Pelaccio Focusing on Fatty ‘Cue; Bruni Gets the Fiamma MemoAstoria: Leng Thai’s brown rice is delicious; they mix in red grains. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: A new bakery is supposed to open around June on Fulton near the Met. Baker: “When I was young, we’d go to the bakery every Sunday after church for a fresh loaf of French bread, soft and still warm from the oven. I’d love to re-create that here.” Blogger: “OMGYAY!” [Clinton Hill Blog]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: A former Sapa chef will head the kitchen at a new Pan-Asian restaurant called Prana, set to open in June in the old Scopa space. [Zagat]
Soho: Fabio Trabocchi has written a personal note to Bruni and has worked with B.R. Guest to lower prices across the board at Fiamma (including dropping the price of the seven-course menu from $138 to $125). Sorry to those who ate at Fiamma last week. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Williamsburg: Zak Pelaccio’s project with Robbie Richter might be called Fatty ‘Cue. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: Breaking: Zak Pelaccio and Robbie Richter to Collaborate on Asian Barbecue in Williamsburg
West Village: If you want to celebrate the Irish all next week, August will be “toasting the Irish” through March 21 by serving Guinness Extra Stout and specials like house-made corned beef and cabbage. [Strong Buzz]
Breaking: Zak Pelaccio and Robbie Richter to Collaborate on Asian Barbecue in
Former Hill Country pitmaster Robbie Richter has been lying low since his split with the restaurant, but that doesn’t mean the most decorated competition cooker in New York has been idle. Instead, he’s been collaborating with Zak Pelaccio on a Southeast Asian barbecue restaurant in Williamsburg. Look for it in the fall on South 6th Street between Berry and Bedford.
Back of the House
Pelaccio, Goldfarb to Open the WindsorDespite efforts to keep their new project a secret, Zak Pelaccio and cake whiz Will Goldfarb have been outed! A blog called the Life Vicarious sussed out the existence of the Windsor by examining a James Beard–event listing. The Windsor, says the listing, will be a “cozy yet elegant collaboration they hope will become a hangout for chefs and food lovers alike.” Life Vicarious surmises the new restaurant will be next door to BarFry, at 51 Carmine Street. BarFry man Josh DeChellis is also involved, as well as Goldfarb cohort Robert Truitt. “It will have European, elegant, elevated snacks — jamón ibérico, oysters, a big Champagne list, and we’ll have something going in a Crock-Pot every night,” Pelaccio tells us. “It will be homey and casual, and, we hope, open from four to four. I’ll be creating panini and a lot of other things.”
“The mark of a cad” [The Life Vicarious, via Eater]
Unlimited BBQ and Champagne Brings Out the Carnal Chef at SOBE
Bubble Q, SOBE’s Champagne-barbecue tasting party, may have been visible from the air last night. We made our way through the smoke-filled tent dodging mirror bars and fifteen-foot-high speaker stacks. We were happily waylaid by the endless chef’s tables and Champagne bars. See who Tony Bourdain hangs with, what Zak Pelaccio dances to, and hear Del Post’s Mark Ladner defend Iron Chef.
Is Chop Suey the Worst Name Ever for a Korean Restaurant?
Zak Pelaccio has been getting an earful from some Asian-Americans over Chop Suey, the name of his latest project as Consulting Chef of the Future. At least among the ones who commented on Grub Street, the prevailing feeling seemed to be that, political aspects aside, the name was just dumb: “Chop Suey is such a HORRIBLE NAME! Not only is it NOT Korean generally, the name “chop suey” or ‘za sui,’ when used in Chinese, has the meaning of cooked animal offal or entrails.” “Zak needs help picking names of his restaurants … Chicken Bone? FATTY Crab, Chop Suey?” “My GOD. chop suey is the stupidest name for any kind of restaurant Pelaccio has come up with to date.”
Zak Pelaccio’s Chop Suey to Open Next MonthZak Pelaccio has somehow found time to plan a new restaurant, in between taking over Borough Food and Drink from Jeffrey Chodorow, opening a new Fatty Crab uptown, and perfecting a haute Malaysian restaurant in London. Look for a big new Korean-themed restaurant in the Renaissance called Chop Suey to open (says Pelaccio with optimism) in late January. Last summer, the bearded wonder took a trip to Korea, where he fell in love with the marinated beef belly and other meaty delights he plans to implement in his new menu as consulting chef. At this pace, we predict Ditmas Park and Inwood will be only Pelaccio-free neighborhoods in New York. But if they’re lucky, they’ll get restaurants too.
