Top Chef Hung Huynh Has the ‘Most Amazing Chinese Meal Ever’Last season’s Top Chef winner Hung Huynh, who previously cooked at Per Se, Gilt, Manhattan Ocean Club, and others, is back from a year and a half at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas — this week he started as executive chef at Solo. The Mediterranean-Asian restaurant happens to be kosher, meaning Huynh can’t use his beloved fish sauce or sherry vinegar. “I’m pretty limited to proteins,” he tells us. “I have to be a little bit more creative with my flavor profiles.” If Padma and Tom paid a visit, he says, he’d probably serve them his sweetbreads glazed with truffles and served with lemon-honey carrots. But forget what he’s cooking; we’re more interested in what he ate this week.
Back of the House
Green Bay Is Getting Off Easy in This Year’s Food Bet
The unavoidable wager between the mayors of Green Bay and New York has been made, and AP has dutifully reported it. But as usual, New York is getting the worse of the deal. Green Bay mayor, Jim Schmitt, is betting a basket of cheese, some spread, and some New York strip steaks (New York strips! Imagine!), with some candy — a pair of cheese-wedge sunglasses. That’s if we win. If they win, the self-appointed “Titletown” gets twenty pounds of Peter Luger porterhouses, a case of Brooklyn Lager, and a cheesecake (take that, cheese heads!) from Carnegie Deli. Green Bay is getting the much better deal here. We suggest Bloomberg match Schmitt’s bet with a gristly steak from Tad’s and a black-and-white cookie from a random deli.
Bloomberg places bet on Giants-Packers game [Newsday]
Theater Strike Could Drop Curtain on Midtown RestaurantsThe fuel that fires the midtown’s restaurant economy is, like electricity or natural gas, indispensable. It’s that bustling, shuffling mass we like to call tourists, and with 27 theaters currently dark thanks to a stagehand strike, the tourism machine may be poised to shudder and stop. “The strike has a huge effect on us,” bemoans Insieme chef Marco Canora. “That’s like 40 percent of our business.” Thanks to Insieme’s high repute, the place gets a good seating between pre- and post-theater, but other restaurants are even more vulnerable.
The Orange Line
Riding the B Line: Pay Homage at the Carnegie DeliWe’re riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants and food stores near the subway.
This Week: Carnegie Deli
Our stop last week should have been the last on the B line before transferring to the V and the joys of Queens, but we’re staying on this train for one more stop, efficiency be damned. Get out on 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue and visit the Federal Reserve of deli foods: the one, the almighty Carnegie Deli.
Back of the House
The Post returned to an evergreen feature idea today, every editor’s best friend: the “overrated” list. Since our philosophy has always been to slavishly ape the Post in every way short of peppering our posts with the phrase “tot-slay suspect,” we thought we might add a few of our own. Since the Post didn’t limit itself to specific dishes at specific restaurants, we won’t either. Here are a few things that we find ourselves less than overawed with these days.
Back of the House
Sbarro Disappears Into the Corporate MawGiven how generic and fast food–y Sbarro is, news that the Long Island–based chain was just bought by a private-equity firm probably isn’t breaking too many hearts. But believe it or not, the Sbarro family has owned and operated the business for the last 50 years; it now joins Nathan’s, Blimpie’s, Carvel, and a growing number of other New York–area businesses run as franchise “brands” from a central office. At this rate, we could be seeing Carnegie Delis and Momofukus in food courts across the country. Or perhaps we’re just lapsing into fantasy again.
MidOcean Partners Announces Agreement to Acquire Sbarro, Inc. [New York dBusiness News]
The New York Diet
D.J. and Waverly Diner Regular Mark Ronson Craves Skips and Walkers
Mark Ronson, the A-list set’s most in-demand D.J.— he’s spun parties like the Met gala and is a favorite of everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to Jay-Z — isn’t one for home cooking. “The only thing I really waste expendable income on is food. When I go to my accountant, he’s like, ‘Do you have to eat out all the time?’ He’s half happy I don’t have a heroin addiction instead.” We asked him how he allotted his dining dollars during the past week.
Ask a Waiter
Carnegie Deli’s Muriel Caraballo Hazes Tourists But Won’t Eat Meat
The Carnegie Deli is known for its crabby waiters, but when we spoke to Muriel Caraballo about her patrons (“Thank God for the tourists!”), the famously cramped seating, and all those rules on the menu, she was sweeter than cheesecake. Just don’t order your pastrami with mayo.