DOA Makes You Wait Longer to Eat Frankenbeef; Find Dinner on FoodTubeThough the FDA approved the sale of meat and dairy from cloned animals, the Department of Agriculture is asking farmers to postpone introducing cloned animals into the food supply until they can calm retailers and overseas trading partners. [NYT]
Related: FDA to Beef Industry: Send in the Clones
The list of restaurateurs interested in snatching up Tavern on the Green when its lease expires at the end of the year has expanded to include heavyweights such as Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent, and the Ciprianis. [NYP]
The Great Restaurant Critic Notebook Caper of 2008 continues! With confirmation that it belongs to neither Frank Bruni nor Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman, the search for its owner goes on. [Eater]
Related: So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?
A Love-Hate Letter to Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton Wins Taste of New YorkEntries came in by the bagful for our Taste of New York contest, but, sad to say, only one entry could win the tickets. Most of the pleas took a similar tack, berating us for not including either a well-known chef (David Chang and April Bloomfield being most frequently mentioned) or restaurant (DeNino’s, davidburke & donatella, even Ruby Foo’s!). What most entries lacked was a “why,” — too often, we were just told that “his food is awesome!!” The winner stood out as much for its detailed reasoning as for the strangely masochistic impulse which lay behind it — one so purely New York that we felt compelled to grant it primacy. So congratulations to Jim “don’t call me Captain” Kirk, for his nomination of Prune‘s Gabrielle Hamilton. Having always had an unhealthy appetite for backhanded compliments and ambivalent attachments, we felt Kirk’s entry stood apart.
Back of the House
‘Forbes Traveler’ Bungles Best BrunchesThe view of New York from Dubuque and Ho-Ho-Kus is a laughable one, but we could never understand the reason why. Don’t the editors of Forbes Traveler, author of this ridiculous “America’s Best Brunches” feature live in New York? It’s as if Vogue were to get its New York fashion sense from watching Sex and the City. The four brunches called out — Balthazar, Prune, Cookshop, and Norma’s — are places nobody we know would touch if they were giving away bottomless mimosas. Not because they aren’t good. But they’re all wildly crowded, and in neighborhoods where no one would ever want to be on a hung-over weekend day. (Despite Forbes’ assurance that West Chelsea is “the trendiest of neighborhoods.”)
Women Chefs Come Out in Force for Benefit
It’s often remarked, and with some justice, that the New York restaurant business is a man’s world, with women having to claw and scratch for every bit of recognition. (At least, that was Keith McNally’s view.) A Second Helping of Life, though, a big benefit event for breast-and ovarian-cancer survivors, boasts a pretty heady lineup of stars, and all of the female persuasion: Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton, Del Posto’s Nicole Kaplan, Butter’s Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Amalia’s Ivy Stark, and Rebecca Charles, inventor of the lobster roll, will all be present and accounted for, along with such founding mothers of the New York food scene as Gourmet’s Ruth Reichl, and the formidable Ariane Daguin of D’Artagnan. Tickets are $300 for the event, to be held on September 17 on Chelsea Piers. Visit sharecancersupport.org for more information.
Prune Alum Doesn’t Fall Far From the East Village TreeClinton Hill: The construction workers who opened Il Torchio have created an intimate space serving elegantly constructed Italian tapas but can’t resist sporting baseball caps and — beer in hand — approaching customers to say what’s up. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: Prune alum Matt Hamilton will run the kitchen at Belcourt when it opens next month. [NYS]
Harlem: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que offers up a Labor Day-weekend recipe: really salty potatoes (yes, that’s 2:1 spuds to salt). [NYS]
Midtown West: The London Times picks the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian as the best burger in New York. [A Hamburger Today]
North Fork: A foodie farm tour featuring tastings and cooking demonstrations on September 9 will make a stop at Garden of Eve, a supplier to Flatbush Farm. [Brooklyn Based]
West Village: Anita Lo always has a vegetarian entrée available at Annisa in addition to the one listed on the menu. [Restaurant Girl]
In the Magazine
Cheap Eats est Arrivé!The annual Cheap Eats issue arrives this week and represents, as usual, a massive compendium of low-end gastronomic wisdom. The Underground Gourmet round up some of the city’s very best cheap eats in the main section, but Adam Platt also weighs in on what passes for cheap in the city’s high-end places, some top chefs give their own picks, and three of the city’s greenmarket specialists vie to outdo each other not just in locavorism but also in “cheapavorism.” Add to that laser-focused profiles on burgers, barbecue, and Korean fried chicken, and you have a Cheap Eats supplement to put all others to shame.
