LeBron James and Anna Wintour Cozy Up at Waverly; Moby Makes Out at R BarWe weren’t surprised to read in “Page Six” today that Anna Wintour dined with LeBron James at the Waverly Inn. We passed their table on Tuesday, and when the ceilings are that low, it’s impossible to miss a six-foot-eight baller extracting himself from the center of a corner booth. James was patiently sitting next to the bathroom when we emerged, causing our waiter to remark, “You made LeBron James wait!” We couldn’t tell whether he was chastising us or congratulating us for no doubt costing the man a Benjamin of his time, but either way we felt a sense of accomplishment unknown since Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand queued up behind us at the Spotted Pig. The rest of this week’s sightings are heavy on the PDA.
Back of the House
Babbo Tops Zagat Italian List, Followed by RelicsWe’re not surprised that Babbo is the city’s top Italian restaurant, according to Zagat’s new America’s 1,000 Top Italian Restaurants book — its popularity alone is enough, in Zagat-land, to ensure yearly dominance. And in fact, Babbo is a wonderful restaurant, four stars by our lights, and justly beloved. But if you had any doubt how unreliable the Zagat surveyors are, just check out number two: Village relic Il Mulino! Now, don’t get us wrong: Il Mulino is a fine restaurant and uses very expensive ingredients to good effect. The tuxedoed wait staff are as servile as ever. But it should be the second-most-popular Italian restaurant of 1958. Haven’t the matrons of Secaucus ever heard of A Voce? Or
Unlimited BBQ and Champagne Brings Out the Carnal Chef at SOBE
Bubble Q, SOBE’s Champagne-barbecue tasting party, may have been visible from the air last night. We made our way through the smoke-filled tent dodging mirror bars and fifteen-foot-high speaker stacks. We were happily waylaid by the endless chef’s tables and Champagne bars. See who Tony Bourdain hangs with, what Zak Pelaccio dances to, and hear Del Post’s Mark Ladner defend Iron Chef.
Back of the House
Bourdain Gives NYC Restaurant Picks (Again)Fodor’s goes to the Tony Bourdain well today for the latest in their “Top Chef Travels” feature, and though it’s all probably stuff you’ve heard him enthuse about before (Barney Greengrass, Ssäm Bar, Del Posto), we did enjoy his curmudgeonly take on the city’s live-music scene: “I don’t know which is worse: to be packed in a room with a lot of people half your age, in which case you feel like an idiot, or even worse, go see someone you’ve really loved for a long time, like Elvis Costello, and you look around and see all the other original fans and they’re all old and hideous just like you.”
Top Chef Travels — Anthony Bourdain [Fodor’s]
Hung to Cook in Midtown Kitchen; Chirico Pleads Not Guilty to ExtortionTop Chef winner Hung Huynh will begin a one-month stint at kosher restaurant Solo on March 2; Justin Smillie, formerly of Barbuto, has replaced Akhtar Nawab at the E.U. [NYT]
Related: Akhtar Nawab to *NOT* Leave E.U., Will Open New Restaurant
If you’re clamoring for a Valentine’s Day tablecloth dinner at White Castle, you still might be able to get one. [Eater]
Master Purveyors will live on: The fire destroyed the offices, but the meat is still safe and sound in the warehouse. [Crain’s NY]
Related: Venerable Meat Purveyor Struck By Fire
At the End of the Day, Nicole Kaplan Likes Ring Dings
We told you on Wednesday that Nicole Kaplan was leaving Del Posto for the Plaza, and today we can tell you why: She’s not crazy about cooking Italian food. “I guess I just missed my style; I wasn’t loving Italian food as much as I thought I would. My style is American food with a strong French–training influence.”
