Williamsburg’s First Cocktail Palace Is Revealed
Eater must’ve spotted us at Hotel Delmano on Friday because they took a break from their holiday yesterday to post interior shots of Billyburg’s first cocktail palace, from the owners of Union Pool. We might’ve done the same — that’s how impressive this place is — but we confess to being too hung-over from one too many elderflower tequila gimlets, which is what happens when you ask the barkeep there to make you something with tequila. That and a tequila with grenadine and bitters made “by hand” (hence the moniker “Delmano”). As for the cocktail list, the Commandant’s Cocktail is the only original one and the most expensive at $14 (it contains pear cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice, and green chartreuse), but mixologist Jeff Hanson’s $9 to $12 renditions of the Last Word, Corpse Reviver No. 2, the Hemingway Daiquiri, and the Seelbach Cocktail are plenty revelatory.
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.”
Crosby Connection Will Rise Again; Los Dados the Last Breath of MeatpackingMeatpacking District: With the wave of recent restaurant and nightlife closings, this area seems doomed, but Los Dados and long-delayed Merkato 55 might be able to salvage the hip destination, at least “on its western perimeter.” [Zagat]
Midtown East: Midtown Lunch finagled a sneak peak of Sakae Sushi’s conveyor belt and loses his cool: “If you’ve been to an outlet overseas, you may end up disappointed by the first US location which lacks some of the uniqueness or ‘cool’ factor of the locations in Asia. That’s because they felt a more subdued location would be more appealing to the clientele of Midtown.… Even when we get something cool, we get screwed.” [Midtown Lunch]
Park Slope: Lebanese Laila has closed, which doesn’t seem like a surprise since it was across the street from “the better, cheaper Olive Vine.” [TONY]
South Slope: The Fourth Avenue soup man has officially given up his spot in preparation for a new fancy condo. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Upper West Side: China Fun is getting in on the New Year shill fest: Submit 500 words (or fewer) on why you want to celebrate the Year of the Rat at China Fun (firstname.lastname@example.org), and you could win a banquet for eight.
West Village: After losing its lease, Italian sandwich destination Crosby Connection is moving from its hole-in-the-wall to an actual restaurant space a couple of blocks away. [The Gluttoness]
George ‘Norm’ Wendt Plays Beer Pong at Brother Jimmy’s; Uma
A friend of Grub Street texted us last night to let us know that Camille Paglia was at French Roast, perusing The New Yorker in a suit jacket. As much as we love spotting “feminist bisexual egomaniacs” (her words, not ours), this didn’t quite sate our voyeuristic tendencies, so, as we do every week, we combed the gossip columns for mention of any other club and restaurant sightings.
Oak Room Gets New Operators; Illegal Fish Trade GrowsNight Sky Holdings, which formerly operated Windows on the World at the World Trade Center as well as the Rainbow Room, has signed a contract to run the Oak Room and the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel. Also, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s former sous-chef Didier Virot will be helming the kitchen at the hotel’s other eatery, the Palm Court. [NYP]
Sushi chef Hiroshi Nakahara has left New York’s BondSt to run the kitchen at a new outpost in Beverly Hills. [PR Newswire]
Chipotle will be serving 200 million meals using naturally raised meat this year, a 40 percent increase from 2007. [The Grinder/Chow]
Back of the House
So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?Though it may not be a journalistic scandal up there with the Judith Miller saga, the missing notebook found in Brasserie 44, which may or may not belong to Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman, is getting a lot of play this morning. The story: Notes were left behind at a dinner and, according to their finders, could only be those of a restaurant critic. And, since Freeman is reviewing Brasserie 44 this week, they are naturally thought to be hers. What’s the big deal? Aside from the sloppiness factor on the critic’s part, which is fun for a quick snicker, what real difference does it make to the reviewer, the reader, or the restaurateur if someone has a piece of paper that says “mushy chicken” on it? Something about Danyelle Freeman just brings out the hate, but we can’t say it’s not entertaining to watch from the sidelines. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing Adam Platt only scribbles his mordant asides on a vellum tablet, or we’d be in trouble here at New York.
