Fake Butter Harming Chefs?; Crave Ceviche Bar Closed by Crane AccidentA federal investigation is under way in New York’s kitchens to measure the hazards cooks face when handling an ingredient in artificial butter that is known to cause tissue damage. [Seattle Post Intelligencer]
Frank Bruni thinks Thomas Keller should just stick to what he knows and avoid this casual-dining nonsense he puts on at Ad Hoc. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Sexy British TV chef Nigella Lawson has reportedly put on some weight, with one catty source saying, “The result is a butt like a Budweiser horse.” [NYP]
A Recession-Proof Restaurant Scene?; Death & Co. Owner Disgusted by HasslesWith all the exciting new restaurants opening in town, you’d never know there’s talk of a recession. But Frank Bruni figures anything opening now was planned a few years ago in better economic times, which makes us worry about restaurant openings in 2010. [NYT]
Death & Co. can continue to operate until mid-April, but don’t expect owner David Kaplan to produce any more nightlife destinations after that: “I’ll never open another bar, another restaurant, a deli, a fucking bodega — I’ll never open up anything ever again in New York.” [NYO]
The current cocktail craze has led to a lot of handmade – and therefore illegal – ingredients being mixed into drinks. Marijuana-infused gin, anyone? [NYP]
Random Flyer of the Week: David LaChapelle at ButterWe have no idea how photographer David LaChapelle got involved with Butter’s downstairs Wednesday-night party, but color us intrigued. Will he actually be on hand with a crew of drag queens and krump dancers, and will Pam Anderson put in an appearance? Or will it be a bunch of publicists with Fendis asking where the “I’m rich, bitch!” guy is? More on this mystery as it develops.
Zagat Empire for Sale; New Low-Cal Girl Scout CookiesThe Zagat family has put their empire of burgundy books on the market, with Goldman Sachs handling the search for a buyer who will have to drop at least $200 million for the acquisition. [NYT]
Stereo, the club outside which a patron was shot last week, closed after a weekend police raid. [NYDN]
Howie Mandel’s mention of the Waverly Inn on Live With Regis & Kelly made Graydon Carter’s restaurant a highly searched Google item. [Gawker]
Meatpacking Moguls Remm, Birnbaum, and Rabin on How to Be CoolOur fave waitress Courtney Yates isn’t the only face Belvedere Vodka is using to try to look cool — the company, in association with UrbanDaddy, is running Web interviews with David Rabin, owner of Los Dados and Lotus, and Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, owners of Tenjune. Remm and Birnbaum don’t exactly steer toward the underexposed when asked for their favorite restaurants: BondSt, Nobu, Bar Pitti, Los Dados, Mr. Chow, the Spotted Pig, Pastis, Buddakan, Dos Caminos Soho, Cipriani, Butter, Rose Bar, and Waverly Inn.
Seaport Market Puts Hopes in Batali, Grass-fed SteerThe supporters of New Amsterdam Public, the proposed year-round seasonal market at South Street Seaport, have called in the big gun, Mario Batali. At a demo market day on December 16, Batalli will make porchetta while Centovini’s Patti Jackson, Applewood’s David Shea, and Butter’s Alexandra Guarnaschelli concoct locally sourced dishes.
Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano War With ‘Jealous Competitors’ KykyLast week the Daily News brought word that Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano are being sued for $120 million by developer Emilio Barletta, who claims he’s the rightful lease holder of the space that houses the Butter boys’ club 1 OAK. What the News doesn’t mention, but our inside sources do, is that Barletta, owner of Zanzibar, was planning to partner in the space with PM owners Kyky and Unik, last seen plotting a now-abandoned Italian bistro in the Sascha space.
Zac Young’s Chocolate Cookie Dress Is Red-Carpet Ready
Pastry chef Zac Young of Butter has teamed up with designer Nicole Romano to showcase what they consider their masterpiece: “Bakewear,” a tempting — and totally edible — dress. The fashion statement will make its debut at the 10th Anniversary Chocolate Show tonight, where, among the various demonstrations and tastings, designers will unveil their chocolate-inspired looks. During last night’s pre-show fitting, Young talked about how model Ashley Moss would be sporting the frock — which is made of 600 cookies — on the CBS Early Show come Friday morning: “She’s gonna be outside in the freezing cold with her ta-tas getting all hard, breaking my cookies!”
