‘Food & Wine’ Big-Ups New York on Best-Restaurants ListNew York may have gotten short shrift on San Pallegrino’s list of the world’s best restaurants, but on the just-released ‘Food & Wine’ “Go List” of the World’s Best Places to Eat, we rank number three, behind Tokyo and Paris.
Back of the House
Indian Buffet Pulls a Fiamma, Raises Prices in MidtownIt’s not just on the highest plane of fine dining that critics, customers, and restaurants wage their unceasing war against each other: The same drama, played out in miniature, occurs everywhere. For evidence, look no further than Zach Brooks’s encounter, on Midtown Lunch, with Spice Fusion, an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet that raised its price $1 after the blogger praised it. Yes, it’s the Fiamma saga all over again, but we’ll have to see how this plays out. Will Spice Fusion’s corporate parent issue a press release vowing to lower prices? Or will the guy who hands out flyers on 48th Street just continue to thrust them wordlessly into the hands of passersby? Only Midtown Lunch will know.
First Fiamma, Now Spice Fusion Follows Accolades With Price Hike [Midtown Lunch]
Related: Fiamma Prices Drop After Bruni Post
Pelaccio Focusing on Fatty ‘Cue; Bruni Gets the Fiamma MemoAstoria: Leng Thai’s brown rice is delicious; they mix in red grains. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: A new bakery is supposed to open around June on Fulton near the Met. Baker: “When I was young, we’d go to the bakery every Sunday after church for a fresh loaf of French bread, soft and still warm from the oven. I’d love to re-create that here.” Blogger: “OMGYAY!” [Clinton Hill Blog]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: A former Sapa chef will head the kitchen at a new Pan-Asian restaurant called Prana, set to open in June in the old Scopa space. [Zagat]
Soho: Fabio Trabocchi has written a personal note to Bruni and has worked with B.R. Guest to lower prices across the board at Fiamma (including dropping the price of the seven-course menu from $138 to $125). Sorry to those who ate at Fiamma last week. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Williamsburg: Zak Pelaccio’s project with Robbie Richter might be called Fatty ‘Cue. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: Breaking: Zak Pelaccio and Robbie Richter to Collaborate on Asian Barbecue in Williamsburg
West Village: If you want to celebrate the Irish all next week, August will be “toasting the Irish” through March 21 by serving Guinness Extra Stout and specials like house-made corned beef and cabbage. [Strong Buzz]
Fiamma Prices Drop After Bruni PostWhen Frank Bruni decided to confront Fiamma about its price increases, we knew it wouldn’t take long for Team Hanson to get on the problem. Fiamma is the group’s flagship restaurant, and the critical pile-on about high prices and missing ingredients must have stung B.R. Guest. Today, the group announced the inevitable price cuts to tasting menus. Prices are dropping from $92 to $85 for the standard prix fixe menu, and the five-course dinner has been cut to $105 from $120. Fiamma has also reintroduced its full-bore seven-course menu, which will come in at $125.
Chef Counters on the Rise; Chefs Put in Their Time on the LineAs chefs and cooks take on more roles of service, they cut out more costs and create a more intimate dining experience, especially at restaurants with counters overlooking the food preparation. [NYT]
Related: Ringside Seats at the Chef’s Counter
Apparently, restaurants’ hanging of red velvet curtains in colder months signals metaphors of birth and womblike spaces for diners. Ew. [NYO]
Chefs like Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria and Josh Eden of Shorty’s.32 both spent years cooking on the line before being able to fly solo. [TONY]
back of the house
Adam Platt on Best of New York: “It’s a Matter of Taste, Cutty!”Having pawed and pondered this week’s Best of New York issue endlessly, we knew that the only way we could possibly make up our minds about it was to pester Adam Platt into giving us his thoughts on why he made his picks, who he had to leave out, and what his reasoning was. Since Platt is always readily available on IM, the following chat answered our questions and made our peace with his picks.