Which NYC Food Critic Is An Idiot? (Hint: Danyelle Freeman!) [Gawker]
In the Magazine
Introducing the ‘Gastroteca’
Even in the dead of winter, good new things keep happening to New York City. The Underground Gourmet giddily points out a new wine bar, Gottino, that is outpacing its panini-packing rivals. The Insatiable Critic found a new, urbane restaurant in Dovetail and loves the Sunday prix fixe. Among this week’s openings, Periyali adds a midtown sister in Persephone, giving the city another blue-chip Greek restaurant. Ah, New York: Even our lean seasons have their harvests.
DeBragga and Spitler Will Supply Great Steakhouse Meat. Should You Buy It?Steakhouses are valued for one thing: their meat. There are no chefs, and no one goes there for the décor. So if the meat is available elsewhere, such as DeBragga and Spitler’s new retail operation, why bother with the steakhouse? The beef supplier, one of New York’s most established, was once the source for most of the city’s top steakhouses, and still supplies some of the best, such as Craftsteak and BLT Prime. Now you can buy a steak that is “exactly, absolutely” the same, says DeBragga’s Marc Sarrazin. Other top meat operations, like elite-meat specialist Pat LaFrieda, and small-farm evangelist Heritage Food USA, have made their stuff available to the public as well. So the question is this: Is it worth it?
Death & Co. Fights SLA, and We Have the Papers
In an article in The Villager this week, State Liquor Authority spokesman Bill Crowley claims that Death & Co. has lost its license to serve and could be closed for “illegally trafficking alcohol.” But partner David Kaplan disputes the story.
Engines of Gastronomy
At Insieme, Marco Canora Makes Pasta Like It’s 1875In the wonderful world of pasta, there is the fresh (usually made with eggs and rolled-out), and there is the dried (usually eggless and extruded). And then there is the unusual hybrid of sorts that Marco Canora has recently introduced on his Insieme menu. While surfing the Web, as all blog-obsessed chefs are wont to do, Canora discovered an old Venetian–style hand-cranked pasta extruder known as the Bigolaro, a.k.a. the Torchio, and if he had his doubts about its decidedly low-tech looks, the price, at $280, was right. The rustic gadget, which was patented in 1875, clamps on to any sturdy tabletop, and although it requires the strength of two Greco–Roman wrestlers to operate, the results are worth the effort.
AvroKO’s New One May Open in Late Spring, First Book Out in the MeantimeAvroKO, the firm that designed newly opened Omido, among others, is in the process of locking down a new restaurant space near the Bond Street location it abandoned after community protest, and partner Adam Farmerie tells us it could be ready to open in as little as four months. In the meantime, you’ll be able to explore the world of AvroKO in print when the firm publishes its first book, Best Ugly, on February 19. The 265-page tome profiles six restaurants, starting with raw-space snapshots and moving on to floor plans, process sketches, and sexy interior shots. Readers will also get an eye into what inspired the designs (the wall at Stanton Social, for instance, is modeled after deconstructed suit jackets). Our advice: Keep this beauty off your coffee table, or you’ll be tempted to go splurge at Public every time you pick it up.
Click and Save
Harold Dieterle Explains Why He Loves BangkokIn a random but oddly enjoyable interview with Harold Dieterle, the Perilla chef and Top Chef laureate tells Gridskipper he loves Bangkok for its duck and deep-tissue massages — but not that kind.
Debriefer: Top Chef Harold Dieterle [Gridskipper]
Back of the House
Kozy Shack Founder Dies, Grub Street Mourns
Vinnie Gruppuso, the founder of Kozy Shack pudding, died today. It is a dark day on Grub Street, since Kozy Shack was not just our favorite pudding (a confection so potent it practically qualified as a controlled substance), but also a modern rarity: a New York–area manufacturing story without an unhappy ending. The Kozy Shack factory in Hicksville is no Wonka–like wonderland, but the sight of an entire eighteen-wheeler loaded with whole milk, the secret to the pudding’s mouth-filling fullness, gave us that kind of feeling. And Gruppuso’s story is a kind of ultimate foodie fantasy. He was a blue-collar guy, a bread deliveryman who happened to fall in love with the pudding made by a deli in Ridgefield. We’ve all had such crushes. But Gruppuso bought the recipe when the deli closed and essentially married it, investing everything in Kozy Shack and eventually building a pudding empire. Tonight we will have a toast for Vinnie Gruppuso with our favorite cordial: Kozy Shack chocolate pudding, straight from the tub, with a chaser of melancholy.
