Pelaccio Focusing on Fatty ‘Cue; Bruni Gets the Fiamma MemoAstoria: Leng Thai’s brown rice is delicious; they mix in red grains. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: A new bakery is supposed to open around June on Fulton near the Met. Baker: “When I was young, we’d go to the bakery every Sunday after church for a fresh loaf of French bread, soft and still warm from the oven. I’d love to re-create that here.” Blogger: “OMGYAY!” [Clinton Hill Blog]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: A former Sapa chef will head the kitchen at a new Pan-Asian restaurant called Prana, set to open in June in the old Scopa space. [Zagat]
Soho: Fabio Trabocchi has written a personal note to Bruni and has worked with B.R. Guest to lower prices across the board at Fiamma (including dropping the price of the seven-course menu from $138 to $125). Sorry to those who ate at Fiamma last week. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Williamsburg: Zak Pelaccio’s project with Robbie Richter might be called Fatty ‘Cue. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: Breaking: Zak Pelaccio and Robbie Richter to Collaborate on Asian Barbecue in Williamsburg
West Village: If you want to celebrate the Irish all next week, August will be “toasting the Irish” through March 21 by serving Guinness Extra Stout and specials like house-made corned beef and cabbage. [Strong Buzz]
Wireless Restaurateurs Ponder Laptop EtiquetteYesterday Gawker lamented, “How sad and kind of pathetic is it that coffee shops and even bars have been taken over by computers and their zombie-eyed owners?” This got us wondering about the extent to which Wi-Fi–equipped restaurants welcome laptop users, so we rang up a few of them.
Ben Stiller Crashes a Party at Fiamma, Penélope Cruz Makes Out at
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?
Bourdain’s Reaction to ‘Top Chef’; Goldfarb and Cluizel Sittin’ in aBourdain considers “Hung’s well deserved victory … a nice, stiff middle finger to all those boneheads who’ve been predicting that ‘The producers are setting it up so Casey will win,’ as well as the poor, deluded souls who feel they can somehow taste food through the television screen.” Are you listening, Adam Platt? [Bourdain’s Blog/Bravo]
Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret wants chefs on their toes: “One thing you have to understand is that stars are not engraved in marble, but crystal, and that they can break easily.” [Metromix NY]
Will Goldfarb is officially shacking up with Michel Cluizel at ABC on a dessert café, and Patricia Yeo has abandoned Monkey Bar after leaving Sapa to work on the project in March. [NYT]
Related: Cluizel, Goldfarb to Join Forces in Dessert Pact
Patricia Yeo Leaving Sapa, Opening Rib House; Something About a Monkey
Mermaid Inn UWS to Open Late Fall; Garifunan Cuisine Has Arrived … in theChelsea: Candy Camp confectionary classes for kids start Saturday at Sapa. [Cakehead]
Clinton Hill: A confused source says the former Bodegas space will become Clinton Hill Bistro, but that’s what Bodegas had painted on its windows when it was open. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Harlem: Doug E. Fresh talks chicken and waffles and the late-night feel of his second restaurant: “Hot Pot, the Caribbean spot I’m opening in December … Harlem’s always been known for its late-night style.” [Uptown Flavor]
Long Island City: Big Easy landmark Jacques-Imo’s New York branch has lost its uptown lease and will take refuge in Queens. [Joey in Astoria via Eater]
South Bronx: If you’ve been craving Garifunan food (the cuisine of “Coastal Caribbeans of African and Native American descent”), head to newly opened and possibly only-one-of-its-kind Garifuna Star at 640 Prospect Avenue for “curry-esque soup and a fufu-esque plantain dish.” [Eat for Victory/VV]
Upper West Side: Danny Abrams plans to open his second Mermaid Inn by the end of the fall. [Eater]
Gavin Portsmouth Promoted at Sapa This just in from Brian Matzkow, owner of Sapa:
Owner Brian Matzkow of SAPA Restaurant is excited to announce that the menu will be taking on a new direction under the guidance of newly appointed Executive Chef Gavin Portsmouth. Chef Portsmouth was the previous executive chef of Zax in Los Angeles and the current Chef de Cuisine at SAPA. Former Executive Chef Patricia Yeo has graciously parted ways to pursue other ventures.
