Hill Country’s Pit-Smoked Easter; Commerce Bartender No FoolEast Village: The dishes in Rhong-Tiam’s spice challenge (the prize for finishing the tasting menu is free dinner at a different Thai restaurant) aren’t as unbearably spicy as you’d expect, and the chef will give you a beer when you’re finished. [Gothamist]
Flatiron: Hill Country’s serving up a pit-smoked Easter dinner this Sunday. [Strong Buzz]
Fort Greene: A boatload of restaurants in the neighborhood are offering prix fixe dinners for $23 next week for Dine in Brooklyn, including Chez Oskar, Olea, and Scopello. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Harlem: A reader feels that Slice NY severely underrates Patsy’s. [Slice NY]
West Village: Commerce’s bartender deals adeptly with douche bags. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Back of the House
Publicity Gambit at Carlyle Inspires Our Oscar-Themed Beverage Menu
In a shameless (but successful, and we have to admit, brilliant) bid for free publicity, James Sakatos, executive chef at the Carlyle hotel, has come up with a menu of dishes inspired by this year’s Oscar nominees. There’s a tart for Juno (a cheap shot), “black ink risotto with blood orange foam for There Will Be Blood,” the ink standing in for oil, and the blood-orange foam for, well, blood; Dover sole for Michael Clayton because “George Clooney’s morally conflicted lawyer found his ‘sole’ and ultimately did the right thing,” and so on.
Don’t Be an Ass, You’ll Be Made to Wait; Park Slope Gets Its BeerClinton Hill: John’s Donut Shop & Restaurant looks like an unassuming diner, but a recent visit revealed an actual wait. Do people know something we don’t know? [Clinton Hill Blog]
Dumbo: Water Street Restaurant is promoting $3 Draft Beers and a 2-for-1 Cheeseburger Special on Sunday. [Dumbo NYC]
Flatiron: If you get to Hill Country at 8 p.m. on a Saturday and come 9 p.m. you’re still waiting for a table, you’ve now struck “Shot o’clock,” according to GM John Shaw, “gratis shots for all at the bar.” [Eater]
Little Italy: This is proof that the city’s nightlife is still hot: “Degenerates of nyc in full swing at gold bar. 19 yr old Brazilians having makeshift photo shoots as the party floods into the D.J. booth to play with the new mac computers.” Only Bangkok could be hotter than that! [Down by the Hipster]
Park Slope: Beer Table, whose SLA woes were chronicled by the Times this week, will open Saturday. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Tribeca: A bit of diner rudeness has been spotted around town lately — stool-swiping, line-cutting, table-hogging — but there’s a bit of consolation (and warning to offenders): Nobu co-owner Richie Notar revealed “they get secretly punished with extra-long waits.” [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Robbie Richter and Hill Country Part WaysIt’s a sad day for New York barbecue: Hill Country and pitmaster Robbie Richter have parted ways, a mutual decision both sides say was amicable. Richter, whose salt-and-pepper-powered Texas-style barbecue has been a huge critical success, says “there are new barbecue horizons, new directions, a world of flavors and techniques that I need to start exploring.” What might those be? Richter won’t say – yet. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Hill Country owner Marc Glosserman calls Richter “a passionate cook and a great champion of barbecue.” Pitmaster duties will be taken over by Pete Daversa, a Blue Smoke veteran who’s been running basic barbecue operations under Richter since Hill Country opened.
Related: The Mystery of the Pitmasters Stymies the ‘Times’
Back of the House
This Year’s ‘Saveur’ 100 Is Thin on the NYC Love
We know another year has gone by in the food world because the Saveur 100 is out. The list “offers a vivid snapshot of the wide … world of food,” says the magazine, so the picks skewed global — licorice from New Zealand, anyone? — but we are, as always, only interested in the New York stuff.
The New York Diet
Jonathan Lethem Fuels His Writing With ‘White Trash’ SandwichesBoerum Hill resident and author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude Jonathan Lethem is at work on a still untitled novel that’s set on the Upper East Side and features a character that’s always seen eating either an H&H bagel or a burger deluxe from Jackson Hole. The author also happens to be a bagel lover and tends to wolf them down with egg and cheese during writing breaks, something he describes as an “abject New York style of white-trash eating.” Of course, he’d never indulge in that for breakfast. “My tendency,” he says, “is to go from purity to decadence, like I’m reliving the fall of a great empire.” Here he recounts the rise and fall of his diet this week.
