Psilakis Seeks Site for a Late-Night Downtown Restaurant — and a New DonaYou might think that Michael Psilakis would have had enough of opening restaurants: In the past year, he created Kefi on the Upper West Side, a low-end sensation, and midtown’s Anthos, a major undertaking. Now the chef tells us that he’s looking to open not one but two more restaurants. “I’ve been thinking about opening something downtown,” he says. “I don’t know if it would be another restaurant just like Kefi, or maybe something a little more in between Kefi and Anthos. I want a presence down there, but a lot depends on the space, the lease, and the location.” Psilakis likes the idea of a late-night dining scene, presumably along the lines of Ssäm Bar. There’s no question about the food, though: “It would be Greek, for sure, whatever it was.”
Ask a Waiter
Carrie Jennings of Spotlight Live Doesn’t Mind If You’re Horrible at Karaoke
When we karaoke, we don’t really like to see ourselves on a screen — it usually means the Japanese guy at the front desk is replaying closed-circuit footage and telling us why he needs to keep our security deposit. But Spotlight Live, the restaurant that projects your performances onto Times Square, is a decidedly more civilized place, as we learned when we tried, rather unsuccessfully, to get Carrie Jennings to reveal the horrors of working amid amateur renditions of Vanilla Ice. According to Jennings, who moved here from Florida six months ago with a degree in musical theater, her job is about as sweet as a big ball of cotton candy.
Varietal’s Kitchen Closes in ChelseaBronx: Italian pastry shop Egidio has a history steeped in family feuds, politics, and adultery; now a cannoli-wielding former owner has opened up shop nearby. [Lost City]
Chelsea: Varietal has closed its dining room, though wine’s still being served at the bar. [Restaurant Girl] Great Small Works performing-arts group will host a Spaghetti Dinner this Sunday evening on the roof of the 14th Street Y. Besides bowls of garlicky pasta, ticket holders can look forward to “puppet theater [and] New Orleans brass band music.” [Blog Chelsea]
Greenpoint: The Original Soup Man (a.k.a. the Soup Nazi) joins other chains on Manhattan Avenue and shocks customers by charging $9 for some selections. [Gothamist]
Hell’s Kitchen: Alex Garcia’s new restaurant, Gaucho Steak Co., at 752 Tenth Avenue, is now open for lunch and offering delivery. [Grub Street]
Soho: Savoy’s Clambake Dinners start July 6 and run through the end of the month. [Restaurant Girl]
The Other Critics
Richman Lambastes Landmarc; Has Sietsema Lost His Mind?Robert Sietsema reviews what might be the most un-Sietsema-like place imaginable, a twee Williamsburg bistro called Juliette. “The snails in anise butter are fab, and so is the whole steamed artichoke flaunting a festive champagne vinaigrette.” Okay, call the FBI. The real Robert Sietsema has obviously been kidnapped. [VV]
“Think too much and you’ll find the place hard to like”: Alan Richman sees the new Landmarc for what it is – a stark, expensive, underachieving restaurant with few niceties of service or cooking – but still manages to find something nice to say about the steaks. [Bloomberg]
Related: Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors? [Grub Street]
Frank Bruni had a high old time at Resto, so much so that he gave the place a shocking two stars. Expect all future reviews to react to this hyperbole by taking pains to note the place’s shortcomings.[NYT]
Related: Brussels Sprout [NYM]
Jay-Z Now Has 100 Problems; Beef Prices Through the RoofJay-Z now has 100 problems: He’s being sued by the staff of the 40/40 Club for withholding tips and paying less than the minimum wage. [NYP]
Beef prices are getting higher, and the supply of the best stuff getting shorter. Guess what that means for your next steakhouse bill. [NYT]
There is a slew of new restaurants opening in the Hamptons, although none are what you would call world-shaking. [Newsday]
The Underground Gourmet
Sandwiches of the Week: In Celebration of National Peanut MonthNational Peanut Month — like National Baked Bean Month (July) and National Accordion Awareness Month (June) — comes but once a year, and that means celebrating, Peter Pan salmonella outbreak notwithstanding. Our top five nut-butter sandwiches, below.
1. The Elvis at Peanut Butter & Co.
Excellent peanut butter, honey, sliced banana, and optional (but recommended) bacon on white toast. Historical culinary note: In what might be the most famous case of the munchies, Elvis flew from Memphis to Denver on his private jet just to sample the progenitor of this fine sandwich, which was a loaf of Italian bread sliced lengthwise, a jar of Jif, a jar of jelly, and a pound of bacon. It was meant for sharing, but Elvis wolfed one down all by himself. 240 Sullivan St., nr. W. 3rd St.; 212-677-3995.
Health Department Inspector Caught Sleeping on the Job; Kanye West, Foxy BrownA Health Department inspector is caught on video snoozing at a bar when he was supposed to be tracking down rats. [NYP]
Keith McNally and other meatpacking-district residents are trying to work things out with the Hotel Gansevoort and its monstrous sign. [NYP]
Kanye West has curry delivered — from England. His tab? Almost $4,000, without tip. [The Independent]
Back of the House
Veselka 2: Electric BoogalooVeselka, an East Village mainstay since 1954, may soon have a twin: Owner Tom Birchard says he wants to open another full-scale restaurant. (Little Veselka, the Houston Street takeout kiosk, opened last year.) He’s looking at several downtown locations, the Avalon Christie complex on East Houston Street among them — the same building Daniel Boulud is thinking of dropping a new place into. But if Birchard had his druthers, he’d head uptown. “The ideal neighborhood would be the Upper West Side, around Columbia,” he tells us. “But I don’t want to be spending an hour going there and back every day. That would just be the most logical place, in terms of what’s there and who my customers would be.” Wherever he goes, the kasha king is sure of one thing: “I am going to re-create the Veselka we’ve had here for 53 years.” Well, sir, you can certainly try.