Vincent Gruppuso, 67, Seller of Pudding Snacks, Dies [NYT]
A Sausage-Fest Welcome in Chelsea; Gramercy Tavern RecipesChelsea: On January 15–20, Trestle on Tenth will begin its own yearly tradition of Metzgete, a Swiss winter celebration of sausage, choucroute, and wine. [Trestle on Tenth]
Flatiron: Adam Shepard hasn’t yet been able to clone the success of his Boerum Hill original at Lunetta, in the old Mayrose space, but Frank Bruni thinks he’s capable of making the necessary adjustments. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Gramercy: Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony provided this recipe for East Coast blackfish over spaghetti squash, but we have his recipe for fork-crushed purple majesty potatoes in our database. [Restaurant Girl]
Hells Kitchen: How is this world going to stop mispronouncing chipotle as “chi-POLE-tay” if restaurants like Kevin St. James on Eighth Avenue can’t even spell it right? [East Village Idiot]
Midtown West: Our In-box submission claiming there are prostitutes at Maze has inspired a call for the best restaurants that attract good ol’ traditional gold diggers. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Upper East Side: Agata & Valentina Ristorante has permanently closed, but the original gourmet shop is still lively. [Eater]
Choking: The Universal LanguageMichael Touchard of the Hell’s Kitchen bistro Tout Va Bien speaks fluent French, fluent English, and kitchen Spanish. But he doesn’t speak — or read — a word of Chinese. Neither do many of his customers. So let’s hope nobody chokes.
‘Culinary Conductor’ Reinvents Himself as ‘Gourmet Dude’
A while back we peeked at the audition clips for Bertolli’s online cooking show with Rocco DiSpirito, and decided we loved, loved, loved a clip by Pete Chelala, who submitted a Daily Show–esque spoof called “Food Train.” Sadly his disco-dancing in a carpenter belt loaded with seasonings and spatulas didn’t convince the judges, but that’s okay — geniuses are never understood in their day, and a clip Chelala sends us from his new YouTube show, “Gourmet Dude,” convinces us he is just that. We have to warn you: Nothing much happens in this first installment, but then again nothing much happened in the first five minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey either. We have no doubt that good things lie ahead.
Gourmet Dude [YouTube]
Earlier: ‘Culinary Conductor’ and ‘Love Chef’ Woo Rocco Online
Keith McNally Sued; Huckabee Serves Clam Chowder in New HampshireAccording to a new class-action suit being brought against Keith McNally, servers at Pastis and Balthazar were forced to foot the bill for customers who walked out on their checks, in addition to being denied minimum wage. [NYP]
Frank Bruni, like many other critics, believes a restaurant’s chicken dishes speak volumes about its overall quality. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
E-mails sent by Starbucks Corp. managers reveal their efforts to prevent unionizing among their employees, although labor experts say the activity is not illegal. [WSJ]
Hallowed Slice Location Now in the Hands of Grom GelatoThis week we solved one of the great mysteries of Carmine Street — when will Beard Papa reopen? (This week!) Now it’s time to solve another: What’s going into the space on the corner of Bleecker that used to be the beloved Joe’s Pizza and then Abitino’s? Not another slice joint, it turns out. Nicolo de Rienzo, co-owner of Italian gelato chain Grom, tells us he just started construction on a new store that could open there by the end of April. Grom is also in talks to team with Eataly, the Italian supermarket that plans to install its first U.S. store in the Rock Center area at 18 West 48th Street. Cones of Bleecker, you’re on notice!
The Hidden History of Starbucks; Café Carlyle Still Bumpin’Astor Place: The building that houses Starbucks has such interesting history (saw a bloody theater riot in 1849 at what was once the Astor Place Opera House; held a barber shop where mobster Albert Anastasia got slaughtered while sitting in his chair) that Lost City has decided to target “kudzu-like chains” around town and attempt to uncover their past incarnations. [Lost City]
Chinatown: Dumpling House has reopened and the renovations include tables and chairs! [Eater]
East Village: Bar Veloce is returning to the space it once occupied before transforming into now deceased Room 4 Dessert. [Eater]
Tribeca: Harrison Tavern has already closed after a July opening. Clearly, offering ranch-chicken pizza did not bring in herds. [Grub Street]
Upper East Side: Café Carlyle has added a D.J.-hosted soirée Thursday through Saturday from midnight to 3 a.m. to its cabaret-night repertoire, and a new cocktail menu comes from the mixologist at Bemelmans Bar. [Zagat]
West Village: Pichet Ong is renaming his dessert bar P*ong & Batch at the end of the month when he’ll be expanding the space to include a retail bakery. [Zagat]
Williamsburg: Breakfast mecca egg (it’s too cool to have a capital letter) deigns to open for dinner. [TONY]
Back of the House
Chowhounds, Heed Our Uzbek-Kebab Advice!
