Braving Mason Dixon: The Painfully Self-Aware Mechanical-Bull BarWe’ve already seen the interior of Mason Dixon, but this weekend we braved the dreaded Lower Eastpacking District™ to see the latest mechanical-bull spot in full swing. (Don’t ever suggest that Grub Street is not willing to make sacrifices for you, dear reader.) No line down the block as with the Shamlians’ other bar, Fat Baby, but we definitely got our fill of blonde highlights (girls), cropped haircuts (guys), and designer-knockoff bags. Plus a steady stream of woo-hoos and yee-haws, thanks to those $10 bull rides. We personally enjoyed the totally wasted guy who didn’t seem to realize he was impersonating the Freedom Rock commercials and who certainly wasn’t aware of this place’s problem with the neighbors when he yelled, “Turn it up, man! Make it louder, man!” Yeah, man!
Chef Andrew Robertson was lurking by the bar — latest word is no food till Friday night. In the meantime, as you can see by this photo of the men’s-room door, the place is at least being honest about itself.
Earlier: Yonkers Chef Presents City’s ‘First Authentic Southern Restaurant,’ Second Mechanical Bull
Rockabilly Bar in Progress on the LES; Dévi Reopens With a DiscountAstoria: “A lot of people in town are excited” about the 7-Eleven that just opened on 30th Avenue and 30th Street, so much so that the Slurpee machine may have broken from overuse. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: No more soft opening! Speakeasy from former Top Cheftestant Josie Malave opens tonight, and photos taken of the menu in the window reveal such inspired dishes as zucchini sticks and fettuccine with spinach and sun-dried tomato. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Flatiron: Dévi reopens tonight, and the dinner menu will be 20 percent off through November 20. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Little Italy: Papabubble’s grand-opening party went well on Saturday; as you can see from these pics, the “walls were fully stocked with fresh candy, open jars with samples were everywhere, and … stateside Papabubble proprietors, even put on a little candy making show.” [Down by the Hipster]
Lower East Side: Fat Baby and Spitzer’s Corner owners Rob and Will Shamlian seem well on their way to opening a rockabilly bar and restaurant at 133 Essex Street, minus a liquor license and a mechanical bull. [Eater]
Sunset Park: Pepper and salt fish are tiny fish deep-fried in a batter that puffs up like funnel cake; they go well with abundant mini-shots of beer, and conveniently both are served at Ren Ren on Eighth Avenue every day until 3:30 a.m. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower Eastpacking District Tells Bar, ‘No Bull’When we visited Johnny Utah’s a few days ago, it was a mere construction site with a $25,000 mechanical bull at the center. Granted, in these first interior shots, we still see nothing but the bull, but that’s just because we’re obsessed. And as obsessives, we were a bit concerned when a source told us that Rob Shamlian of Fat Baby had abandoned his plans to install the city’s second bull at 133 Essex Street, the site of the honky-tonk bar and restaurant, at one point called Evan Ford, that Sam Talbot walked away from along with his other project with Shamlian, Spitzer’s.
‘Top Chef’ Heartthrob to Cook on the Bowery?
On the agenda for tonight’s Community Board 2 meeting is a liquor-license application that a one “Sam Talbot or Corp. to be formed” has filed for 312–314 Bowery, a recently renovated mixed-use building between Houston and Bleecker Streets, walking distance from the restaurant Daniel Boulud hopes to open at Avalon Chrystie Place II. It seems, in other words, that Top Chef also-ran Talbot has found a new project after moving on from Spitzer’s, his ill-fated partnership with Fat Baby owner Rob Shamlian (you’ll recall “Page Six” rumors that big-name restaurateurs lured him into a mystery project). Trouble is, a Bravo publicist tells us Talbot doesn’t know anything about the Bowery application, and the other Sam Talbot, the beloved pushcart vendor, says he doesn’t know anything about it either. Will the real Sam Talbot stand up at tonight’s meeting?
Related: CB2 July agenda