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Allen & Delancey

  1. The Other Critics
    A Star Swap for Alto & L’Impero; No Amore for Richman at FiammaThe Times’ verdict is in on Alto and L’Impero, and it’s the expected three and two stars, respectively. Lost in the Alto upgrade is the hard fact that L’Impero now enters the dreaded two-star limbo into which Frank Bruni puts any place neither transcendent nor mediocre. Personally, we would have had it at four and three. [NYT] Alan Richman admires the new Fiamma (former home to Mike White) in a cool and distant way, finding the food busy and not at all Italian, although not exactly lousy by any means. No one will read this review and want to spend money to eat at Fiamma. [Bloomberg] On the other hand, Restaurant Girl’s three-star review reads like a perfume ad, it’s so loving: “Like an artist, he paints deeply flavored ragu onto a pappardelle canvas, finished with tender ribbons of venison.” Ew! But Steve Hanson must be happy. [NYDN]
  2. Back of the House
    Jason Neroni Spotted in Cantina’s Kitchen, ‘America’s Most Wanted’East Village hot-spot-in-the-making Cantina is the work of many Jasons. First there’s honcho Swamy, former owner of Movida. Then there’s designer Volenec, who also did Allen and Delancey and has worked with Serge Becker. And finally there’s consulting chef Neroni. Sure, we poked fun at Neroni during his brush with the law, but given the quality of his tasting menu’s pork shoulder dulce de leche (the full menu rolls out November 1, with beer and wine, brunch, and delivery to follow), we were glad to see him in Cantina’s three-by-four open kitchen rather than a jail cell (the jail cell probably would’ve been more spacious, but not as romantically lit). As soon as he put his knife down, we asked him what became of his beef with Porchetta, and where he’s been since then.
  3. NewsFeed
    Akhtar Nawab to *NOT* Leave E.U., Will Open New RestaurantAkhtar Nawab, the talented chef who turned around E.U.’s fortunes, is expecting to leave, Grub Street has learned. “We’re planning something, and we are looking at a space,” Nawab told us. The new restaurant, which Nawab will open with Dani operating partner Noel Cruz, will be on West 8th Street. The menu will reflect casual but sophisticated Mediterranean food “something like the original Craftbar,” Nawab explained. (This style is in contrast to earlier rumors, which aligned the new venture with Nawab’s more upscale Allen and Delancey model before he parted from that project.) Nawab was reluctant to present any sort of timeline; he will leave E.U.“soon,” but the new restaurant likely won’t open until late winter or spring. UPDATE: We spoke to Nawab yesterday and misunderstood. Though he will open a new restaurant, he plans to stay on at E.U. Grub Street regrets the error, our bad, etc. Related: Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won’t Open
  4. Mediavore
    Chefs Are All Over ‘Ratatouille’; Allen and Delancey May Open AfterChefs say “Ratatouille gets it, it totally gets chef culture.” Even Tony Bourdain is onboard, calling it “the best restaurant movie ever made — the best chef movie.” [Ruhlman] Related: How Much Thomas Keller Is Really in ‘Ratatouille’’s Remy? Allen and Delancey may be coming back. Or rather, opening for the first time. [Eater] Related: Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won’t Open The good people of Iowa may not get the whole niche-pork thing, but they are happy to supply the product. [Des Moines Register]
  5. Back of the House
    Rachael Ray Gets Into the Burger Business; Graydon Carter Parts Seas of TrafficThe latest from inside the industry: Rachael Ray does burgers, a Long Island burger joint does iPods, and Graydon Carter doesn’t want you honking if you’re hungry. • Rachael Ray opening a joint serving swordfish and 189 other types of burgers. [Fishbowl] • Mickey D’s gets a makeover and American Burger Company in Hicksville debuts individual iPod jukeboxes. Plus, a new Chipotle and trackside chili delivery in Grand Central Terminal. [NYS] • In search of beauty rest, Graydon Carter tries to reverse the laws of traffic near his Ye Waverly Inn. [Eater] • Michelin editor Jean-Luc Naret tells of his favorite cities for dining (none of them French) and the best pickup restaurant in NYC. [UrbanDaddy] • Chef Akhtar Nawab gets the boot two weeks before the opening of Allen and Delancey; Eric Lind takes over at Flatbush Farm. [NYT] • Newly relocated Mekong and others throw open their doors. [Eater] • Some outer-borough openings, including a bistro on Bedford. [Eater] • Izakayas are blowing up. [Nation’s Restaurant News]
  6. NewsFeed
    Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won’t OpenAllen and Delancey, the much-awaited restaurant from former Craftbar chef Akhtar Nawab, had been set to open in less than two weeks. But things change quickly in the restaurant world, and now we hear, from the man himself, that the opening has been delayed — possibly permanently. An investor pulled out at the eleventh hour, leaving Nawab $200,000 short of his opening costs. The downcast chef told us: “Out of the blue, the investor said, ‘I’m not spending this kind of money!’ He called everybody and fired them yesterday. The chairs just arrived two days ago!” Our guess is that Allen and Delancey will find an investor between here and the finish line, but in the meantime, the restaurant is in serious peril. “This situation is very sensitive, and something needs to happen very quickly,” Nawab told us.