So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?Though it may not be a journalistic scandal up there with the Judith Miller saga, the missing notebook found in Brasserie 44, which may or may not belong to Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman, is getting a lot of play this morning. The story: Notes were left behind at a dinner and, according to their finders, could only be those of a restaurant critic. And, since Freeman is reviewing Brasserie 44 this week, they are naturally thought to be hers. What’s the big deal? Aside from the sloppiness factor on the critic’s part, which is fun for a quick snicker, what real difference does it make to the reviewer, the reader, or the restaurateur if someone has a piece of paper that says “mushy chicken” on it? Something about Danyelle Freeman just brings out the hate, but we can’t say it’s not entertaining to watch from the sidelines. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing Adam Platt only scribbles his mordant asides on a vellum tablet, or we’d be in trouble here at New York.
Which NYC Food Critic Is An Idiot? (Hint: Danyelle Freeman!) [Gawker]
Wine-Geek Heaven on the Way to the East VillageIt’s been a while since we first got wind of it, but the Hearth’s long-awaited spinoff wine bar, Terroir, is finally close to becoming a reality. The space, known in its former life as Bikes by George, will begin its transformation right after Thanksgiving, and co-owners Paul Grieco and Marco Canora hope to open the place by New Year’s. Grieco, the wine director, is a wine geek’s wine geek, which means he’s got some lofty plans.
Dufresne, Goldfarb, and AvroKo Are ‘Unconventional Geniuses,’ in
Liquor Marketing Gimmick #2,391— randomly hand out awards! Tonight Chopin Vodka honors eight “Unconventional Geniuses,” and among them are Wylie Dufresne, the AvroKo design firm, and (per the press release) “pioneer in the pastry movement” Will Goldfarb. Apparently a whopping three-eighths of today’s unconventional geniuses are associated with the restaurant world! (Non-chef picks include director John Cameron Mitchell and artist Kenny Scharf, if you’re looking for perspective.) You’ll have to attend the party tonight at Peter White Studio to find out what the top-secret award looks like, but, as a point of reference, Johnnie Walker’s “30 Under 30” (none of them chefs) received personally engraved bottles of Johnnie Black. Dare to dream, unconventional geniuses!
Who Is Le Cirque’s Mystery Ragamuffin?Brave is the man who strolls into Le Cirque without a jacket: Woody Allen once made the front page of the Post when he was turned away after doing just that, and Frank Zappa, upon being forced to wear one, famously told Sirio, “This better be the best fucking meal of my life … If I don’t like this meal, you’re paying for the suit.” (They went on to become buddies.) We were intrigued, then, when the subject of yesterday’s Ask a Waiter column, Elli Jafari, told us that to this day, just one man is allowed to break the rules. “He normally wears a sweater and a vest,” is all she would give us. “He’s one of the richest people in New York City.” Any Le Cirque regulars — or astute hypothesizers — want to speculate as to who this frowsy fat cat might be? Here’s a clue: We hear his personal life isn’t so perfect. Your guesses in the comments below, please.
Earlier: Elli Jafari Tells You How to Order Like a VIP at Le Cirque
Fancy Jell-O-Shot Movement Began in the East Village, Of CourseEast Village: Looks like a haute-Jell-O-shot movement might be jiggling into town; Detour used to feature a seasonal special, and now avant-garde recipes like this one, which combines apple, bourbon, and bacon, are popping up. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]
Hell’s Kitchen: If you want to share a dessert with a pal at Kyotofu, expect to pay a $5 toll, per person. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Midtown East: Alto did not disappoint Bruni like so many other fine restaurants, who’ve concluded many a meal by serving an even amount of petits fours to his odd-numbered party: “This is not a give-me-more-food complaint. This is a who’s-doing-the-arithmetic expression of befuddlement.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Upper East Side: Park Avenue Autumn will begin its winter transformations on November 27, and VIPs will get to taste the menu and see a sneak peek of the décor on that same night. [Zagat]
West Village: There’s still time to book a Thanksgiving table, and now Anne Burrell has designed a special menu for Centro Vinoteca that includes brined-herb-crusted-turkey with polenta corn bread. [NYM]
1OAK and Touch Delayed, Clubland Remains Dormant
Community Board 4’s licensing committee met last night to again consider the curious case of the Butter boys’ new project 1OAK. The nitty-gritty on this one: The club’s space is licensed by the SLA to hold a piano bar (probably the plans of a previous tenant); Sartiano and Akiva have now submitted an alteration request reflecting their new plan for a restaurant. The request was met with a 4-4 deadlock that will be mulled over by full community board on December 5 — meaning the club won’t be opening quite as soon as we had hoped.
