Interborough Burger Contest Heading to QueensThe grilling armies in the city’s burger wars usually hail from Manhattan, but every competition needs new contenders. The Burger Battle of the Boroughs will be on May 20 in Astoria as part of the Cuisine of Queens & Beyond tasting event. Staten Island could not field a team, but representatives from Brooklyn (The Farm on Adderley, 67 Burger), Queens (Harry’s at Water Taxi Beach, Joe’s Bestburger), and the Bronx (Coals) will battle Brgr and Resto — the latter being Rob and Robin’s favorite burger in New York last year.
BRGR Adopts Brandt Beef, Meat-lovers RejoiceBRGR does pretty good business in Chelsea, but wanna-be burger barons need to step up their game in this meat-manic town of ours. So BRGR, with little fanfare, has raised the caliber of its product, becoming the city’s first restaurant to adopt Brandt hamburger. Brandt is one of the most innovative beef producers in the country — their steaks already appear at Porter House New York, Craftsteak, and Park Avenue Autumn.
The Other Critics
Nobody Truly Loves Varietal; Pera and Dennis Foy Only Marginally AppealingBruni one-stars two restaurants, damning both with the faintest of praise: “Pera is a restaurant good enough at what it does best to argue for at least a moment’s consideration,” he says, carefully calibrating the knocks everyone else has given the place. Dennis Foy is too,” he throws in. [NYT]
Meehan is downright enthusiastic in his praise for East Village mini-chain Chickpea, which he considers the epitome of cheap eats, if not the final word in falafel and shawarma. [NYT]
Alan Richman reviews a more or less random steakhouse, Harry’s in the financial district, and delivers the news that the sides are lame, the steaks are fair to good, and that the place isn’t especially pretty or pleasant. Who’d have thought? [Bloomberg]
Back of the House
Inside the Troubled Russian Tea Room; Meyer and Others on Media ScrutinyThe fullest account yet of the debacle that is the new Russian Tea Room. Gary Robins comes out looking far more sinned against than sinning, and the owner comes out looking like a jerk. [NYP]
A blue-ribbon panel including Mario Batali, Bill Telepan, and Danny Meyer study the question of whether it’s possible to open a restaurant under the radar. The near unanimous answer is no. Will Goldfarb suggests one way: “Do it in Queens.” [Snack]
Pichet Ong formerly of Spice Market is the first of the hot pastry chefs to open his own restaurant, the eponymous P*ong. Rivals Sam Mason and Jehangir Mehta (formerly of Aix) are close behind. [NYS]
Related: The Launch [Grub Street]
In the Magazine
Two More on the Burger Bandwagon; Hardly Any Space for BunsA blizzard of burger openings has recently hit the city: BLT Burger, Royale, the new Goodburger, and Fort Greene’s 67 Burger. And there are more on the way: Heritage Burger, the concept for which we recently sketched out, and the still-secret chef-driven East Village place that we announced in late October. This week, Rob and Robin introduce two more newbies — Stand and the convenient-to-text-message brgr — breaking them down by beef, bun, and condiments. It’s all practically enough to make you forget the name Shake Shack.
Burger Madness [NYM]