Comedian Todd Barry Eschews Tomatoes, Eggs, and Mayo, But Not 33-Cent CookiesOn Late Night With Conan O’Brien recently, Conan called comedian Todd Barry “the quintessential New Yorker.” That doesn’t mean he’s at Balthazar every morning. “Every time I talk about Chipotle in conversation,” he told Conan’s audience, “Someone goes, ‘Oh, Chipotle is delicious. Can you believe they were started by McDonald’s?’ ‘Uh, McDonald’s is delicious, so yes, I can believe that. It’s not like Ben and Jerry’s opened up a lingerie shop. It’s the world’s greatest restaurant chain taking a stab at another kind of food and hitting it out of the park.’” Other than that, Barry eats at Café Orlin about five times a week. Since it was closed for renovations this week, he had to practice his tomato, mayo, and orange-juice pulp aversions elsewhere.
Back of the House
Sietsema Previews His Own ‘Choice Eats’As a leadup to tonight’s Village Voice Choice Eats tasting event, Robert Sietsema gives Gothamist a lengthy interview and a barely disguised photo. Sietsema recalls his worst restaurant experience (cockroach) and explains how Frank Bruni maligned Katz’s by only giving it one star. His picks are after the jump.
back of the house
Adam Platt on Best of New York: “It’s a Matter of Taste, Cutty!”Having pawed and pondered this week’s Best of New York issue endlessly, we knew that the only way we could possibly make up our minds about it was to pester Adam Platt into giving us his thoughts on why he made his picks, who he had to leave out, and what his reasoning was. Since Platt is always readily available on IM, the following chat answered our questions and made our peace with his picks.
The Other Critics
Mesa Grill Keeps One Star, Barely; Richman Rejuvenated by DovetailMesa Grill loses a star, but this is one of the worst one-star reviews you’ll ever read, even going so far as to compare it to gulag gourmet: “During one dinner the three slivers of chicken in the appetizer tacos were among the most shriveled, desiccated pieces of meat I’ve seen outside a bodega buffet at 3 a.m.” [NYT]
Related: Salute the Gulag Gourmet Movement
Now this is something cheering: Alan Richman found a tablecloth restaurant that got him genuinely excited. Dovetail’s food, he says approvingly, is “exuberant and shocking” — in a good way. [Bloomberg]
Paul Adams hits Cooper Tavern, a not particularly ambitious hotel restaurant recently given a “meh” review by Frank Bruni, and likes it a little better, although the fries are “pathetically poor” and the pork chop is “hardly going to be the talk of the city’s pork chop grapevine.” We can testify that that part is true. [NYS]
A Nearly Full House at Momofuku, But Tumbleweeds at CantinaYou’re a brave soul if you plan on checking out that new East Village or Lower East Side restaurant this weekend — if it’s full-up, you’ll be turned onto the streets with the entire teenage population of Strong Island. That’s why last Saturday we hit eight spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to take inventory — our head counts may or may not hold true this weekend when there will be far less drunken Santas running amok, but we’re pleased to see that the wait has lessened at Momofuku (in fact, there wasn’t one!) and are a bit shocked to discover that Jason Neroni is sometimes pretty much the only person in the dining room at Cantina. Bet he’s counting the seconds till 10 Downing.
The Other Critics
Cipriani Charged With ‘Highway Robbery’; Market Table Gets a BigFrank Bruni pens one of his best zero-star reviews ever in putting down Harry Cipriani, hard: “The crime that comes to mind first when I think of the Ciprianis is highway robbery. Based on my recent experience, that’s what happens almost any time Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue serves lunch or dinner.” Brillo-like potatoes? $23 for asparagus? Bruni makes ‘em pay. [NYT]
Market Table gets two and a half stars from Restaurant Girl, who praises the solid American cooking and buys into the overall concept. We wondered if MT wouldn’t be the restaurant that absorbed the Haute Barnyard backlash, but it seems to have dodged it so far. [NYDN]
Paul Adams hits Tailor and delivers the most intelligently rendered version of what seems to be the verdict on the place: The food is brilliant but spotty, and the drinks are great. [NYS]
Goldfarb Will Make Your Saturday; 1OAK Might Open SomedaySome desserts you’ll be able to try when Will Goldfarb starts serving at the new Dessert Studio at Michel Cluizel this Saturday include “white chocolate gelato drizzled with olive oil; Indonesian vanilla ice cream with American caviar; and chocolate-hazelnut cake with apricots and brown sugar ice.” Okay, we need to take a cold shower. [NYT]
Related: Cluizel, Goldfarb to Join Forces in Dessert Pact
1OAK really is close to opening, maybe two or three weeks according to one random construction worker — or is that four to six weeks? [Imbible/Citysearch]
Related: Until 1OAK Opens, Look for Richie Akiva at Scores
New French wine bar Solex is shaping up to be in competition with Momofuku 2.0 for late-night chef hangout. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]
Back of the House
Momofuku 2.0 Opens TomorrowEater brings news that Momofuku Noodle Bar will be opening the doors of its more spacious new location tomorrow — good news for East Village diners who’ve been waiting in lines out the door at Ramen Setagaya and Rai Rai Ken. Is there some natural connection between Japanese noodle soup and long lines? It would seem to defeat its own purpose when on a cold day one has to first wait and then quiver on a tiny stool — why even leave the house? Especially when, in the case of Setagaya, you can’t get soup to go. Clearly the Momofuku move is a good thing for ramen — unless it turns out that the line is what makes the people come, not the soup.
Momofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 Definitely Opens Tomorrow [Eater]
Related: Keeping Up With The Momofukus [NYM]
Click and Save
Waiter, There’s a Fifth Element in My SoupOn the eve of Momofuku Noodle Bar moving its base of operations up the street, NPR’s feature today on the “fifth sense” of umami has a certain timeliness. (In the ramen business, every day is umami day.) The Japanese word for “yummy” is used to describe the taste of meat, animal fats, cheese, dashi, and other foods in which glutamates have broken down – it reflects the “savory” sensation that everybody likes in chicken soup, ramen broth, and other foods not notably salty, sweet, bitter, or sour. The feature is a kind of combination of Science on the March, with Escoffier standing in for Madame Curie, and a Paul Harvey piece: “and that flavor, that scientists said was just a figment, was… umami. Now you know the rest of the story.”
Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter… and Umami [NPR]
New Momofuku(s) Opening Next Week; Meryl Streep to Play Julia ChildMomofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 is set to open Tuesday, which by David Chang’s accounts should mean Ko will be raised in one night and ready by Wednesday in the original’s former space. [Eater]
Related: Keeping Up With the Momofukus
Food & Wine questions whether Meryl Streep can carry the role of their “Patron Saint” Julia Child, though they have hope from a scene in The Hours in which the actress “deftly separated egg whites from egg yolks by letting the whites run through her fingers.” [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]
Hudson Valley is the largest foie gras producer in the country so even though 15,000 breeding ducks were killed in a fire this week, it “shouldn’t seriously affect production,” says Frank Bruni. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Massive Piedmontese Market Coming to Midtown; Lady Chefs Are Tougher Than YouA food bazaar in Turin, Italy, called Eataly, which combines a “European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center” is opening its second location in a 10,000-square-foot space on 18 West 48th Street. [NYT]
Despite David Chang’s unwavering confidence that Noodle Bar 2.0 would open early this week, the restaurant’s not yet ready; he blames Con-Ed. [Eater]
Women chefs who’ve found success aren’t hard to come by in New York, according to Cuozzo, who mentions at least two examples. [NYP]
Related: A Woman’s Place? [NYM]
The Post goes on to blame Patricia Yeo for Monkey Bar’s failure. [NYP]
Momofuku Won’t Close for Even One Day; Half Off Wine at ArtisanalEast Village: David Chang plans on wasting no time turning Momofuku Noodle Bar into Momofuku Ko next month: The place won’t close for even much a day but rather will morph overnight into its new identity. [Grub Street]
Related: Keeping Up With the Momofukus
Flatiron: Cookbook editor Judith Jones will lead a discussion and wine tasting at Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit on October 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. [Grub Street]
Fort Greene: On Saturday evenings the gourmet shop L’Epicerie turns into “a $40 per head, BYOB, family-style restaurant offering a casually sophisticated take on the dinner party.” [NYO]
Midtown: All the wines by the glass at Artisanal will be half off after 10 p.m., starting next week. [Grub Street]
Red Hook: The bar-robbing thugs who held up Bait & Tackle bartenders at gunpoint have been apprehended. [Eater]
Times Square: The Palm West will be serving a Purple Martini this season that includes some new liquor that to our knowledge does not include grape juice. [Grub Street]
Back of the House
Yet More Kudos for David Chang! (Shoot Us Now.)Is the David Chang superstar era over yet? If not, can you wake us when it is? We just opened the October Gourmet, and there’s a multipage lovefest to the Momofuku Man, complete with the usual musings on pork (“a mystical, magical animal,” he calls it, echoing Homer Simpson) and the usual close-ups of him eating. Coming on the heels of Bon Appétit’s even more ridiculous Chef of the Year award, we think the time may have come to say what everyone we know is already thinking: that Chang, earnest and talented as he is, has turned into the Sanjaya of Soup and needs to be reassessed.
Gold St. Enters the Ramen Wars Without a Care in the World
The ramen wars are raging as never before, as Momofuku and Setagaya go against each other hammer and tongs, and Minca and Rai Rai Ken clean up the remains. But Gold St. tells us that their new ramen rollout is completely unrelated. From the look of their soup, they may be right.
