Details Bubble Up About New York Wine & Food FestivalNot everyone is behind the New York version of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, occurring October 9–12 (you’ll recall local restaurateurs had mixed reactions), but Eater brings news of events that may get more people behind it.
Amy Ruth’s Taking Her Sweet Time in Brooklyn; Adour? OkayDowntown Brooklyn: So much for a Valentine’s Day debut: Amy Ruth’s at the Fulton Mall isn’t even open yet. [Lost City]
Hamptons: Restaurant Week begins March 20. Bargain meals at close to 70 participating restaurants seems like a good excuse to take advantage of any lodging bargains before warm weather sets in. [Restaurant Girl]
Meatpacking District: Florent plans to give up the ghost on a high note, on Gay Pride Day at the end of June. [NYP]
Midtown East: Citysearch calls Ducasse’s food at Adour “comme ci, comme ça.” [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
West Village: The Beatrice team might expand to L.A. [Down by the Hipster]
Le Cirque Gets on the Wine-Bar BandwagonAs the fashion for haute cuisine falls away, the more casual wine bar has become a kind of economic savior for the city’s classic high-end chefs — one reason, as we noted in our Fall Preview year, the likes of Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse have embraced the genre wholeheartedly. (It’s easier to lure customers into wine bars, and wine is a much higher-profit item than food.) Now Le Cirque has gotten into the act, opening its new wine bar tonight. Says the restaurant’s legendary owner, Sirio Maccioni: “Our new wine lounge is a more casual side of Le Cirque, with chaise longues and where no jackets are required. We wanted to offer something, in our lounge, without all the rigueur of the dining room.” The centerpiece of the wine bar is an immense wine tower, with, according to Maccioni, “20,000 bottles of wine and the right menu to go with it.” Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to go to Le Cirque without a jacket, though — no matter how many bottles of wine they have.
Le Cirque wine-bar menu
Related: Grape Nuts [NYM]
The Annotated Dish
Adour’s Elegant Fish-and-Shellfish Double-deckerAdour, Alain Ducasse’s much-discussed “wine bar,” has opened, and as our profile last month suggested, it’s not so much a bar as a more casual version of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, the chef’s buttoned-up former venture. Today, we break down one of Adour’s debut dishes, striped bass and shellfish in a vin jaune d’Arbois sauce — a variation on a Ducasse classic created by his New York chef, Tony Esnault. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
Your Handbag Gets Seated at AdourWhen Alain Ducasse opened at the Essex House in 2000, not only was it an important culinary moment for the city, it was a great day for handbags. In his quest to civilize an unruly New York dining public, the detail-obsessed restaurateur had equipped each table with a red-velvet-upholstered footstool upon which women could give their precious clutches a proper stage, rather than just dump them on the floor like an old Duane Reade shopping bag.
A New Food Emporium at South Street Seaport?; Join a CSA TodayConsultant Clark Wolf is in a rush to open artisanal-food stalls across from the old Fulton Fish Market by Memorial Day, but apparently this has nothing to do with the proposed New Amsterdam Public market. [Insatiable Critic]
Related: Batali Shows a Little Leg to Sex Up New Amsterdam Public
A lawsuit between a Queens Chinese restaurant and CW11, regarding Kaity Tong’s reporting on a mouse allegedly found in the food, is close to being thrown out since the lawyers can’t prove any malice on the newscaster’s part. [NYP]
Grant Achatz, star chef of Chicago’s Alinea, may have beat his tongue cancer, but his sense of taste may not return for a year or two. [WSJ]
Keith McNally Sued; Huckabee Serves Clam Chowder in New HampshireAccording to a new class-action suit being brought against Keith McNally, servers at Pastis and Balthazar were forced to foot the bill for customers who walked out on their checks, in addition to being denied minimum wage. [NYP]
Frank Bruni, like many other critics, believes a restaurant’s chicken dishes speak volumes about its overall quality. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
E-mails sent by Starbucks Corp. managers reveal their efforts to prevent unionizing among their employees, although labor experts say the activity is not illegal. [WSJ]
In the Magazine
Alain Ducasse Tries to Win Our Love
New York City hasn’t been kind to Alain Ducasse. But after reading this week’s big feature on the world’s most-starred chef and his latest effort to make New York love him, we find it hard to believe that he doesn’t have a fighting chance. Adam Platt somehow manages to appreciate delicacy this week and gives Smith’s an enthusiastic two-star review. Finally, Rob and Robin bring us two things sure to warm the insides of any New Yorker in January: Charles Gabriel’s collard greens and the hot cocktails at three of New York’s best bars.
Kerry Heffernan’s South Gate Slated for February OpeningWhatever happened to 154 South Gate, the restaurant helmed by Eleven Madison Park’s Kerry Heffernan that will fill the void left by Alain Ducasse’s old eatery in the Essex House? Turns out it’s going to be called just South Gate and will go into the space that was formerly Café Botanica. The latest from maître d’ Marc Mover is that it will start taking reservations around January 15, will start serving friends and family the week after that, and will open to the public on the first week of February. (Ducasse’s new venture, Adour, is scheduled to open January 28.) Unsurprisingly, Mover describes the menu as “greenmarket — fresh produce, local farmers, American style with a little bit of French influence or infusion.” And so the Haute Barnyard tear continues…
Earlier: Decent Tables Still Available for Ducasse’s Opening Night
‘Top Chef’ Bitch Opens Restaurant; Gordo Looking for VictimsFormer Top Chef contestant Dave “don’t call me a bitch, bitch” Martin (Season One) has opened his own restaurant on West 42nd Street called Crave, and he’s serving comfort food. [Zagat]
Hakata Tonton is bringing its love of pig’s feet to the West Village — even dessert has the collagen-packed delicacy. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Alain Ducasse’s wine bar Adour at the St. Regis Hotel is set to open in January. [Decanter]
Related: Essex House and St. Regis Restaurants: Maybe Next Year!
Grape Nuts [NYM]
In Other Magazines
Michelin Virus Spreads, Delighting Ducasse, Krauts; Angering Gordo, JapaneseThe Michelin guide gives the media plenty of fodder today — the Los Angeles and Las Vegas guides are out today, the first ever Tokyo guide comes out on Monday, and the German guide came out yesterday. The takeaway: Thanks to a star for his $16 million restaurant Mix at the Mandalay Bay, Alain Ducasse has now become the most-starred chef at 13 stars (beating out Gordon Ramsay’s 12 — perhaps why Gordo got a little pissy on Regis & Kelly yesterday). On the international front, Germany now moves ahead of Spain and Italy in number of three-star restaurants with a whopping 9 behind eternal front-runner France’s 26. It remains to be seen whether the Tokyo guide will change all that but (big surprise!) the Japanese are about as pissed as we were when Michelin set its giant inflatable foot on our shores. Quoth a Japanese food blogger: “These are French people who want to judge Japanese cuisine according to French standards. Japanese people who take part in this ought to be ashamed of themselves.” We hear you, brother!
Alain Ducasse regains crown as most-starred chef [Caterersearch.com]
Michelin guide steps out of West, into controversy in Tokyo [AFP]
Schnitzel Outcooks Spaghetti in Michelin Guide [Deutsche Welle]
Gordon Ramsay Loses Temper with Regis Philbin [Showbiz Spy]
Earlier: The Case Against Michelin