Is there anything more frustrating than seeing good people grope in the dark for something they already have? We feel it whenever a romantic-comedy heroine searches around for Mr. Right, while all the time the awkward but soulful male lead is mooning for her. Likewise with this thread on Chowhound, where the posters are striving to find the right place in Rego Park to eat Uzbek kebabs. Haven’t these guys ever heard of the Orange Line? Much of the discussion centers on Cheburechnaya, a big kebab house on 63rd Drive that always seems to have a couple of black Mercedes parked out front, contributing to the mobbed-up feeling. Forget that place — it’s all about Arzu. Read and learn, chowhounds: You have nothing to lose but your chebureks.
Out of this world central Asian in the FH/Rego Pk area? [Chowhound]
Related: Riding the V Line: Coming Back Around to Russia
Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal DiscontentUh-oh.The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group is in legal trouble again, this time thanks to a lawsuit filed against Park Avenue Café. The class-action suit filed by two captains and a waiter claims the restaurant — currently known as Park Avenue Winter — violated wage laws by forcing them to pool their tips with non-tipped employees like dishwashers, expediters, and coffee makers. Attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum tells us that the plaintiffs are expected to be joined by others in the next few days and will soon bring a separate complaint accusing assistant manager Santiago Pasentez of discriminating against the restaurant’s Bengali and Bangladeshi employees.
McLovin Eats Out, and Not at McDonald’s
As jaded as we are from combing through gossip columns for our weekly Celebrity Settings feature, there are certain celebs we’d give our middle nut to spot. Case in point: Friday night a friend texted us that she saw Christopher Mintz-Plasse, better known as McLovin from Superbad, leaving Diner in Williamsburg — presumably after eating a “sexy hamburger.” No word as to whether he attempted to purchase a drink with a Hawaiian I.D. (somehow the bartender hadn’t seen Superbad), but it’s good to see McLovin is keeping it low-key despite the mounting Oscar buzz.
Related: Oscar Buzz for McLovin Reaches Fever Pitch [Vulture]
McLovin and Matchbox Twenty in Williamsburg [Gothamist]
Kerry Heffernan’s South Gate Slated for February OpeningWhatever happened to 154 South Gate, the restaurant helmed by Eleven Madison Park’s Kerry Heffernan that will fill the void left by Alain Ducasse’s old eatery in the Essex House? Turns out it’s going to be called just South Gate and will go into the space that was formerly Café Botanica. The latest from maître d’ Marc Mover is that it will start taking reservations around January 15, will start serving friends and family the week after that, and will open to the public on the first week of February. (Ducasse’s new venture, Adour, is scheduled to open January 28.) Unsurprisingly, Mover describes the menu as “greenmarket — fresh produce, local farmers, American style with a little bit of French influence or infusion.” And so the Haute Barnyard tear continues…
Earlier: Decent Tables Still Available for Ducasse’s Opening Night
Carroll Gardens May Get a Swank New Cocktail Lounge — Pending CB ApprovalDoes Alan Harding, the king of Carroll Gardens, have a new project up his sleeve? We hear talk of an “upscale cocktail lounge” on Hoyt Street near Union Street’s Black Mountain Wine House. A neighborhood foodie tells us that this new venture depends on the community board, which will vote on the liquor license tonight. Sure enough, right there on CB6’s land-use committee agenda tonight is “Discussion and formulation of recommendation on an on-premises liquor license application submitted to the State Liquor Authority on behalf of 415 Union Street Inc. at 303 Hoyt Street (Block 430, Lot 78) between Union/Sackett Streets.” Will Brooklyn Social or another neighborhood competitor try to protest? Find out tonight.
Charcuterie Continues to Wow on the UWS; Beer, Cheese, and Chocolate Go TogetherChelsea: Cain’s Website is already “pimping” a London opening. [Down by the Hipster]
East Village: Jimmy’s No. 43 is hosting a cheese, beer, and chocolate pairing on January 22. Luckily, cheese before beer, you’re in the clear. [Gridskipper] Danal on 10th Street has given up the ghost. [Zagat]
Hell’s Kitchen: Tasting World is hosting its first Wine Essentials course of 2008 on January 17. [Tasting World]
Midwood: The Amateur Gourmet’s “Best Place I Should’ve Been To Already and Where I Should’ve Already Gone Back To” for 2007: Di Fara Pizza. There are surely too many out there who can relate.
