Bao 111 Will Close at Month’s End, Head West
Chris Andrews, owner of Bao 111 (Platt’s 86th favorite restaurant), tells us that when his lease is up at the end of this month, he and his partner, Chris Johnson, will move to a space on the West Side. He doesn’t want to jinx lease negotiations by giving us a location, but he says the new digs will be larger than the original. “We’ve had a great time, but rents have gone through the roof,” he tells us of his departure from the East Village. “It’s more difficult to get a space with square footage.” Johnson says he’s negotiating with a Vietnamese chef from Hanoi, but there won’t be any drastic menu changes.
Earlier: Bao 111 Seeks New Owner, New Space
Bao 111 Seeks New Owner, New Space
East Village favorite and the launching point of Michael “Bao” Huynh’s mini-empire, Bao 111, is on the market. We noticed an item in Community Board 3’s minutes indicating that French–Caribbean joint Japy has been cleared to receive Bao 111’s liquor license pending certain provisions and State Liquor Authority approval, but a call to the restaurant reveals it hasn’t been sold. Yet. Owner Chris Johnson told us he’s looking for someone who has the cash to buy him out (he’s hunting for a bigger spot, perhaps in a different neighborhood), but, in the meantime, Bao 111 remains open Wednesday through Sunday. Which is good news, pho sho.
Bruni Hot for Small Baguettes on the Upper West SideEast Village: Anita Lo thinks Degustation isn’t getting enough attention. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Bao 111 will now be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. [Eater]
Hell’s Kitchen: Kyotofu will be holding a seven-course dinner plus dessert paired with “six different types of specialty and esoteric sake” at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 17. [Grub Street]
Richmond Hill: RIP 80-year-old Jahn’s Ice Cream. [Lost City]
Upper West Side: Frank Bruni reveals he’s “hot for” small baguettes with butter and raspberry jam from Levain Bakery: “I demolish it in four or five bites, squeezing it so tight the jam drips from the edges, and I sometimes have to change my shirt afterward because of the jam stains.” [Refinery 29]
Michael Bao Huynh’s Vietnamese to be Taken to the Next LevelGood news for Bao 111 fans: Chef Michael Bao Huynh is opening Mai House, a much bigger, more ambitious restaurant, backed by the Myriad Restaurants Group (Nobu, Tribeca Grill, et al). He’ll be cooking straight-up Vietnamese food, but whatever it lacks in fusion flash, we’re betting will be made up for by the guy’s way with flavor. And the 4,500-square-foot, 120-seat space sounds like it’ll be lovely, with “hand-carved wood fixtures from Vietnam, crushed sunflower-seed walls, Zebrawood banquettes, a mother-of-pearl and bamboo butcher-block bar and Vietnamese lotus flower light fixtures,” according to the Myriad Group. It should open at the end of the month.
186 Franklin St., nr. Greenwich St.; 212-431-0606.
Back of the House
Mario Slammed for His Crocs; Zagat’s Dinner Prices a Crock?Plenty of new chefs and openings to report, but the real hubbub is over the persistence of Batali’s orange shoes and a certain skinny red book.
• Per the Flo chart, Boulud opens a wine bar, Tourondel opens a burger joint, and Neiporent teams up with Bao 111’s Michael Huyn for a Vietnamese venture. [NYT]
• Batali wears the Crocs for a movie premiere and our friends the Fug Girls declare him “the poster child for this crime against global retinas.” Meanwhile Radar reports he dishwashes his 30 pairs. [Chow]
• New chefs attempt to breathe life into Gilt (Chris Lee; lobster sliders), Thor (Kevin Pomplun; oxtail fettuccini), and tapas bar Marbella (Fernando Echeverri, squid-stuffed chorizo). [Strong Buzz]
• Zagat drops, and Jennifer Leuzzi asks the usual chefs how they feel about landing the usual spots. [NYS]
• Meanwhile, Steve Cuozzo complains that Tim and Nina are still lowballing meal costs, which have climbed 14.5 percent at top spots: “Many figures given as the ‘average estimate of the price of a dinner with one drink and tip’ at specific restaurants still seem more like cheapest-case scenarios than averages.” [NYP]
• Finally, last call for the chipotle-gorgonzola-black-bean-lasagne at Williamsburg’s eatery-cum-screening-room Monkey Town. [Eater]