BiCE’s New Milanese Bistro Open in Midtown West; Gary Robbins PreparingBedford-Stuyvesant: Egg didn’t make this list of top southern eats, but Five Spot Soul Food at 459 Myrtle Avenue was picked as a fave since dishes like Kentucky Turkey Chops and Charleston Low Country Smothered Chicken “sound good” even if they’re not necessarily authentic classics. [Gridskipper]
Chelsea: Klee Brasserie’s open for brunch and dinner on Easter, and you can order the “Thinly Sliced Easter Ham & Bio Egg,” which combines honey-glazed ham, deviled eggs, and capers, at both seatings. [Grub Street]
Lower East Side: The new vegetarian restaurant Broadway East adds to its sustainability cred by featuring local beer and wine. [Zagat Buzz]
Midtown East: The first soft-shell crabs of the season are now available at the Oyster Bar. [Grub Street]
Midtown West: Bistro Milano from team BiCE has opened at 1350 Sixth Avenue, and sidewalk seating opening this spring will double the restaurant’s 70-cover capacity. [TONY]
West Village: “Chef Gary Robins was the best thing to happen to the most recent Russian Tea Room relaunch. So, naturally, he was fired.” But, you’ll be able to taste his cooking downtown this spring, when rustic restaurant Sheridan Square opens at 134 Seventh Avenue South. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Gary Robins to Try His Hand at ‘Rustic Elegance’ at Sheridan SquareThe mystery of Gary Robins’s new West Village restaurant has been solved. The former Biltmore Room and Russian Tea Room chef tells us that his new place, in the space that formerly housed Café Rafaella and Central Kitchen, will be a New American restaurant called Sheridan Square. There will be a wood-burning oven and a wood grill, and the menu, though something of a departure from Robins’s usual luxe style, will have “a little bit of rustic elegance to it.”
Russian Tea Room Hires Marc Taxiera As ChefThe Russian Tea Room has found itself a new chef: former Beppe boss Marc Taxiera. Only in his first few weeks there, Taxiera is already revamping the menu, which has been in a state of suspended animation since former chef Gary Robins got the mitten in February. Taxiera has flown under the radar a little but is actually one of the more talented young chefs in town: Despite having no experience other than an ICE externship at Felidia and a job on the line at Baldoria, he did so well at Beppe that he was promoted from within when chef Cesare Casella left the restaurant to concentrate his energies on Maremma. Even though it’s on what is usually thought of as a cursed street, Beppe continued to flourish, owing largely to Taxiera’s smart, muscular menu. Whether all that translates into Russian is another story, but it’s a smart move for the embattled Russian Tea Room.
Related: Russian Tea Room Fires Gary Robins, and Robins Fires Back
A (Near) Gary Robins Sighting Nothing against the articles, but it’s the ads in the Times dining section that we’re obsessed with. First there was Jeffrey Chodorow’s “Dear Mr. Wells” rant, followed by Jeffrey Chodorow’s “Dear Frank” letter, and now this intriguing tidbit buried at the bottom of an ad for a Macy’s Cellar cooking event in the August 29 edition:
Thursday, September 27, Executive Chef Gary Robins from the legendary and romantic restaurant One if By Land, Two if By Sea, prepares a perfect meal for special occasions!
Back of the House
Russian Tea Room Fires Gary Robins, and Robins Fires BackWhen a restaurant gets off to a shaky start the way the Russian Tea Room has, a high-priced chef is often the first to go. And sure enough, after running into trouble — which became apparent early on, when we noted a less “than a quarter-capacity crowd at 9 p.m. on Saturday night” — the Tea Room has just given chef Gary Robins his walking papers. But Robins didn’t take his dismissal lying down, giving the Eater boys a detailed insider’s account of the near-chaos engulfing the place — not to mention a long passage from an e-mail he wrote to owner Hasan Biberaj, calling his behavior “deceitful and wrong.”
Robins on Russian Tea Room: ‘Opened Without Being Ready, Understaffed in All Areas’ [Eater]
First Look Inside the Russian Tea Room
We’ve been hearing for a couple of weeks now that the Russian Tea Room is about to reopen in its old location. (Read Gael Greene’s account of the institution here.) Outside of a few rumors and a U2-like spy photo on Eater, there hasn’t been much info on what to expect from the new iteration. But in a glasnostlike gesture, the restaurant has thrown open its doors to Grub Street and our cameras.
Russian Tea Room Back From the DeadNot that we remember ever eating there — who does? — but New York has never seemed the same without the Russian Tea Room, which closed in 2002. (A lone dividend: Former RTR chef Muhammed Rahman went on to launch his famous midtown lunch cart, Kwik Meal.) Now, however, Restaurant Girl reports that the Tea Room will reopen in late October or early November. They’re taking on former Biltmore Room chef Gary Robins but losing the chandeliers. The new Russian Tea Room will be a lot like the old one, in spirit anyway, with 40 vodkas (some making their New York debut) and four sommeliers. Now if only they could get Rahman back!