Related: Zak Pelaccio Taking Over Borough Food and Drink From Jeffrey Chodorow
Jeffrey Chodorow Begins Investing in the Little GuyNews that Borough Food and Drink was being taken over by Zak Pelaccio had some Chodorow watchers scratching their heads. How could China Grill Management be involved in a restaurant and not control it? General Chod tells us that, far from being a departure from his operating system, CGM’s boutique operation is just his latest innovation. “There’s 20th Century Fox for big projects, and then also Fox Searchlight Pictures. That’s what this would be like,” he says, crediting Pelaccio with the analogy. (How long did he mull that one?)
Borough Food and Drink Kills the Retail CounterThe relaunching of Borough Food and Drink under Zak Pelaccio has already begun in earnest, but in an unexpected way: The restaurant has given its retail counter, one of the main pillars of its identity, the heave-ho. Why? More drinking space was needed! “The bar was getting too crowded,” BFD representative Meryl Scheinman tells us. “We loved the retail area, but it created a bottleneck. This makes it more welcoming, less crowded, and warms the room up a little.”
Other big changes — you know, the ones to the menu — are still in the works, but intel is under wraps as of right now. In the meantime, if you didn’t get your Bosnian butter or Brighton Beach Russian bacon at the now-defunct counter, our condolences. Commiserate over a drink at the spacious bar, perhaps?
Related: Zak Pelaccio Taking Over Borough Food and Drink From Jeffrey Chodorow
Hill Country Pits Graffiti Grows Worse Each DayHill Country was born old. The day it opened, its walls and air vents had been painstakingly smoked-stained, and its floors distressed to look as if 10,000 gluttons had waddled across it over the years. But the pits were brand-new. Not so anymore: After one summer of operation, they’re now signed with the regards of dozens of chefs, politicians, celebrities, and members of the barbecue underground.
Fatty Crab Chef’s Mom Makes Fatty Chocolate
Fatty Crab chef Corwin Kave is living our childhood fantasy: His mom owns a candy store. Roni-Sue Kave first introduced diners to her buttercrunch at Borough Food & Drink through the good offices of Zak Pelaccio, the restaurant’s consulting chef. It was first sold at the retail counter, but now demand has put it on the menu. Kave’s store at the Essex Street Market will stock her even better fruit-flavored chocolate truffles. We had a little tasting here at the Grub Street offices, and each one was better than the last. There is none of the disgusting, cloying sweetness or gag-inducing cream innards you find in most fruit-filled chocolates. These taste like actual fruit (strawberry-rhubarb, mango) with a dark-chocolate oomph. Does Corwin have a sister? With food this good running in the family, we’ll marry her sight unseen.
Fatty Crab Brings Back Pelaccio’s Fatty Favorites
Fatty Crab has been a huge critical success for Zak Pelaccio, and you can hardly squeeze into the place, but for some of his fans (like us) nothing on that turbo-charged Malaysian menu lives up to the stuff he did at 5 Ninth and Chickenbone Café. So we are psyched that Pelaccio and his chief lieutenant, Corwin Kave, have resurrected some of the chef’s greatest hits for a special bar menu being featured on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. And each one comes with a drink pairing (it being a bar menu, after all.)
Back of the House
How Much Thomas Keller Is Really in ‘Ratatouille’’s Remy?
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.
Zak Pelaccio Goes on a Shopping Spree for Borough Food and Drink
For city gastronomes (we won’t say chowhounds), there are three reasons to be excited about Borough Food and Drink, the Jeffrey Chodorow and Zak Pelaccio gastropub opening this week. First, there’s Z-Man’s return to the kind of freewheeling, Eurocentric fare that he used to do at Williamsburg’s Chickenbone Café, back before he became an Asian-food guru. (Pelaccio created the menu and trained the staff but will not be cooking at the restaurant.)
New York is Now Fat City; Korean KFC Comes to New YorkFat is where it’s at in New York today, thanks to the efforts of what Adam Platt would call the “refined meathead” school of chefs like David Chang and Zak Pelaccio. [NYT]
Related: You Know You’re a Meathead When… [NYM]
Kyochon Chicken, the Korean chain behind the current wave of Korean fried-chicken restaurants, has opened in Flushing. Two more locations are planned for Bayside. [NYT]
Ilan Hall defeated Sam Talbot in their outdoor Top Chef rematch yesterday, Hall’s soft-shell crab salad triumphing over Talbot’s grilled quail and potatoes. [NYDN]
Back of the House
The Threat to Red Hook’s Street-Food Paradise Unites New York FoodiesWhen we heard that the Latin American food vendors in Red Hook Park might lose their temporary-use permit at the end of the summer, the news hit us like a goat taco after a night of heavy drinking. And we weren’t alone. An animated Chowhound thread immediately formed (and was almost as quickly censored), and a protest site sprang into existence. Hidden within Red Hook, the vendors have created a community of cooking, a cultural exchange as much as a place to eat. (Click here to take a video tour with Paladar chef Aaron Sanchez.) We canvassed the city’s food elite for their take on the situation; here is what we heard.
