Chris Cheung Swings in to Monkey Bar; Astoria’s Greek Restaurants ChallengingAstoria: The nabe’s Greek tapas offer a light respite from overstuffing on leftovers. [NYT] A & D Meat on 31st Street now sells organic beef. [Joey in Astoria]
Hell’s Kitchen: Not only does Bis.Co. Latte on 47th at Tenth Avenue make over 40 varieties of biscotti, but the bakery also offers seasonal soups and daily gelati. [Blog Chelsea]
Financial District: Flames Steakhouse is now an Italian restaurant called Giardino D’oro, though the chef hasn’t changed. [Restaurant Girl]
Midtown East: After dispensing with Patricia Yeo, the Monkey Bar has installed promising chef Chris Cheung, who so memorably left Almond Flower this past summer. [Eater]
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Lime might not be open yet, but the bar is planning a fund-raiser for a nonprofit preschool. [Across the Park]
Grub Street’s Most Wanted: Check-Kiting Chef a Repeat Offender?When we Googled the name of Ralph Landi, the “Christian chef” who was accused of stealing a laptop and writing checks to himself at a soon-to-open midtown restaurant, we saw he had bounced around country and became immediately suspicious, as we always are of chefs who seek work outside of our fine city (especially in Vegas!). Sure enough, a former employer writes in with a bizarre tale about Landi that is best read in the voice of John Walsh.
Theater-District Restaurants May Lay Off Workers; Where the Chefs GoAfter three weeks of declining customers, theater-district restaurants fear layoffs. [NYP]
Related: Theater Strike Could Drop Curtain on Midtown Restaurants
Chefs including Tom Colicchio, Nicole Kaplan, and Marco Canora reveal where they really eat in the city (think Wing Wong and Bellavitae). [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
From the in-laws to the office party, a list of restaurants to turn to for every holiday scenario.[Strong Buzz]
Click and Save
Where Padma Eats Cheap in New YorkTangy Tart Hot & Sweet. That’s the name of model turned Top Chef dictatress Padma Lakshmi’s new cookbook, and that’s just how she behaved before swooning fans last night at her Strand book signing. After donning “serious” glasses to read food-related mini-memoirs from the book, she told the crowd that saying “Please pack your knives and go” to Top Chef’s weekly loser was “the hardest part of my job” … and divulged that men often ask her to say it to them in a dominatrix-y sort of way. (“It creeps me out!” she insisted.) She said the show had knocked down any remaining foodie limits she might have had: “I’ll put anything in my mouth once.” Oh, Padma!
‘Christian Chef’ Accused of Stealing from Midtown RestaurantThe Post today reports that one Ralph Landi — apparently inspired by the Neroni affair? — was arrested for signing checks to himself and pilfering a laptop while working as a cook at a West 36th Street restaurant. Assuming our Google results refer to the same Ralph Landi, this isn’t the first time the man — self-described as “3 Star Rated by the NY Times” on his personal Website (now defunct) — has rubbed people the wrong way. Just look at a post on the Christian Chef’s Fellowship bulletin board asking him to “permanently refrain from trying to find employment through this website.” (Landi’s e-mail address around that time? Christianchef@comcast.net.) The Post didn’t name the place that pressed charges against Landi, but our NYPD source says the company of the restaurant in question (to be opened sometime within the next month) was Paramani Ltd., located at 38 West 36th Street. So, yeah— they might just be hiring.