Fiamma Says the Luxe Ingredients Never Went AwayFiamma got a fair amount of heat last week, from Grub Street and other food sites, about a reduced menu. But B.R. Guest — which did not respond to Grub Street’s requests for comments on the menu until yesterday — vehemently disagrees. “No one had updated the Website,” says owner Steve Hanson. “They just got lazy.” We’d hate to be in their shoes now! Fiamma chef Fabio Trabocchi, meanwhile, explains that the confusion also lay in the fact that the Website wasn’t showing his daily specials or updating the tasting menu. “If you came in and ordered here, it’s the same amount of selections; you can choose from any part of the menu. It’s the same amount of dishes, just listed in a different way,” Trabocchi says. And those luxe ingredients we thought were missing from the menu? Not so, says Trabocchi. “We are using foie gras, truffles, Wagyu beef, ossabaw pig, and Grimaud Farm duck.” (The langoustines, which we also mentioned as having gone missing, are out of season, Trabocchi explains.) Unfortunately for Fiamma, even a full menu can’t sate complaining diners like Nick Paumgarten of The New Yorker.
Earlier: Fiamma’s Menu a Fraction of Its Former Self
Fiamma’s Menu a Fraction of Its Former SelfWe’re told that Fiamma has sprung into action, using all the powers of the B.R. Guest machine, to try to ferret out what went so catastrophically wrong with Nick Paumgarten’s meal. “We are all disappointed in the service. We take this very seriously and have everyone looking into the problems,” B.R. Guest chieftain Steve Hanson tells us. But all the negative attention Fiamma has gotten over the last day or so obscures a larger, thornier question about the restaurant: What has happened to the sprawling, lavish, ambitious menu that Fabio Trabocchi launched his administration with?
Produce Carts Approved for Low-Income Areas; Calling a Clone a CloneThe City Council passed a watered-down version of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to place produce carts in low-income neighborhoods. The new plan cuts the total number down to 1,000 from 1,500 and reduces the number of targeted precincts from 43 to 34. [NYP]
The Post hit two midtown Starbucks yesterday and found that, while Tuesday night’s three-hour training session for baristas may not have instilled the ability to make perfect drinks, they will remake it as many times as you force them to. [NYP]
A City Council member introduced legislation yesterday that would require meat from cloned animals to be labeled as such. [Metro NY]
The Other Critics
Bar Blanc Draws Its Deuce; Mia Dona Welcomed by RichmanFrank Bruni finds Bar Blanc fussy, mannered, overly fastidious — and very, very good. The two stars should take the sting out of his review for the place’s owners. [NYT]
Related: Raising the Bar
Restaurant Girl hits Williamsburg’s Zenkichi and, between the room, the food, and the sake selection, seems to have a real find on her hands. [NYDN]
Randall Lane joins in the general enthusiasm for Dovetail , but now he seems unwilling to go back to his five-star-granting ways and so ends up giving them only four — the equivalent, in traditional star terms, to a two-star review, which is not what this reads as. [TONY]
‘The New Yorker’ Hits Fiamma HardThe New Yorker’s “Tables for Two” reviews have generally been mordant little affairs, short on criticism and long on wry descriptions of restaurant culture. Not this week. Nick Paumgarten comes down hard on Fiamma, describing “FEMA-like” service, cold food, a martini made without vermouth, and, in general, the very picture of a major ripoff operation, subsisting on “a strong euro and the proximity of the Soho Grand hotel.” It’s a wild departure from the usual “Tables for Two” mold, and though it may or may not be reflective of Fiamma (practically all of the reviews have been very positive, including Adam Platt’s two-star job), it’s certainly a lot more fun to read. Something tells us Paumgarten had a lot of fun writing it.
Tables for Two: Fiamma [NYer]
What’s the City’s Greenest Restaurant™?Self-described “vegetarian bistro” Counter, home of the iridium martini, has become a Certified Green Restaurant™ (we’re required to put a ™ after that, or they’ll force us to drink iridium). Becoming a truly green restaurant in the eyes of the Green Restaurant Association doesn’t happen overnight, but Counter has taken the initial steps by using nontoxic chemicals, energy-efficient lighting, recycling used fryer oil, and using occupancy-sensing lights. Not all green restaurants seek the GRA’s blessing (take what might be the greenest of them all, Birdbath), but for good measure we broke the certified restaurants down according to their current ratings.
