David Bouley Stymied by Community Board 1 in Move That’s Increasingly CommonAs Grub readers know, community-board-meeting shitshows end up determining what you eat, drink, and, in the case of the abandoned Forty Deuce space (which will now house Chris Eddy’s sushi spot), what sort of celebs and semi-nudity you may or may not be able to feast your eyes upon on a Monday night. Consider the case of recently opened Mercury Dime, which wanted wine, but ended up serving coffee. Or the plight of Death & Co., which now has to close at midnight and may end up gone for good. Or David Bouley’s attempt to open Brushstrokes, which Eater reports was again stymied by Community Board 1 last night, though Bouley will have one more chance to plead his case later this month.
Johnny the Tofu-Maker’s Wobbly Treat Blows Into the East Village; ChinantlaBedford-Stuyvesant: Grungy bodega Chinantla, known for its Eat for Victory–approved $2 tacos, has just undergone a massive clean-deli renovation. The tasty tacos haven’t just survived the transition; they’re better. [Brooklyn Based]
Chelsea: Trestle on Tenth highlights the wines and cheeses of the Jura region (which extends through France and Switzerland) in special pairings on offer March 4 to 9. [Grub Street]
East Village: You can find high-quality prepackaged tofu by Kyoto’s “Johnny the Tofu-Maker, Blowin’ in the Wind” at Sunrise Mart, and the jiggly treat is so creamy you might want to forgo a sprinkling of soy sauce for a drizzle of honey. [Gothamist]
Hell’s Kitchen: Zanzibar has a new bar menu that’s served Monday through Saturday until 2 a.m. and includes Mediterranean meze and Asian appetizer platters. [Grub Street]
Meatpacking District: 4-Foodies hits up Sue Torres’s communal Mexican spot Los Dados for its next tasting event on Monday, March 10. [4foodiesusa.com]
Midtown West: Trying to decide between a Five Guys burger and one from Burger Joint? This handy midtown-hamburger slideshow should help. [Zagat]
Tribeca: David Bouley pulled back his application for a liquor license for Brushstrokes in response to community opposition, postponing, not bowing out of, the fight. [Eater]
A Hip-hop IHOP in Brooklyn; Grant Achatz Beats CancerMary J. Blige and Foxy Brown’s producer, known to fans as Don Pooh, owns what is already being called the “hip-hop IHOP” that opened in downtown Brooklyn yesterday. [NYDN]
Related: The Phantom IHOP of Midtown West
Meatpaper magazine is a popular read with both carnivores and vegetarians, which is how the founders learned that bacon, delectable treat of treats, “is how vegetarians change their minds” when they revert to their meat-eating ways. [NYT]
Today in unsubstantiated rumors: David Bouley’s forthcoming Japanese restaurant/cooking school will open across the street from Upstairs at Bouley. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Related: David Bouley to Open Restaurant With Japan’s Top Cooking School
Jacques Pépin Eats Everything Except Raw FetusesIt was a foodie fantasy last night at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the likes of Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Sirio Maccioni, Drew Nieporent, and Jacques Pépin had gathered for the lavish annual Food Allergy Ball. We caught up with Jacques Pépin in the grand ballroom before he was to be honored for his valiant fight against cross-contamination. Asked if he had any food allergies himself, the master chef admitted, “No, I don’t,” adding that “I’m a real glutton. I eat anything you put in front of me.” We found that hard to believe from a man known for culinary perfection. “Ask my wife!” he said, so we did. “He’ll eat anything I put in front of him!” Mme. Pépin testified. Still, we wondered if old Jacques can be a diva at home — had he ever pronounced Lady Pépin’s grub “unacceptable”? “Are you kidding? She’d put it on my head, I say that!”
Back of the House
Bouley Staying Put for Now; Who Are the New Owners?The latest development in the David Bouley Evolution saga comes to us today via FloFab at the Times, who reports that Bouley isn’t leaving the project but rather reworking it more along the lines of his Tribeca eatery Bouley Upstairs. There is said to be a new ownership group, which is unidentified. (Our trusted source tells us that it’s the BLT Group, and we’re not buying Tourondel’s denial.) Still, the news seems weird. Bouley Upstairs is a small, quirky, easygoing place, a “haphazardly endearing restaurant,” as Rob and Robin call it. That’s going to be David Bouley’s presence at the Ritz-Carlton? Somehow, this doesn’t look promising.