Breaking: Another Freakish White Truffle Comes to TownWe are so, so torn on the matter of the white truffle. Late last week, we professed our unconditional love for the fungi (and also learned that Alterna offers white-truffle haircare products) but, given that the Waverly Inn just raised their truffle macaroni and cheese to $85 and Le Cirque’s massive truffle acquisition and the truffle shortage and the $1,000 truffle bagel and, you know, just the general deluge of “truffles are expensive and awesome”-related media as of late, we wondered if this whole white-truffle business had gotten a little bit out of control. Then our very own magazine came out on Monday, complete with more truffle talk, and we knew that there was no point in fighting. There’s nothing we can do but accept the darling ‘shroom, regardless of whether we could ever afford it in our lifetimes.
And it’s a good thing we’ve come to terms with the situation, because it just got a lot more intense.
In the Magazine
Carbo-Loading Alla ItalianaNot that we would know, but apparently major exertions like Sunday’s New York Marathon require vast expenditures of energy. The experienced athlete prepares for these with a carbohydrate-heavy meal. In this week’s Short List, Rob and Robin give four places to indulge in mass quantities of pasta.
Short List: Carbo Loads
French Chefs Prepare for New York Marathon With Eating Marathon
It was an impossible-to-refuse invitation: Come to Nougatine to eat lunch with a group of French chefs here to run the New York marathon. The team, which was sponsored by the French tripe council (and whose members had all been given shirts featuring the slogan “Trip for the Tripe”), was clearly taking its preparation for the race with the utmost seriousness. Yesterday’s lunch was a multicourse affair, to be followed by a blowout dinner at Daniel. Today the plan is to lunch at Per Se and then dim sum at Chinatown Brasserie for supper. And on Saturday, the chefs plan to carb up for the race by going on a Chinatown eating tour, followed by a big dinner party Saturday night.
A few highlights from the lunch at Nougatine.
Back of the House
Food Portal Launches, Sea Palace Folds, the Falls Gets a MakeoverIn possibly the most nutso opening profile ever, Michael Daly visits Midnight Cafe and ponders its former incarnation as the Falls: “The mirrors behind the long-bar-turned-diner-counter were also the same, the very mirrors that had shimmered with Imette St. Guillen’s reflection as she lingered alone at closing time, sipping her last drink before final moments that would end in terror.” [NYDN]
So much for the Calorie Restriction Diet: A study indicates wine and fat are the way to health. [NYDN]
They’re just like us: Lydia Hearst gets bounced from Scores. [NYP]
Danny’s Grand Sea Palace (home of the Skylight Room) to close after 31 years. [NYP]
Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray fans, meet Yahoo Food. [Yahoo]
A butcher shop becomes a café; Japanese fundamentals with French-Thai flair at Mantra. [Gayot]
Despite initial reports, the Grayz-Aquavit space may not be on the market. [Snack]
A Salumi-Obsessed Chef’s New GigWhen we were told that Italian Wine Merchants had a new chef, our first thought was, Why would a wine store need a chef? In fact, the Batali-owned specialty shop does a huge banquet business and is booked for private events nearly year-round. The new chef is Liz Chapman, a veteran of Craft, Casa Mono, and Babbo, and a big part of her mandate is to create the cured meats that Mario & Co. so adore. Chapman, whose fiancé is Per Se chef de cuisine Jonathan Benno, tells us, “I’m really here for the salumi. I wake up in the morning, and they’re all I think about.” We know how you feel, Liz. Just don’t tell Benno!
The New York Diet
D.J. and Waverly Diner Regular Mark Ronson Craves Skips and Walkers
Mark Ronson, the A-list set’s most in-demand D.J.— he’s spun parties like the Met gala and is a favorite of everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to Jay-Z — isn’t one for home cooking. “The only thing I really waste expendable income on is food. When I go to my accountant, he’s like, ‘Do you have to eat out all the time?’ He’s half happy I don’t have a heroin addiction instead.” We asked him how he allotted his dining dollars during the past week.