Sea Salt Is Closed; Orhan Yegen Blames the NeighborsOrhan Yegen has decided to close Sea Salt, the Turkish seafood restaurant he opened in the East Village last July. “I sold the place to an American,” the chef tells us. “He’s going to make it into a bar.” Yegen blamed the close on neighborhood demographics. “The age of those people, they don’t want to come to my restaurant. The people didn’t like me,” he explains. “They spit on my window. Then the neighbors, they don’t want to give me a license upgrade from beer and wine to full liquor. So now they get a bar.” He’s got another project in mind but declined to discuss the details now. In the meantime, Yegen will keep things running at Sip Sak.
Related: ‘Dog Food!’ ‘Idiots!’ and Other Sweet Nothings From Orhan Yegen
The Other Critics
Richman Flings Feces at Monkey Bar; Soto Drops the Sushi BallAlan Richman gives it to Monkey Bar, and means it to stick. He gets that the place is supposed to be fun, but the bottom line is that the food sucks: “The dishes are incoherent and the food is thuddingly heavy. No focus. No finesse. Lots of salt.” [Bloomberg]
Soto seems to have shot itself in the foot, dazzling Frank Bruni with its composed dishes, “vibrantly seasoned and intricately composed works of culinary and visual art,” but disappointing with the sushi, and screwing up the service (proof that lack of anonymity doesn’t matter). Now they have to settle for the same catchall two-star rating as Franny’s. [NYT]
Randall Lane seems to have bestowed four (of six) stars on Wakiya more out of a sense of duty than anything else — the restaurant described in his review sounds infuriatingly stuck-up, and the food, by his account, spotty at best. Wakiya is still getting the benefit of the doubt, but it can’t hold up for long. Something tells us that a slam is coming. [TONY]
Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street
‘Dog Food!’ ‘Idiots!’ and Other Sweet Nothings FromOrhan Yegen is known among the city’s food writers for producing two things: great Turkish food and great quotes. He’s like the Charles Barkley of the restaurant world. And his Orhanisms have seldom been on better display than in a Metromix profile out this week. We could have predicted that Orhan would refer to the cuisines of other countries as “dog food” or dismiss all cooking-school instructors as “idiots.” But what a gift he gave Metromix when he picked on poor old Julia Child: “She was not a cook. She was a baker. Thank god she died.”
In the Magazine
Slipping Into Summer via Beer, Barbecue, and Gardens
With July 4 behind us and a heat wave upon us, the magazine kicks into full summer mode this week. Adam Platt sips rosé in the garden room of the retooled Provence, the Insatiable Critic goes for gazpacho julienne at Park Avenue Summer, and the Robs introduce us to a trio of brand-new summer spots — a barbecue joint, a fish restaurant, and a beer bar — along with the offerings of the new Essex Street Market. Also, there’s news of a pizza boomlet — because some food is season-proof.