Comic Patrice O’Neal Considers Himself a Big Buffet Dude
Patrice O’Neal became a comic after he decided he wasn’t really into football and has since gone on to host VH1’s Web Junk, as well as make appearances on HBO’s Def Jam Comedy Jam, Comedy Central, and The Office. If you catch his Valentine’s gig at Stand-Up NY tonight, you might hear him riff about his diabetes — “Why couldn’t the doctor tell me, ‘Patrice, you can never eat Brussels sprouts again’?” — and, sure enough, he’s taking measures to control his weight: “When you get close to 40, you start to feel those years of ham hocks.” Nevertheless, his eating philosophy flies in the face of Mireille Guiliano’s. He tells us, “I don’t go to any sexy places to eat where they give you half a lamb chop and one bean. I like going, ‘Uhhh, I’m done’ when I eat.” And where can a man find that experience?
Secret LES Party Pad or Just a Recording Studio?Gawker has footage of what videographer Alex Goldberg claims is a secret venue operating out of an abandoned vaudeville theater [Update: The post has now been removed]. Don’t get too excited, though: A commenter says it’s a theater operated by the music consortium the Rumor Mill, and we’ve confirmed it’s a recording studio that has private functions every now and then. But is there more to it? If you can tell us anything about what goes on at the place, do let us know — the photos on its Website make us want to get in on the action.
Update: The great site Cinema Treasures has the exact address of the venue, a little bit of history, and some advice on gaining access. If you dare!
Drunk Gawker Contributer Stumbles Upon Awesome Secret New York Venue You’ve Never Been To [Gawker]
Our Valentine’s Day Present to You: Balthazar Chefs in Their Bathrobes
We’ve always dreamed of scoring one of the très elegant jackets that Balthazar waiters wear (hint, hint, guys), but on a recent Martha Stewart Show, Balth chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr modeled an even more stylish item — Balthazar bathrobes! (“We were going to wear teddies, but it would not have been good for ratings,” a handlebar-mustached Lee Hanson quips.) If you want to make your V-Day date a pretty mean breakfast in bed tomorrow, check out the clip in which the boys demonstrate “the French take on breakfast burritos.” Just pretend not to notice the amount of butter that goes into this dish.
’Wichcraft Asks, ‘How You Like Them Heirloom Tomatoes?’
Last week ’wichcraft jumped on the know-where-your-food-comes-from bandwagon by replacing the plain ol’ numbers on its “table cards” (doled out to customers so servers can locate them) with semi-campy descriptions of how its food is sourced. We’re glad we can now bite into a BLT (served only during “BLT season”) knowing that the applewood-smoked bacon was custom-made by D’Artagnan and the Ozark Mountain Pork Cooperative, and the heirloom tomatoes come from Eckerton Hill Farm in Pennsylvania. As you can see by reading the cards, there are other fun facts: The pastrami comes from the West Coast (via David’s Old World), the jelly is made from “greenmarket fruit that [our chef] just can’t resist,” and the tuna comes from our own Primizie Foods (hence mercury levels “so low they’re often untraceable”). One quibble: What’s up with referring to “soda” as “pop”? Did Jersey boy Colicchio pick this up from Danny Meyer when he was at Gramercy Tavern?
’wichcraft table cards [PDF]
Soul Food Comes to Bed-Stuy!; 2nd Avenue Deli’s Not Really KosherBedford-Stuyvesant: A “family-run seafood/soul food take-out spot” called 71.Ate has opened at 417 Nostrand Avenue, and while the fried whiting is tasty, the house-made banana pudding will definitely make you want to come back. [Eat for Victory/VV]
East Village: Ruhlman’s hosting a nose-to-tail dinner with “gut man” Chris Cosentino on Tuesday, March 4, at Astor Center. [Ruhlman]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: Can the 2nd Avenue Deli really be called kosher if it’s open on the Sabbath? Many observant Jews, whom Frank Bruni has chatted with, say no. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Tribeca: Bouley has been denied a liquor license for his proposed Japanese restaurant and cooking school, Brushstrokes, “based on the history of the owner, having problems with the community in the past, and the way he runs his establishments.” [Eater]
Upper East Side: Mia Dona is currently BYOB until the liquor license comes through next week. [Eater]
What to Expect From the New ‘Top Chef’
We just screened the first episode of this season’s Top Chef, and again, we find the show compelling. And just the same as previous ones! Padma speaks slowly, Tom is bald and cocky, and Rocco DiSpirito and Tony Bourdain are back onboard. The location is a nonfactor — the main contribution Chicago makes is a Pizzeria Uno product placement. But the contestants still fit into those archetypes we love to argue about with Adam Platt.