David Chang to Las Vegas? Marco Pierre White Slams Gordon Ramsay“I don’t believe in that whole superstar celebrity-chef thing,” David Chang says in an adoring Times profile. Side note: A Momofuku may indeed open in Las Vegas. [NYT]
Related: The I Chang [NYM]
At a book signing at Borders, Marco Pierre White responds to Gordon Ramsay’s admission that he stole White’s reservation book some years ago: “That just shows what kind of person Gordon is. He’s a liar, a thief, and a huckster.” [Serious Eats]
Related: Batali, Bourdain, and Ramsay Mentor to Finally Take on America? [Grub Street]
Which won’t get in the way of Ramsay’s selling the movie rights to his life story: “I’ve been approached by some amazing guys who see it as a kind of Billy Elliot–style film, only with chef’s whites instead of ballet shoes. The climax will be our young hero picking up his first Michelin star.” We’re already tearing up. [Digital Spy]
David Chang Gives My Boyfriend a HeadacheGrub Street, I live less than two blocks from Momofuku , and I used to eat there all the time and I thought it was good but not some kind of shrine. When did David Chang become such a food god? The soup there gives my boyfriend headaches, and I never saw what was so great about Ssäm Bar. To me there are any number of places in Flushing that beat the pants off Chang. Lillian
David Chang Going Upscale — Again
In the wake of David Chang’s coronation as James Beard’s Rising Star Chef this week, we’ve redoubled our efforts to find out the location of the long-rumored third Momofuku. And these efforts have paid off. We still don’t have a time frame, but a source close to Chang tells us that in the near future a Momofuku Noodle Bar much like the current one will open up “down the street” on Second Avenue and that the overcrowded original will be remade into a small, sit-down fine-dining restaurant. Given how Ssäm Bar has rocked the food world, this news is pretty exciting. We just hope we live to see it — the Momofuku Man may not appreciate our letting the cat out of the bag.
And the Tablecloths Burn
Is Momofuku Finally Pregnant With Another Location?
Related: The I Chang [NYM]
Beard After-parties: Hawaiian Tropic Zone, Momofuku Party Bus, MoreThe James Beard Awards after-parties presented special challenges which could only be solved by the liberal use of an open bar. The place to go was the Hawaiian Tropic Zone, whose bikini-clad waitresses and go-go dancers, serving at the behest of chef David Burke, provided a welcome dose of vulgarity after the high-class Beard gala. But the truly hot ticket was the Momofuku party bus, which, if David Chang & Co. were to be believed, was a chartered party vehicle where the most intense celebrating would be done. Regretfully, though, it was closed to press. “Sorry, dude,” David Chang told us, dazed and blissful and still unbelieving in the wake of his victory.
Is Momofuku Finally Pregnant With Another Location?Fans, friends, and media have been besieging culinary “It” boy David Chang since he first opened Momofuku Noodle Bar about when he plans to expand. From what we’re hearing, the day isn’t far off. A source within Chang’s orbit tipped us off that plans might be in the works to open a long-awaited Noodle Bar uptown. When we asked the pork-happy prodigy about it last week, he sighed exasperatedly and told us, “When we do it, we’re not telling anybody! We’re just going to do it.” Knowing Chang, that’s probably about as close to a confirmation as anybody is likely to get in the near future, so we present it to you for what it is. For our part, we would lay money enough to buy a Bo Ssäm on the likelihood of some kind of Momofuku expansion being announced in the next couple of months. Given that the crowds at the Noodle Bar currently remind us of the fall of Saigon, it can’t happen soon enough.
Related: The I Chang [NYM]
Why Wasn’t I Completely Floored by Craft?Dear Grub Street,
I’m hoping someone can explain Craft to me. I was taken there the other night for my birthday dinner and came away completely confused and disappointed. Really, what’s the big deal? What’s with all the glowing reviews?
Where Should I Eat on Valentine’s Day — Alone?
So how about suggesting places to go on Valentine’s Day when you’re alone and don’t have a valentine?
It just so happens that the Underground Gourmet recommended a “breakup burger” yesterday. But if you’re not simply looking to drown your sorrows in a “ripe slab of Limburger cheese and a pile of chopped raw onion,” may we suggest the following candidates, each perfect, in different ways, for solo dining.
The New York Diet
Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at NobuAround the time he helmed the kitchen at Williamsburgh Café, before becoming an executive chef at Punch and then a contestant on Top Chef, Forbes named Sam Talbot one of the city’s up-and-coming chefs and Zink declared him one of its sexiest: “He is like a girl when it comes to shopping and grooming himself,” his Bravo bio reads. Unfortunately this didn’t cut it with the judges, and Sam was kicked to the curb on this week’s penultimate episode. Admirers will be happy to hear, however, that he’s still zipping around on his Vespa and consulting with the owners of Fat Baby on their two new Lower East Side restaurants. We asked him what he ate this week and learned that he likes his food cheap but solid — aside from his monthly splurge at Nobu.