Interborough Burger Contest Heading to QueensThe grilling armies in the city’s burger wars usually hail from Manhattan, but every competition needs new contenders. The Burger Battle of the Boroughs will be on May 20 in Astoria as part of the Cuisine of Queens & Beyond tasting event. Staten Island could not field a team, but representatives from Brooklyn (The Farm on Adderley, 67 Burger), Queens (Harry’s at Water Taxi Beach, Joe’s Bestburger), and the Bronx (Coals) will battle Brgr and Resto — the latter being Rob and Robin’s favorite burger in New York last year.
Salute the Gulag Gourmet Movement
If there’s a vein of New York food writing that has gone unmined, it’s Gulag Gourmet — that strata of consumption below even the Cheap Eats genre, where the mere acquisition of food, and the resulting dodging of starvation, counts as a victory. A burger at Resto or a falafel is pheasant under glass compared to the stuff Joshua M. Bernstein ate in his trip down Nostrand Avenue. Canned cuttlefish in ink, hot pea-flour fritters: This is stuff we would pay $1 not to eat. Hence the piece’s genius. But when we find ourselves as broke as the Ten Commandments toward the end of the pay period, we have our own Gulag Gourmet treats. Here are a few.
It Isn’t Easy Being Green; Grayz on the Stun LineThere are a few basic steps that restaurants and bars can follow to be considered “green,” but they don’t happen automatically.[TONY]
Steve Cuozzo leads Gray Kunz’s new cash cow to the slaughter, calling Grayz a draw “for suits wanting a slicker sandbox for babe-wrangling than nearby Connolly’s.” [NYP]
Related: Gray Kunz Finds a Sweet New Business Model
The Frankies of Spuntino fame have a third restaurant planned in Brooklyn and a new cookbook on the way. [Eater]
Back of the House
Hamburgers Are in ‘Vogue’Hidden away at the back of this month’s Vogue is a pretty interesting essay by Jeffrey Steingarten on the current state of hamburger science (sadly, not online). Bracketing out how bizarre it is that the dean of American food writers should be publishing his scientific food forays amid images of Caroline Trentini jumping in Prada and furs, the piece has lots of interest for New Yorkers: There are more burger insights from Pat LaFrieda, the city’s undisputed top burger producer, and an explanation of what makes Ryan Skeen’s burger at Resto so good, in spite of its always being overcooked. The best part, though, is the revelations of burger science from the London lab of legendary chef Heston Blumenthal.
Related: Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours
In the Magazine
This Week’s Issue Is All About Simplicity
The food news in this week’s issue concerns the simple, the elegant, and the obvious. A guy in Brooklyn tries to raise his food in his backyard. Adam Platt respondes to locavore earnestness by battening down with a box of Oreos. Two Italian restaurants have opened with unambitious, utterly familiar menus, and he likes one of them, Bar Stuzzichini, more than the other, Gemma, which was lucky to escape with a single star. Another Italian restaurant, Accademia di Vino, specializes in grilled pizza, good pasta, and lots of wine, which pleases the Insatiable Critic. In this week’s Openings, Alex Ureña gives up on foam, and another guy in Brooklyn opens a sandwich shop highlighted by a turkey sandwich with potato chips in it. Resto chef Ryan Skeen enjoyed the onion and tomato app at Peter Luger, and the bacon too, so he thought to make a recipe out of all three for In Season. And finally, the city gets three new choices for the age-old conundrum “coffee, tea, or milk.” It’s that kind of week at New York.
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.
The Other Critics
Richman Lambastes Landmarc; Has Sietsema Lost His Mind?Robert Sietsema reviews what might be the most un-Sietsema-like place imaginable, a twee Williamsburg bistro called Juliette. “The snails in anise butter are fab, and so is the whole steamed artichoke flaunting a festive champagne vinaigrette.” Okay, call the FBI. The real Robert Sietsema has obviously been kidnapped. [VV]
“Think too much and you’ll find the place hard to like”: Alan Richman sees the new Landmarc for what it is – a stark, expensive, underachieving restaurant with few niceties of service or cooking – but still manages to find something nice to say about the steaks. [Bloomberg]
Related: Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors? [Grub Street]
Frank Bruni had a high old time at Resto, so much so that he gave the place a shocking two stars. Expect all future reviews to react to this hyperbole by taking pains to note the place’s shortcomings.[NYT]
Related: Brussels Sprout [NYM]
In the Magazine
New York’s Restaurant Jungle Grows a Little Lusher
When spring comes, branches and leaves appear in the most unexpected places. This week’s food coverage is like that: There are no huge openings, analogous to maples or firs springing up overnight, but rather a rich carpet of new sprouts and saplings. Rob and Robin glory in the pig-out that is Resto, the new Belgian restaurant on Park Avenue South; Gael Greene stops in to enjoy the immense, spanking-new Landmarc in the Time Warner Center; David Chang knows just what to do with the long-awaited, precious ramps in In Season; and other unexpected treats, from a waterside barbecue in one of the Short Lists to a slew of spring Openings fill out the foliage.
The Underground Gourmet
Resto’s Tête de Cochon Is Our Sandwich of the WeekIt’s a sad fact of life that some of the best things to eat in restaurants never make it out of the kitchen and onto the Underground Gourmet’s plate. We’re talking about staff or “family” meals, of course, those rustic snacks that kitchen crews deem unfit for mass consumption but then greedily hoard behind kitchen doors like hungry wolves around a fresh carcass. Happily, that was not the fate of one of the best sandwiches the UG has ever sunk his teeth into, the tête de cochon at the new Belgian restaurant Resto.
The Other Critics
Love and Hate for the Inn LW12; Esca Pulls Even With BabboThe Sun’s Paul Adams considers the Inn LW12 an out-and-out Canadian restaurant, to a greater extent than anyone else has, and praises the poutine, a Québécois version of disco fries, along with the rest of the menu. [NYS]
Poutine aside, Randall Lane thinks the Inn LW12 is a snobby “poseur sanctuary” still carrying the taint of Lotus, owner Jeffrey Jah’s other place. [TONY]
Esca gets a third star from the Times, moving it even with Babbo, and reminding everybody that David Pasternack is not just Mario’s fish guy, but one of the city’s great chefs. [Esca]
In the Magazine
Resto: Belgium Beyond Beer and WafflesNot shown: 56 other beers.Photo: Bumblebee Studios for New York Magazine
In this week’s Openings, Rob and Robin announce the birth of Resto, a new Belgian gastropub on Park Avenue South. The menu, newly added to our vast database, is ambitious: Aside from 60 Belgian beers, there are spiced lamb ribs and beef-cheek carbonnade along with other promising signs such as a frisée salad made with guanciale (the Roman jowl bacon more commonly seen in carbonara) and a fluke with sunchokes, caper berry, and beurre noisette. Add to that the dessert tasting menu of up to sixteen different kinds of Belgian chocolate and we’re sold. The place is pretty cool-looking, too.
Restaurant Openings: Provence, Resto, Gold St., Zipper Tavern [NYM]