Zak Pelaccio Leaves 5 Ninth; Survival of the Fittest in the HamptonsZak Pelaccio leaves 5 Ninth to pursue projects with Jeffrey Chodorow; his replacement, Dan Perilla, a.k.a. Chino, is a Pelaccio protégé who will oversee the restaurant’s move away from Asian flavors. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
The competition is brutal for Hamptons restaurants, and only the strong survive more than a season or two. [Newsday]
The current lobster-roll craze started at the Pearl Oyster Bar, and its shameless imitators really ought to admit who influenced them. [Serious Eats]
Chodorow and Tom Valenti Team Up; Rum RenaissanceJeffrey Chodorow is opening a restaurant with Tom Valenti right next to his new restaurant with Zak Pelaccio; also, a new Rickshaw will open in the Village. [Eater]
Related: Chodorow and Pelaccio Planning a ‘Malaysian Coffeehouse’ [Grub Street]
We’re in the middle of a rum renaissance, with “heavy, thick and funky” British varieties and “smooth and sugary” Spanish-Caribbean ones. [NYDN]
Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club defends itself against charges of unfair labor practices: “Everyone makes the minimum wage at the club.” [NYDN]
Chodorow and Pelaccio Planning a ‘Malaysian Coffeehouse’Fatty Crab may not be coming to the Upper West Side, but locals need not fret — we’ve learned that Jeffrey Chodorow and Zak Pelaccio are in discussion to do a Malaysian place called Kopi Tiam in the neighborhood. A kopi tiam is what Chodorow calls a “Malaysian coffeehouse,” and this one would occupy the 77th Street space that formerly housed Fishs Eddy. Kopi tiams, Chodorow tells us, “are popular throughout Malaysia and frequently serve both Malaysian and Western foods…this restaurant would be very different from Fatty Crab.”
Fatty Crab, Upper West Side Edition?Carroll Gardens: Faan has average food but festive décor, and it’s the only decent delivery in the neighborhood. [Brooklyn Record] But a new French bistro is coming to town. [Lost City]
Fort Greene: The Greene Grape showcases its rosé selection with a series of tastings tonight through Sunday. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Midtown East: A photomontage of Bon Chon’s Korean fried chicken. [Gothamist]
Union Square : Mario Batali will team with Crocs, the maker of his trademark rubber clogs, and come up with an even more durable line to debut later this summer. Until then, the regular versions are available at Paragon Sports. [The Food Section]
Upper West Side: Could the Chodorow-Pelaccio agreement culminate in a Fatty Crab taking over the old Fish’s Eddy space? [Eater]
The Underground Gourmet
Sandwich of the Week: Lassi’s Tamarind-Pork Sandwich
When the Underground Gourmet ponders flashes of fusion brilliance in the sandwich realm, he thinks of Zak Pelaccio’s interpretive Cubano at 5 Ninth, made with prosciutto and Boerenkass; the Greenpoint sandwich, a.k.a., the Polish bánh mì, at Williamsburg’s Silent H; and Sullivan St. Bakery’s deranged but delicious PBM (pancetta, basil, and mango). Add to this illustrious list the tamarind-pork sandwich at Lassi.
Car Plows Into Hop Kee; Neroni Keeps SpinningA car plows into the venerable Hop Kee restaurant in Chinatown. The restaurant is damaged, and one person is hurt. [Downtown Express]
Izakaya invasion! The city now boasts everything from simple sake joints with food to full-blown small-plate restaurants. [NYDN]
The official Times take on the Neroni Affair includes this classic quote, in defense of the Desperate Chef: “If Marco didn’t want anyone signing checks, including Jason, he should have put the checkbook in the safe.” [NYT]
5 Ninth’s Interim Chef de Cuisine Just Wasn’t Management Material5 Ninth’s interim chef de cuisine Richard Sterling is now 5 Ninth’s former interim chef de cuisine. The cook, previously of SushiSamba, took over from Mary Ellen Heavner on an extended trial when Heavner headed uptown to Amalia. He apparently did some brilliant work in his short time there, but executive chef Zak Pelaccio tells us that Sterling’s problem wasn’t behind the stove: Chef de cuisines have to do a lot more than cook, and it seems he wasn’t up to the administrative duties. Pelaccio’s back from London and running the kitchen until a permanent replacement is hired. That lucky person will then implement a revamped menu, which we’re told will have less of an emphasis on Asian ingredients and techniques.