East Village Yacht Club Finds New Place to DockA friend of Grub Street who was at the East Village Yacht Club last night gives us the following intel: “Apparently they are moving to a new space. Last night was their last open evening. They’re moving to a two-floor space on Bowery and Bond. They’ll open there in a week.” Perhaps he’s referring to the space on Bowery and Bleecker that used to house Mannahatta? An employee of the Bowery Poetry Club, which is leasing out its front café, says an owner of the East Village Yacht Club checked the space out but won’t be moving in. It took a hundred years, but the Bowery has officially gone from McGurk’s Suicide Hall to the East Village Yacht Club.
I Want to Eat in a Place Where Valentine’s Day Doesn’t Exist
Dear Grub Street,
Where should I go for an anti–Valentines Day dinner? My girlfriend of four years just broke up with me, and I want to eat somewhere where I won’t see any couples, or think of couples, or anything connected with couples. I want to eat out somewhere that is a million miles from Valentines Day.
Cupid’s Sworn Enemy
Eric Ripert Defends Escolar; Ed Koch: Bib WearerRadar ran a story on escolar’s tendency to cause leaky bowel movements and mentioned that the fish was served at Le Bernardin. This, in turn, prompted a response from Eric Ripert himself, which prompted the author of the article to respond, “I’m sure Eric Ripert serves his escolar in such a way that it doesn’t make people shit orange oil. He’s good like that.” [Fresh Intelligence/Radar]
Chef Craig Hopson says the ghost of Aaron Burr haunts the kitchen of One if by Land, Two if by Sea and has a tendency to steal batches of brioche. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: One if by Land Breaks Out a Bar Menu, and Not a Minute Too Soon
Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, likes to pair her company’s bacon-laden chocolate bar with pieces of Gruyère and a glass of Shiraz. [WSJ]
Related: A Bacon Tribute Product We Can Get Behind
Ask a Waiter
One if by Land’s Michael Lombardozi Won’t Let You Make Babies in the Bathroom
By now even the unrepentant Paul Jankas of the world know that One if by Land, Two if by Sea is widely regarded as the most romantic restaurant in the city. Normally we’d hesitate to match a cheesy holiday with a played-out restaurant, but now that new chef Craig Hopson, formerly of Picholine, has replaced the humdrum chicken Kiev with entrées such as turbot poached in coconut milk with peeky toe crab, mango and sea beans (you can peruse the new menu here), we don’t feel the least bit corny about asking Michael Lombardozi, a waiter at the West Village institution for seven years, to walk us down lovers’ lane.
Lenny Kravitz Neither Seen Nor Heard at GoldBar Last NightJonathan Ames, self-described “journalist with bad breath, bad teeth, bad hair, and bad debt,” penned a hilarious essay for Spin about infiltrating GoldBar with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, who despite living a few blocks away takes a Town Car to the club (what, no Escalade?). Ames is blown away by the fact that Cameron Diaz isn’t even the prettiest girl in the place, which is “loaded with perfume, emanating from the dozens and dozens of beautiful girls” (hm, nothing about the smell of cigarette smoke). Kravitz, meanwhile, has been there, done that, hence this lyric from one of his new songs: “The night is young, GoldBar’s the place to be.” With that in mind, we slipped in last night for a $17 drink and a plate of his favorite truffle fries, to see if Kravitz’s name check has earned him a place on GB’s playlist.