Starbucks Nixes Breakfast Sandwiches; Kenny Shopsin Ready for Mind-AlteringIn addition to slowing its expansion (finally), Starbucks will halt “sales of hot breakfast sandwiches because their smell interferes with the aroma of coffee.” [WSJ]
If Padma Lakshmi could eat anywhere right now, she’d head to a little taco stand in Mexico for some fish tacos on the beach. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Chelsea hot spot Stereo, which was closed by police earlier this month, will not be reopening at its current location because the landlord bought out the lease. [NYP]
Jennifer Garner Likes the Food at Fiamma More than Padma Did
The week’s most exciting celebrity sighting was that of beer-sippin’ McLovin at Diner. No other celebs were busted getting their underage drink on, but there were other surprises: Rachael Ray rolled into the Orchard with a posse bigger than Diddy’s, and Jennifer Garner liked the food at Fiamma so much she slipped into the kitchen to beg Fabio Trabocchi for recipes. We figure that makes up for supposedly getting dissed by Padma Lakshmi a couple weeks ago. (And yes, there a Padma sighting this week, too…)
The Other Critics
Barbuto Saved by a Chicken; Fiamma Comes Up ShortThe wildly uneven Barbuto earns a single star from Frank Bruni, almost entirely on the strength of a well-roasted Bell & Evans chicken. To quote Winston Churchill, “Some chicken!” [NYT]
Alan Richman was appalled by how small the portions were at Grayz, how much they cost, and how shady most of them were, except for the magnificent, world-beating short rib: “In complexity and satisfaction, this dish reminded me most of the Gray Kunz of Lespinasse, the chef we miss so much.” [Bloomberg]
Randall Lane gets that Fiamma’s Fabio Trachocchi is cooking in a grand, Continental style and doesn’t hold that against him, but the food is too rich and the service too sloppy to give him the five or six stars the place would have liked And so they have to settle for four. [TONY]
Bloomberg Delivers Cheesecake; McDonald’s Takes on StarbucksHizzoner showed up to a political summit in Oklahoma with Junior’s cheesecake for all. [NYS]
Jennifer LeRoy sees another 30 years of LeRoy ownership at Tavern on the Green, but she isn’t striking a deal with Donald Trump to keep the place. [Insatiable Critic]
When world adventurer Anthony Bourdain found out that Food Network would be re-airing episodes of his series A Cook’s Tour, he was sitting by a pool in Hawaii. His reaction? “This was like being unexpectedly groped and publicly slipped the tongue by the ugliest girl at the prom.” [Anthony Bourdain’s Blog/Travel Channel]
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]
Tom and Gisele Lock Lips at Nobu, ‘Full House’ Cast and the B-52sEarlier this week we linked to a Daily News item claiming Padma Lakshmi rudely refused complimentary dishes from Fiamma’s chef. A commenter wrote, “I was at Fiamma the night Padma was dining there and it absolutely did NOT go down that way. When the dishes arrived at the table, she thanked them profusely and apologized for being too full to eat any of them!” Whatever happened, Padma was just one of many celebs to chow down (or at least show up) at local restaurants this week, and here’s our gossip-column compendium of just who went where.
Padma Lakshmi Now Refusing FoodA juicy item in today’s Daily News has Grub Street stoner-goddess Padma Lakshmi acting like quite the diva at Fiamma. According to the report, chef Fabio Trabocchi created several dishes for her perusal, which the lanky Top Chef judge sent back in a huff. Fiamma denies it went down like that, and we admit it’s hard to imagine Padma being roused to scream about anything, but given her willingness to eat the swill served by her Top Chef contestants, a few plates of Trabocchian improvisation doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Tart Words From the ‘Chef’ Host [NYDN]
Related: The Salty Wit and Wisdom of Padma Lakshmi
Kate Moss Digs Le Royale; FreshDirect Fires 85 WorkersApparently the opening-night party at Le Royale was a success, drawing the likes of Kate Moss, who made out with the D.J.[Imbible/Citysearch]
Related: Le Royale Might Just Bring Nightlife Out of the Doldrums
Frank Bruni applauds restaurants seeking out new forms of hospitality, but is wary of the WiFi availability: “Will the glow of laptop screens and the percussion of typing become pervasive visual and aural backdrops for our meals?” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
A former Scores cocktail waitress is suing the owners for being told to act more like a stripper. [NYP]
Ben Stiller Crashes a Party at Fiamma, Penélope Cruz Makes Out at
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?