Pig Farmer to Deliver Pigs in Pig-Fueled Truck
Bev Eggleston, the Virginia pig farmer trying to revive Ossabaw pigs, has refitted his truck to run on barbecue grease! He’s struck up a symbiotic friendship with Hill Country’s Robbie Richter (Richter gets to try great pork, Bev gets to eat great barbecue), and the two have come to an understanding by which Richter will save his grease for Eggleston’s special diesel engine. The idea’s not as crazy as it sounds: San Francisco asks restaurants to recycle grease for the city’s bus fleet.
Live Poultry Not Live for Long in Woodside; Champagne at ParadouDumbo: The Japanese publication Mapple released a guide to the nabe and recommends Jacques Torres Chocolate, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and Grimaldi’s as top picks. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: You don’t need to hunt down any Danish to track Frank Bruni; he’s a huge fan of Death & Co (and hopes the bar’s not really in trouble). [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Meatpacking District: A $25 Champagne tasting at Paradou next Tuesday also comes with snacks. [Paradou NYC]
Midtown: A rare bottle of scotch fetched $54,000 at Christie’s liquor auction last night. The Rob Roys we made with it were great. [Food and Wine]
Woodside: For a truly hands-on holiday meal, you can head to Bismillah Live Poultry market in the warehouse quarter; choose your “turkey out of a flock of around 30, and off it went in a shopping cart to be slaughtered, scalded in hot water, and plucked by the staff. Fifteen minutes later it emerged in a bag, warm to the touch, its fat tail sticking out.” [The Grinder/Chow]
Back of the House
The Mystery of the Pitmasters Stymies the ‘Times’The Times, touching on a story Grub Street broke when Moses was in short pants, had a big feature on the dearth of experienced pitmasters Sunday, pegged on GS pal Big Lou Elrose of Wildwood. The piece marvels at the quick ascent of Big Lou from working an Ozone Park lunch wagon to his current post, but in fact, Elrose’s bones were made as Adam Perry Lang’s right hand man in competition; the lunch wagon was just a lark. Still, the city’s top pitmasters are as baffling to food writers as they are to the general public. Their job is hard to understand, because nothing they do happens while customers are present to observe. The pitmaster’s art is exercised in the dead night, in secrecy and silence, and outside observers rarely get any glimpse of what it involves. There is one factor that never changes, though, and will always separate real pitmasters from merely titular ones.
Molecular Gastronomist Wows Them in Rare New York AppearanceHervé This, the famous French scientist who coined the term “molecular gastronomy,” yesterday made a rare New York appearance, lecturing first at the Institute of Culinary Education, then at NYU before the Experimental Cuisine Collective, and finally before the Culinary Historians of America at the soon-to-open Astor Center downtown. We were fascinated by This’s PowerPoint presentation, which featured food images, mathematical formulas, Venn diagrams, and images of classical artwork, all accompanied by gnomic, rambling commentary on the nature of things edible. (There seemed to be a lot of stuff about emulsification in there as well.) The truth is that we could make neither head nor tail of the talk, which apparently was totally different at each of the three appearances.
Mr. Cutlets’s Crash Course: Turkey
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, not a few readers have written in to ask for advice about turkeys. Though we would never consider abandoning the big bird, we’ve had it grilled, boiled, deep-fried, stuffed with a duck, and just about any other way you can name — usually with little improvement to show for it. But smoking seems to be the one technique that brings turkey to the next level, and so we turned to our old pal Robbie Richter, pitmaster at Hill Country BBQ. We grabbed a turkey, a big syringe, a few other supplies, and headed out to Rego Park to Robbie’s mother’s house to do the backyard turkey thing par excellence. The results are here to see; the list of ingredients is available after the jump.
Colicchio, Samuelsson, Hall, Others Shine at Taste of New York
Though the event did not run late, the food at last night’s Taste of New York was beyond reproach: Suba’s Seamus Mullen produced some ridiculously rich and crispy oxtail croquettes, and the Ciao Bella guys served a Turkish yogurt gelato that stopped visitors in their tracks. Hill Country’s beef riblets were one of the hits of the show, requested by other chefs even as they labored behind their own tables. Meanwhile, Jim Meehan of PDT was setting out the apple cocktails that seemed to be in everybody’s hands.
