Modernity Encroaches on Katz’s Once AgainKatz’s, like all sacred spaces, is an affront to the forces of progress; and it seems that the 21st century is intent on battering all its most glorious traditions with the gale-force winds of the Zeitgeist. First came the real-estate boom and, with it, the threat that some developer will buy the place and build a giant condo there. Then, earlier this winter, the Health Department sent its spiteful functionaries in to condemn the mother of all delis for selling salami the way they have for 120 years. In a ritual of degradation, the Health Department poured bleach on the precious beef sausages, to ensure they would never be consumed. (A similar atrocity occurred last year at Il Buco and is remembered in food circles as the Great Soppressata Massacre.)
Johnny Iuzzini Is the Badass You Want Him to Be; Bloomfield vs. an Iron ChefIn true badass-with-a-softer-side form, the latest rock-star pastry chef Johnny Zs reveals he dreamed of becoming a stuntman before discovering his love for baking. [Restaurant Girl]
The Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield is stepping into the ring this morning to battle an undisclosed Iron Chef. [Down by the Hipster]
True top chef André Soltner formerly of Lutece goes on about the pros and cons of food TV. [Newsday]
Is This the Last Saturday for the Red Hook Vendors?
Things have looked dire for the Red Hook vendors for much of the summer, with first the Parks Department and then the Department of Health threatening their future. As Porkchop Express reported last week, the DOH popped in for a surprise inspection and was shocked — shocked! — to find no running water there. So will the situation be remedied by this weekend, when inspectors are rumored to show up again? Doubtful, says vendor representative Cesar Fuentes. “They want us to have hot and cold running water, a refrigerated truck to store food in, all the food prepared either in a restaurant or in a DOH-approved preparation facility, and a lot of other things.”
Health Department Takes Out China GrillWhile we can’t wait for the Health Department’s regulatory rampage to end, let it at least be said that it treats the great and the obscure alike. Jeffrey Chodorow’s flagship restaurant, China Grill, was closed this afternoon by the DOH for the walk-in refrigerator being warmer than rules permit and a few other ticky-tacky offenses (according to a hastily issued press release). China Grill Management, Chodorow’s corporation, will no doubt pour out some money and have the place up and running in a couple of days, if not sooner. But Chodo, like everyone else who has felt the whip of the city’s clipboard-wielding inspectors, knows who’s boss now.
BREAKING: China Grill Shuttered by Dept. of Health [Eater]
Pret a Manger Set for Huge Expansion Here; Ramsay Bans BluefinBritish sandwich chain Pret a Manger is launching an expansion of Starbucks-like proportions, announcing plans to open 33 more locations in New York — four times the current number. “If New York could support one on every corner, we’d love that,” the company’s head says. [NYS]
Related: Out to Lunch [NYM]
Urged by the Marine Conservation Society, Gordon Ramsay pulls endangered bluefin tuna from all his restaurants. [NRN]
The Department of Health’s current closure rampage continues with Union Picnic in Williamsburg, Café Angelique, and J’adore in Manhattan. [Eater]
The Inhouse Nosh Café Fights City Hall—and WinsWhat if Don Quixote had knocked over the windmill or Sisyphus had gotten over the hump? It wouldn’t be more inspiring than the news that Andy Spitz, owner of the New York Magazine building’s luncheonette, the Inhouse Nosh Café, has won his fight against City Hall. According to Spitz, he made such a powerful case before the Department of Health that they reversed themselves and let the Nosh Café reopen just days after being given 110 points.
Waverly Inn Dodges Health Department’s Bullet, Fedora Takes a Hit
Today the Times tells us that the Waverly Inn failed a recent health inspection. Presumably something to do with celebrity infestation. As far as we’re concerned, the more compelling story lies nearby at 239 West 4th Street, the address of another subterranean eatery, Fedora. On the night of Friday the 13th, a health inspector informed the former speakeasy’s proprietress of 55 years, 87-year-old Fedora Dorado, that he was shutting her down for 129 points worth of violations ranging from not having a sink behind the bar to evidence of mice (the restaurant has a garden). We reached her at her restaurant to hear a tale as woeful as the Inhouse Nosh saga.
Shuttered Mom-and-Pop Spot Pleads to Powers That Be
The heart-wrenching saga of the Inhouse Nosh Café, the Reason to Love New York that was shuttered by the Department of Health this week, got immeasurably more poignant the other day when we were given a copy of owner Andrew Spitz’s letter to Mayor Bloomberg. Having written a few hopeless missives in our own day, we read on with growing admiration.
The Health Department Rampage Hits Grub Street Close to Home
We’ve taken a lighthearted attitude to Department of Health closures in the past, but no more: Today, our own beloved Inhouse Nosh Café, immortalized in last year’s Reasons to Love New York issue and a daily source of bialys and good wishes, has been shut down after an inspector found a whopping 110 points’ worth of violations in the tiny canteen.