Upper West Side: Ed Levine is as wowed by Sylvain Gasdon’s charcuterie at Bar Boulud as we were. [Ed Levine’s New York Eats via Eater]
West Village: David Page and Barbara Shinn have left Home to focus on their North Fork winery and have taken the wine-sensitive heart of the restaurant with them. [Eater]
Shake Shocker: No Lunch Line on Opening Day
It seems that even on the Shake Shack’s first day of winter operation, not many have decided to risk frostbite by ordering a Concrete. (Danny: Better put disclaimers on those cups, fast.) From noon till 1:30 p.m., we didn’t see more than a couple of people in line at a time when we periodically checked in with the Shake Cam. So, yes, a measure of sanity sometimes prevails in matters Shack — which’ll make it easy for us to snag a frozen custard on our way to buy a winter jacket and some hats and gloves at H&M.
PDT’s Winter Menu Blows Our Minds, GI Tracts
PDT’s winter cocktail menu debuted last night, and we are still hung-over. Mixologist Jim Meehan consulted his peers for the menu, which includes contributions from Pegu’s Audrey Sanders, Tailor’s Eben Freeman, “International cocktail maven” Charlotte Voisey, and others. There’s even a nod to Adam Platt in the description of PDT bartender Don Lee’s Benton’s Old Fashioned, a combo of bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and angostura bitters: “the crossroad of Haute Barnyard and Barroom.” (If this keeps up, we’re going to have to add Haute Barnyard to the banished-words list soon.)
Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman Likes Your Sexy Stank
We can only imagine why Times writer Anna Jane Grossman rang Ken Friedman when she was looking for a quote about why folks forgo deodorant, but, boy, was he forthcoming about his use of what we call “meodorant”:
For those who managed to avoid underarm products, the idea of using them is anathema. “I never use deodorant,” said Ken Friedman, an owner of the Spotted Pig, a restaurant in the West Village. “I like girls who don’t use anything. They sort of smell like sex.”
Are you listening, Beyoncé?
Cast Aside Underarm Protection, If You Dare [NYT]
Center Cut to Serve Just That; Maxim Just What Meatpacking DeservesSo why is Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Lincoln Center meatery to be called Center Cut? Because it will be devoted to the center cuts of meat! There will be center-cut steaks, center-cut pork chops, center-cut venison, and so forth, says the chef’s rep Karine Bakhoum. We are flabbergasted. Such a proposition sounds insanely expensive and is also silly, since the first two ribs off the shoulder (ribs 1 and 2 in the trade) are by far the best ones, with the biggest portion of the spinalis dorsi muscle, also known as the “lip” or “deckle.”
Shake Shack Reopens Today; Fabio Trabocchi’s Last MealSweet glory, Shake Shack reopens today at 11:30! You can call ahead to place your order, but you won’t be enjoying the new heaters until next week. [Eater]
The British agree: Adam Platt’s term “haute barnyard” defines the prevailing dining trend. [Guardian]
Related: The Haute Barnyard Hall of Fame
The manager of Sarabeth’s on Central Park South caught a 50-year-old thief taking $27 from her pocketbook over the weekend. [NYP]
The Orange Line
Riding the V Line: Coming Back Around to RussiaWe’re riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants along the way.
As the V Line reaches its terminus along the vast, terrifying stretch of Queens Boulevard that dominates Rego Park, we find it poetically pleasing that it resumes the Russian atmosphere of its starting point in Brighton Beach. Our second favorite Uzbek kebab restaurant, Cheburechnaya, is at 63rd Drive, but our favorite, Café Arzu, is at 67th Avenue.
Popeyes Brings Chicken and Biscuits Shrine to ChinatownWe’re not sure whether the Popeyes that opened three days ago right across from the mouth of the Manhattan Bridge (that’s right, the first thing motorists now see when entering the island is a Popeyes) has to do with the Bowery location that closed over the summer. But we do know from this floral arrangement festooned with ribbons and cards reading “Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits” that it’s Chinese run, and enthusiastically so. Yesterday found the manager offering patrons free refills and giving away free chicken to everyone in the restaurant at closing time (might want to try your luck tonight around midnight). Says a friend of Grub who lives in the hood, “I’m overjoyed.” No kidding! Now he doesn’t have to trek to the Waverly for biscuits…
Better Get to That Wild Edibles Party Early!