SLA Shows No Malice to the Palace, Allows ReopeningNo Malice Palace owner Phil Sherman e-mails to let us know that our favorite bar for an impromptu dance party will reopen after liquor-license quibbles: “We will re-open Friday night to rock the house once again. (Poss Thurs). The No Malice is back.” Not only is this good news, but it also solves the age-old question of what to call the place for short — the Palace? No-Mal Pal? From the owner’s mouth to your ears, it’s “The No Malice.”
Earlier: Momofuku Ko Hoping to Open in Two Weeks; No Malice Palace Prevails
Back of the House
Red Hook Vendors Aren’t Out of It Yet
Eat for Victory’s Nina Lalli spoke to Red Hook vendors rep Cesar Fuentes yesterday and posted an admirably easy-to-understand summary of the current bureaucratic boondoggle that is currently holding the vendors’ fate in limbo. To sum up the summary: All isn’t lost, but the future doesn’t look rosy, either. We’ll let Nina explain.
The State of the Ball-Field Vendors, Plus a Ceviche Exclusive [Eat for Victory/VV]
Related: Red Hook Vendors Bid for Ball Fields
Earlier: Grub Street’s Complete Coverage of the Red Hook Ball Fields
Kate Moss Digs Le Royale; FreshDirect Fires 85 WorkersApparently the opening-night party at Le Royale was a success, drawing the likes of Kate Moss, who made out with the D.J.[Imbible/Citysearch]
Related: Le Royale Might Just Bring Nightlife Out of the Doldrums
Frank Bruni applauds restaurants seeking out new forms of hospitality, but is wary of the WiFi availability: “Will the glow of laptop screens and the percussion of typing become pervasive visual and aural backdrops for our meals?” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
A former Scores cocktail waitress is suing the owners for being told to act more like a stripper. [NYP]
This Is Why New York’s Not HotThe question the Gobbler gets asked more than any other is “What’s hot?” And for a several months now, the Gobbler has answered, with tedious regularity, “Nothing.” People are still clawing their way into Waverly Inn, and if you enjoy offal products done up in an elegant, Asian-fusion style, Momofuku Ssäm Bar is the place for you. But the grandiose cycle of openings which began with the arrival of Masa and Per Se at the Time Warner Center four years ago and reached a crescendo early last year with the giant Meat District extravaganzas like Buddakan and Del Posto has more or less petered out. Sure, there have a been a few tepid revivals (the Russian Tea Room), and bigfoot out-of-town chefs like Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay have opened franchise outlets. There are plenty of restaurants in town, and plenty of them are busy. But this most recent boom may have run its course. Here are some possible reasons why.
What to Eat Tonight
A Seasonal Summit of Tilefish, Fava Purée, and Rhubarb Salad at Amalia
At Amalia tonight, chef Ivy Stark has reeled in a fish seldom seen in New York dining circles – which is too bad, because golden tilefish is one of our favorites. Meaty, dense, and full of oily goodness, it’s similar to mackerel in taste, but much, much bigger, typically weighing about twenty pounds. Since it can’t be done whole, Stark serves a pan-seared, skin-on filet of the fleshy creature, with a very springlike purée of fava beans and pineapple-mint leaves (the latter being one of the latest designer hybrid herbs on the market). “It’s really very Egyptian,” Stark says. “I was looking through my cookbooks, and I came across it and decided it would be perfect.” The dish is also served with an Iranian-style salad of raw salted rhubarb with whole mint leaves, spring chives, lime, and garlic. “I saw people eating raw rhubarb on the street in Iran,” Stark says, “and the salt completely takes away the sourness and bitterness … I love not having to cook it. It’s so much more refreshing this way.”