Back of the House
Platt Sees Only Disaster and Peril for Out-of-Town Chefs
With the recent news that the celebrated Charlie Trotter might be opening up an outpost here in New York, our thoughts turned to the whole phenomenon of out-of-town chefs and their usually disastrous forays to New York. We thought to contact our dour friend Adam Platt to see what kind of world-weary wisdom he might dispense on the subject. As expected, the big man had deep thoughts at the ready, and we transcribed our exchange for posterity, in case Charlie Trotter wants something to put on his refrigerator.
The Other Critics
Fiamma Earns Its Third Star; Love for Kenny ShopsinFiamma hits the three-star jackpot, tickling Frank Bruni in his sweet spot and earning itself the critical credibility Steve Hanson wanted when he hired Fabio Trabocchi. Bruni admits the place isn’t Italian, but he is in love with the ultrarich, ultracomposed food. [NYT]
Market Table took over the space that was Shopsin’s, and this gave the Randall Lane the good idea of reviewing both restaurants at the same time. Market Table earns four stars (out of six, mind you) for its solid food and gracious service. Kenny, in his new digs at Essex Street Market, gets three for his still terrific food and his not-so-gracious service. [TONY]
The Fiamma review should wash away any melancholy caused by Alan Richman’s lukewarm number on Primehouse, Fiamma’s sister. Richman likes the steaks pretty well and singles out crab cake for enthusiastic praise, but he casts a skeptical eye on pretty much everything else, from its resident bull-god to the Himalayan salt aging room. [Bloomberg]
Gordo Blog Better Than the Real Thing; Water Trend More RidiculousA true innovator has started a mock Gordon Ramsay blog with such posts as “What? Emeril’s boobs aren’t nice enough?” But when will someone step in to fill in the gaps at Chodoblog? [News Groper via Serious Eats]
Related: Food Network, Emeril No Longer Feeling the Love
No holiday parties at Chumley’s this year; according to the owner Steve Shlopak, the space has no ceiling and no floor. [NYO]
Even after a top-chef shuffle and “showdown between Fiamma, L’Impero and Alto … all three places have come through recent turmoil, and the good news is that they’re better than they were before,” says Steve Cuozzo. [NYP]
Jody Williams’s Wine Bar Serving in the West VillageGreenwich Village: Send off truffle fever with a wine-sodden bang at Babbo’s December 3 Vintage series, which includes a white-truffle tasting menu with wine pairings discussed by Peter Jamros. [Grub Street]
Hell’s Kitchen: Kyotofu is hosting a seven-course dinner-and-dessert sake pairing tonight at 7 p.m. [Grub Street]
Midtown West: The Frederick’s space on West 58th Street will be transformed into Jour et Nuit, a French-American bistro offering, you guessed it, brasserie classics like croque monsieurs and moules frites. [Restaurant Girl]
Soho: Fiamma is a little too liberal with its “Napkins of Shame,” which according to Bruni are a “bit of patchwork that makes the table look clean again” to the embarrassment of the messy diner. The critic was subjected to one himself while on a date. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] The Vosges bacon-chocolate bar is accused of not reaching its potential and tasting “more like the barnyard than the pig and more like the rubber tree than the cocoa pod.” [Chop Talk/Epicurious]
West Village: Jody Williams is previewing her new enoteca and salumeria Gottino at Greenwich Avenue near Perry Street. [Eater] The chef’s main stage, Morandi, is also serving a Thanksgiving dinner of rosemary roasted turkey with fennel and bruschetta stuffing. Those looking for turkey alternatives can arrive early for regular breakfast. [Grub Street]
In the Magazine
Fiamma, Tailor, and Turkey Carry the Weight This Week
This week’s issue carries a lot of freight, and there isn’t much room for consideration of the gluttonous arts. So the food content is slim — but potent! Adam Platt reviews two of the most anticipated debuts in recent years, those of genius dessert chef Sam Mason’s Tailor and Beard Award–winning chef Fabio Trabocchi’s New York debut at Fiamma. But that’s not all: There’s an In Season recipe for turkey-salad sandwiches, excuse us, tramezzini di tacchino, courtesy of ’inoteca’s Eric Kleinman; a guide to four very excellent Thanksgiving alternatives courtesy of Rob and Robin; and four new hotel restaurants likewise. We figured that with all the eating and cooking that’s going on this week, that should be plenty of food writing to get you by.