Nicole Kaplan Leaves Del Posto
Major developments on the pastry front: Del Posto’s head pastry chef, Nicole Kaplan, who soared to fame as the chef at Eleven Madison Park (and, incidentally, as the creator of the Shake Shack’s custard), has left the restaurant. We had heard that it was to head the dessert program at the St. Regis Hotel or, possibly, one of its restaurants, but the hotel denies this. (We’re still trying to reach Kaplan.) Del Posto GM Alfredo Ruiz confirms that Kaplan has been gone since January 1, but that her full staff is still in place and doing her menu as before. Co-owner Joe Bastianich says, “The split was amicable, and we wish Nicole nothing but the best in everything she does.” Bastianich added that the restaurant is looking at a couple of people and that, when the hire does happen, it will be “big news.”
Italian Chefs Just Can’t Agree on How to Make Carbonara
So you think you know spaghetti carbonara? You don’t know spaghetti carbonara. That is the theme of the Italian chef coalition ITChefs – GVCI’s current campaign to educate New Yorkers about the classic dish. TChefs – GVCI’, which stands for Virtual Group of Italian Chefs, is charging four of the city’s top Italian chefs to make it exactly according to the “authentic” recipe for one night. On Thursday, Cesare Casella of Maremma, Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Kevin Garcia of Accademia de Vino, and Ivan Beacco of Borgo Antico, will make the dish according to the master recipe approved by ITChefs – GVCI. Or will they? Like every traditional recipe in every cuisine, “authentic” carbonara changes with every chef that makes it.
No Plaza for Graydon; Mr. Rachael Ray Drops $35K for LunchboxGraydon Carter won’t be taking over the Plaza’s Oak Room, so you’ll still have to head downtown to the Waverly Inn for that truffled macaroni and cheese. [NYP]
Jean-Georges Vongerichten seeks the elusive fifth taste by serving “umami bombs” at his restaurants. [WSJ]
Related: Waiter, There’s a Fifth Element in My Soup
It’s possible that locally grown products have a comparable or even greater carbon footprint than food that travels long distances, so you can stop patting yourself on the back for being a greenmarket fanatic. [NYT]
Related: Local Schmocal [NYM]
Adam Platt Defends His RatingsAfter seeing that our good friend Adam Platt awarded Allen & Delancey, a restaurant we especially admire, a measly two stars, we decided to confront him with his misjudgment, and request – nay, demand! – that he explain and even justify his method of awarding stars to us. We knew it was an argument we couldn’t win, and what’s more that we shouldn’t win, given the fact that Platt is arguably the city’s top critic, but we also know he would respond to us like the big baited bear that he is. The debate played out via our favorite medium, Instant Messenger.
Del Posto’s Cruz Goler to Take Over LupaTo everything, turn, turn, turn. And so we turn to Lupa! First, a recap: As we reported last month, owner Jason Denton’s mighty sword tapped the shoulders of Lupa chef Steve Connaughton, who will head Denton’s as-yet unnamed new venture in Gramercy Park. But Lupa’s loyal (er, cultlike) customers can rest easy in the knowledge that though the maestro is leaving in December, he’ll be replaced by a damn safe bet: Cruz Goler. A ten-year Batali veteran, Goler was the right-hand man of Lupa’s original chef, Mark Ladner, and followed the latter to
Are Tuscan Chefs That Good? Find Out This WeekOn the list of people we want to see destroyed, the recently returned Tuscan tourist ranks high. Everyone has met this person. Nothing is quite the same as it is in Italy; “the pasta we have here just doesn’t compare…” “the ingredients are handled with such simplicity…” and blah blah blah. Meanwhile, they have the same flour, olive oil, and wooden spoons in both places, so what’s the big deal? We aim to find out this week, when “Five Days to Taste Tuscany’s Maremma” hits New York.
NYC Chefs: Setaro Pasta Rules!Today marks the tenth anniversary of Chelsea Market, a place we would avoid if there were anyplace else to get Setaro pasta. The supremacy of the Campagnan product, sold only in Buonitalia at the market, is something we never stop hearing about: last night, Kevin Garcia of Accademia del Vino told us, “All the top chefs I know use it — it’s the pasta of choice, the best I’ve ever been able to find.” Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Jonathan Benno at Per Se, and any number of other food luminaries swear by the stuff. But why? Buonitalia co-owner Antonio Magliulo says, “This company, Setaro, is very small. They don’t produce a lot of pasta. And when they dry it, it’s at low temperatures, so it keeps the flavor and texture. The way it cooks, the bite that it keeps — it’s something special.”
