This Week: New Fusion, New Coffee, Repurposed Water
The city’s newest food-fusion trend is Latin American and Italian cuisines, says the Underground Gourmet in this week’s magazine. Miranda in Williamsburg and Matilda in the East Village are leading the charge, and Rob and Robin alternate between calling it “Mex-Italian” and “Tusc-Mex.” (Our pick: “Mexcellente.”) Outside of our regular reading route, Intel has a dishy item about David Bouley — apparently, his Tribeca neighbors aren’t so thrilled about his proposed Brushstrokes restaurant. Back in the food section, it’s a difficult time of year for the Greenmarket, but that doesn’t deter Damon Wise at Craft for offering up this week’s “In Season” recipe: pan-roasted salsify. Gael Greene visits Smokin’ Q on the Upper East Side this week and enjoys the ribs and the thin-cut fries, though she could do without the owner’s jokes. Rob and Robin introduce us to three new restaurants this week, and we can’t wait to visit Terroir, the latest from Marco Canora and Paul Grieco. Also in “Openings”: an East Village coffee bar co-owned by Sasha Petraske and a new burger spot in the financial district. If a recession breeds good $4 burgers, it can’t be that bad. Finally, if you want to reduce bottled-water waste, we found four restaurants with a DIY approach to filtration and carbonation.
Gordon Ramsay So Over? Josie Smith-Malave Back in BusinessAussies ask, “Has Gordon Ramsay’s gilded decade come to an end? Has the gifted chef gone off the boil?” [Sydney Morning Herald]
It’s back to business for former Top-Chefer and recent anti-gay-attack victim Josie Smith-Malave; her Clinton Hill restaurant seems well on its way to serving global comfort food this fall. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Initial impressions on Rickshaw Dumpling: “We enjoyed eating them, and even more, we enjoy knowing that we will file our $6 receipt for the six dumplings and be reimbursed. $1 per dumpling? Do I look like some kind of NYU kid to you?” [Eat for Victory/VV]
Back of the House
Chefs Knock Food Blogs to the Latest Food Blog
On the heels of Citysearch’s food-blog launch comes still another source of restaurant news: the NYC debut of Metromix (still in beta, it seems) and its own food blog Deep Dish. The juiciest item so far is a roundup of chef banter from the New York Rising Stars Revue awards. Not that the rising stars seem to have been that deep in their cups when they were interviewed (food blogger rule of thumb: Wait till they’re at the after-after-party), but some of their responses sure are punchy.
Why Wasn’t I Completely Floored by Craft?Dear Grub Street,
I’m hoping someone can explain Craft to me. I was taken there the other night for my birthday dinner and came away completely confused and disappointed. Really, what’s the big deal? What’s with all the glowing reviews?
Damon Wise, Now Officially the Man at Craft, Brings in Shane McBride
Restaurant Girl reported earlier today that Shane McBride, formerly of 7Square (RIP), had been hired as the chef at Craftsteak, taking over for Chris Albrecht, apparently nudged out in January. Craft emperor Tom Colicchio set the record straight with us: “Here’s the deal,” he tells us. “For the last three months, Damon Wise has been the acting chef at Craftsteak and has completely changed the way things are done there: the suppliers, the menu, everything. Shane has been hired specifically to execute the menu that Damon created. Damon has worked his ass off day and night, and I want him to get credit for that.” Done and done.
Chef Out at Craftsteak; Colicchio: “It Was Time for Him to Go”We’ve learned that Chris Albrecht, executive chef at Craftsteak, has left the kitchen — apparently as part of owner Tom Colicchio’s effort to improve the restaurant’s disappointing performance. “Overall the restaurant wasn’t going in the direction we wanted,” Colicchio tells us. “It was time for him to go.” Though their Las Vegas location is a big hit, higher standards prevail in New York. “We need to break out of the steakhouse mind-set,” Colicchio says, “and start thinking about this as a Craft restaurant that happens to be a celebration of meat — all meat.” Damon Wise, chef de cuisine at Colicchio’s flagship Craft, will take over until Albrecht’s replacement is found.
Tom Colicchio Working the Raw Bar Tonight at CraftsteakAs part of a serious effort to soup up the food at Craftsteak, celebrity chef and Craft mogul Tom Colicchio has been working the raw bar at the restaurant the last couple of nights. It’s worth checking out, and not just for a chance to ask about his Top Chef co-host Padma Lakshmi. Colicchio and his right-hand man, Grateful Dead–loving Craft chef Damon Wise, have created a new menu of composed crudi dishes, including an eye-opening cobia (a dense white Florida ocean fish) with cured lardo, and sea urchin with pickled cucumber. The meat program has changed as well. Colicchio has adopted two of the country’s best beef sources for steak: Wolf’s Neck Farms beef from Maine, a richly marbled, complex, all-organic product, and Brandt Ranch steak from California, another all-natural meat that chefs all over New York are falling in love with. Colicchio called the mixed reviews of Craftsteak a “wakeup call” that led him to sever his ties with Gramercy Tavern in order to devote all his time to the Craft restaurants. Between the new fish and the new meat, Craftsteak seems geared for a major upgrade.