“Bottled or tap?” is an annoying enough question (we love our local H2O, critics be damned), but come August, when Evian’s “luxury bottle” graces restaurants like Daniel, Le Bernardin, and L’Atelier, the question will be “tap, bottled, or really pretentiously bottled?” As elaborated in a training video (that’s right — Daniel Vrod, server of presidents, will soon learn how to pour water), the swanky Palace bottle is presented as if it were a bottle of champers and delivered to your glass using custom coasters and a ceremonial pourer. Question is, will there be a sexy delivery device for the suggested $5 to $8 that will flow out of your wallet for this?
Chinatown’s Almond Flower is an unusual restaurant, and its young chef, Chris Cheung — who just left the restaurant on Sunday — was the main reason. The bistro was the reverse of places which serve Western food with Asian accents to a largely Caucasian clientele; Almond Flower served fusion food from a Chinese perspective to an overwhelmingly Asian crowd. But Cheung kept pushing the envelope with luxe ingredients that chefs sometimes like more than customers: roast pork buns filled with foie gras, say, or truffled congee soup with abalone wontons. And now that he’s done with Almond Flower, he's unrepentant.
Pixar’s Ratatouille owned the nation’s box offices this past weekend, a tribute both to its makers and the country’s seemingly inexhaustible appetite for shows about cooks and cooking. Ratatouille’s pedigree on this score is as impeccable as Pixar money could make it: The studio hired Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se as a consultant. The title dish which the movie’s rat hero Remy and his human assistant Linguini make is actually one that was served in the French Laundry. And, according to somebody who should know, Remy as a chef was wholly Keller-esque.
After sighting the season’s first apricots at the Greenmarket last Saturday, we figure the dog days can’t be far behind. Gather your dinner-party guests while the weather is still cool enough for cooking, and be prepared to switch to a raw-food (or ice-cream) diet any day now.