Jason Denton Pulls Lupa Chef for New Gramercy Venture Lupa, Mario Batali’s Roman osteria on Thompson Street, has a loyal following, so Steve Connaughton’s imminent departure likely won’t affect volume. (The customers barely twitched when former chef Mark Ladner left for Del Posto.) Co-owner Jason Denton says he has moved Connaughton to a new venture at 323 Third Avenue to open in March, but he’s quiet about other details. We hear from an industry source that Connaughton’s replacement will likely come from within the Batali-Bastianich family, if not from within Lupa itself. Who will be the lucky chef?
New Café Boulud Chef a Young BuckBoerum Hill: Lazy artists have nothing better to do with their time than wait in line for the unopened Trader Joe’s. [A Brooklyn Life]
Chelsea: Next Tuesday Del Posto will host a Wine. Dine. Donate. dinner with Epicurious to benefit America’s Second Harvest. [Gothamist]
Meatpacking District: The Inn Lw12 has a new fall menu. [Grub Street]
Upper East Side: Café Boulud’s replacement for Betrand Chemel is 28-year-old Food & Wine Best New Chef for 2007 Gavin Kaysen who’s riding into town all the way from Rancho Bernardo. [San Diego Tribune via Eater] From now through Sunday, the Garden Court Café at the Asia Society will feature a special Indian-French menu from Vikram Garg, executive chef of D.C.’s Indebleu. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Back of the House
Michelin’s Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a WallEd Levine raises some points about Michelin today in what will no doubt be the first of many arguments and think pieces on the subject. There won’t be much debate, though, on the larger question about Michelin: Nearly everybody we know agrees that the book sucks. Unlike its French original, whose authority was well earned and absolute, and based on an army of incorruptible gourmands, the New York book seems more like the product of two Short Hills foodies passing the time on a red-eye airline flight. We haven’t seen the book itself, so we can’t say if the prose will be as insipid and amateurish as last year’s, which was straight from the South Bend Pennysaver, but we think we might get why Michelin is so weirdly arbitrary, a “combination of the Edsel and the Yugo” in Levine’s words.
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.
Tre From ‘Top Chef’ Lets Texas Down; Momofuku Ko Still On for FallSome Texans aren’t happy about the Lone Star State’s Tre Wilcox losing the barbecue challenge on Top Chef: “The fact a Texan didn’t finish in the top three in a barbecue challenge is, alas, troubling and disappointing.” [Dallas Observer]
Related: Adam Platt Is Willing to Bet Against Howie on ‘Top Chef’ [Grub Street]
David Chang, looking for an assistant, is aiming for a fall opening of Momofuku Ko. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Related: David Chang Going Upscale — Again [Grub Street]
A new blog about Latin food in New York, Nueva York Guide, just launched. It was created by two undisputed experts, Carolina Gonzalez and Seth Kugel, who wrote the book on the subject. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Tables Available at San Domenico; A Voce Mostly BookedIt’s 4 p.m., and that means it’s time to play Two for Eight. We just asked ten restaurants the best time they can squeeze a couple in for dinner; you need only make your chosen reservation. (As always, we make the calls but don’t guarantee the results.) Today: Gourmet Italian.
Del Posto’s Victory Brings Heritage Burger No CloserWhen news came over the AP wire earlier today that Del Posto was free of its legal hassles at last, as a result of its landlord having sold the building, we checked in with Joe Bastianich, the restaurant’s co-owner with Mario Batali. Did this free up some plans that might have been put on hold? Such as, say, the ambitious Heritage Burger Bastianich told us about last year? “No, we’re still applying for nonprofit status,” the restaurateur said. “Until we get that, that project is dead in the water.” But, he reminded us, the new Spotted Pig sequel, to be called The Striped Marlin, is well on its way and “will be something like an English oyster bar meets a fine-dining restaurant.” And it will have a secure lease, too, which is always good.