In Other Magazines
‘Esquire’ to New York: Drop DeadAre you kidding us? Only a trio of New York spots made Esquire’s “best new restaurants” list. And while the places described all sound good, if the likes of Rialto in Cambridge have all but three New York restaurants beat, then Pace is the new Harvard. The fact is this list represents a kind of trans-Hudson affirmative action for the restaurant world. Food columnist John Mariani picks good restaurants located outside New York in place of the more deserving restaurants inside the city limits, such as Insieme, Sfoglia, Ssäm Bar, Suba, Hill Country, and many others. It’s not their fault that New York has more good places than the rest of the country put together!
Sushi Comes to Prospect-Lefferts at LastFlatiron: Hill Country has unveiled a special cocktail list that makes use of artisanal Texas vodka Tito’s (also found in house cocktails at Morandi). [Down by the Hipster]
Long Island City: Even though its cheese soup is awfully cheesy, Bricktown Bagel Cafe is a welcome addition to the area for its comfy chairs and the mere fact that it’s not a liquor store. [LIC-NYC]
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Sushi Tatsu is opening a second location on Flatbush in the space that was China City. [Across the Park]
Soho: Real-estate mogul Andrew Borrok plans to open a four-star restaurant next year with no concern for profits. [Eater]
Upper East Side: If you’re an adult, it’s best to avoid Bemelmans Bar on weekend afternoons when the iconic hotel lounge hosts a “Madeline tea party” for grade schoolers. [NYDN]
Pigskin Parties Kick Off at Hill Country; Rickshaw Delayed Yet AgainChelsea: Hill Country has added big TV screens and plans on being party central for football games. [Grub Street]
Gramercy: Rodeo Bar is now the second place in New York to carry Shiner Bock. [Grub Street]
Greenwich Village: The ballyhooed opening of Rickshaw Dumpling Bar is delayed yet again. [Eater]
Long Island: The first mug shot is made public in the Josie Malave gay-bashing case. [TMZ]
Long Island City: Feminist beer and good salsa are to be found in a new spot in industrial LIC. [Joey in Astoria]
Midtown: Toloache is still your only spot in the neighborhood for grasshopper tacos. [Gothamist]
Williamsburg: Been feeling that what the area needed was a vegetarian Caribbean restaurant? Well, you’re in luck. [Bottomless Dish]
Women Chefs Congregate in Chelsea; Sam Mason Has Fans on the LESChelsea: 25 women chefs including Anita Lo and Del Posto pastry chef Nicole Kaplan will cook at a cancer benefit at Pier 60 on Monday. [Restaurant Girl]
Related: Women Chefs Come Out in Force For Benefit
Flatiron: Hill Country hosts 4-Foodies on September 18 for the online group’s second tasting event. [4-Foodies]
Harlem: Mexican street vendors will prepare the fare at Restaurante La Hacienda on September 19 for a Tamale and Tequila Tasting organized by the non-profit group Esperanza del Barrio. [Uptown Flavor]
Lower East Side: Tailor gets high marks from opening-night diners who may not have understood the menu, but appreciated the results. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Midtown West: A food cart on 46th Street at Sixth Avenue is serving up special Ramadan “break-the-fast” boxes. [Midtown Lunch]
Tribeca: Cognac week at Brandy Library means free tastings every night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Saturday.
Flappers Seen at Harlem’s Live-Poultry MarketEast Village: Between securing a liquor license and finishing construction on what will be Sakaya sake store, the owners are blogging. [Down by the Hipster]
Flatiron: A BBQ tasting at Hill Country is the next stop for 4-Foodies; the event includes meeting the chefs and leaving with swag. [4-Foodies]
Harlem: “A few seemed comatose, their heads lolling, but most were lively” at La Granja live-poultry market on Amsterdam Avenue at 126th Street. The roasted results are so much better than supermarket chickens. [NYS]
Lower East Side: Months of Craigslist ads must have done some good, Tailor has scored Room 4 Dessert veteran Pam Yung as the fifth member of its kitchen team. [NYS]
Meatpacking District: Paradou’s next dirty bingo night is September 18: kinky prizes furnished by Kiki De Montparnasse.