For God’s sake, just don’t change the four-star bathrooms!
LES Crackdown; Yogurt Wars Expand UWS FrontChelsea: Patricia Yeo is out at Sapa. [Eater]
Lower East Side: Turns out La Esquina’s basement is illegal! [NYP]
Midtown West: Get your Charlie Murphy fix at El Centro; it’s his favorite Mexican restaurant. [Gridskipper]
Soho: Former 66 chef Josh Eden has taken over the kitchen at Goblin Market. [Strong Buzz]
Upper West Side: Yogurt Wars update: Pinkberry takes over Excel Fine Art’s space on Columbus Avenue. [Eat for Victory/VV]
West Village: Something’s fishy about the seafood sister restaurant to the Spotted Pig: Diners at the original heard staff chatting about the location opening soon as the 10 Spot. [Down by the Hipster]
Visiting the Pachinko Parlors at Tao
Last week we took a trip to the Far East to hit the loos at Sapa. Now let’s travel even farther east and a little bit north (Madison Avenue at 55th Street!) to Tao, an eatery that’s so authentically Pan-Asian it boasts an enormous Buddha. But then again, so does every other restaurant in town. So how is Tao to distinguish itself from Megu, Buddakan, Buddha Bar, and the rest of them? Via its restrooms, of course!
Using the Underground Crappa at SapaIf you’re one of the swarms of Marc Jacobs–toting girls who flood into Sapa like a Vietnamese monsoon after a long day of arranging “desk-sides,” you already know this, but the place has a great happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: $5 specialty cocktails and martinis (and generous ones at that) mean you’ll be sloshed by nightfall. So be careful not to topple over in those Jimmy Choos when you descend the steps, flanked by gauze-covered lightbulbs, into the restrooms.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar Sues Ed’s Lobster Bar; Ducasse Taking OverThe owner of Pearl Oyster Bar sues the owner of Ed’s Lobster Bar for intellectual-property theft, accusing her former sous-chef of having stolen everything from the paint job to the Caesar salad dressing. [NYT]
Alain Ducasse has taken over Brasserie LCB and is looking to convert it into a bistro along the lines of Benoit, his casual place in Paris. [NYT]
It might not be such a good idea to hire a Top Chef. [NYO]
Patricia Yeo Leaving Sapa, Opening Rib House; Something About a MonkeyPatricia Yeo, whose precise, eclectic fusion cookery and painterly platings brought Sapa wide renown, has finally left the restaurant. A source tells us that she has made the decision to start her own place with Strip House owners Peter and Penny Glazier (she announced plans to quit in 2005), an as-yet-unnamed Asian barbecue place, emphasizing ribs, in the space currently occupied by the Monkey Bar. We’re not putting on the bib quite yet, though: There has been no official announcement or opening date given.
Update: Yeo tells us that she will not be leaving Sapa as executive chef or partner (at least for now; our source believes it’s a matter of months): “I will probably be spending more time at Monkey Bar, at least pre-reviews. The main concept will be to resurrect old ideas, like ribs, with an Asian spin.”
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Forget ‘Top Chef,’ Here’s What Real Cooking Looks Like
The cooking on Top Chef is, as most chefs will tell you, about as realistic as the medicine practiced on House. But that doesn’t mean you can’t see the real thing if you look hard enough. Consider RealMeals, a brand-new, just-launched website which specializes in videos of both professional and amateur chefs actually cooking. This kind of instructional/aspirational video has been coming into vogue in recent months (Chow has produced a number of really good ones.) But RealMeals is both more interesting and more New York-oriented.