Being lifelong fans of labor strife and (especially) guerrilla street theater, we received this press release with some excitement. We are passing it on without comment, except to ask why this doesn’t happen more often. What could dramatize the struggle of labor versus management better than the preannounced crashing of ritzy parties?
We’ll Take Celebrity Chefs Over Emo Food Memoirs Any DayHartford Courant restaurant critic Elissa Altman has a very long and very powerful essay over at the Huffington Post about the state of food writing, and it repeats something we’ve heard often: Personal, heartfelt memoirs about food should trump the fembots of the Food Network and their ilk. It’s an argument we can well understand, but we disagree.
Back of the House
This Year’s ‘Saveur’ 100 Is Thin on the NYC Love
We know another year has gone by in the food world because the Saveur 100 is out. The list “offers a vivid snapshot of the wide … world of food,” says the magazine, so the picks skewed global — licorice from New Zealand, anyone? — but we are, as always, only interested in the New York stuff.
Gordon Ramsay Even a Jerk on Other People’s TV ShowsA very contrite Gordon Ramsay was on display in Scotland’s Sunday Herald about a week ago — “We got screwed,” he says of Gordon Ramsay at the London’s opening, begging for sympathy because the ceiling caved in. No matter, Gordo is on to other things, like a restaurant in L.A. that will open in May and might — according to a rave review of Ramsay’s New York eatery in the Sunday Times of London — be backed by the Beckhams! The Times also mentions that Gordo might appear on The Simpsons, but will his cameo match his walk-on in the Extras Christmas special, in which a washed-up Andy Millman begs Gordo to get him into London’s Ivy restaurant? Click on the image above to watch.
To Hell’s Kitchen and Back Again [Sunday Herald of Scotland]
Gordon Ramsay in New York [Sunday Times of London]
Tony Bourdain’s Kitchen Is Just Like Yours; New York Chefs Cook for 50 CentSelf-styled badass chef Tony Bourdain plays 20 Questions, revealing that he lives with his wife and daughter on the Upper East Side these days — “proximity to Baby Gap is a priority” — and has a kitchen that is “small and functional and very crowded with baby food, cat food, a few essentials.” [Chicago Tribune]
Frank Bruni takes a moment to sort through the piles of food-related tomes that landed on his desk this year, finding his favorites to be David Kamp’s The Food Snob’s Dictionary and the recently released Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Related: David Kamp Adds Two More Entries to the Food Snob’s Dictionary
A recent NYU grad is suing Times Square club Arena for $2 million over a June incident in which he was overcharged by $1,000, beat up by the bouncer, and arrested for not buying enough alcohol. [NYP]
Embattled Bistro Now Serving ‘Nouveau African’ at Korhogo 126The saga of Bouillabaisse 126, described here last summer, seems to have had a happy ending. The Carroll Gardens restaurant, a French bistro formerly haunted by the ejection of partner Neil Ganic, has quietly become one of the city’s most interesting French-African fusion restaurants. Under former Les Enfants Terribles chef Abdhul Traore, it’s now Korhogo 126, and attempting to convey the flavors of the Ivory Coast via the refinements of French technique. Escargot are pressure-stewed and served with star anis and tomato under puff pastry, African honey sweetens an endive-and-pear salad, and the ratatouille is “served with West African, Wolof-inspired rice infused with tomato, onion, and Senegalese spices and sautéed vegetables.”
In the Magazine
Where to Eat in 2008New York’s Adam Platt has finally surfaced from the food trough. In between gasps, he has cobbled together his annual list of where you should be eating in the New Year. Platt’s got a bead on Italian small plates, which no-reservations restaurants to wait on line for, and what expensive meal is actually worth an entire paycheck. If all of that is too much to digest, Platt has bites of wisdom to guide you through 2008: his ten favorite new restaurants, the best up-and-coming chefs, and where to take your father-in-law for dinner, among others.
So read up and start making reservations. We have to attend to Platt, who is up to his ears in pork and tear-stained menus.