The Other Critics
A Star Swap for Alto & L’Impero; No Amore for Richman at FiammaThe Times’ verdict is in on Alto and L’Impero, and it’s the expected three and two stars, respectively. Lost in the Alto upgrade is the hard fact that L’Impero now enters the dreaded two-star limbo into which Frank Bruni puts any place neither transcendent nor mediocre. Personally, we would have had it at four and three. [NYT]
Alan Richman admires the new Fiamma (former home to Mike White) in a cool and distant way, finding the food busy and not at all Italian, although not exactly lousy by any means. No one will read this review and want to spend money to eat at Fiamma. [Bloomberg]
On the other hand, Restaurant Girl’s three-star review reads like a perfume ad, it’s so loving: “Like an artist, he paints deeply flavored ragu onto a pappardelle canvas, finished with tender ribbons of venison.” Ew! But Steve Hanson must be happy. [NYDN]
Virginia Pig Farmer Is the Toast of the New York Pork WorldIt sounds like a fairy tale: Some Spanish hogs, brought over by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century, take over an island off the coast of Georgia and run wild there for hundreds of years. Feral and boarlike, they are also about the best tasting pork imaginable, and cousins to the world’s most celebrated ham. Is it a fable, conjured by the heated imagination of foodies? Or an eye-opening truth, as irrefutable as a piece of gamey and rich roast pork? We’re happy to say that it’s the latter. Bev Eggleston, of Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia, has started selling his amazing pork to a handful of New York restaurants, and soon he may be giving the Spanish a run for their money in the ham business.
The Other Critics
Kudos to Park Avenue Autumn; Jeers to the Five GuysPark Avenue Autumn’s gimmicky concept might have turned Frank Bruni catty but for the fact that Craig Konketsu’s cooking is so flawlessly brilliant. The place got two stars, and the review reads like three. [NYT]
Paul Adams must be a happy man today just for the headline he came up with for his positive review of the cheese-centric newcomer Casellula: “The Cheese Stands Alone.” It sounds like it does, too, with what might be the best macaroni and cheese going. [NYS]
Peter Meehan puts the Five Guys, and their deliberately dried-out, overrated burger, in their place; Julia Moskin gives Market Table its first praise, a measured and thoughtful mini-review. [NYT]
The Annotated Dish
Trabocchi Reinvents Porchetta at FiammaFabio Trabocchi gained fame, and a James Beard award, for his modern Italian food at Maestro in Virginia. Now, he’s Michael White’s replacement at Fiamma, and his contemporary take on porchetta, the most intensely rural and down-market of dishes, is a fair example of Trabocchi’s style: “In Italy, porchetta is a pig on a spit with wild fennel. It’s either boned and stuffed in a meat-loaf shape or opened up, like a book, on a spit. It’s something we tried to reinvent with a modern version without losing the original flavors.” As always, mouse over the different elements to see them described in the chef’s own words.
