Have a Cigar: Trattoria L’Incontro Gives Birth to a Wine BarThe wait for a table at Astoria’s Trattoria L’Incontro has long been an ordeal for Queens diners. Thank the outer-borough gods, then, that the restaurant’s opening a new wine bar, Vino di Vino, later this month. Right around the corner on Ditmars Boulevard, the wait-and-drink spot will have its own casual, small-plate menu centering on hot antipasti, cured meats, and cheese boards. But the big draw should be the wine list: 50 different varieties by the glass, with an emphasis on big reds like Amarones and Barolos. And, oh, the place will be enormous: 2,500 square feet. Finally, L’Incontro loosens its belt.
Vino di Vino, 29-21 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria; no phone yet.
Back of the House
Reservation: Impossible?If the advent of reservation scalpers like PrimeTime Tables and Weekend Epicure didn’t prove that good reservations are more in demand than ever, an article in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal pretty much makes an open-and-shut case. They used OpenTable, a free online reservation service, to try to get spots at the top 40 restaurants in the world, and often struck out; after 3,000 tries — calling every half-hour for six weeks straight — they still couldn’t score a 7 p.m. table at Del Posto. They do report some small triumphs: A San Francisco software engineer figured out how to get a reservation at the French Laundry by reloading an OpenTable page at exactly 11:59:55 a month in advance. And in fact, the free service is probably your best bet, despite the many strikeouts. Still, we prefer to simply call the same afternoon.
How to Get the Ungettable Table [WSJ]
Related: The Death of Paid Reservations?
Buy Steaks Out of a Van Near Flatbush AvenueBrooklyn Heights: Jack the Horse Tavern now serves brunch. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Chelsea: Checking in on Balducci’s: “If Marilyn Monroe were to come back as a cupcake, this is probably what she would look like.” [Blog Chelsea] Also, Cain bails on clubland for downtown, near GoldBar. [NYP]
East Village: Seder storytelling happening at Mo Pitkin’s tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m.; a ticket also gets you gefilte fish and hard-boiled eggs. [Mo Pitkin’s]
Fort Greene: Sordid tale of greed may have forced Christian Dennery to sell Liquor’s restaurant, but whatever: Where will we get our Bloody Marys? [Clinton Hill Blog]
Harlem: Café Largo has reopened after an exhausting four-year renovation; the space is sexier, and new brick oven? Could serve three restaurants. [Uptown Flavor] Meanwhile, could a former Associated supermarket become a W Hotel? [Harlem Fur]
Lower East Side: Chef Shane Coffey will leave his head post at Alias Restaurant by the end of April and move to … Aspen. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: “You like meat?”: Omaha steaks now available from unmarked vans near the Associated! [My Life in Brooklyn via Gowanus Lounge]