Prune Alum Doesn’t Fall Far From the East Village TreeClinton Hill: The construction workers who opened Il Torchio have created an intimate space serving elegantly constructed Italian tapas but can’t resist sporting baseball caps and — beer in hand — approaching customers to say what’s up. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: Prune alum Matt Hamilton will run the kitchen at Belcourt when it opens next month. [NYS]
Harlem: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que offers up a Labor Day-weekend recipe: really salty potatoes (yes, that’s 2:1 spuds to salt). [NYS]
Midtown West: The London Times picks the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian as the best burger in New York. [A Hamburger Today]
North Fork: A foodie farm tour featuring tastings and cooking demonstrations on September 9 will make a stop at Garden of Eve, a supplier to Flatbush Farm. [Brooklyn Based]
West Village: Anita Lo always has a vegetarian entrée available at Annisa in addition to the one listed on the menu. [Restaurant Girl]
Gorge on BBQ in Chelsea This SundayChelsea: Hill Country, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Mara’s Homemade are all taking part in the Hudson River Park Trust’s Blues BBQ on Pier 54 this Sunday from 2 to 9 p.m. [TONY]
East Village: Monday’s Regional Dinner at Mercadito will highlight Mexico’s southern region with a menu featuring banana-leaf-wrapped pork and tres leches cake. [Grub Street]
Flatiron: Hill Country is hiring someone who can cut meat — must love high-energy restaurants. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: Wylie Dufresne switched up the bread at wd-50 from black to white sesame-seeded flatbread. [At the Sign of the Pink Pig]
Midtown West: Today is the last day of the Rockefeller Center greenmarket, but a farmer tells us there may be a deal to bring it back for fall. [Grub Street]
Soho: The developer behind the new glass hotel that will overlook 60 Thompson is Brack Capital Real Estate. [Down by the Hipster]
Times Square: Mickey D’s at 46th Street and Broadway is testing out a new Angus third-pounder that’s both thicker and juicier than their basic patty. [A Hamburger Today]
West Village: Jarnac has reopened with a new paint job, but in a week they’ll shut down again for summer vacation. [Eater]
Notes on the Local Barbecue Revolution
Is the great Calvin Trillin rubbing his eyes in wonderment? Has New York become, after years of bitterness and complaint, a kind of glittering Kansas City by the sea? Or is New York actually a better barbecue town, these days, than K.C. or Memphis or any of the other fabled smoke pits around the country? With the success of Kansas City facsimiles like RUB, Danny Meyer’s annual BBQ festival, and the recent arrival of Hill Country, some respected barbecue hounds actually think so. And what does the Gobbler think? The Gobbler thinks barbecue is a lot better and more ubiquitous in the big city than it used to be. Here’s his guide to the new barbecue revolution.
Space for Even Your Butt in Williamsburg This WeekendHarlem: Eat at Dinosaur, get bowling discount. [UPTOWN flavor]
Lower East Side: Holes suspected in Schiller’s rubber glove story. That’s right, holes. [Gridskipper]
Soho: Babouche, the Moroccan restaurant and lounge brought to us by the people behind Barbes, now serves brochettes at brunch. [PDF: Babouche NYC]
Tribeca: Former Abboccato sous chef Greg Johnson is the new chef de cuisine at Dani. Sun amuses self calling the cook Dani Boy. [NYS]
Union Square: 15 East now serving lunch. But why didn’t the Eater boys “live-blog” the event? [NYS]
West Village: Blind Tiger will open at 4 p.m. today with beer on tap after an exasperating tug-of-war with the SLA. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: Mystery Japanese restaurant on North 6th thought to open tonight. [A Test of Will] But you probably won’t get in until this weekend. [i’m not saying, I’m just saying] Thankfully new tapas joint Nita Nita has room enough for wide asses. [Bad Advice]
Back of the House
Inside the Topsy-Turvy World of New York BarbecueHas the cold weather got you nostalgic for barbecue? We’ve got good and bad news, plus fallout from an ugly incident upstate. First, the good: Pitmaster Scotty Smith is now serving two weekly specials at RUB. Mondays it’s full-beef short rib; Tuesdays there’s spicy Asian pork belly, marinated for a week in a brew of chiles, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and the sweet soy sauce called kecap manis. then smoked for hours before being flash-finished in a hot oven.
Germs Gone Wild!Normally, an article like this Boston Herald piece on our city’s efforts to crack down on exotic meats would have us up in arms. No turtles, frogs, or cow lungs? No “smoked rodent meat”? What is this, Moscow? But a spate of food-borne illnesses in the last week has made us reconsider our libertarian stance. Four Taco Bells in Long Island were just closed after nineteen people got sick from E. coli at a New Jersey location (like so many other chains, the Bell gets most of their food from a central commissary; twenty more people were sickened in New York); Dinosaur BBQ’s Syracuse branch was the source of a recent viral outbreak that sickened 600 people upstate, and Ess-A-Bagel on First Avenue was shuttered for not having any Health Department permit at all. We’re all in favor of eating what we like and hoping our antibodies do their part, but writhing in bed is not how we intend to spend the holidays. That’s how we plan on spending the days after the holidays.
From Iguanas to Armadillos, New York State Cracking Down on Mystery Meats [AP via Boston Herald]
E. Coli Sickens 39 in New Jersey and New York [NYT]
600 Sickened After Eating at N.Y. Bar [AP via Island Packet]
Where Do I Feed Texas Tourists? Also: Is There a God?Dear Grub Street,
I have some friends coming into town from Texas and want to recommend a great restaurant to them. I think they’d appreciate a Texas theme, but I’m not sure if Lonesome Dove is really the way to go, or if Blue Smoke or Dinosaur are better bets instead. Money doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.
The best barbecue in New York is RUB. They have great burnt ends, a beef-brisket treat any meat-eating Texan can appreciate. But they’re not going to get better Texas food here than at home. I would take them to Great N.Y. Noodletown for Chinese spareribs. Or, if money really isn’t an issue, this may be your one chance for a meal at Masa!
Back of the House
Barbecue: The New Kosher Food?Reading about the launch of Blue Smoke in Danny Meyer’s new book Setting the Table, we had an epiphany. It’s somehow happened that, in the midst of the greatest barbecue boom New York has ever seen, nearly all of the cuisine’s major restaurants are either owned or operated by Jews. Given the wide berth our people have historically given pork, this seems worth commenting on. Meyers’s launching of Blue Smoke was just the beginning. Josh Cohen has just reopened Biscuit in Park Slope; Adam Perry Lang has become a major star in competition BBQ, in addition to launching his Daisy May’s empire; Andrew Fischel’s RUB was anointed by Adam Platt as the city’s best barbecue; and the field will only become further Semiticized this spring, when Mark Glosserman and Robert Richter launch Hill Country BBQ in the Flatiron district. Don’t get us wrong. There are some very fine Gentile barbecuers in New York: John Wheeler at Rack & Soul and John Stage at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are both expert practitioners. Still, we’re surprised someone didn’t coined the phrase sooner: Bar-B-Jew.
More Than Just a Taste of New York
Last night’s A Taste of New York, a major culinary gala presented by New York Magazine at the Puck Building and benefiting City Harvest, was an orgy of food and mirth. Over 30 of the city’s best restaurants, from Alain Ducasse to wd-50, set up tables with a signature dish, and a boisterous crowd of well-heeled foodies circulated around, trying the food and chatting up the chefs.