LeBron James and Anna Wintour Cozy Up at Waverly; Moby Makes Out at R BarWe weren’t surprised to read in “Page Six” today that Anna Wintour dined with LeBron James at the Waverly Inn. We passed their table on Tuesday, and when the ceilings are that low, it’s impossible to miss a six-foot-eight baller extracting himself from the center of a corner booth. James was patiently sitting next to the bathroom when we emerged, causing our waiter to remark, “You made LeBron James wait!” We couldn’t tell whether he was chastising us or congratulating us for no doubt costing the man a Benjamin of his time, but either way we felt a sense of accomplishment unknown since Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand queued up behind us at the Spotted Pig. The rest of this week’s sightings are heavy on the PDA.
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]
A New Food Blog From the ‘Times’; Can Dining Alone Get You a Date?The Times has launched a new food blog called Bitten that’s being written by “Minimalist”-column writer Mark Bittman. What’s in store for readers? “We’re going to look at great food made with everyday ingredients and readily achievable techniques — as The Minimalist has been doing for a decade — not food as something to be admired from afar, but as a part of daily life.” [Bitten/NYT]
Monkey Bar chef Chris Cheung thinks he deserves a little credit for making black miso cod so popular at Nobu. [Gothamist]
Several changes in their dining culture have led the Vietnamese to embark on a “rodent-eating bonanza.” [WSJ]
Full Houses at Gottino and El Quinto Pino, Room to Spare at Bar BlancLast time we ran a Spot Check, we dropped in on several newly opened East Village restaurants between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to take head counts (though in the case of Cantina, there were no heads to be counted). This Saturday we threw some love to the West Side and repeated the procedure with six new establishments in the West Village and Chelsea.
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.
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]
Doug E. Fresh Bringing Boxes of Chicken and Waffles to HarlemHarlem: Doug E. Fresh’s chicken-and-waffles restaurant is opening on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 132nd Street. [Uptown Flavor]
Long Island City: It was an orgy of animal fats at Saturday’s burger bash at Water Taxi Beach, as this slideshow dramatically demonstrates. [Off the Broiler]
Park Slope: Hotel Le Bleu (and its rooftop restaurant, Vue) has pushed back its opening to August 13. [NewYorkology]
Upper West Side: Grom has been stealing Beard Papa’s thunder, but the latter’s mango ice shower is just as refreshing as any gelato. And cheaper. [Ed Levine Eats]
West Village: Jody Williams’s new wine bar, Gottino, is coming along nicely on Greenwich Avenue. [Eater]
Williamsburg: The grubby Chinese place on Bedford Avenue by North 7th Street is turning Japanese. [Lost City]