Openings for Dieterle, Pelaccio; Strange Beard BylawsZak Pelaccio and Top Chef’s Harold Dieterle open new restaurants. [NYT]
Related: Harold Dieterle’s Perilla to Open … on Jones Street! [Grub Street]
And Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Malaysian restaurant, for which Pelaccio was consulting chef, opens in London. [This Is London]
Related: Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible? [NYM]
The rat expert who instructed the Department of Health says the city is a rodent’s paradise. [WP]
Chodorow Redeemed? Spotted Dick Out, Zak Pelaccio InJeffrey Chodorow had done a lot of not-so-smart things lately, but planning a restaurant called the Spotted Dick was not one of them. The eatery, which will occupy the let’s-not-say-cursed space that formerly housed Rocco’s and Caviar & Banana, looks to be one of Chodorow’s coolest ventures: His company confirms that it will be a New York gastropub called Boroughs, helmed by none other than Zak Pelaccio. (And here we thought Jeffrey was done with name chefs.)
The Underground Gourmet
The Fatty Slider: A Home RunThe Underground Gourmet isn’t saying that his mother was a disaster in the kitchen, but her idea of sprucing up the young UG’s burgers before she cooked them to a fine crisp was to fling a packetful of Lipton onion-soup mix into the ground beef. The UG was reminded of this culinary catastrophe as he bit into a Fatty Slider the other day, at the inaugural brunch at Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab. Before you get the wrong idea, you should know that a Fatty Slider is not a Lipton onion burger — far from it. But it does fall into the same general category of spiced-up ground-beef patties, however great the temporal and culinary divide between seventies suburbia and 2007 meatpacking district.
Pelaccio Opens in London; Hotel Gansevoort BoycottedZak Pelaccio’s new London restaurant (first announced here) finally opens and issues a press release with a menu. [Snack]
In a recent post, we called Michael Ruhlman a mandarin and critiqued his hauteur. Count us wrong on both counts: This response, titled “Grub Street Wankers,” and the vitriol that follows in the comment section, isn’t exactly high-minded. [Ruhlman]
Related: In Defense of Rachael Ray and the Food Network [Grub Street]
The big billboards erected on Hudson Street by the Hotel Gansevoort are so ugly that Pastis’ Keith McNally and 5 Ninth’s Joel Michel are refusing to take hotel reservations in protest. [NYP]
Click and Save
Our Chinatown Guide Goes Viral — in a Good Way!Blogger Buddha Drinks Fanta gets around — she has posts on Southeast Asia and Australia as well as the U.S. Which is partly why we’re flattered that her new photo essay, “Tongues and Bungs: BDF Does Chinatown,” was inspired by Zak Pelaccio’s picks in this issue’s Chinatown guide. BDF also drops in on several places Pelaccio didn’t mention, including some especially … interesting meat stores. Those of you with vegetarians in the office: These pics are most definitely NSFW.
Tongues and Bungs: BDF Does Chinatown [Buddha Drinks Fanta]
Zak on the Prowl [NYM]
In the Magazine
From Chelsea to Chinatown
In this week’s magazine, high-end restaurants and the doings of midtown Michelin hopefuls take a back seat to the wonders of Chinatown — and the pleasures, spread out across the city, of the Year of the Pig.
Feisty, Ambitious Will Goldfarb: “Fire Your Pastry Chef!”Will Goldfarb, whose high-concept creations have made Room 4 Dessert a big hit with city gourmands, is now taking over the dessert program at Zak Pelaccio’s meatpacking mecca 5 Ninth. Although Goldfarb is the first of the rock-star pastry chefs to provide outsourcing, it could be the wave of the future. “I just can’t do it,” Pelaccio says of having in-house desserts. “We don’t have the space, and it’s not economically sound, anyway. We can’t afford to pay a full-time pastry chef sixty or seventy thousand dollars a year.” (The new treats include a hot-chocolate martini with Calvados gelato, topped with saffron crumbs and Ligurian olive oil; a coconut parfait with lime sorbet and smoked-tea meringue; and Nutella over kabocha-squash cake, served with whole-milk ice cream.) Outside the world of composed sweets, the trend is already in full swing: Il Labatorio del Gelato owner Jon Snyder estimates that around one in five New York restaurants that serve gelato is getting it directly from his company. “We just did a sake kasu gelato for EN Japanese Brasserie,” he tells us. As far as Goldfarb is concerned, 5 Ninth is just the start; he has deals under way with two other restaurants and preliminary plans to service several more. “Fire your pastry chef,” the cake whiz says. “We’re your Bangladesh.”