Midtown East: Condolences to those who like a good frisking before lunch, the afternoon buffet in the U.N. Delegates Dining Room will be closed to the public from September 25 – October 5 while the General Assembly convenes. [NewYorkology]
The Other Critics
Franny’s Gets the All-Purpose Two Stars; Southern Hospitality Praised forFranny’s is the recipient of one of Frank Bruni’s periodic low-end caprices, and gets awarded an absurd two stars as a result. [NYT]
Paul Lukas, a pretty serious student of barbecue, delivers the verdict on the new barbecues, and the surprise is that Southern Hospitality has some pretty damn good Memphis ribs. Hill Country, it goes without saying, gets lauded as the best BBQ in town. [NYS]
Related: Insatiable Critic: Southern Hospitality
“Rivulets of delicious grease are a common theme” is the key note to Paul Adams’s review of Borough Food and Drink. Mmmm…grease…. [NYS]
Hill Country Delivers in Flatiron; Music Coffeehouse Comes to ChelseaAstoria: “Restaurant/cafe/bar/club type establishment” Apollon has closed. [Joey in Astoria]
Chelsea: Next Tuesday music production school DubSpot is opening a cafe on 14th Street at 9th Avenue that will feature La Colombe coffee. [Blog Chelsea]
Flatiron: Hill Country’s now delivering from 21st to 31st Street between 8th avenue and Park, but if you order enough ’cue they’ll lug it anywhere. [Grub Street]
Forest Hills: Shwarma destination On the Grill now sprinkles fried, lemony, Moroccan style jalapeños on its platters. [Gothamist]
East Village: Il Buco is closed for yearly renovations, but will reopen September 5th. [Grub Street]
Harlem: Canines and their humans can unite this Saturday for the first St. Nick’s Dog Park Coffee Bark of September. [Uptown Flavor]
Hill Country Pits Graffiti Grows Worse Each DayHill Country was born old. The day it opened, its walls and air vents had been painstakingly smoked-stained, and its floors distressed to look as if 10,000 gluttons had waddled across it over the years. But the pits were brand-new. Not so anymore: After one summer of operation, they’re now signed with the regards of dozens of chefs, politicians, celebrities, and members of the barbecue underground.
Meatopia V: Grilled Gore and Guts The response to our Meatopia V contest has been overwhelming. Grub Street is populated by committed carnivores who have filled our meat cooler with brilliant ideas for next year’s edible animal gala. We’ll highlight some of the best throughout the day and announce the winners tomorrow. (Entry deadline is 6 p.m. today.) Here are three of our favorites.
Gorge on BBQ in Chelsea This SundayChelsea: Hill Country, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Mara’s Homemade are all taking part in the Hudson River Park Trust’s Blues BBQ on Pier 54 this Sunday from 2 to 9 p.m. [TONY]
East Village: Monday’s Regional Dinner at Mercadito will highlight Mexico’s southern region with a menu featuring banana-leaf-wrapped pork and tres leches cake. [Grub Street]
Flatiron: Hill Country is hiring someone who can cut meat — must love high-energy restaurants. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: Wylie Dufresne switched up the bread at wd-50 from black to white sesame-seeded flatbread. [At the Sign of the Pink Pig]
Midtown West: Today is the last day of the Rockefeller Center greenmarket, but a farmer tells us there may be a deal to bring it back for fall. [Grub Street]
Soho: The developer behind the new glass hotel that will overlook 60 Thompson is Brack Capital Real Estate. [Down by the Hipster]
Times Square: Mickey D’s at 46th Street and Broadway is testing out a new Angus third-pounder that’s both thicker and juicier than their basic patty. [A Hamburger Today]
West Village: Jarnac has reopened with a new paint job, but in a week they’ll shut down again for summer vacation. [Eater]
Whole Foods’ Master Plan Revealed; Chodorow Back on the WarpathWhole Foods’ master plan for local domination, code-named (no kidding) Project Goldmine, is accidentally released to the public by federal regulators. [NYT]
Jeffrey Chodorow’s war against Frank Bruni continues with another Times ad. [Eater]
Buddhists buy $7,000 worth of eels, frogs, and turtles from Chinatown markets and then release the fortunate animals into the Passaic River. Where they immediately died from toxic shock. (Okay, we made the last part up.) [NYP]
Notes on the Local Barbecue Revolution
Is the great Calvin Trillin rubbing his eyes in wonderment? Has New York become, after years of bitterness and complaint, a kind of glittering Kansas City by the sea? Or is New York actually a better barbecue town, these days, than K.C. or Memphis or any of the other fabled smoke pits around the country? With the success of Kansas City facsimiles like RUB, Danny Meyer’s annual BBQ festival, and the recent arrival of Hill Country, some respected barbecue hounds actually think so. And what does the Gobbler think? The Gobbler thinks barbecue is a lot better and more ubiquitous in the big city than it used to be. Here’s his guide to the new barbecue revolution.
