Babbo Tops Zagat Italian List, Followed by RelicsWe’re not surprised that Babbo is the city’s top Italian restaurant, according to Zagat’s new America’s 1,000 Top Italian Restaurants book — its popularity alone is enough, in Zagat-land, to ensure yearly dominance. And in fact, Babbo is a wonderful restaurant, four stars by our lights, and justly beloved. But if you had any doubt how unreliable the Zagat surveyors are, just check out number two: Village relic Il Mulino! Now, don’t get us wrong: Il Mulino is a fine restaurant and uses very expensive ingredients to good effect. The tuxedoed wait staff are as servile as ever. But it should be the second-most-popular Italian restaurant of 1958. Haven’t the matrons of Secaucus ever heard of A Voce? Or
Zagat Empire for Sale; New Low-Cal Girl Scout CookiesThe Zagat family has put their empire of burgundy books on the market, with Goldman Sachs handling the search for a buyer who will have to drop at least $200 million for the acquisition. [NYT]
Stereo, the club outside which a patron was shot last week, closed after a weekend police raid. [NYDN]
Howie Mandel’s mention of the Waverly Inn on Live With Regis & Kelly made Graydon Carter’s restaurant a highly searched Google item. [Gawker]
Calling All Web-Surfing Gourmands: Opinionated About Dining Now in the Book
We always wondered why Zagat has a monopoly on restaurant surveys. The same thought seems to have occurred to Steve Plotnicki, the man behind the blog Opinionated About Dining. Don’t be fooled by OAD’s resemblance to the rest of the blogger-with-a-digital-camera food sites. It hosts a very big and very vigorous private forum, whose members will be the backbone of a new book on the top 100 restaurants in America and Europe this March. The OAD members are deep-pocketed diners who eat all over the city, so the book’s core of opinions will be strong.
Another Look at Bar BouludDavid Bouley is expanding his Tribeca empire with “an upscale Japanese-themed restaurant called Brushstrokes” which will take over the soon-to-be-former Delphi space. [NYS]
Gael Greene was on hand for last night’s first taste of Bar Boulud even though the opening has been pushed back a month or so. [Food Writer’s Diary/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: Exclusive: Feast Your Eyes on Bar Boulud, Coming in November
The next Next Iron Chef challenge is “cooking gourmet airline food with all the constraints of airline galleys. Holy smokes. It’s the exact same challenge as Top Chef.” [Serious Eats]
Two ‘Iron Chef’ Contestants Eliminated; Michelin-Zagat Wars Rage OnAfter all the woman got canned from The Next Iron Chef, Aaron Sanchez was overheard warning Morou Ouattara, “Next they’ll be going after the brown people.” [Ruhlman] And last night Morou was one of two chefs booted. [Serious Eats]
Related: Who Will Be Cut Next on ‘The Next Iron Chef’?
One classic New York deli is fighting the good fight against history, the Zeitgeist, and its own storied past. 2nd Avenue Deli reopens next month with the same name and a new location on East 33rd Street near Lexington Avenue. [NYT]
Now that his guides are competing with Zagat in New York, Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret says he’s also eyeing Boston, Miami, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.[AP]
Related: Michelin’s Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a Wall
Zagat 2008 Smiles on Daniel, Gordon Ramsay, OthersNew York’s little red book, the 2008 Zagat guide, is out today. It is more significant to the restaurant world than the Michelin guide, and for good reason: The same people who use it are the ones who write it. So what if it’s a popularity contest? Life is a popularity contest. There were some minor shakeups in this year’s rankings, such as Union Square Cafe retaking its sibling Gramercy as most popular restaurant, and Daniel retaking the top spot in cuisine from Le Bernardin. But the more interesting points required a slightly closer look.