Fatty Crab Wants to Know If You’re Interested in Getting BrunchA new dish has been appearing at the tables of regular customers at Fatty Crab recently. Referred to simply as “bacon and eggs” by its creator, chef de cuisine (and Zak Pelaccio chief lieutenant) Corwin Kave, the off-the-menu special is one of the season’s standout pork dishes — and it heralds the restaurant’s plans to begin serving brunch. It consists of a whole Bobo Farm egg, lightly spiced and wok-fried in hot oil, topped with a thick, tender piece of pork belly braised in lime, chiles, black vinegar, fish sauce, and a mélange of Malaysian spices. The Blue Ribbon Pullman bread just barely manages to hold it all together. “It’s just something we’re messing around with,” Kave tells us. Don’t expect to get it when the place is slammed, but if you’re there on an off hour, and maybe a little hung-over, tell them that Grub Street sent you.
Zak Pelaccio Opening New Restaurant — in LondonWe were as surprised as all get-out to hear via Eater that Zak Pelaccio and Jeffrey Chodorow are planning to take Fatty Crab national. So we called Pelaccio: “It’s simply inaccurate,” the chef tells us. “I don’t know where Eater gets their info, but it’s not from me nor any of my business partners.” Fine — we Web types sometimes get the wrong information. But then, Pelaccio delivered a real bit of news: He’ll be taking over Alain Ducasse’s Spoon (owned by Jeffrey Chodorow) in the Sanderson Hotel in London and launching a Malaysian restaurant as consulting chef. “But that has nothing to do with Fatty Crab or even America,” he adds. But it has everything to do with a local guy making good.
EaterWire: Ramsay Lands, Drops Two-Hour Time Limit, Boxer’s Loses Their Lease, Fatty Crab Goes National! [Eater]
Cesare Casella Invents a New Pig!A lot of chefs — particularly of the Haute Barnyard breed — advertise their love of farms. But how many actually mastermind a breeding program, and then invite other chefs to the country to see the results? Cesare Casella, the Tuscan cook behind Maremma, has been breeding two types of pigs (and snow-white Chianina cattle) at Stonewall Preserve upstate. On Monday, he invited Mark Ladner of Del Posto, April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, Zak Pelaccio of Fatty Crab, Kevin Garcia of ‘Cesca, and Mary Ellen Heavner of 5 Ninth to come up and sample the Stonewall pig.
Back of the House
Living Large at a Big Apple Big Easy PartyThe crowd at last night’s “The New Orleans Table: Return and Recollect” at 5 Ninth had their hands full — literally. The restaurant, which is spread out over three floors of an ancient townhouse, was packed to the rafters with food players and New Orleans culture heroes.
New Orleans, New York, New RestaurantNew Orleans, New York: They both start with the word “new.” But recently, there seems to an even greater affinity between the cities. Earlier this week, we mentioned the (now booked) Southern Foodways Alliance party happening Thursday night at 5 Ninth, where N.O. chefs will team up with our own Zak Pelaccio for a free-that’s-right-free culinary blowout. Last night, meanwhile, Brooklyn welcomed a new Louisiana-themed restaurant, NoNO Kitchen, to Park Slope. Greg Tatis, a veteran of Paul Prudhomme’s kitchen, opened the place just blocks down from the N.O.-themed Two Boots on Seventh Avenue — close enough for the untethered tots that crowd the latter to wander on down and check out former before their parents even look up from their bloody Marys. But we digress. NoNo will serve a limited menu until Monday, when they roll out the gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, and other bayou standards.
NoNO Kitchen, 293 Seventh Ave., nr. 7th St.; 718-369-8348
Free Food at 5 Ninth!
Drop what you’re doing, run to the phone, and reserve a spot at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s “The New Orleans Table: Return and Recollect” Friday-night event at 5 Ninth. A New Orleans culinary supergroup will bless the party with some of their signature dishes, including Anthony Uglesich’s famous BBQ oysters and Leah Chase’s gumbo z’herbs (green gumbo). The cocktails will include Colonial-era Sazeracs and Ramos gin fizzes made just the way Huey Long specified (a tape loop will show rediscovered footage of “The Kingfish” giving a mixology lesson). Gumbo man Lionel Key Jr. will pound sassafras leaves in an immense mortar and pestle made from a 150-pound cyprus tree, and N.O. chef John Besh will collaborate with our own Zak Pelaccio on a New Orleans–tribute menu. Call 212-679-660, extension 201, for reservations.
And, oh, did we mention that it’s free? (Other than in the headline?)