Adam Platt’s Where to Eat in 2008 [NYM]
Earlier: Platt: “The State of the Dining Nation Is Sound”
Back of the House
Ten Moments to Remember From 2007
“Life fades … vision dims … and all that remains is memory.” Such are the haunting first words of The Road Warrior, and we can’t help but think of them as we look back, through heavy lids, at the year that was. 2007 was a memorable restaurant year in so many ways, but there are a few that stick out in our minds. Our favorite moments of the last year would definitely have to include:
Find French Onion Soup in Manhattan; A Co-op for Fort Greene?Bay Ridge: A VFW post has been fined by the Department of Health because its ice machine constituted a need for “food protection certification.” [The Brooklyn Paper]
Cobble Hill: Now that the deli and the TV repair shop are gone, we can dream of the G&D Television Wine Bar. [Gowanus Lounge]
Forest Hills: A new development threatens restaurant culture, as for-rent signs specify “NO FOOD.” The horror! [Queens Central]
Fort Greene: Plans are afoot for a food co-op. Does anything else scream gentrification louder? [The Brooklyn Paper]
Manhattan: Look for delicious French onion soup at Pastis, Landmarc, and Rue 57, among others. [
The Annotated Dish
Stanton Social’s Reinvented Chicken and WafflesThough the menu at Stanton Social is immense, there are always a few dominant dishes Lower East Side patrons order again and again. Recently it was the crab corn dogs, which Starchefs had chef Chris Santos prepare for the Rising Star Chef gala. Now it’s a postmodern “Chicken and Waffles” created by Santos and his soon-to-depart chef de cuisine Ryan Angulo. We spoke to Angulo about the dish. As always, mouse over the different elements to hear it described in the chef’s own words.
Eric Ripert Builds a Perfect Burger — But You Can’t Eat It
When you think of Eric Ripert, you tend to think of ethereal lobster, marinated fluke, transporting escolar with miso brown butter, and the like. Which made it weird when the chef started enthusing about his hamburger the other night. “It’s the best hamburger anywhere — better than anywhere in New York,” the fish master says.
Forget What to Eat — What Do You Wear?
Got dinner reservations for New Year’s Eve but still don’t know what to wear? We’ve got you covered. If you’re eating at Craftsteak, we recommend pairing your Wagyu New York strip with a Ralph Lauren charcoal suit and a Diane Von Furstenberg velvet wrap dress. Our Everything Guide to New Year’s has even more suggestions for your evening. And the photos are hot.
New Year, New Look
Gilt Besieged by ‘Gossip Girl’ Wannabes; More of the Old EastThe bar at Gilt is besieged by “a parade of ripe Lolitas,” all clamoring for cocktails like their idols on Gossip Girl. Unhappily for the nymphets, and any well-heeled Humbert Humberts who happen to be hanging around, you have to be 21 to drink in the real-world version of the bar. [Insatiable Critic]
Two of the last holdouts of the old East Village, Sophie’s and Mona’s, are both for sale. What will replace them? Trustafarian discos? Hookah bars? Collegiate-style ale houses? Somewhere Rockets Redglare is rolling in his grave. [NYP]
To help allay the bitterness of exile, the New York Food Anywhere blog will show you where to find New York food in places that aren’t New York. It’s depressing, but it does make you appreciate the fact that you don’t need to use it. [New York Food Anywhere via Serious Eats]
Back of the House
Fernando Navas Brings El Bulli’s ‘Cheese Air’ to SushiSambaAbout a year ago, Argentine-born Fernando Navas, then a sous-chef at Nobu Miami, got the news that he was one of the 50 applicants out of 6,000 chosen for a four-month stage at Spain’s El Bulli, the stomping grounds of hallowed molecular gastronomist Ferran Adrià and pretty much the most famous restaurant in the world. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays in January, Navas will present an Adrià-influenced $110 tasting menu at his current restaurant, SushiSamba. We’re not saying it’ll be as hard as scoring a table at El Bulli, but only twelve people will be accommodated per night. We asked Navas what it was like to fulfill every young chef’s dream.
Eben Freeman of Tailor Imparts the Secrets of the ‘Hard Shake’
Eben Freeman of Tailor isn’t just a bartender. He isn’t even a mere mixologist. We’ll go ahead and say it: Eben Freeman is a cocktail guru. Who else could have imported the secret maneuver of the “hard shake” to our shores from its hiding places in Japan and Slovakia? No one. And that’s why we present this video, of how to perform the hard shake, for your viewing pleasure. Click on the photo to watch.