What to Eat Tonight
Prune Provides an East Village Kind of Clambake
You can’t get much of a clambake going at Brighton Beach, which is about as close as we at Grub Street get to the ocean these days. But we still pine for the crude pleasures of a summer ritual that has almost no presence in the daily life of New York. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune felt more or less the same way, and so came up with tonight’s special, a dish of steamed Manila clams, merguez sausage, and corn (for $23) meant to summon the experience, if not the setting. “I think it’s like a clambake,” she says, “just not in a pit of sand in the ground. But it has all the other elements, plus ones you wouldn’t normally find, like smoked paprika, cilantro, piquillo peppers.” But why Manila clams? That doesn’t seem especially traditional. “It isn’t,” Hamilton says. “But we love their saltiness, and they are the perfect size to open at just the right time it takes for the merguez to cook.”
Treats Truck Will Grace the East Village With Its Presence TomorrowAstoria: GoWasabi at 29-11 Ditmars Boulevard will serve sushi with a side of live jazz tonight. [Joey in Astoria]
East Village: The Treats Truck is bringing its freshly baked (in Red Hook) sandwich-cookies, brownies, and crispy confections to Bond Street at Lafayette on Saturday. [The Treats Truck] Are you extremely kind, and do you love the smell of offal in the morning? Prune is looking for someone really nice to be their next hostess. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Hell’s Kitchen: Terrance Brennan’s Artisanal Premium Cheese Center is holding a tasting course on cheeses of the newly trendy Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, June 19. [Artisanal Premium Cheese Center]
Midtown West: Curry craziness has died down at Go!Go!Curry, but should rev back up if Hideki Matsui (its namesake of sorts) hits a homer any time soon. [Gothamist]
Park Slope: The newly opened Hotel Le Bleu will house a restaurant with views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty; it’s aptly named Vue. [NewYorkology]
How in God’s Name Do I Get a Table at Babbo?Dear Grub Street,
I’m trying to make a rez for a two-year-anniversary dinner at Babbo, and the lines are busy. Ought I: Try to make a reservation in person? See if I can shake down anyone for the “special” number? Or enlist the services of a pal who is a concierge? Seriously — it shouldn’t be this hard in January, should it? UGH!
Back of the House
New York Chefs Tell of Nightmarish BeginningsKimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan’s fine new book, How I Learned to Cook, is a collection of first-person accounts of celebrated chefs’ rocky beginnings. Some of the best chapters are by New York cooks: Andrew Carmellini of A Voce, Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune, David Chang of Momofuku and Ssäm Bar, and Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. In case you have any doubts about adding it to your Amazon wish list, here’s a breakdown of the hometown highlights.
The Underground Gourmet
Sandwich of the Week: Egg’s Amazing Breakfast TreatWhile the humble egg — gently poached at low temperatures and served in creative ways once reserved for hunks of meat or fish — is having its moment on dinner menus across the city, so too is the even humbler egg sandwich. Witness City Bakery’s new fried-egg-bacon-and-Cato-Corner-cheese brunch biscuit, the “Egg on a Roll” on Prune’s just-debuted lunch menu, and Starbucks’s McDonald’s-inspired line of breakfast sandwiches available throughout the day.
The Underground Gourmet
Sandwich of the Week: Like Dragging Bacon Through a Car Wash With a Marmalade
The Underground Gourmet expects nothing less than divine sandwich inspiration from Gabrielle Hamilton at Prune. After all, this is the woman who introduced Triscuits with sardines and Dijon mustard to fine dining — to say nothing of a brunch that’s like a cross between Barney Greengrass and H.R. Pufnstuf. Now Hamilton has added a lunch menu to her superb repertoire, and the centerpiece is a bacon-and-marmalade-on-pumpernickel sandwich. Hamilton says it’s an old suburban-Jersey-family favorite, but its roots may in fact be British — something an eccentric grouse hunter might bring along with him for sustenance on the shoot.
Ask a Waiter
Prune’s Cynthia Rojas on Diners Shy and Naughty
Ask Cynthia Rojas what she overhears in Prune’s tiny dining room, as we did, and you might blush (as we did). She often finds herself defending bone marrow to the finicky, but here she tells us how to beat the interminable brunch line.