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Bruni’s Demands

What should you do if you're opening a restaurant this year and want to impress the 'Times' critic?

By Daniel Maurer

The Palm Coming to Chambers Street

The Palm, having launched satellite steakhouses everywhere from Atlanta to Atlantic City, will soon have a third restaurant right here in the 212. The restaurant confirmed a tip that a third Palm is coming to the financial district — Chambers Street, to be exact. We’re still working on the address but thought you would like to know, because there aren’t enough steakhouses popping up in Manhattan these days. Related: Can Downtown Support Another Steakhouse?

Morton’s Arrives to Destroy the Last Bit of Brooklyn’s Soul

Now that Morton’s has announced that it’s opening a steakhouse in Brooklyn, the borough has lost its claim to a culinary soul. Morton’s — a chain steakhouse that presents its meat to customers under plastic wrap — is the culinary equivalent of the banks and drugstores that have pushed out mom-and-pop businesses all over town.

At Chodorow's New Steakhouse, Less Is More

The Chodorows
Jeffrey Chodorow has been pretty tight-lipped about his new steakhouse in the Empire Hotel (and given what happened with his last steakhouse, who can blame him?). But General Chod got to chewing the fat with us recently, and let us in on one of the basic concepts of the place. “It will be a classic New York steakhouse, but with one improvement: The whole menu will come in small and large portions,” he says. “Everybody doesn’t want to eat immense portions, especially in a neighborhood restaurant. I’ll have half a lobster, a twelve-ounce sirloin, and I can maintain the quality and at the same time bring the price point down.”

Jeffrey Chodorow Still in the Steak Game With Latest Restaurant

The Observer has the dope on Jeffrey Chodorow’s latest restaurant in the Empire Hotel: It’s to be a “classic American steakhouse.” Not a surprising choice, given how hassle-free, popular, and profitable steakhouses are — when they’re not Kobe Club, anyway. Jay-C is in Italy for a week, but as soon as we can get ahold of him, we’ll have the details. Given the ambition of his latest ventures, we’d be surprised if this is just another meatery. Chodorow to Open 'Classic Steakhouse' in Empire Hotel [NYO]

The Lenox Room Re-creates Itself As T-Bar

Now that the Lenox Room has remade itself as T-Bar, a highly polished steakhouse on the Upper East Side, let’s have a moment of silence for its former identity. The Lenox Room was one of those very grown-up New York places. Opened in 1995, it wasn’t one of the top restaurants in town, but it was pure New York Establishment, thanks to owner Tony Fortuna, former manager of Lafayette (when Jean-Georges made his New York name) and Lespinasse (under the original stellar stewardship of Gray Kunz). Fortuna is one of those guys who really know how to run a restaurant, and although the times have called for a more casual, steak-centric approach, the restaurant still has something of the old cool. The food, a modern steakhouse menu with extensive fish, veal, and chicken selections, is as solid as before, no accident since the chef, Ben Zwicker, is still in place. But, as Fortuna says: “The Upper East Side is changing; it’s not where your father lives now. It’s gotten younger, and we needed a new vibe.” We liked the old one, but we understand.

Philadelphia’s Chief Critic Unmasked; Area Restaurants Say, ‘Who Cares?'

Craig Laban
As a rule, every trend that begins in New York ends up in Philadelphia eventually, from punk rock to New American dining. Now, according to the September issue of Philadelphia magazine, the city has inherited our most inane and pointless debate, one which continues to fester here. Craig LaBan, Philadelphia’s chief restaurant critic, is being sued by the owner of Chops Steakhouse over a review he wrote some months ago. And in the process, he’s threatened with losing his anonymity. But as the critic of record in essentially a one-paper town (with due respect to the Philadelphia Daily News), LaBan is about as mysterious to Philadelphia as cheesesteaks or Legionnaires’s disease.

After 120 Years, Peter Luger Introduces a New Steak

Peter Luger’s menu has changed about as much as Stonehenge: You can get a porterhouse steak, lamb chops, hash browns, and tomato-and-onion salad. Technically, there's salmon on the menu and maybe a few other sides, and they did add bacon, but the genius of the place has been in its simplicity. But as of last month, a rib-eye steak, a relative bargain at $38.95, is for sale. (The slim, seldom-ordered single strip steak is the same price.) It’s the restaurant’s first new steak in 120 years. Why the sudden change?

Choose Your Food Group Wisely: Which Side Are You On?

There are four restaurant-related stories in this week’s issue, and they ask you to take a side. Are you a New Yorker who glories in the freshness of newly arrived strawberries and seasonal cooking in general? Or are you an atavistic who prefers to sit in air-conditioned steakhouses, consuming red meat in 90-degree weather? This week, at least, Adam Platt is clearly the latter, dining in the Freon fortress that is Landmarc and finding only the heaviest, most beef- and bacon-laden foods worthy of (faint) praise. Those of us who have fathers like him are enjoined, in one of this week’s Short Lists, to visit various steakhouses with our dads. On the side, there is more cool, natural frozen yogurt than ever to be had, enumerated in another Short List, and this week’s In Season features a recipe for delicate pasta with strawberries from Sfoglia.

Prime 103 Does Owe a Debt — to Angelo and Maxie’s

The concept for Prime 103, Ed “Jean Luc” Kleefield’s new steakhouse and lounge on the Montauk Highway, isn’t borrowed from a Miami Beach rival, despite recent accusations. Its inspiration, it turns out, is much closer to home. The real backstory, according to Kleefield, is that Angelo and Maxie’s had all but sealed a deal to buy the property and open an East End outpost of their eatery, but the offer fell apart “at the eleventh hour” only a few months ago. The JL group then figured, if Angelo and Maxie’s thought a steakhouse would work, then why not?

One Restaurant Opening This Week Isn’t Enough for Alex Garcia

These are busy days indeed for Nuevo Latino chef Alex Garcia. Having just opened Carniceria in the space formerly occupied by Porchetta, Garcia is about to open another restaurant, this one on Manhattan’s West Side. Gaucho Steak Co., which goes live today, is an Argentine steak concept based on the chef’s smaller establishment, Gaucho Steak, in Montclair, New Jersey. “In Argentina, if you want steak, they have a place called a parilla, which is just a guy behind the grill,” Garcia tells us. “He’ll make you a steak, French fries, chorizo on bread, whatever you want. It’s really casual, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” That plan seems to run counter to the fairly elaborate kind of cooking that established Garcia as an avatar of new Latin American cooking at Novo and Calle Ocho. However just as at Carniceria Garcia has found a way to express his style through the appetizers, presumably he’ll do something similar at Gaucho Steak. No Alex Garcia restaurant is ever likely to be really reminiscent of “a guy behind a grill.” Earlier: Porchetta Reborn as Carniceria, With Alex Garcia at the Helm

My Plus-Size Family Demands Nonethnic Eats

Dear Grub Street,
So my college graduation ceremony is taking place in Madison Square Garden in less than a month and I need a suggestion for lunch around 2:30 for six people. As an amateur foodie, I'd usually have no problem picking a place if it weren't for my family, who bring many stipulations to the table, so to speak: must be close-ish to MSG/Port Authority, must be handicap-accessible with seating arrangements that can accommodate, err, larger people, must take reservations, and must not be “ethnic” (that's my two-star major-general grandfather speaking).