‘Times’ Releases Ethnic Grocery List; Porter House Looking for aAstoria: McLoughlin’s on Broadway at 31st Street is featuring the German lager Spaten through February. [Joey in Astoria]
Chelsea: Morimoto’s $24.07 prix fixe lunch deal is more filling and generous than you might expect. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Clinton Hill: If you’re too “bored by the fresh produce, too cold/lazy to trek to Fairway” to cook for yourself in winter like this blogger, here are some of the nabe’s good takeout options, including Luz and Bombay Masala. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Columbus Circle: Porter House New York is looking for a new wine director now that veteran in the biz Beth Von Benz has moved on to new projects. [Grub Street]
Lower East Side: This list of ethnic groceries includes Pueblo Deli at 129-135 Ridge Street where you’ll find “brittle, tasteless cassabe (a yuca bread Dominicans find neither brittle nor tasteless)” but also “‘merengue’ flavored Country Club soda, Induveca salami, Bay Rum Constanza antiseptic, and candles dedicated to saints or those who may become them.” [NYT via Serious Eats]
Times Square: Cafe Edison has replaced its peachy-pink paint job with a nice soft tan color, and it’s “swell.” [Lost City]
Upper East Side: Bardolino at 78th Street and Second Avenue suffered interior and exterior damage caused by a fire last week, but they’ll reopen this weekend. [Upper East Side Informer]
‘Esquire’ Responds: We Do So Love New YorkEsquire’s John Mariani, responding to our outraged post from earlier today, writes in with some cooling remarks. We present them here unedited, leaving it to Grub Street readers to decide who’s in the right.
Your comments on my list of Esquire’s 20 Best New Restaurants 2007 are fair enough insofar as your own preferences not making the list, though the inclusion of three NYC restaurants on a list of 20 (no other city has as many) hardly justifies your “Drop Dead” headline. And your assertion that “Food columnist John Mariani picks good restaurants located outside New York in place of the more deserving restaurants inside the city limits, such as Insieme, Sfoglia, Ssäm Bar, Suba, Hill Country, and many others. It’s not their fault that New York has more good places than the rest of the country put together!” may be churlish chauvinism but would only really be defensible if, as I did, you had in fact, eaten in more than 25 cities in the USA in the past year and dined at more than 80 restaurants in those cities…
Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors?
The restaurants at the Time-Warner Center were conceived as a kind of dining Valhalla: a food court of the Gods, with prices to match. But now Per Se, Masa, Café Gray, and Porter House New York are getting a downscale casual neighbor with Landmarc, which opens today. Of course, it isn’t quite accurate to cast Landmarc’s arrival as a snobs-vs.-slobs sitcom; Landmarc is both well-liked and well-respected for chef Marc Murphy’s eclectic, hearty, well-executed American dishes. And both the wine and dessert programs were always a big hit downtown. Will that translate to filling the 300 seats of the new place? Hard to say. But it won’t be for lack of accessibility: the new Landmarc will be open from 7 am to 2 am every day, and will be delivering as well. We’d like to see you get that from Per Se.
In the Magazine
Dude, Did You See the Video of Michael Lomonaco and the Flounder?You might’ve seen our new Overheard video feature, where Daniel Maurer quizzed diners exiting Jeffrey Chodorow’s new restaurant, Wild Salmon. Here, in our debut In Season video, charismatic Porter House New York chef Michael Lomonaco turns a whole local flounder into a beautifully crisped filet dressed with a vinaigrette, following the recipe featured in this week’s issue. Pretend it’s television!
In Season: Local Flounder [NYM]
In the Magazine
This Week: Contents Under PressureThis week’s food section is all about pressure: A pastry chef has to cook every night for a president who hates pineapples and will send him packing at the first hint of progressive dessert-making; Vinh Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese-American, rolls the dice with his Williamsburg restaurant Silent H, and, as far as Rob and Robin are concerned, comes up lucky seven; Jeffrey Chodorow, fresh off his battle with Frank Bruni and Adam Platt, opens a big new restaurant and hopes for the best; and four new restaurants open, surely hoping for the best as well. Even this week’s In Season is rife with tension, calling as it does for a delicate filleting operation that could easily destroy a beautifully roasted flounder. The New York food world is not for the faint of heart.