Earlier: Joe Bastianich Has a Hamburger Dream
Wish There Were Another Spotted Pig and Another Casa Mono? Guess What.
Del Posto restaurant remains open after acrid dispute [Newsday]
Po Opens This Week in Carroll GardensCarroll Gardens: The Brooklyn outlet of Po in the West Village is opening this Thursday. [The Gowanus Lounge]
Chelsea: Del Posto spared from further hassles by the Related Companies, who’ve just purchased the property and will honor the restaurant’s original lease. [Newsday]
Fort Greene: Smoke Joint barbecue spearheads a mysterious expansion that looks more promising than mere extra seating. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Harlem: New Asian-influenced Mexican restaurant China de Puebla has launched weekend brunch. [Grub Street]
Prospect Park: Those looking for free-range dinner should keep their eyes peeled; a rogue chicken on the loose has not yet been apprehended. [The Gowanus Lounge]
Tribeca: The menu’s posted, the griddle’s fired up: The New York City Hot Dog Company on Chambers and Church is open! [Grub Street]
Chicken Fingers Clutch at America’s Youth; Eco-Rebels Reject Bottled WaterUnited States of Arugula author (and friend of Grub Street) David Kamp worries for the next generation: “America is in the grips of a nefarious chicken-finger pandemic, in which a blandly tasty foodstuff has somehow become the de facto official nibble of our young.” [NYT]
Doing their part for Mother Earth, more restaurants are eschewing bottled water and the profits it brings. But only Del Posto is on board in New York. [NYT]
Other restaurants are looking to inflate water prices even more: “When paired correctly with fine wines, particular waters enhance subtle flavors and fragrances, allowing for the ultimate dining experience.” [Chef Magazine]
In the Magazine
A Journey Through the Food Groups, and Thence to Bed
The typical New York diner (to say nothing of the typical New York reader) will generally get around to all the major food groups in the course of a week. There is the fish group, represented this week by Adam Platt’s one-star review of Wild Salmon, and the southern Italian sea bounty of Bar Stuzzichini, Rob and Robin’s lead opening. The meat group is well served by Prime Burger, the Insatiable Critic assures. The vegetable tribe appears courtesy of Mark Ladner’s spring-onion flan in In Season. Finally, after all this eating, all most of us would want is a bed to lie down in, and Rob and Robin provide some tips for that as well.
Batali and Bourdain Argue Over Adam Platt, the Egg Thief, and Much More
Marco Pierre White showed up at Borders last night for a book signing with two friends in tow: Mario Batali and Tony Bourdain. We sat down with the latter two for a few minutes before the event and picked their brains. In true style, Mario sent one of the store’s managers out for a bottle of vodka and some tonic at the start, but as the harried fellow didn’t arrive until the end, this discussion was conducted in cold sobriety.
Spotted Pig Sister Restaurant Will Be Next to Del PostoKen Friedman’s new place will be adjacent to Del Posto at 85 Tenth Avenue. Friedman reiterates his intention not to call it the Spotted Pig though: “Maybe I’ll name it after another animal,” he says. [NYP]
Related: Spotted Pig Owner Sick of Pigs [Grub Street]
The presence of Edison lightbulbs, with their thick, visible incandescent filaments, has become a trope for progressive restaurants that want to show their rootedness in past values. [Gawker]
Gordon Ramsay is unfazed by the beating he’s taken in New York and intends to push ahead with his plans for expansion elsewhere in the U.S.[Bloomberg]
This Is Why New York’s Not HotThe question the Gobbler gets asked more than any other is “What’s hot?” And for a several months now, the Gobbler has answered, with tedious regularity, “Nothing.” People are still clawing their way into Waverly Inn, and if you enjoy offal products done up in an elegant, Asian-fusion style, Momofuku Ssäm Bar is the place for you. But the grandiose cycle of openings which began with the arrival of Masa and Per Se at the Time Warner Center four years ago and reached a crescendo early last year with the giant Meat District extravaganzas like Buddakan and Del Posto has more or less petered out. Sure, there have a been a few tepid revivals (the Russian Tea Room), and bigfoot out-of-town chefs like Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay have opened franchise outlets. There are plenty of restaurants in town, and plenty of them are busy. But this most recent boom may have run its course. Here are some possible reasons why.