Primehouse Opening in Flatiron; Trabocchi Siphoned Former Staff to SohoCarroll Gardens: New wine bar Black Mountain Wine House on Union Street is filled to the brim with lovely sipping ladies. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Flatiron: Diddy has closed Justin’s because it’s not big enough. [NYP] Stephen Hanson’s steakhouse, Primehouse, opens Monday. [Zagat]
Harlem: Fall registration is open for free proper-dining lessons at “New York City’s only tuition-free etiquette school for children,” the Development and Finishing Institute. [Uptown Flavor]
Soho: New Fiamma chef Fabio Trabocchi “brought with him 12 members of the staff of Maestro, in McLean, Va., his previous employer” in order to ease his New York transition. [NYT]
Upper East Side: David Burke’s Hudson Valley Foie Gras ‘PB&J’ Tourchon is pushing it. [NYO]
Williamsburg: The best way to be sure your beef is prime is to eat at a top steakhouse, and lucky for you, according to “Amy Rubenstein, whose family owns Peter Luger, the shortage is over.” [NYP]
Matthew Kenney Is Alive and Well and Selling Food in MidtownEast Village: A customer who complained to the waiter who took her drink at Butter was apparently told “We’re just doing our job here” and “Look — I’m clearing a full drink right now” before being referred to as Babygirl. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Fort Greene: The Fort Greene Park Conservancy Gala Wine Tasting will be held on October 1 in the rooftop gardens of the Forte Condo project. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Hell’s Kitchen: Gaucho Steak on Tenth Avenue at 51st Street now serves egg empanadas and chocolate-banana-macadamia-nut pancakes for weekend brunch. [Grub Street]
Midtown West: Former Pure Food and Wine chef Matthew Kenney has opened a lunch spot on West 45th Street called FreeFoods NYC, and though the food isn’t free, it does come in compostable containers. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
West Village: Ruth Reichl on the haute Italian at Fiamma: “lovely experience; whether it is one that New York will want is another question.” [Choptalk/Gourmet]
Colors Workers Rebel; Whole Foods Getting Into Craft BeerThe workers of Colors, originally envisioned as a co-op for orphaned Windows on the World employees, have sued the restaurant and the advocacy group that runs it, claiming that in fact none of them actually own any part of it. [NYP]
Related: Marxist Meals Served at Co-op Eateries
Whole Foods will be opening up a craft-beer bar with tap brews sold in carryout growlers — in September. [NYS]
Animal activism has come of age, which is good news for calves, old hogs, and other unlucky beings that might otherwise be facing unspeakable fates. [NYT]
Catherine Zeta-Jones Waitressed at Fiamma; Great New Pizzeria DiscoveredIf Catherine Zeta-Jones had just stuck with it, she could have succeeded as a waitress, or even a line cook, at Fiamma. [NYP]
There’s a new top pizzeria in town, Isabella’s Oven on Grand Street — and it even has a garden. [Slice NY]
The copyright carousel goes round and round: First Daniel Boulud lays it on humble DB Bistro in Forest Hills, then gets laid into by CBGB. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Scott Conant Takes Leave of Alto, L’ImperoIt looks like Scott Conant, one of the city’s top Italian chefs, will be leaving Alto and L’Impero. Neither restaurant will confirm, but a high-level source with professional connections to Conant and Chris Cannon (co-owner of the restaurants) tells us that former Fiamma chef Michael White will replace Conant in both kitchens. The decision to part was supposedly pretty friendly, though based on longstanding disagreements between Conant and Cannon on how to move forward with their partnership. L’Impero will maintain its focus on southern Italian food, Alto on northern, but our source expects that White will introduce new menus by mid-August.
Back of the House
B.R. Guest and Buy Our Restaurant GroupWe hear from one of our most reliable sources that a very, very big restaurant deal is about to go through. According to him, the B.R. Guest group, owners of fourteen big Manhattan restaurants including Atlantic Grill, Fiamma, and the Dos Caminos locations, are about to be sold to zillionaire Barry Sternlicht of the Starwood Capital group. B.R. Guest denies it, but apparently, owner Steve Hanson has been looking to unload the group for some time and is already doing business with Sternlicht, a former hotel magnate now wheeling and dealing in private equity and real estate. Looks like we’re about to be somebody else’s guest.
My Wife and I Demand to Know What Happened to Fiamma
Dear Grub Street,
My wife and I dined the other night at Fiamma in Soho. The big surprise was not the empty room but the mediocre food. I asked if Michael White, the chef we’ve followed over the years, was in the kitchen, and the waiter leaned in to say quietly that the chef had actually quit two weeks ago and that he had done so the week his Fiamma cookbook had been delivered. I have not read anything about this move anywhere.