Essex House and St. Regis Restaurants: Maybe Next Year!A Times restaurant preview had Alain Ducasse’s latest, Adour, opening at the St. Regis Hotel in late November. Also slated to open its doors this month was the restaurant that’s replacing Ducasse’s old joint in the Essex House: 154 South Gate, helmed by former 11 Madison Park chef Kerry Heffernan. In the spirit of competition, we were curious to see if Ducasse could open Ardour before his Essex House replacement—but folks on the inside have informed us that everyone will be waiting ‘til at least next year to see either place cross the finish line. Adour is poised to open late January; no official date is set for 154 South Gate, though hotel sources said it’s also looking more like January. For now, we regretfully release our sweaty grip on our stopwatches.
This concludes your Future Fine Dining update.
Related: Here Come the Chefs
Back of the House
Time to Fill Out Our James Beard BracketsThe nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant industry, will be announced Monday morning. We’ll report on that as it happens, but for now, here are picks for the main categories from Adam Platt, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, and Josh Ozersky. Our choices are admittedly New York–centric (the awards go to restaurants across the country), but the ceremony is held here, and the city always looms large in the proceedings.
Damon Wise, Now Officially the Man at Craft, Brings in Shane McBride
Restaurant Girl reported earlier today that Shane McBride, formerly of 7Square (RIP), had been hired as the chef at Craftsteak, taking over for Chris Albrecht, apparently nudged out in January. Craft emperor Tom Colicchio set the record straight with us: “Here’s the deal,” he tells us. “For the last three months, Damon Wise has been the acting chef at Craftsteak and has completely changed the way things are done there: the suppliers, the menu, everything. Shane has been hired specifically to execute the menu that Damon created. Damon has worked his ass off day and night, and I want him to get credit for that.” Done and done.
Back of the House
Chefs Tortured by Possible Foie Gras Ban; De Niro Versus Trans Fat• In New Jersey, where a big distributor of foie gras is based, a legislator proposes banning the delicacy. Anthony Bourdain ain’t gonna take it: “It’s like beating up on Julia Child.” [AP]
• “Some day a real rain will come and wash all the trans fats off the streets”? Bloomberg attempts to rope Robert De Niro into the debate. [Newsday]
• Alain Ducasse moves to the former Lespinasse space in the St. Regis hotel and plans decanters modeled after Louis Vuitton trunks. [NYT]
• Ruth Reichl: Coming to a multiplex near you. [NYP]
• The new face of caviar: scannable sturgeons and fish biopsies. [NYT]
• Starbucks rips off the Egg McMuffin. [Dow Jones]
• Greenpoint’s Café Grumpy rents its back room out to hipstervangelists. [NYDN]
• Del Posto, Craftsteak, and Buddakan called out as the principal hells of the meatpacking district: “The assholes are eating assholes. The cocks are eating coxcombs.” [Gawker]