Related: NYPD Daily Blotter [NYP]
Jody Williams’s Wine Bar Serving in the West VillageGreenwich Village: Send off truffle fever with a wine-sodden bang at Babbo’s December 3 Vintage series, which includes a white-truffle tasting menu with wine pairings discussed by Peter Jamros. [Grub Street]
Hell’s Kitchen: Kyotofu is hosting a seven-course dinner-and-dessert sake pairing tonight at 7 p.m. [Grub Street]
Midtown West: The Frederick’s space on West 58th Street will be transformed into Jour et Nuit, a French-American bistro offering, you guessed it, brasserie classics like croque monsieurs and moules frites. [Restaurant Girl]
Soho: Fiamma is a little too liberal with its “Napkins of Shame,” which according to Bruni are a “bit of patchwork that makes the table look clean again” to the embarrassment of the messy diner. The critic was subjected to one himself while on a date. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] The Vosges bacon-chocolate bar is accused of not reaching its potential and tasting “more like the barnyard than the pig and more like the rubber tree than the cocoa pod.” [Chop Talk/Epicurious]
West Village: Jody Williams is previewing her new enoteca and salumeria Gottino at Greenwich Avenue near Perry Street. [Eater] The chef’s main stage, Morandi, is also serving a Thanksgiving dinner of rosemary roasted turkey with fennel and bruschetta stuffing. Those looking for turkey alternatives can arrive early for regular breakfast. [Grub Street]
Michelin Declares Tokyo’s Restaurants Four Times Better Than New York’sTurns out those Japanese food bloggers up in arms about Michelin casting its critical gaze on Nippon for the first time had nothing to worry about. The guide everyone outside of France loves to hate served itself a big dose of humble pie in awarding Tokyo the most stars (191) of any city — far above Paris with its 65 stars and New York with its 42. No fewer than 25 Tokyo eateries got two-stars compared to six here at home. This really puts that Zenkichi disclaimer — “for Japanese and adventurous eaters only” — in perspective.
Related: Tokyo Eateries Voted World’s Best [Reuters]
Earlier: Michelin Virus Spreads, Delighting Ducasse, Krauts; Angering Gordo, Japanese
Jeffrey Chodorow Begins Investing in the Little GuyNews that Borough Food and Drink was being taken over by Zak Pelaccio had some Chodorow watchers scratching their heads. How could China Grill Management be involved in a restaurant and not control it? General Chod tells us that, far from being a departure from his operating system, CGM’s boutique operation is just his latest innovation. “There’s 20th Century Fox for big projects, and then also Fox Searchlight Pictures. That’s what this would be like,” he says, crediting Pelaccio with the analogy. (How long did he mull that one?)
Will Laurent Tourondel Clean Up David Bouley’s Miami Mess?
David Bouley has been a busy man in recent months, first opening David Bouley Evolution in Miami’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and then taking over the Delphi restaurant in order to convert it to Brushstrokes, his tribute to Japanese gastronomy. But the Bouley empire has taken a step backward with the current chaos at Evolution, which has resulted in the restaurant’s supposedly temporary closure. Grub Street hears that Laurent Tourondel is in talks with the Ritz-Carlton to either operate the restaurant or take over the property entirely. (No word back yet from Bouley; Tourondel’s rep denies anything is in the works.)
Korean Chicken Chain Still Trying to Fly
Remember our news that BBQ Chicken, Korea’s leading fried chicken chain, was coming to St. Marks Place and aiming to move past McDonald’s in worldwide ubiquity? That goal now seems just a smidge ambitious, because after two months the chicken has yet to hit the olive oil. We were worried the employees had been held back at Chicken University, but it seems the problems lie elsewhere. “They’ve been having trouble with the gas for the chicken,” a counter person tells us. “[The opening] will probably be about two weeks, but they’ve been saying that for about a week so I’m not sure.” In the meantime, there’s always that decidedly not health-conscious BBQ at the end of the block.
Update: Well, there’s this, at least— The BBQ Chicken on Seventh Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets is up and oiling, as our photographer Melissa Hom discovered during her fried chicken odyssey.
