Ice, Ice Baby: Gleaming the City’s Best CubesNot until recently have the city’s mixologists been giving frozen water the attention it deserves. A look inside the freezer reveals everything from perfect spheres to raspberry ice to 8” spikes.
DuMont Barkeep’s McCarren Project to Be Celeb-FundedA while back, we brought news that Jud Longell, of DuMont, was teaming up with the designers of Tailor and Smith and Mills to create a bistro that might have either a “nautical design” or an “English-butcher-shop aesthetic.” Now BlackBook brings us an early interior shot along with news that a “well-known celebrity” is a silent partner. Hmmm — who could it be? Either way, it’s good to know, with the Rusty Knot poised to open in Manhattan, that Brooklyn will have a celeb-studded faux boat of its own.
Who’s the Silent Celeb Partner at 18 Bedford Ave.? [BlackBook]
Related: DuMont, Smith and Mills Players Head Toward McCarren
Catty Males Shake Beatrice; Charcuterie ManiaClinton Hill: There are a few places in the nabe to find gluten-free products, but one celiac sufferer would like to find out about any others. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Lower East Side: Video of a Tailor bartender doing his thing. [Snack]
Midtown East: Former Savoy chef Matt Weingarten’s year-long plans to start dinner service at Café St. Bart’s will come to fruition on May 5. [Zagat]
Upper West Side: Bar Boulud may claim the top charcuterie in town (though Mia Dona’s stepping up), but you can also find some tasty stand-ins at Café d’Alsace and elsewhere, including Fort Greene’s Stonehome Wine Bar. [Citysearch]
West Village: Spencer Morgan of the New York Observer supposedly slapped Hud Morgan from Men’s Vogue at the Beatrice Inn on Wednesday night because the latter didn’t respond to the former’s apology e-mail. A true New York noble. [Gawker]
French Mixologists Push ‘Cointreau Caviar’ to Local CocktailiansRest assured the “solids” at Tailor are just the start of the molecular madness. Esteemed French mixologists Fernando Castellon and Richard Lambert are working with Cointreau to bring what they call “caviar” — sort of like tapioca pearls, but with about half an ounce of liquid booze inside — to your next drink. Tomorrow they’ll show a select group of 40 bartenders (from Per Se, wd-50, PDT, and the like) how to prepare the spheres by mixing Cointreau and alginate and then using a syringe to drop the flavor combo into a calcium bath. Castellon tells us a mixologist using an immersion mixer would normally have to wait six hours for air bubbles to disappear, but their kit equips bartenders with a magnetic agitator so they can set up in eight minutes at the beginning of the night and make each drink in 30 seconds. The procedure took a year to research (finding an alginate that gets along with 80-proof liquor ain’t easy), but let’s hope it proves worth it when you take your first sip (and bite) of a “Cointreaupolitan.”
Related: Eben Freeman Turns His Cocktails Solid Just for the Hell of It
Tailor’s Location No Longer a Well-Guarded Secret
Could it be that our beloved godchild, Tailor, whose gestation we chronicled so patiently last year, is taking its first steady steps? After absorbing the blows of the blogosphere for its first months, it has made adjustments. First, mixologist Eben Freeman’s cocktail program acquired its own identity and made the downstairs bar a destination; then Sam Mason and Fran Derby got the message that nobody wanted to eat food the size of Kit Kats and expanded the portion size; and now, at last, Tailor has thrown in the towel on its pretense of low-key anonymity and put an honest-to-God sign up on the door. What’s next? Big-screen TVs? Once the philistines get ahold of you, there’s nothing left but prosperity and degradation.
Eben Freeman Turns His Cocktails Solid Just for the Hell of It
Cocktail master Eben Freeman of Tailor, having already taught us the secrets of the Hard Shake, has gone back into his cocktail lab and created one of the most compelling forms of liquor we’ve seen in a while: Tailor’s new “solids,” a series of edible cocktails. There are currently three on the restaurant’s menu: a Cuba Libre, consisting of rum and coke gelatinized into a cube (hence the name); a Ramos Gin Fizz Marshmallow (“the drink made properly is all meringue anyway, so why not make it a marshmallow?”); and his crowning achievement, the White Russian Breakfast Cereal. The last amounts to a Rice Krispies treat made by soaking the cereal in Kahlúa, dehydrating it, repeating that process, and then soaking it in vodka, sugar, and half-and-half. “Cocktail geeks are coming in and asking me all these questions,” Freeman complains. “This is just to have fun!” And, he adds, soberly, to “push the boundaries” of mixology. No wonder they’re curious.
Related: Video: Eben Freeman of Tailor Imparts the Secrets of the ‘Hard Shake’
The Other Critics
One Star Seals the Deal for Irving Mill; Ilili Surprises in a Good WayThe story on Irving Mill was written before Frank Bruni delivered the coup de grâce — an ambivalent one-star review that pointed out the restaurant’s odd inconsistencies. At this point, a one star was probably a best-case scenario for the place. [NYT]
Speaking of best-case scenarios, we bet that Gordon Ramsay had higher hopes for Bruni’s rereview of his big restaurant than the one that runs in Dining Briefs. Bruni finds Gordon Ramsay at the London still excellent but boring, and Peter Meehan isn’t too crazy about Bun. [NYT]
We heard that Ilili was a disaster, with bad service and worse food. So did Paul Adams, who was surprised to find that the word on the street was dead wrong. Adams even calls the food was “far, far better than it needs to be.” [NYS]
Eben Freeman of Tailor Imparts the Secrets of the ‘Hard Shake’
Eben Freeman of Tailor isn’t just a bartender. He isn’t even a mere mixologist. We’ll go ahead and say it: Eben Freeman is a cocktail guru. Who else could have imported the secret maneuver of the “hard shake” to our shores from its hiding places in Japan and Slovakia? No one. And that’s why we present this video, of how to perform the hard shake, for your viewing pleasure. Click on the photo to watch.
Win a Date With Thomas Keller; Year-end Lists AboundMix up your holiday charitable giving by entering a raffle for a coffee date with Per Se’s Thomas Keller or Ferran Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli. [NYT]
Related: Ferran Adrià, Molecular Gastronomist—Who, Me? [NYM]
On his No Reservations holiday special, Anthony Bourdain spoke with a veterinarian who explained that foie gras production is not the demonic act it has been portrayed as by animal-rights groups, so eat up! [Eat for Victory/VV]
If Amy Sacco didn’t convince you of the growing synergy between restaurants and real estate, consider that Centovini has just struck a deal with luxe condo Soho Mews that offers not only delivery to the building but also the option to have executive chef Patti Jackson provide in-home cooking. [NYP]
Le Bernardin Pastry Chef a Fan of Mason; Tour East Village Dumpling Master’sAstoria: A new wine bar on 35th Avenue at 30th Street called Rest-au-Rant features about 30 wines and beers — from Germany, New Zealand, Hawaii, Belgium, and France. [Joey in Astoria]
Dumbo: Waterstreet Restaurant and Lounge hosts carolers and expects dancing till late tonight as part of a holiday shopping promotion throughout the nabe. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: A photo tour of the magical workshop of “Sun Le, the dumpling master who makes TKettle’s juicy little masterpieces.” [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: Le Bernardin pastry chef Michael Laiskonis just had a great meal at Tailor and has “always been a fan of Sam Mason’s food.” [Restaurant Girl]
West Village: The Bowery Hotel’s Eric Goode and Sean McPherson are rumored to have closed a deal on another boutique hotel, at an unknown location. [Down by the Hipster]