Neroni Leaves Porchetta; City Hates Big Pink CupcakeChef Jason Neroni leaves Porchetta, citing “irreconcilable differences,” and claiming that pastry chef Mandy Brown and “most of the kitchen staff” are leaving with him. We don’t know the details (yet), but this seems pretty harsh: The restaurant gave him absolute creative license, as far as we can tell, for as long as it’s been open. [Eater]
Related: Chef’s Desperate Plea: Nominate Me for an Award! [Grub Street]
New Yorkers aren’t really spooked by health violations: “If you take the subway, you know what’s down there.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
The city wants Burgers and Cupcakes to take down its huge, incandescent pink cupcake sign because it’s too close to a hydrant, saying, “This isn’t a campaign against cupcakes.” [NYP]
The Other Critics
Critics Keep Up the Steakhouse Shuffle; Ramsay ReviewedRamsay strikes a chord with Ryan Sutton: “This is artful food that makes you ponder the meaning of life, but it’s also accessible, gutsy fare that excites the senses and fills the tummy.” [Bloomberg]
Bruni does the ever popular steak two-fer (witness Platt’s double-up on STK and Lonesome Dove), declares Porter House New York “an M.B.A. program for beef eaters who did undergraduate work at Outback,” turning out “well-sourced, well-prepared flesh” though getting into trouble elsewhere. Despite the limo-like seats, he’s not grooving to the beat (or the meat) at the other spot: “STK might want to think about buying some soundproofing, along with a vowel.” [NYT]
Richman isn’t convinced Porter House New York is a steakhouse, or at least as good of one as its predecessor V. Instead it’s “an accessible, sensible eating establishment with decent prices and classy, comprehensible food.” [Bloomberg]
The Nine Steakhouse CommandmentsIn recent weeks, the Gobbler has found himself sitting night after night in a succession of new steakhouses, staring glumly at the mounting platters of T-bone and porterhouse along with thrombotic servings of greasy hash browns and au gratin potato. The Gobbler has nothing against these restaurants per se. He enjoys a good sizzling hunk of cow as much as the next fellow. But the presence of so many high-profile new ones on the landscape is an unsettling sign. Steakhouses don’t perish in times of trouble; they propagate. This fall, the city’s superstar chefs are away opening spinoffs in places like Vegas and Shanghai, and the buzz, to the extent there is any, is being created by aged revivals (like the Russian Tea Room), and new ventures by venerable out-of-towners (like L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon). Into this vacuum, invariably, rush more steakhouses. The recipe for the successful New York chophouse is precise, however, and you tinker with it at your peril. So here is the Gobbler’s list of random, highly subjective Steakhouse Commandments.
The Other Critics
Raves for Picholine and Porter House New York; Everybody Else Damned With FaintBruni has his birthday party at “reinvigorated” Picholine and, to the tune of three stars, declares it “arguably the nicest restaurant surprise of this disappointing season.” [NYT]
Meehan has mixed feelings about Lunetta but concedes: “Mr. Shepard can cook.” [NYT]
Alan Richman goes slumming at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and finds signs of promise at best. “Metro Marche is not a great restaurant. Unless Escoffier takes over the kitchen, it will never be a fashionable one. It could become quite respectable, though.” [Bloomberg]
Back of the House
A Japanese Gastropub and Other Openings; KFC’s New Recipe Tastes Like Chicken• More on “Japanese gastropub” Zenkichi, Lower East Side brick-oven pizzeria Cronkite, and others; Antoine Bouterin packs it in. [NYT]
• Taste-testers prefer trans-fat-free KFC. [NYDN]
• Cuozzo presses Michael Lomonaco for 9/11 memories, likes the drapes at his new place. [NYP]
• Guss’s in a legal pickle. [NYP]
• Patsy’s, too, fights for its name. [NYS]
• Park Slope sandwich and gelato spot Tempo Presto’s latest locale. [NYS]
• Vendy victor is doing brisk business. [NYDN]
• Emily Sprissler blows the whistle on “rat-trap” conditions (and Padma’s cellulite) on the “Top Chef” set. [Chow]
A Beef Benefit With HeartNow here’s an event the city’s carnescenti can get behind: St. Francis’ Big Red, a meat-and-wine feast to be held Monday night at the Westside Loft. The event benefits educational programs of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food and costs $100 for AIWF members ($150 for nonmembers). But if buy your tickets over the phone and mention Grub Street, $50 will come off the top.
Among the bovine highlights will be Wagyu skirt steak, courtesy of Craftsteak; mustard-roasted beef-short-rib salad, via Porter House New York; and smoked prime filet mignon, from Keens Steakhouse. Wines, which will be poured in abundance, are by St. Francis Winery in Sonoma; cookout guru Elizabeth Karmel will give a grilling demonstration; and a five-night trip to Antigua will be raffled off.
Read more at the St. Francis’ Big Red Website.
Trans-Fat Ban: The Restaurants at RiskWhere would we be without trans fats? The joys of margarine and shortening know no end in New York. Few restaurants care to admit to using it. But going by our taste buds and instinct for human nature, we’ve got ten educated guesses at great local restaurants with foods containing the magical substance. None of these dishes would be the same with replacement fat: It would be better to stop serving them entirely. But a ban poses more risk to the business of some restaurants than others, of course. A RUB without the deep-fried Oreos would still be the city’s best barbecue, but if the Arepa Lady had to spray Pam on her griddle, even her cult might disband.