Back of the House
The Death of Paid Reservations?As Eater reported, Weekend Epicure seems to be a scam (we’ve heard the same), and now both Danny Meyer and Keith McNally are on to PrimeTime Tables and the telltale ways in which they call in for the spots they then sell. Is this it for the reservation biz? PTT will surely change up their methods, and we’re guessing that other restaurateurs won’t be quite so aggressive as long as their tables are filled. But blame it on karma or the plain hard realities of business, just know that a seat you buy might not be a seat you actually get.
Commence Resy Scalper Retreat: McNally, Meyer onto Primetime Tables [Eater]
Earlier: Soon You Will Have to Pay for All Your Reservations
So Much for Eating Year-Round in Union SquareClinton Hill: A brewery on Waverly Avenue hopes to start bottling Kelso beer. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Coney Island: The Slice pizza club convenes on April 15 at Totonno’s. Catch: You have to ride the Cyclone before you chow. [Slice]
Lower East Side: A sneak preview inspires Whole Foods envy: The new one on Houston puts the original Chelsea location in the shade. [Snack]
Prospect Lefferts Gardens: The deli on Washington Avenue is getting renovated; neighbors hope that more than just sugar and water will be for sale. [across the park]
Sheepshead Bay: Grillin’ by the Bay, the city’s only Kansas City Barbecue Society–sanctioned BBQ contest, to be held Saturday. And this year, you’ll actually be able to eat the stuff. [NYDN]
Tribeca: Brunch plans rocked as the Department of Health shutters Kitchenette; also, Bubby’s on its way out. [Eater] Jacques Torres making dark-chocolate-covered peeps for those who didn’t already find them conducive to throwing up in church. [DailyCandy]
Union Square: Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says there’s no chance of a year-round restaurant when the park’s north end gets overhauled. [Daily Intel]
Upper West Side: Ollie’s Noodle Shop workers take their protest to the next level with a hot-shot lawyer. [Daily Intel]
Williamsburg: A sign spotted earlier this week in the window of Brick Oven Gallery said they would reopen today after renovations — but a disconnected phone seems to tell a different story. [Grub Street]
Back of the House
Varietal Finds Its Man: Wayne NishWayne Nish, who already has a namesake venue with Nish, will now take over the kitchen at Varietal, too, replacing Ed Witt. Varietal owner Greg Hockenberry implied earlier that he’d fired Witt; Witt informs us that he left of his own accord — because the restaurant was going more “mainstream.” (Avant-garde dessert chef Jordan Kahn also quit, presumably under similar pressure. He declined to comment when we spoke with him.) Restaurant Girl, who broke news of the hire, reports that Nish will implement a $48 prix fixe menu — and serve as his own dessert maker. That sounds more mainstream to us, but the imaginative Nish no doubt has his own ambitions. Find out April 6, when he steps up to the plates.
Varietal - Bruni Aftershocks [Restaurant Girl]
Haute Japanese Puts Delivery Cart Before Restaurant Horse
It’s no great hardship living in Tribeca and points south, but the quality of life just inched up even further thanks to a new high-end Japanese delivery service, Rosanjin, which debuted this month (call 212-346-7999). In a novel marketing twist, the service presages a restaurant set to open at 141 Duane Street in a few weeks, and the food is in fact excellent. The Kyoto-style dishes are very good — notably a sushi roll wrapped in a diaphanous egg crêpe, and a standout piece of braised freshwater eel. And the vessels, made from folded oribe paper and Japanese cedar, are a cut above. The sales patter on the Website, though, is a little over the top:
“Rosanjin is a Japanese food service that encompasses all that is beautiful and pristine about Japanese cuisine … Our Authentic menu caters to those who desire a traditional Japanese dining experience that is served in ceremonial splendor … Rosanjin delivers each meal wrapped like a gift to reflect the beauty of the food. It is a wonder to taste and see.”
Okay, Rosanjin, we get it! We’re peeling off 100 dollar bills now. But even Tribeca millionaires don’t want to be leaned on that hard.
Rosanjin, 151 Duane St., nr. W. Broadway, 212-346-7999.