Things Looking A-OK for 1OAK; May Open This WeekRichie Akiva and Scott Sartiano aren’t commenting (they’re probably a little wiped from celebrating Butter’s fifth anniversary last night), but we’re hearing from a source close to 10AK that the secretive club Akiva asserts will “change the face of nightlife in New York” passed its building inspection yesterday and could be four or five days away from opening. We can only assume a fair share of Scores girls were invited to the opening, but the real question is this: Will Butter regular and Sartiano ex Ashley Olsen make an appearance with Lance Armstrong?
Earlier: Until 1OAK Opens, Look for Richie Akiva at Scores
Related: Butter’s Richie Akiva Dines With Puffy, Cooks for the ‘Wifey’
CB to Richie Akiva’s New Club: Not So Fast!
Community Board 4 was surprised to hear Richie Akiva tell us that he and partner Scott Sartiano are planning to open their new spot 1OAK (remember? The one that will “change the face of nightlife”?) on October 19. According to a board member, the Butter boys don’t exactly have their papers in order, since they applied for a cabaret license without going through the CB as required. They’ve now agreed to withdraw the application until the CB votes in early November.
Matthew Kenney Is Alive and Well and Selling Food in MidtownEast Village: A customer who complained to the waiter who took her drink at Butter was apparently told “We’re just doing our job here” and “Look — I’m clearing a full drink right now” before being referred to as Babygirl. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Fort Greene: The Fort Greene Park Conservancy Gala Wine Tasting will be held on October 1 in the rooftop gardens of the Forte Condo project. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Hell’s Kitchen: Gaucho Steak on Tenth Avenue at 51st Street now serves egg empanadas and chocolate-banana-macadamia-nut pancakes for weekend brunch. [Grub Street]
Midtown West: Former Pure Food and Wine chef Matthew Kenney has opened a lunch spot on West 45th Street called FreeFoods NYC, and though the food isn’t free, it does come in compostable containers. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
West Village: Ruth Reichl on the haute Italian at Fiamma: “lovely experience; whether it is one that New York will want is another question.” [Choptalk/Gourmet]
The New York Diet
Butter’s Richie Akiva Dines With Puffy, Cooks for the ‘Wifey’
Richie Akiva, owner of celebrity favorite Butter, tells us that he and his partner Scott Sartiano’s next project 1OAK is set to open at 453 West 17th Street on October 19. He won’t tell us much more: “I really want it to be a surprise. It’s going to change the face of nightlife in New York.” He’s also working on opening clubs in Los Angeles and Miami (the latter, we can report, will be an outpost of Butter). So when he’s not starving himself for the Jewish holidays or enjoying “wifey day” with his current girlfriend (past lucky ladies: Mary-Kate, Lindsay, Carmen Kass, etc.), where does he butter his bread?
Butter’s Alex Guarnaschelli Is Her Baby’s Personal Chef
The children of chefs eat famously well. In the case of little Ava Guarnaschelli, that privilege extends to infancy: The two-and-half-month-old daughter of Butter chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli has her mother on baby-food duty in the kitchen. And why not, says the new mother. “I’m constantly in the Greenmarket, and it seems silly for me not to cook for the person that means the most in the world to me.”
Women Chefs Come Out in Force for Benefit
It’s often remarked, and with some justice, that the New York restaurant business is a man’s world, with women having to claw and scratch for every bit of recognition. (At least, that was Keith McNally’s view.) A Second Helping of Life, though, a big benefit event for breast-and ovarian-cancer survivors, boasts a pretty heady lineup of stars, and all of the female persuasion: Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton, Del Posto’s Nicole Kaplan, Butter’s Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Amalia’s Ivy Stark, and Rebecca Charles, inventor of the lobster roll, will all be present and accounted for, along with such founding mothers of the New York food scene as Gourmet’s Ruth Reichl, and the formidable Ariane Daguin of D’Artagnan. Tickets are $300 for the event, to be held on September 17 on Chelsea Piers. Visit sharecancersupport.org for more information.
Better Bathrooms: Bette or Butter?Consonant rhyme isn’t the only thing Bette and Butter have in common: They’re both owned by impresarios known to cater to the Olsen twins (Amy Sacco and Richie Akiva, respectively); they both have organic, clubby interiors with big murals; and let’s face it, they’re both frequented by the sort of night creatures who know the value of a nice, private bathroom. So just how are those powder rooms?
