fast-Food Biz Wins Fight Against City Hall
Restaurants and nightclubs currently owe the city $14 million in health-code violation fines, which means that high-roller venues like the Rainbow Room can get away with stiffing the city out of $50. [NYP]
Times Square’s Spotlight Live became the latest scene of club violence when one man was killed and five others stabbed there yesterday morning. [NYDN]
Ask a Waiter
Carrie Jennings of Spotlight Live Doesn’t Mind If You’re Horrible at Karaoke
When we karaoke, we don’t really like to see ourselves on a screen — it usually means the Japanese guy at the front desk is replaying closed-circuit footage and telling us why he needs to keep our security deposit. But Spotlight Live, the restaurant that projects your performances onto Times Square, is a decidedly more civilized place, as we learned when we tried, rather unsuccessfully, to get Carrie Jennings to reveal the horrors of working amid amateur renditions of Vanilla Ice. According to Jennings, who moved here from Florida six months ago with a degree in musical theater, her job is about as sweet as a big ball of cotton candy.
The Other Critics
Insieme Lauded (Except for Lasagne); Landmarc Squeaks ByThe Times finds Provence beautiful, romantic, and well-intentioned, but barely worthy of a single star. A major disappointment for the Marc Meyer/Vicki Freeman team, who had been on a roll with Five Points and Cookshop. [NYT]
In the Post, Steve Cuozzo — judiciously taking the long-term view as usual — makes the case that Amalia, FR.OG, and Insieme, “the best new Italian restaurant since L’Impero,” have overcome weak starts to become some of the city’s strongest places. [NYP]
Paul Adams gives yet another admiring review to Insieme, though he found the much-praised lasagne underflavored and disappointing. His favorite dish: a chamomile farfalle. [NYS]
In the Magazine
Chefs Try to Take It to the Next Level in This Week’s Issue
Five established chefs take center stage in this week’s issue – or six, if you count Kurt Gutenbrunner, who, per In Season, has a way with white asparagus. The others? Michael Anthony, the Blue Hill Haute Barnyard prodigy who stepped into Tom Colicchio’s shoes at Gramercy Tavern; Christopher Lee, a major rising talent who filled big shoes at Gilt; Kerry Simon, a Las Vegas–based Vongerichten lieutenant who is now doing the food for a giant karaoke bar; and finally Marco Canora and Asian dessert master Pichet Ong, whose long-awaited debuts, Insieme and P*Ong, respectively, open this week. All this star power, along with two short lists that couldn’t be more different, awaits in this week’s magazine.
‘Special Buns,’ Besides J.Lo’s, to Be Served at Spotlight Live
Recently Daily Intel reported that Jennifer Lopez and her hubby did their thing in public (sang together, that is) at new Times Square venue Spotlight Live. Now, as UrbanDaddy has it, Times Square tourists and boozed-up cubicle dwellers will be able to follow suit when the venue opens with a karaoke stage, a recording studio, a green room complete with makeup artist, and a Jumbotron broadcasting performances onto Times Square. If it sounds very Vegas, you won’t be surprised to hear that the place has brought in Kerry Simon, who was a partner at Mercer Kitchen and also put in time at La Cote Basque and Lutece before opening restaurants in Miami, California, and Sin City. You know, the “Rock and Roll chef”?
A New Menu for the Next Time You’re in the Financial DistrictBoerum Hill: Brooklyn Inn on its way out. [Eater]
Clinton Hill: Credit the blogosphere if the brewery on Waverly Avenue opens this summer as a beer garden. [Gothamist]
Financial District: We’ve got the menu for the new Dublin-European bistro Stella Maris. [Grub Street]
Flatiron: Markt has relocated to Sixth Avenue and now serves breakfast. [Grub Street]
Greenpoint: Starbucks cabaret may be opening soon. [Curbed]
Harlem: Wine store to replace Back in the Day antique shop. But will it have as cutesy a name? [Harlem Fur]
Midtown East: Jeffrey Chodorow’s Wild Salmon replaces English Is Italian on Friday; we look forward to his review [NYT]
Morningside Heights: Order pinot at Vino Fino wine shop, opening soon. [Harlem Fur]
Times Square: Only two more days until you can sing Journey like everyone else at karaoke joint Spotlight Live. [NYS]
West Village: Alexandra swallowing nearby storefronts for wine bar to be filled by nonexistent waiting customers. [Eater] Newly opened Central Kitchen offering 10 percent off its menu through Sunday. That’s as much as a “European-style” tip. [NYS]
Free Brazilian Pool Party Returns to Times SquareClinton Hill: “Seder in a Box” prayer kit available for $1 at St. Joseph’s College. Bring it to one of the nontraditional Seder meals we recently recommended! [Clinton Hill Blog]
Lower East Side: MySpace pages offer insight into why Falai Panetteria waitresses are so bitchy. [Gawker]
Midtown East: No longer keeping their chin up: I-Chin has closed. [NYT] A Burger King on Fifth Avenue sues its landlord over rats, who were probably seeking a new food source after Hunan Fifth got shuttered. [NYS]
Red Hook The beloved El Huipil is no more, but the new owners of the space will also serve Mexican food — made by a “hot chef.” [Eat for Victory/VV]
Times Square: “Reality dining” comes to Broadway when Spotlight Live opens on April 6. [NYT] The free Brazilian pool party at Hotel QT returns this Thursday, promising live music, cachaça specials, and skinny-dipping-themed pickup lines. [NewYorkology]
Tribeca: Oh, dom: Dominic closes. [NYT]
Turtle Bay: The U.N.’s all-you-can-eat Malaysian buffet kicks off in mid-April! [NewYorkology]
Union Square: Union Square Café name sold to Tokyo group. Related: Tokyo has a Union Square? [NYT]
Upper West Side: Ollie’s Noodle Shop workers follow Saigon Grill deliverymen. [Eater]