Off the Menu [NYT]
Earlier: Will Laurent Tourondel Clean Up David Bouley’s Miami Mess?
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.)
Another Look at Bar BouludDavid Bouley is expanding his Tribeca empire with “an upscale Japanese-themed restaurant called Brushstrokes” which will take over the soon-to-be-former Delphi space. [NYS]
Gael Greene was on hand for last night’s first taste of Bar Boulud even though the opening has been pushed back a month or so. [Food Writer’s Diary/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: Exclusive: Feast Your Eyes on Bar Boulud, Coming in November
The next Next Iron Chef challenge is “cooking gourmet airline food with all the constraints of airline galleys. Holy smokes. It’s the exact same challenge as Top Chef.” [Serious Eats]
Madman Runs Amok With BBQ Knives; Traci Des Jardins Overboard on ‘NextA madman grabbed knives from the Texas Smokehouse Barbecue and started slashing people in Murray Hill until he was gunned down. [NYP]
Traci Des Jardins is the first one overboard at The Next Iron Chef. [Serious Eats]
A lot of good restaurants have failed health inspections, leading to: “You’ll pay $90 for a prix-fixe meal complete with foie gras and lobster at celebrity chef David Bouley’s namesake restaurant — just watch out for eight-legged appetizers.” [NYP]
David Bouley to Open Restaurant With Japan’s Top Cooking SchoolWe have it on good authority that one of David Bouley’s sweetest and longest-delayed dreams is going to come true soon: The Tsuji Culinary Academy, the largest and most prestigious cooking school in Japan, is about to open a restaurant here in New York with Bouley to run the place. This isn’t as unlikely as it sounds: The pioneering fusion chef and the school’s head, Yoshiki Tsuji, have been working together for over fifteen years, traveling between New York and Osaka and experimenting in Bouley’s New York test kitchen. We’re waiting on a call from Bouley for more details; we’ll pass them on to you as soon as we hear.
Saju Just Sneaked Into Midtown
While no one was looking, New York just got another high-end Vietnamese restaurant in Saju, at the Hotel Mela. The place is in what could loosely be called soft-opening mode, largely because they are still ten days away from a liquor license and are still BYOB. But the food, mostly classical versions of Vietnamese dishes, shows the kind of French influence that comes from colonial occupation, rather than “fusion cooking” per se. (The fact that a Frenchman, Osteria al Doge’s Phillipe Bernard, is a co-owner underscores its Gallic pedigree.)
David Bouley to Start Counting CaloriesDavid Bouley earned his four stars cooking fattening French cuisine for the overclass. But now that that same set is obsessed with health, he’s teaming up with celebrity nutritionist Oz Garcia (who has revised the diets of Hilary Swank, Donna Karan, and Russell Simmons, but has never been in the restaurant business). “David first came to me because he wanted to learn about my approach to health and nutrution,” says Garcia. Now the pair is planning to open health-oriented restaurants around the world; the first one is set to debut this winter at the St. Regis in Anguilla. Bouley has a “bio-yogurt” pro-biotic sauce formerly found only in health-food stores, as well as a detox drink from rice protein, pomegranate juice, and gogi berries. Even olive oil is not acceptable—it is being subbed for by wheat-germ oil. — Beth Landman
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?
Back of the House
City Speaks on Trans-Fat Enforcement; Empanada Mogul’s Inspirational StoryCritics don’t concern Danny Meyer much. Or so he claims. [Denver Post]
The inspirational tale of an empanada mogul. [NYDN]
Will healthier foods lead to a healthier restaurant business? [Axcess News]
Labor organization mad as hell over economic inequities. [Brooklyn Rail]
The Soup Nazi and David Bouley both come to Miami, but probably not to stay. [Miami Herald]
City promises low-key enforcement of trans-fats ban. “This is not going to be, like, a ‘gotcha’ thing.” [IHT]