Former Clinton Hill Porn Store to Become Euro EateryClinton Hill: A former porn shop on Myrtle Avenue will become a European-style cafe, a term open to interpretation. The only notable physical change to the space is an exterior paint job. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: Ramen Setagaya at 141 First Avenue will be ready to open when Con Edison turns the gas on. [VV] Former captain at Gramercy Tavern and Picholine Rob Ziser has opened his own restaurant out of a subleased kitchen at Company bar. [The Strong Buzz]
Gramercy: Delayed high-end Asian restaurant Wakiya in the Gramercy Park Hotel is coming and hiring. [Eater]
Harlem: A Coldstone Creamery on 125th Street could give Mister Softee an ice-cream headache. [Uptown Flavor]
Park Slope: Michael Hearst recorded Songs for Ice Cream Trucks in his converted one-bedroom, but it looks like his jingles won’t make it to the big time. [Brooklyn Record]
Tribeca: Brandy Library is hosting a free cognac tasting tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. And afterward begin the piano stylings of Joel Forrester. [Brandy Library]
A Rescue Plan for Restaurant Workers; No Fatty Crab for the UWSThe Restaurant Responsibility Act, just introduced in City Council, would keep eateries from abusing the help by tying operating permits to labor laws. [Gotham Gazette]
Fatty Crab owner writes in to say that Eater has it all wrong about an Upper West Side location. [Eater]
It’s salmon season in Alaska’s Copper River, and some of the city’s top fish cooks are spawning original dishes to take advantage. [NYDN]
Mysterious Note Leads to a Revelation in Brooklyn HeightsAstoria: Netteria Internet café, just opened, already slashing prices. [Joey in Astoria]
Brooklyn Heights: Mysterious notes in the window of the former Aficionada space lead to the revelation, after a cursory Web search, that the owners of Corner on Cranberry will open Busy Chef bakery there in April. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Clinton Hill: The old bodega spot on Waverly and Green may become a “place for nice dinners,” judging by the fact that someone has put in an application for a liquor license. And yes, we do believe that those are allowed near schools. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: Butter boys Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva will fill the club space on Fourth Avenue and 14th Street. [Down by the Hipster]
Harlem: The BBC has come all the way to Sylvia’s for “World Have Your Say,” a radio chat show happening at 1 p.m. tomorrow. [Uptown Flavor]
Lower East Side: Freemans now serves lunch. [Eater] Introducing the Bowery Whole Foods floor plan. [Curbed]
Midwood: The dirty, dirty truth behind DiFara’s closing exposed. [Gawker]
Soho: The coffee shop conspicuously called Local will open Friday on Sullivan and Houston. [A Test of Will]
Back of the House
Rocket Rod Dances Back Into the River Café; Nobody Likes IlanRod Stewart, banned for life at the River Café for pulling his own “rod” out, gets readmitted after a penitential jig for owner Buzzy O’Keefe. [NYDN]
McDonald’s coffee “the cheapest and the best,” according to Consumer Reports. Of course, it was only going up against Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks. [NYDN]
Frank Bruni also thinks Marcel got the shaft in the Top Chef finale. Does Ilan have any fans in the media at all? [NYT]
Ask a Waiter
Casey Lauren of Butter and G Spa Doesn’t Want Your $100,000When’s she’s not at the gym or taking voice lessons, aspiring actress Casey Lauren divides her time between the Gansevoort Hotel’s subterranean bar G Spa and Lounge, where she’s a cocktail waitress, and Scott Sartiano’s other joint, Butter, where for over two year’s she’s been the hostess of the Monday-night party that’s harder to get into than a pair of Tsubi jeans. We asked her what it’s like working in a bathrobe amid the meatpacking moneypackers.
Back of the House
Most Influential Young Chefs Named, Presented With Tchotchkes
Move over, Bouley! Step aside, Jojo! You’re so over. There’s a new generation of “emerging tastemakers,” at least according to Food Arts magazine and their friends at Sterling Meats. Sunday night, meat purveyor and magazine jointly fêted ten young chefs who, they predict, “will be influencing what, where and how we dine out on a national level.” The chefs were presented with framed, diploma-like certificates and envy-inducing Masamoto cobalt-steel knifes.