Earlier: Korea’s Favorite Chicken Chain Invades, Bubble-Tea War Is Brewing
Chef Cliques Revealed; More T-Day Dining OptionsFrank Bruni tries to put the chef network together and finds that Jimmy Bradley hangs out with Joey Campanaro of little owl and Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto. David Chang opts to stick with the “WD-50 gang.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Theater-district restaurants, including Barbetta and Kyotofu , are offering 15 percent off their menus this week (except on Thanksgiving) in light of the Broadway-strike breakdown. [NYC Visit via Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: Theater Strike Could Drop Curtain on Midtown Restaurants
Masa may be one of the most expensive restaurants in New York, but it’s almost chump change in the rest of the world, considering Tokyo’s Aragawa “an eight-ounce piece of Kobe steak from a sake-fed Wagyu cow” for $400. [Forbes]
Serendipity: Images From the Battlefield
So they’re not the best pictures—but did you really want to see close-ups of mice poo? (Don’t answer that.) Nevertheless, a sad scene. Between the Broadway strike and this latest development, the holidays are headed towards a touristy triage.
Earlier: Breaking: Serendipity 3 Closed by DOH
Back of the House
Jennifer 8. Lee Tackles Fortune CookiesThe galleys for the The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee’s forthcoming book about Chinese food and restaurants, have flooded the city, and people are getting hungry. Since the mysterious, crowded world of Chinese food is something about which we can never get enough intel, a quick chat with Jennifer was in order.
Adam Platt Defends His RatingsAfter seeing that our good friend Adam Platt awarded Allen & Delancey, a restaurant we especially admire, a measly two stars, we decided to confront him with his misjudgment, and request – nay, demand! – that he explain and even justify his method of awarding stars to us. We knew it was an argument we couldn’t win, and what’s more that we shouldn’t win, given the fact that Platt is arguably the city’s top critic, but we also know he would respond to us like the big baited bear that he is. The debate played out via our favorite medium, Instant Messenger.
Restaurant Insiders Launch Secret-ish Industry NightLet’s say you’re a hard-partying cook, a leggy hostess, a put-upon waiter — whatever. You want to rock out after work in a chill environment surrounded by your friends in the business. You want what is typically known as an Industry Night, right? But where do you go? This was the question Anthos chef de cuisine Jason Hall asked himself. “We need a place where we can all go and relax without dealing with a bunch of 20-year-olds from Jersey throwing up,” he explained. Don’t we all want that? Anyway, cue the birth of a regular industry party that’s invite-only, and, in these nascent stages, relatively on the DL, as they say. NB to fellow food bloggers: This might be the one you want to crash.
IN, as it’s called, will be held on Wednesdays; the gathering will feature no cover and food cooked by the guests themselves (think freestyle, improv offerings). If you’re in the business and want more intel, drop us a line and we might be able to help you out (no promises).
Lotus Changing Hands; Pedigreed Smoked Fish Now Served in TribecaMeatpacking District: Tenjune’s Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum are reportedly poised to take over Lotus from David Rabin after eyeing the space back in September, but we’re not sure of the fate the waitress who dubbed the club a “tourist attraction.” [Down by the Hipster]
Midtown East: Café St. Bart’s may change its name to Inside Park at St. Bart’s by early 2008 when the restaurant reopens to show off its new renovations. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Lime, the new bar opening on Flatbush, has hoisted a sign, which has been described, possibly with sarcasm, as “pretty damn spiffy.” [Across the Park]
South Bronx: The produce is speaking for itself at the smallest food co-op in the city, which began operations in September and now has 30 members. Who wouldn’t want better-priced tomatoes whose “juices just burst in your mouth and you have that sensation of loveliness growing in your mouth”? [NYT]
Tribeca: Murray’s sibling Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish, on Chambers near West Broadway, had its grand opening this weekend. [Grub Street]
In the Magazine
The Truffle Madness Continues for Another Week
It’s truffle time at New York — a three-part celebration of the original Magic Mushroom (and you know how we feel about that). Moving beyond the fabulous fungi, Adam Platt made his way down to Allen & Delancey and was so impressed with the place that he almost gave it three stars — before remembering that he was Adam Platt.