Pamplona’s Supersoft Poached Salmon (and Ultracrispy Skin)Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
The Other Critics
Pamplona Given a New Lease on Life; Bobo Hit HardAlex Ureña’s somewhat mainstreamed restaurant, Pamplona, earns the catchall two-star rating from Frank Bruni — a great victory for them, since it legitimizes the restaurant and puts it on the solid footing it desperately needed. Bruni doesn’t sound especially impressed, however: “His best dishes are more than memorable enough to redeem Pamplona’s shortcomings.” Well, that’s good! [NYT]
Critics tend to like writing about restaurants that fail badly in one way (such as the food) while succeeding in another, less important way (such as the room). That disjunction gives Danyelle Freeman free rein to jump with both feet onto Bobo. [NYDN]
Randall Lane checks in on the two newly opened Mexican restaurants, Toloache and Los Dados and likes them both okay, but he has changed his ways and is now throwing around stars like they were manhole covers: three (of six) for Toloache, home of the famous grasshopper taco, and two for meatpacking trendhole Los Dados. [TONY]
Massive Piedmontese Market Coming to Midtown; Lady Chefs Are Tougher Than YouA food bazaar in Turin, Italy, called Eataly, which combines a “European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center” is opening its second location in a 10,000-square-foot space on 18 West 48th Street. [NYT]
Despite David Chang’s unwavering confidence that Noodle Bar 2.0 would open early this week, the restaurant’s not yet ready; he blames Con-Ed. [Eater]
Women chefs who’ve found success aren’t hard to come by in New York, according to Cuozzo, who mentions at least two examples. [NYP]
Related: A Woman’s Place? [NYM]
The Post goes on to blame Patricia Yeo for Monkey Bar’s failure. [NYP]
In the Magazine
Go Around the World Without Leaving New York
This week’s issue, appropriately, spans the globe. The foodie’s guide to traveling tells you where to eat in vacation spots from Taipei to the Berkshires, but really, there’s no need for you to even leave town. Adam Platt is turning Japanese (we really think so) with a double review of Soto and BarFry; Gael Greene stops into Pamplona to run with Alex Ureña’s newly mainstreamed cuisine; and Rob and Robin (in a new feature called “Tools of the Trade”) describe in detail the secrets of a new oven brought over from Italy to Una Pizza Napoletana. Meanwhile, grapes and white truffles abound, there are two restaurants on Avenue B, and all is good with the world, or at least our little corner of it in New York.
In the Magazine
This Week’s Issue Is All About Simplicity
The food news in this week’s issue concerns the simple, the elegant, and the obvious. A guy in Brooklyn tries to raise his food in his backyard. Adam Platt respondes to locavore earnestness by battening down with a box of Oreos. Two Italian restaurants have opened with unambitious, utterly familiar menus, and he likes one of them, Bar Stuzzichini, more than the other, Gemma, which was lucky to escape with a single star. Another Italian restaurant, Accademia di Vino, specializes in grilled pizza, good pasta, and lots of wine, which pleases the Insatiable Critic. In this week’s Openings, Alex Ureña gives up on foam, and another guy in Brooklyn opens a sandwich shop highlighted by a turkey sandwich with potato chips in it. Resto chef Ryan Skeen enjoyed the onion and tomato app at Peter Luger, and the bacon too, so he thought to make a recipe out of all three for In Season. And finally, the city gets three new choices for the age-old conundrum “coffee, tea, or milk.” It’s that kind of week at New York.
Mario Batali, Food Network Split; Vermin at Da Silvano and Peter LugerThe Food Network dumps Mario Batali, and he dumps Iron Chef America in return. [NYP]
Da Silvano‘s media connections won’t keep rat spottings out of the news as Inside Edition will air footage of the vermin tonight alongside similarly damning video of both Peter Luger and Blue Ribbon. [Eater]
“Nobody at the Bryant Park tents has to starve, sleep or stay sober” during fashion week thanks to sponsorships including Eleni’s cookies, Nespresso, and most importantly the entire Spanish wine region of Rioja. [NYDN]
End of the Line for Ureña; Rocco Admits Douche-baggeryAlex Ureña is closing Ureña and turning it into “a bistro-style eater called Pamplona.” The modern Spanish curse continues! Now Suba alone carries the banner. [Eater]
Rocco DiSpirito doesn’t seem to mind being called a douche bag: “I was thinking he must have worked for me to know I’m a douche bag,” the chef tells Nina Lalli. [VV]
Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag
On his Top Chef blog Tony Bourdain has some wise words to console Joey: “Joey’s the chef of a damn famous restaurant in New York freakin’ City. The place every ambitious cook and chef hopes to work — in the big leagues. So he’s already a “Top Chef” — and already a winner in my book.” [Bravo]
Related: Adam Platt Finds the Moral in Last Night’s ‘Top Chef’
Back of the House
Ilan May Not Be Top Chef Tonight; Coca Leaf CuisineYesterday’s Ilan Hall winner profile? Just one of two we had ready, says Food & Wine. Read Marcel’s. [Food & Wine]
Related: ‘Top Chef’ Winner Revealed — For Real! [Grub Street]
Bruni weighs in on Top Chef, giving the cooking elements of the show a surprising amount of respect. [NYT]
Sara Dickerman looks at the new wave of cooking shows and finds them all totally ridiculous — but entertaining. [Slate]
Back of the House
Spanish Chefs Cook With Dirt, Dazzle Avant-Garde at Weekend DemoSpain’s cooking wizards convened at Guastavino’s Saturday to demonstrate their cutting-edge techniques. We figured the wine would be fabulous. We were counting on acorn-fed jamón ibérico to make Smithfield, Virginia, weep. But “Spain’s 10,” the all-star team headed by the illustrious Ferran Adrià, are known for their dazzling concoctions, so all we really knew to expect were surprises.