Back of the House
Reservation: Impossible?If the advent of reservation scalpers like PrimeTime Tables and Weekend Epicure didn’t prove that good reservations are more in demand than ever, an article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal pretty much makes an open-and-shut case. They used OpenTable, a free online reservation service, to try to get spots at the top 40 restaurants in the world, and often struck out; after 3,000 tries — calling every half-hour for six weeks straight — they still couldn’t score a 7 p.m. table at Del Posto. They do report some small triumphs: A San Francisco software engineer figured out how to get a reservation at the French Laundry by reloading an OpenTable page at exactly 11:59:55 a month in advance. And in fact, the free service is probably your best bet, despite the many strikeouts. Still, we prefer to simply call the same afternoon.
How to Get the Ungettable Table [WSJ]
Related: The Death of Paid Reservations?
Back of the House
Time to Fill Out Our James Beard BracketsThe nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant industry, will be announced Monday morning. We’ll report on that as it happens, but for now, here are picks for the main categories from Adam Platt, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, and Josh Ozersky. Our choices are admittedly New York–centric (the awards go to restaurants across the country), but the ceremony is held here, and the city always looms large in the proceedings.
Back of the House
The Great Chef CrisisRecently, apropos nothing much, a prominent young chef we were chatting with launched into a tirade about the restaurant world’s “labor problem.” “None of us can get enough good cooks!” he exclaimed, by way of explanation. Between 2000 and 2006, only a handful of high-end restaurants — Lespinasse, Meigas, Quilty’s — have closed, and there has been an avalanche of major openings: Robuchon, Ramsay, Per Se, Masa, Craft, Del Posto, Morimoto, A Voce, the Modern, Lever House, Buddakan, Cafe Gray, Alto — the list goes on and on. “And it’s not just the massive boom of restaurants,” Adam Platt tells us. “They also have to be either bigger, or chefs have to open multiple places, so that they can enjoy the economies of scale they need to compete.”
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]
The Underground Gourmet
Batali Helps Devise Insane Feast for Spotted Pig StaffWhen one thinks of the great feast-givers throughout history, one thinks of the medieval dukes, earls, and kings of England. One thinks of Chinese and Roman emperors, the Persians, the Turks, maybe a Fijian cannibal chief or two. Add to this illustrious list of revelers Sir Ken D. Friedman, the owner of West Village gastropub the Spotted Pig. This past Sunday, Friedman threw a belated holiday–Super Bowl party at Del Posto for his 80-person staff, and it was of such Rabelaisian excess that, like an old Woodstock hippie, the restaurateur is having trouble remembering it all.
Nicole Kaplan Sauntering Into Kitchen at Del Posto
When last we heard from Nicole Kaplan, the well-respected pastry chef was just about to quit her post at Eleven Madison Park. Turns out she has been hired at Del Posto, a place already well known for its desserts — like the rum-and-chocolate pairing we highlighted in yesterday’s installment of the Annotated Dish. “We’re excited to have Nicole take our dessert program to an even higher level,” Joe Bastianich tells us. “We think she’s a really exciting chef.” Kaplan, who can take credit, among other things, for the Shake Shack’s world-class frozen custard, started work Monday night.
Earlier: Nicole Kaplan Ditching Eleven Madison Park [Grub Street]
The Annotated Dish
Del Posto’s Ever-So-Slightly Indulgent Chocolate-and-Rum PairingAdam Platt called the Chocolate Tasting at Del Posto one of the “Most Decadent Dishes” in New York, comparing it to “uncut cocaine.” You shouldn’t take this to mean that the dish is uncomplicated, however. Del Posto co-owner Joe Bastianich describes its elements — three different chocolates, three different rums — in this week’s Annotated Dish, where, as always, you simply scroll over the arrows on the image for the chef’s comments.
