Bartenders Reassert Stylishness in the Face of Chef DandyismYesterday, we continued to marvel that chefs have become beacons of fashion, but we all know that bartenders are the real fops. Guys like Jim Meehan, Sasha Petraske, and David Wondrich aren’t waiting around for Maxim or Esquire to doll them up — in fact, as evident from a Time Out how-to on cocktail dandyism, even Toby Maloney, the guy who’s responsible for the mai tais and Zombies at the Rusty Knot, wouldn’t be caught dead in a Hawaiian shirt.
At the Rusty Knot, There’s a Bass on the Wall and ‘Barracuda’ on theBack when Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman first clued us in to the Rusty Knot, in the old West space, he said little more than, “We’re doing a little dive bar there — it’s going to have a pool table and a jukebox.” In this week’s issue, chef Joaquin Baca tells us what “dive bar” means (an addictive chicken liver, bacon, and avocado sandwich, it turns out), but he doesn’t say anything about the jukebox. All we can say is, don’t expect to hear Masta Ace or New Young Pony Club, like you might at the Pig.
Fake Butter Harming Chefs?; Crave Ceviche Bar Closed by Crane AccidentA federal investigation is under way in New York’s kitchens to measure the hazards cooks face when handling an ingredient in artificial butter that is known to cause tissue damage. [Seattle Post Intelligencer]
Frank Bruni thinks Thomas Keller should just stick to what he knows and avoid this casual-dining nonsense he puts on at Ad Hoc. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Sexy British TV chef Nigella Lawson has reportedly put on some weight, with one catty source saying, “The result is a butt like a Budweiser horse.” [NYP]
In the Magazine
Good Times for High and Low in This Week’s IssueThese are high times we’re living in. Every stratum of society has something going for it. On the tippy top, the wine-swilling swells who frequent Adour can enjoy what, in Adam Platt’s view, is three-star cuisine. And their fellow plutocrats will enjoy South Gate’s posh but lively room and Gael Greene–approved food (well, except for the clams). But for the rest of us, Rob and Robin have a panoply of awarding options: There are the spring-inspired rhubarb hamantaschen made by Emily Isaac at Trois Pommes Patisserie; an interview the Robs did with Momofuku man Joaquin Baca, who now is doing the menu for world-class dive bar the Rusty Knot; and, adding to this embarrassment of riches, takeout sweets from Pichet Ong’s Batch, and a very appealing-sounding little Tuscan restaurant on Bleecker Street. On top of everything else, crackling is the latest snack trend. Good times, friends. Good times.
DuMont Barkeep’s McCarren Project to Be Celeb-FundedA while back, we brought news that Jud Longell, of DuMont, was teaming up with the designers of Tailor and Smith and Mills to create a bistro that might have either a “nautical design” or an “English-butcher-shop aesthetic.” Now BlackBook brings us an early interior shot along with news that a “well-known celebrity” is a silent partner. Hmmm — who could it be? Either way, it’s good to know, with the Rusty Knot poised to open in Manhattan, that Brooklyn will have a celeb-studded faux boat of its own.
Who’s the Silent Celeb Partner at 18 Bedford Ave.? [BlackBook]
Related: DuMont, Smith and Mills Players Head Toward McCarren
The Rusty Knot Will Knot Be Open TomorrowThe Rusty Knot, Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman’s new west side bar, was jam-packed last night. Maybe a little too packed: Friedman has decided to close the place back up for a few days until he can figure out how to handle the crowds, which are much more intense than he bargained for. (Just last night, we saw Mary-Kate (or was it Ashley?) Olsen coming out the door, and Kate Krader of Food and Wine says Jay-Z and LeBron James were frolicking inside too. “Our friends ate & drank us dry last night. We’ll open sometime next week,” Friedman says.
Related: Friedman Reveals a Little Bit (Just a Little Bit) About John Dory, Rusty Knot
Pizza Prices Definitely Going Up; Bruni Loves BjörkThere’s no doubt about it: Pizza prices are going up. A survey of pizzerias around town — well, below 14th Street, anyway — reveals that slice prices are almost unanimously going to increase over the next few months, owing to the soaring price of flour. [City Room/NYT]
Though the National Labor Relations Board ruled more than two weeks ago that Saigon Grill‘s deliverymen must be rehired with full back pay, delivery service at both locations remains suspended and there are doubts about its returning anytime soon. [Villager]
You can learn so much from hanging out at Ko and the Rusty Knot, like how good Jay-Z is at playing pool. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Friedman Reveals a Little Bit (Just a Little Bit) About John Dory, Rusty KnotDeodorant-eschewing Spotted Pig honcho Ken Friedman sits down with Bruni to say not much of anything about what he’s planning for the Rusty Knot, his “East Village–style dive bar” in the old West space. Despite the fact that he was last heard talking about the bar in a series of Belvedere ads, he says he doesn’t want the sort of exposure Sam Mason enjoyed on this very blog (“I was sick of [Tailor] before it even opened”) and reveals that his first choice for partner was Amy Sacco of Bungalow 8 rather than Taavo Somer of Freemans — a restaurant that’s one of his faves despite the fact that “the food’s never really that good.” Ouch!
A Chat with Ken Friedman [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Earlier: Daniel Boulud and Ken Friedman Reveal New Projects in Belvedere Ads