From Peanuts to Enotecas
What if you were a 60-year-old church congregation in North Carolina and had somehow found a pipeline to the fast-paced New York restaurant scene via your salted peanuts? And then you hear from Rob and Robin that another North Carolina church congregation was moving in on your action? Wouldn’t you feel upset? Or how about this: You meticulously design a restaurant, down to the last detail, and then have to change everything three months later. Or what if you opened a good Italian restaurant that Adam Platt liked, but he only gave you one star because, well, he’s Adam Platt? What then?
These and other hypotheticals are answered in this week’s issue of New York.
The Box Back in Action; Smith & Wollensky Sold at LastThe Box is back in action and even hosted a corporate event last night for Virgin America airline, clearly meant to bring the venue one step closer to becoming a “cultural institution.” [Down by the Hipster]
The $94.7 million sale of New York–based Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, which includes Quality Meats and Park Avenue Summer, to the national corporation Patina has been finalized, but there’s still no word on a timetable for Park Avenue’s fall makeover. [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: The Secrets of Steakhouse Riches
Is Top Chef’s Brian into threesomes? Of the kind less celebrated in popular culture? [Amuse Biatch]
The Other Critics
Monkey Bar Gets Hit; Three Stars for Café BouludPaul Adams liked some things about Monkey Bar, but it’s never a good sign if you hire a famous Chinese chef (Patricia Yeo) and the review includes the words “My neighborhood Chinese takeout does better dumplings.” [NYS]
Café Boulud, in an important rereview, gets three stars — enough to add momentum to Daniel Boulud’s empire building. [NYT]
Insieme looks dull, observes Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, but “profligate flavor and spirited service” show themselves once the food starts coming. [NYer]
In the Magazine
Slipping Into Summer via Beer, Barbecue, and Gardens
With July 4 behind us and a heat wave upon us, the magazine kicks into full summer mode this week. Adam Platt sips rosé in the garden room of the retooled Provence, the Insatiable Critic goes for gazpacho julienne at Park Avenue Summer, and the Robs introduce us to a trio of brand-new summer spots — a barbecue joint, a fish restaurant, and a beer bar — along with the offerings of the new Essex Street Market. Also, there’s news of a pizza boomlet — because some food is season-proof.
Gertel’s Baked Goods Still to Be Had on the Lower East SideAstoria: Greek restaurant Stamatis’s expansion across the street finally looks near completion, and the place looks nice. [Joey in Astoria]
Coney Island: Takeru Kobayashi may have lockjaw, but you can still show your support on July 4 by wearing one of these Kobayashi T-shirts inspired by the Nathan’s and Bob’s Big Boy logos. [The Food Section]
Hell’s Kitchen: Rumor has it that Dunkin’ Donuts on Eighth Avenue near 36th Street is giving away free coffee and doughnuts while training its new staff today. [Grub Street]
Lower East Side: You can still get Gertel’s pastries at Flicker’s Coffee and Tea Shop around the corner. [Lost City]
Tribeca: Blue Crab Mondays are back at the Hideaway. [Gastro Chic]
Upper East Side: Park Avenue Summer now boasts a create-your-own-cocktail bar. [Restaurant Girl]
In the Magazine
Summer Brings Hot Dogs, Barbecue, and Department-Store Salads
Summer is upon us at last, and with it come the inevitable summer foods: hot dogs, barbecue, snap peas, salad … and pappardelle with truffles and butter. Well, not every food consumed in the hot months is inevitable. But this issue comes packed with hot-weather options. The Underground Gourmet reviews Willie’s Dawgs and PDT, the new chic cocktail lounge attached to Crif Dogs (you’ll have to read to understand). The city’s most ambitious barbecue opening yet happens this week; Gael Greene is very taken with Aurora Soho’s reverse commute; Pichet Ong takes off from the dessert business to create a killer sugar-snap-pea recipe; and Rob and Robin offer both a guide to the city’s top department-store salads and a quiz to determine your green-eats quotient, a test which only the most narrowly focused carnivore could possibly fail.