In the Magazine
Where to Eat 2007: The Lazy Man’s GuideWhere to Eat 2007, Adam Platt’s panoramic look at the New York restaurant scene, is a lot to digest (ahem) — thousands of words on the city’s best foods, high and low, from the big-box extravaganzas that constitute “Vegas on the Hudson” to the fetishized beef slabs that are “Designer Steaks.” As much as we enjoyed the essays, though, it’s the blurby lists, of course, that we went to first. Here are some highlights.
Judge Smacks Down Del Posto LandlordThere has been a jolt forward in the ongoing saga of Del Posto’s battle with its landlord, William J. Robbins: Although the larger case between the restaurant and Robbins’s firm has yet to be resolved in State Supreme Court, a separate case was just decided in Del Posto’s favor in Manhattan civil court over the restaurant’s use of the basement vault, where they keep their refrigerator compressors and water heaters. Without the basement, Del Posto most likely would’ve had to move out; Judge Barbara Jaffe declared that the use of the vault is “necessary to the full beneficial use and enjoyment of its business.” Now, on to the Supreme Court.
The Other Critics
Michelin’s Explosive New Red BookMichelin dropped its ratings bomb today, and it’s safe to say that the New York restaurant world is, as usual, reeling. Though not as consequential as a Zagat snub, business-wise, the Michelin ratings are closer to the hearts of top chefs. (French chef Bernard Loiseau was widely believed to have killed himself over a Michelin downgrade.) The book is supposed to be in stores tomorrow (though our local Barnes & Noble says it’s not even at the distributor yet). We do, however, know of some surprises. Messrs. Boulud, Bouley, and Takahama are no doubt having lousy afternoons.
Back of the House
News Flash: Masa Is Expensive; David Burke Gambles in VegasFrom the clandestinely costly to the unabashedly so, the latest industry news is all about the Benjamins.
• Zagat opens the lid on hidden fees like Del Posto’s “straight up” martini charge. [Zagat]
• Forbes runs down the country’s priciest restaurants (Masa, of course, is No. 1). What they don’t tell you is that the picks are apparently limited to one per city — or Per Se, Alain Ducasse, Gilt, Kuruma Zushi, and Daniel would’ve made the list. [Forbes]
• The Hallo Berlin cart raises its prices (Dictator Special now $9). [Midtown Lunch]
• The Met’s Grand Tier Restaurant lets in the unwashed masses (well, Lincoln Center patrons, anyway). [NYS]
• David Burke: Vegas, baby, Vegas! [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Best Seats in the House: Where to Eat at the Bar
Even before the arrival of Joël Robuchon and his bar-centric L’Atelier, the ancient urban tradition of bar dining was undergoing a great renaissance. And why not? Eating while seated on a stool is a uniquely New York experience. It’s convivial, expedient, and communal, but in a solitary way. The Gobbler has met Wall Street kingpins, ex–CIA agents, and loquacious bookies from Queens at restaurant bars. You don’t have to deal with sniveling waiters or go overboard on tips, and it’s often a convenient excuse for getting really, really drunk. Here are a few of the Gobbler’s favorite barfly destinations.
Back of the House
Chefs Tortured by Possible Foie Gras Ban; De Niro Versus Trans Fat• In New Jersey, where a big distributor of foie gras is based, a legislator proposes banning the delicacy. Anthony Bourdain ain’t gonna take it: “It’s like beating up on Julia Child.” [AP]
• “Some day a real rain will come and wash all the trans fats off the streets”? Bloomberg attempts to rope Robert De Niro into the debate. [Newsday]
• Alain Ducasse moves to the former Lespinasse space in the St. Regis hotel and plans decanters modeled after Louis Vuitton trunks. [NYT]
• Ruth Reichl: Coming to a multiplex near you. [NYP]
• The new face of caviar: scannable sturgeons and fish biopsies. [NYT]
• Starbucks rips off the Egg McMuffin. [Dow Jones]
• Greenpoint’s Café Grumpy rents its back room out to hipstervangelists. [NYDN]
• Del Posto, Craftsteak, and Buddakan called out as the principal hells of the meatpacking district: “The assholes are eating assholes. The cocks are eating coxcombs.” [Gawker]