In the Magazine
What Is Summer for But Barbecue, Ice Cream, and Vegetables?Summer’s end is already in sight: The All-Star Game is in the books, and another Fourth of July has passed without America being challenged by either the British or savage conquerors from another planet. All that remains are the most basic elements of summer eating: barbecue, ice cream, and fresh vegetables. And that happy trinity constitutes this week’s food section. Adam Platt finally finds barbecue happiness at Hill Country, so much so that the loquacious critic was reduced to declaring the ribs “really, really good.” Also on the subject of barbecue, Rob and Robin announce the debut of three more places, from a New Hampshire Yankee, a former boy-band star, and two ex–Blue Smoke cooks. The Robs also give the world their definitive list of the city’s top four ice-cream places (the best one rhymes with “Tom”). Finally, there’s a conspicuously healthy recipe for zucchini with mint and scallions via the Slow Food haven Franny’s, in (where else?) Park Slope.
Men Still Rule the Roost in Kitchens; April Bloomfield a Rai Rai Ken FanIt’s still a man’s world in the kitchen, as Annisa’s Anita Lo or Ratatouille’s Collette can tell you. [NYDN]
Count April Bloomfield in the Rai Rai Ken camp when it comes to the ramen wars. [Restaurant Girl]
Hill Country pitmaster and noted “barbejew” Robbie Richter has borderline cholesterol, a meat bond with Zak Pelaccio, and little interest in side dishes. [Metromix]
Related: Barbecue: The New Kosher Food?
The Other Critics
Hill Country Triumphs; Perilla Gets Measured Praise, Three Times OverPeter Meehan hails Hill Country as the barbecue to beat in New York, at least as far as beef is concerned: “[The deckle brisket] is a thing of balance and of beauty.” [NYT]
As much as Meehan liked the place, Steve Cuozzo may like it even more, not hesitating to crown it New York’s best: “Lots of New York places now claim to have ‘real’ barbecue, and some truly do. But until they catch up with Hill Country, they’re just blowing smoke.” [NYP]
15 East feels the glow of two-star approval, especially for its star octopus. Ushiwakamaru, though not as good, is cheaper, and that’s worth something. [NYT]
Kebab Cafe Alert: Ali Is Back in AstoriaAstoria: Kebab Cafe has reopened with Ali cooking in the renovated kitchen. [Joey in Astoria]
Flatiron: Bowing to pressure from locals, Hill Country has opened for weekday lunch service starting at 11:30 a.m. [Grub Street]
Fort Greene: In the iced-coffee bracket, new coffeehouse Bittersweet advances past fellow newbie Bidonville. Next up: Urban Spring. [Eat for Victory/VV]
West Village: Resident chanteuse Nancy Danino returns to Paradou this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: Egg has extended its hours to 3 p.m. and added a lunch menu. [Eater]
The Other Critics
Mercat Is Loud, Rayuela Is Packed, and Chicken Competition Is Fierce in FlushingFrank Bruni thinks Mercat’s tapas are good, as long as you steer clear of the seafood and don’t mind salt, but he’s a sourpuss when it comes to the atmosphere. “Some wonderful food, some clangorous acoustics: these are the defining traits.” Something to do with the glass of wine that was spilled on his vestments? [NYT]
Bruni may have been better off dining at Mercat’s bar, where Randall Lane dug the “lively scene.” He also liked what he ate — not exactly the case at Seamus Mullen’s relaunch of Suba. [TONY]
Ryan Sutton stalks chef Riccardo Buitoni at his new Soho spot Aurora and after spying him sipping wine declares him a “master of chill” — and apparently a fan of truffles. Meanwhile he finds Rayuela packed during an early visit and predicts it could be a “serious cocktail destination” with some tweaks. [Bloomberg]
Related: Rayuela Mixologist Junior Merino to Uncork His Latino Cocktail Program on Friday
Brooklyn Heights Barge to Feature a Fake Beach, With HamburgersAstoria: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden opens at 3 p.m. today and next Friday for teacher appreciation days. The public is welcome, and the BBQ’s sure to be fired up. [Joey in Astoria]
Brooklyn Heights: A swimming pool in a floating barge off the waterfront will take its maiden voyage July 4 and feature a man-made beach and concession stands. [NYP]
Chelsea: Hotelier André Balazs may have a hand in restoring the Chelsea Hotel. [NYP]
East Village: You need to send a recent photo of yourself if you plan on applying for one of the many positions still open at Tailor. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Flatiron: Former CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer will step in as front man to country band “Honky Tonk Confidential” on June 27 at Hill Country barbecue. Songs he’s written include “Little Lulu and Sister Hot Stuff” and “TV Anchorman.” [NYP]
