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.
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
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
Breaking: Serendipity 3 Closed by DOHEater has rumblings, and our trusty Channel 4 has just confirmed that Serendipity 3, that Upper East Side bastion of desserts and diabetes, has been shut down by the Department of Health. Let’s hope it’s because of some anal plumbing violation and not, y’know, because there are rodents near the Frozen Hot Chocolate.
BREAKING: Serendipty Shut Down By The Department of Health? [Eater]
Update With Bonus Vomit: “In last night’s inspection, the inspector observed a live mouse, mouse droppings in multiple areas of the restaurant, fruit flies, house flies, over 100 live cockroaches.” Holy mother.