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]
Serafina Goes to South Beach; Pepsi Goes RawSerafina, which has six Manhattan locations, will open an outpost in Miami’s W South Beach Hotel in mid-2009. [NYP]
In a move that surprises no one, the beef industry is trying to convince the FDA to scale back the largest recall in history. [WSJ]
Speaking of that bad beef, the federal government bought 50 million pounds of it, 20 million of which has already been consumed in various federal nutrition programs. [NYT]
Soul Food Comes to Bed-Stuy!; 2nd Avenue Deli’s Not Really KosherBedford-Stuyvesant: A “family-run seafood/soul food take-out spot” called 71.Ate has opened at 417 Nostrand Avenue, and while the fried whiting is tasty, the house-made banana pudding will definitely make you want to come back. [Eat for Victory/VV]
East Village: Ruhlman’s hosting a nose-to-tail dinner with “gut man” Chris Cosentino on Tuesday, March 4, at Astor Center. [Ruhlman]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: Can the 2nd Avenue Deli really be called kosher if it’s open on the Sabbath? Many observant Jews, whom Frank Bruni has chatted with, say no. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Tribeca: Bouley has been denied a liquor license for his proposed Japanese restaurant and cooking school, Brushstrokes, “based on the history of the owner, having problems with the community in the past, and the way he runs his establishments.” [Eater]
Upper East Side: Mia Dona is currently BYOB until the liquor license comes through next week. [Eater]
Will Laurent Tourondel Clean Up David Bouley’s Miami Mess?
David Bouley has been a busy man in recent months, first opening David Bouley Evolution in Miami’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and then taking over the Delphi restaurant in order to convert it to Brushstrokes, his tribute to Japanese gastronomy. But the Bouley empire has taken a step backward with the current chaos at Evolution, which has resulted in the restaurant’s supposedly temporary closure. Grub Street hears that Laurent Tourondel is in talks with the Ritz-Carlton to either operate the restaurant or take over the property entirely. (No word back yet from Bouley; Tourondel’s rep denies anything is in the works.)
Psilakis Isn’t the Only Chef Who Knows GreekMichael Psilakis’s Michelin star (and other honors) is raising the profile of Greek cooking in New York, but other restaurants are looking to catch up. Ethos, a big, popular place in both its Manhattan and Astoria locations, is getting a classically trained new chef who vows to take the places to the next level. (A third Ethos, meanwhile, is slated to open in Great Neck at the end of the month.)
The New York Diet
Novelist Marisha Pessl Motivates Herself With Coffee, Rewards Herself With
As Marisha Pessl has it, she got so carried away describing food in her best-selling novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics that certain passages had to be edited down. It’s no surprise then that beyond the eight or nine cappuccinos she used to drink while writing (she’s now down to two or three) and the ’wichcraft cupcakes she rewards herself with afterward, the author and Tribeca resident is a self-confessed “absolute foodie.” Now that she’s between book tours and working on a second novel (the paperback of Special Topics comes out next week), she says she has “a license to feed all the time.” So how does she put it to use?
BondSt Sushi Burns; Coffee Shop Closing Averts Bad DateConey Island: Surf Avenue LLC has just purchased nearly 16,000 square feet across from the Cyclone, possibly on which to build a chain restaurant, maintain a parking lot, or create another “Shoot the Freak.” [Gowanus Lounge]
East Elmhurst: La Guardia gets fancy with Michael Navarro’s Deluge. Getting drunk before a flight finally gets a classy gloss. [Gayot]
East Village: Photos of the electrical fire that scorched BondSt sushi at dawn. [Eater] $500,000 in damages predicted. [Gothamist]
Midtown West: Italian, Asian, French, and Latin cuisine coming together at 4Fusion on West 58th Street. We suggest the burger. [Gayot]
Park Slope: Former Oceana chef Jared King no longer involved with Alchemy, but the menu’s holding steady. [Gothamist]
Tribeca: Will a fancy new bus stop at the entrance of Bouley spur the rich people’s interest in public transportation? [Curbed]
Union Square: Coffee Shop’s closing saves pretty waitress from a date with sleazy customer. [NYS]
KFC–Taco Bell Inspector Suspended; Whole Foods Ain’t What It Used toCity suspends the rookie health inspector that passed KFC–Taco Bell, promises to teach its inspectors how to recognize rodent infestation. [NYP]
Whole Foods has gotten bigger but not better, losing focus on food quality and its moral mission. [NYT]
Here’s a pretty detailed retelling of the Chodorow saga, sympathetic to the restaurateur, but also giving the critics their say. Drew Nieporent speaks on behalf of the hapless restaurant owners. [NYS]
Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately
The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside [Grub Street]
Back of the House
President Bush: Let Them Bake Cake!What is it about working for George W. Bush? Can he be so neurotic, as this week’s cover story asserts, that even the guy who bakes his cakes can’t stand working for him?
Developers and Insurance Salesman Get Comfort Food Near West Broadway andThe attorneys, lower Manhattan developers, and insurance salespeople in the micro-micro-neighborhood of West Tribeca have much more to choose from than the nearby celebrity-chef flagships — home-style international bites, in particular. But for a business lunch, they’re still best off at Bouley.
The Other Critics
Michelin’s Explosive New Red BookMichelin dropped its ratings bomb today, and it’s safe to say that the New York restaurant world is, as usual, reeling. Though not as consequential as a Zagat snub, business-wise, the Michelin ratings are closer to the hearts of top chefs. (French chef Bernard Loiseau was widely believed to have killed himself over a Michelin downgrade.) The book is supposed to be in stores tomorrow (though our local Barnes & Noble says it’s not even at the distributor yet). We do, however, know of some surprises. Messrs. Boulud, Bouley, and Takahama are no doubt having lousy afternoons.