Where to Eat 2007: The Lazy Man’s GuideWhere to Eat 2007, Adam Platt’s panoramic look at the New York restaurant scene, is a lot to digest (ahem) — thousands of words on the city’s best foods, high and low, from the big-box extravaganzas that constitute “Vegas on the Hudson” to the fetishized beef slabs that are “Designer Steaks.” As much as we enjoyed the essays, though, it’s the blurby lists, of course, that we went to first. Here are some highlights.
Where Do I Feed Texas Tourists? Also: Is There a God?Dear Grub Street,
I have some friends coming into town from Texas and want to recommend a great restaurant to them. I think they’d appreciate a Texas theme, but I’m not sure if Lonesome Dove is really the way to go, or if Blue Smoke or Dinosaur are better bets instead. Money doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.
The best barbecue in New York is RUB. They have great burnt ends, a beef-brisket treat any meat-eating Texan can appreciate. But they’re not going to get better Texas food here than at home. I would take them to Great N.Y. Noodletown for Chinese spareribs. Or, if money really isn’t an issue, this may be your one chance for a meal at Masa!
Back of the House
Foie Foe Backs Off, Masa Travels, Grimaldi’s New SlicesFoie-foe councilman thinks better of introducing legislation: Gawker commenter Claudia thinks she knows who’s responsible. [Gawker]
Masa eyes London and Vegas locations. [Snack]
Pizza patriarch Patsy Grimaldi comes out of retirement to start a slice (yes, slice) joint at Floyd Bennett Field. [Slice]
Press release promises 2,000 suspended samurai swords and “womb-like barstools” at Chodorow’s new Kobe Club steakhouse. [Snack]
Tom’s Diner of Seinfeld fame not taking down its Kramer. [Newsday]
After cachaça craze, rye to be the next boutique liquor trend. [NYT]
More on Wined Up, one of the drinking annexes Rob and Robin previously tipped us off to. [Thrillist]
The Other Critics
New Mobil Ratings: Quixotic Attempt at Scientific ObjectivityGiven how much hubbub there was over the Michelin ratings, and how bad the guide actually was (as we recently noted here), we’re surprised we haven’t heard more reactions to Mobil’s quasi-scientific restaurant guide, the latest edition of which was just released. “We have created a very objective process of evaluating restaurants,” Shane O’Flaherty, Mobil’s vice-president of quality assurance and the man in charge of the restaurant ratings, tells us. “From that standpoint, we believe that it’s as accurate as you can get, anywhere you go.”
Only four New York restaurants received the top rank of five stars in the ratings released last week: Alain Ducasse, Per Se, Masa, and Jean Georges. (Le Bernardin, which won three Michelin stars, is conspicuously absent.) What separates a five-star restaurant from a four? O’Flaherty cited some startlingly specific examples from Mobil’s checklist.
Back of the House
Masa and Gray’s Papaya Have More in Common Than You Might ThinkNews has reached us (via Zagatwire) that Masaplans on raising the prices of their famous omakase dinner, from an already astronomical $350 to $400. It couldn’t be helped, the chef told us. “For the last two years the prices have not been raised. But they’re going up because of the cost of the ingredients, especially the very expensive ones such as truffles and caviar.” The tone and message seemed so familiar to us…where had we heard it before?
The Other Critics
Michelin’s Explosive New Red BookMichelin dropped its ratings bomb today, and it’s safe to say that the New York restaurant world is, as usual, reeling. Though not as consequential as a Zagat snub, business-wise, the Michelin ratings are closer to the hearts of top chefs. (French chef Bernard Loiseau was widely believed to have killed himself over a Michelin downgrade.) The book is supposed to be in stores tomorrow (though our local Barnes & Noble says it’s not even at the distributor yet). We do, however, know of some surprises. Messrs. Boulud, Bouley, and Takahama are no doubt having lousy afternoons.
Back of the House
News Flash: Masa Is Expensive; David Burke Gambles in VegasFrom the clandestinely costly to the unabashedly so, the latest industry news is all about the Benjamins.
• Zagat opens the lid on hidden fees like Del Posto’s “straight up” martini charge. [Zagat]
• Forbes runs down the country’s priciest restaurants (Masa, of course, is No. 1). What they don’t tell you is that the picks are apparently limited to one per city — or Per Se, Alain Ducasse, Gilt, Kuruma Zushi, and Daniel would’ve made the list. [Forbes]
• The Hallo Berlin cart raises its prices (Dictator Special now $9). [Midtown Lunch]
• The Met’s Grand Tier Restaurant lets in the unwashed masses (well, Lincoln Center patrons, anyway). [NYS]
• David Burke: Vegas, baby, Vegas! [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Best Seats in the House: Where to Eat at the Bar
Even before the arrival of Joël Robuchon and his bar-centric L’Atelier, the ancient urban tradition of bar dining was undergoing a great renaissance. And why not? Eating while seated on a stool is a uniquely New York experience. It’s convivial, expedient, and communal, but in a solitary way. The Gobbler has met Wall Street kingpins, ex–CIA agents, and loquacious bookies from Queens at restaurant bars. You don’t have to deal with sniveling waiters or go overboard on tips, and it’s often a convenient excuse for getting really, really drunk. Here are a few of the Gobbler’s favorite barfly destinations.
Ming Tsai Shares His NYC Asian PicksMing Tsai, known to viewers around the country for his Simply Ming and Ming’s Quest TV series, is probably one of the foremost East-West fusion chefs in America. Although his base restaurant, Blue Ginger, is near Boston, the chef was in town recently promoting his new line of packaged Asian foods (which are being distributed through Target). We asked him what his favorite Asian restaurants in the city are, and in particular, who he thinks does the best fusion.