Jason Neroni Arrested, Taken Into CustodyJason Neroni, as we suggested might happen, has been arrested and charged. At last word, he was cooling his heels in the 76th Precinct. [Gawker]
Earlier: Neroni Is Indeed Free — for a Few Days, Anyway
The Department of Health’s crackdowns have cost the industry millions, claims the New York Restaurant Association. [NYP]
The Shake Shack was only the beginning: The New York hamburger now has to be natural, ethical, and very, very good to compete in a crowded landscape. [NYDN]
Were You Aware That Chinese Takeout Is High in Salt and Fat?Shocking health news of the day: Chinese food, at least the kind we eat in New York, is outrageously salty and fatty. [NYP]
Meanwhile, Chinese buns are only getting more popular in the city’s better restaurants. [NYDN]
Bret Thorn, Nation’s Restaurant News’ restaurant blogger and a longtime observer of the scene, gives his Beard Award picks. [Foodservice Blog/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Williamsburg: Subway Out, Silent H InConey Island : Having evicted and demolished the neighboring mini-golf course, Thor Equities neglects to renew the lease for beachside fave the Grill House. Where else are we supposed to get pretzels on hot dogs? [Gowanus Lounge]
East Village: Just in time for the 50-plus-degree weather, a Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory alum has opened a haute creamery on Avenue B near 14th Street. [DailyCandy]
Harlem: Gospel jazz comes to the Harlem Tea Room Friday night. Sure to be a wild evening. [Uptown Flavor]
Midtown East: Local prisons and the United Nations share a controversial food supplier, Aramark. Also, you’re allowed to smoke in the U.N. dining room. [Gridskipper]
West Village: Locals find a creative outlet to cope with fears of rat infestation: unchecked pun-making. [NewYorkology]
Williamsburg: Controversial Subway franchise on Bedford now up for sale. Comes with free trapper hat. [Curbed] Vinh Nguyen fulfills his dream of bringing good Vietnamese to New York, helping people pronounce his name with the opening of Silent H. (His dream of serving alcohol, on the other hand … ) [i’m not sayin, i’m just sayin]
Kitchen Abuse Exposed; Health Department Shutdowns TripleApparently, abuse of every kind is rampant in kitchens. Herewith, complaints leveled against Daniel, Jean Georges, Megu, Babbo, and more. [NYP]
Post–KFC–Taco Bell scandal, New York restaurant closures triple. [NYP]
Morandi is, like every other Keith McNally venture, a smashing success, and likely to remain so. [NYP]
John’s Is Back, If Not Better Than Ever; Colors in the RedDon’t worry about Lonesome Dove’s Tim Love. He’s doing fine back in Texas. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
John’s reopens, none the worse for wear after their brief run-in with the Health Department. [amNY]
Colors, the cooperative founded by former Windows on the World workers, continues to struggle with the economic realities of opening and running a Manhattan restaurant. [NYT]
Brian Young Storms Tavern on the Green; Chipotle Challenger Comes to TownColumbus Circle–Lincoln Center: Brian Young, formerly of Le Bernardin and now-closed Mainland, has been named executive chef of Tavern on the Green. [NYT]
East Village: Sorry, no video: The Department of Health shuts down Blue 9 Burger, citing them for mice. [east village idiot]
Midtown East: Colorado-based burrito chain Qdoba Mexican Grill opens its first NYC location on East 34th Street between Second and Third Avenues. Chipotle unphased. [NYS]
Williamsburg: Too soon to start that Saint Patrick’s Day bender? Brooklyn Brewery debuts new Belgian-style ale, Brooklyn Local 1, that packs 9 percent alcohol. [The Food Section]
Preemie Martini, Perfect for Baby Showers; Boston Market Versus NYC HealthChelsea: Boston Market on 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue is the latest West Side chain to be called out by the Department of Health. [Blog Chelsea]
Clinton Hill: The new Jelani Lounge offering a sick-sounding cocktail, possibly to serve especially at baby showers: the Preemie Martini. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Dumbo: Wild Edibles fish market set to open within Foragers Market later this week.
Flatiron: Free BBQ! On March 12, chef Aaron Sanchez teams up with pit master Chris Lilly and barbecue expert Rick Rodgers to grill and smoke in celebration of early daylight saving time. [NewYorkology]
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: K-Dog & Dunebuggy café celebrates its one-year anniversary today. Sorry, no freebies. [across the park]
Bloomberg Boasts of Many Health Department Closures; Rachael Ray BittenBloomberg doesn’t want you thinking the Health Department is slacking off. As a matter of fact, they’re boasting of closing places left and right. [NYP]
The B.R. Guest sale finally goes through. [NYP]
Related: Does David Burke Come With That Steakhouse? [Grub Street]
Mars 2112’s landlord is ready to give them the boot for hosting hip-hop parties. [NYS]
Back of the House
Customers Rush to Pizzeria’s DefenseThe Health Department can’t win for losing: Having failed to close the vermin-infested KFC–Taco Bell, they’re now taking heat for temporarily shutting down coal-oven institution John’s Pizzeria and neighboring Risotteria. Both restaurants protested their closure in the most emphatic terms, and their customers, far from being spooked, jumped right onboard. In a letter put up alongside the closure notice, John’s tells passersby that the city is “trying to save face”: “After SEVENTY years in business, they have decided we need a sink CLOSER TO the pizza-making area,” the note explains. Loyal customers have contributed their own sentiments: “First they came for the smokers,” wrote one libertarian, “then the pizza lovers.” Meanwhile, a punning Risotteria fan has declared that the inspectors are “full of beans.” Your move, Health Department.