Lower East Side: A tipster reports that Kossar’s Bialys has unveiled plans to sell hand-cut sushi from kosher vendor Eden Wok. [Grub Street]
Midwood: Dom De Marco’s scarlet letter from the Department of Health has been covered in expressions of support in the wake of DiFara’s most recent close. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Times Square: Brighton Beach’s Ladder Co. 169 brought home victory last night at Gallagher’s Fire Department grilled-steak-off fund-raiser. [NYDN]
Brooklyn Heights About to Get a Candlelit PizzeriaBrooklyn Heights: Oven, an “all candlelit, 150-label-wine-list pizza joint,” will soon open. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Flatiron: Hill Country barbecue does a preview, and Jason Perlow is there to document it in high-res detail. [Off the Broiler]
Flushing: A Fan Ti is doing amazing things with lamb. [Gothamist]
Long Island City: Water Taxi Beach to throw a “vegan extravaganza” on Saturday. [Joey in Astoria]
Lower East Side: Herring season has arrived at Russ & Daughters. [VV]
Park Slope: Rose Water chef Ethan Kostbar to leave in a few weeks. [NYT]
Hill Country Opens With a Texas Menu and a Half-Burned Piece of Oak
Hill Country, the new barbecue restaurant Rob and Robin unveil in this week’s Openings, has given itself a double challenge: It’s opening a stone’s throw from Blue Smoke and RUB and, if that weren’t enough, also attempting to emulate Kreuz Market, the most celebrated barbecue in all of Texas – the equivalent of trying to build a Katz’s in Corpus Christi. The restaurant’s menu, captured here in all its spartan glory, reflects its Texas aesthetic: Beef is the main event, and sides and sauces are areas of minor concern. The place is trying to marshal all the barbecue karma it can: Kreuz pitmaster Rick Schmidt has given the place his blessing, even bringing a half-burned log from Kreuz to ignite the first Hill Country fire. “If they keep the coals and embers going, the fire will be continuous,” the famed pitman says.
Restaurant Openings: Hill Country, Caffè Emilia, and Park Avenue Summer [NYM]
Hill Country menu
Earlier: Hill Country to Challenge Blue Smoke, RUB on Their Own Turf
In the Magazine
Summer Brings Hot Dogs, Barbecue, and Department-Store Salads
Summer is upon us at last, and with it come the inevitable summer foods: hot dogs, barbecue, snap peas, salad … and pappardelle with truffles and butter. Well, not every food consumed in the hot months is inevitable. But this issue comes packed with hot-weather options. The Underground Gourmet reviews Willie’s Dawgs and PDT, the new chic cocktail lounge attached to Crif Dogs (you’ll have to read to understand). The city’s most ambitious barbecue opening yet happens this week; Gael Greene is very taken with Aurora Soho’s reverse commute; Pichet Ong takes off from the dessert business to create a killer sugar-snap-pea recipe; and Rob and Robin offer both a guide to the city’s top department-store salads and a quiz to determine your green-eats quotient, a test which only the most narrowly focused carnivore could possibly fail.
Brooklyn Pigfest Suffers Notable Pig ShortageThe Seventh Annual Brooklyn Pigfest was held this past weekend and, except for the part about running out of food, was a huge success. Hundreds of people paid $85 a head to eat some of the city’s best barbecue, cooked up by the combined forces of the Waterfront Ale House and the soon-to-open Hill Country BBQ. Both teams had to scramble, though, as a result of organizers having wildly underestimated the number of attendees. Many frustrated figures were left standing in line with little to show for their time and money but some hastily cooked ribs — if that.
Hill Country to Challenge Blue Smoke, RUB on Their Own TurfHill Country BBQ, we’ve learned from owner Mark Glosserman, has officially signed its lease and begun construction at 30 West 26th Street, just a few blocks from Blue Smoke and RUB . Isn’t it bad medicine to open so close to a pair of established, busy barbecues? Says Glosserman: “It’s a great spot, and the price was right, and we’re in a big office building, so there will be a lot of traffic even though it’s a side street. We have a lot of faith in our product.” No doubt. But we actually like Hill Country’s chances. New Yorkers have shown a willingness to go the extra mile to eat great barbecue: Daisy May’s BBQ sat on a desolate stretch of Eleventh Avenue and didn’t even have tables; RUB ran out of meat every night; Blue Smoke barely had any smoke flavor during its first year, as a result of chimney malfunction. Glosserman hired the best barbecue cooker in the city, Robert Richter. If Hill Country delivers the goods, New Yorkers will support it … right?