We’ve Got Oceana’s New Menu — and Word of a Special ServedThe man Ben Pollinger succeeded as executive chef at Oceana in October, Cornelius Gallagher, was one of the city’s top toques, and much of the kitchen left with him. Finally, though, Pollinger has settled in and after much tweaking of the original, finally introduced his own menu (which we’ve filed into our flourishing playground of a database). Says the chef: “Oceana’s menu reflects my vision for what I wanted to do here: a kind of global seafood, with a simultaneous awareness of classic American cooking.”
Floyd Cardoz Deigns to Educate You, Tomorrow OnlyTabla chef Floyd Cardoz is giving a demo tomorrow morning that celebrates his Grub Street-approved cookbook, One Spice, Two Spice. Cardoz’s Indian-American fusion makes him unique among cookbook authors; those in attendance will get to try to two of his savory dishes and one of his Indian desserts. — Alexandra Vallis
Cooking Class, “One Spice, Two Spice,” $135
Sat., Jan. 13, 10 a.m.–noon
Tabla, 11 Madison Ave., at 25th St.; 212-889-0667
Rude Questions for Danny MeyerÜber-restaurateur Danny Meyer will be at Bottlerocket Wine and & Spirits tonight talking about his new book, Setting the Table. If we had the courage, we’d fire off the following questions at the event.
The Other Critics
An Indian Newspaper’s Unique Take on TablaNew York may be the culinary capital of the world, but ethnic restaurants here are usually held to our idiosyncratic standards, not that of the nation or people that inspired the eateries. As it should be. Still, we couldn’t help but devour an Indian newspaper’s take on Danny Meyer’s Tabla. The writer for The Hindu finds fault with the place’s Western airs and “meat-dominated menu,” observing that sometimes, “detecting the Indian touch is the culinary equivalent of hunt-the-slipper, only to find it in a coriander afterthought or a faint mustard seasoning.” Still, the paper reserves most of their criticism for run-of-the-mill Indian food: “Most restaurants in the bigger American cities steeped themselves in oil-slicked chicken tikka masalas and refused to budge. Tandoori chicken was always vermillion to the point of neon, food was always North Indian, and spices were always unsubtle.” What, ultimately, did we glean from this bit of cross-cultural criticism? Why, that there’s such a phrase as “hunt-the-slipper,” of course!
A Hint of Spice [The Hindu]
New Cookbooks You Might Actually Open
Back in the day, of course, most kitchens could get by with a single massive reference tome; as the Times just pointed out, it was often Joy of Cooking. Now so many cookbooks come out every season that you could spend your entire grocery budget on them. Here are an exceptional handful by New York chefs or celebrities that have come out this fall.
The Other Critics
Critics Hone In on the Bone-InSteak and ssäms continue to rule the reviews — with a white truffle thrown in for good measure.
• Saving Lonesome Dove for the blog, Bruni checks into another meatery, Harry’s Steak. The bone-in steak “spoke to the timeless glories of aged prime beef,” but the menu’s saddled with “clever tweaks.” [NYT]
• Andrea Strong checks in on Lonesome Dove (again) and is way more impressed with the kangaroo nachos than her boy at the Post was. [Strong Buzz]
• At STK, Alan Richman eyes the hotties “who look like they’re barely past puberty” and shares in our fascination with the restrooms. “If only the food — admittedly great-looking — were as flavorsome as the customers.” [Bloomberg]
• Dana Bowen visits Momofuku Ssäm Bar, and after raving about the late-night menu we first reported, hints that it may see the light of day. [NYT]
• As if Danny Meyer was starving for publicity, Moira Hodgson reassures us that Tabla is “one of the city’s great restaurants.” Something to do with chef Floyd Cardoz’s new cookbook? [NYO]
• Paul Adams schools upwardly mobile I-Chin: “Going upscale involves more than buying buff-colored cloth napkins and hiring servers to assiduously refold them at every opportunity.” [NYS]
• Augie splurges on a white truffle at Gotham — presumably not as pricey as Morimoto’s $10,500 highbrow-despicable truffle. [Augieland]
What to Eat Tonight
Gulf Shrimp Make a Comeback
You can’t keep good shrimp down. Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped out the tasty specimens inhabiting the gulf, but replenished stocks mean that in the past week white shrimps have begun to reappear in New York. Big and sweet, with a hint of iodine, the fall shrimp are the best of the year. (Their brown brethren, which were brought in over the summer, also have a certain charm.) Here’s a short list of restaurants that buy them fresh from Louisiana.
Exotic Dessert (Supposedly) Enrapturing New Yorkers
We’re not usually in the habit of perusing Indian news media — other than when the latest Amitabh movie opens, of course — but a food item recently caught our eye. Most New Yorkers probably have never heard of kulfi, the ultra-dense Indian version of ice cream that’s traditionally made with water buffalo milk. But don’t tell that to Mumbai Newsline, who published an exuberant feature last week on how the obscure dessert is supposedly taking the city by storm. The piece references NYC’s handful of outstanding Indian and pan-asian restaurnants, including Devi, Spice Market, 66, and Tabla, going into loving detail relating the restaurants’ particular recipes. Although the writer admits that “the man on the street” isn’t yet fixated on the treat, the piece implies that a kulfi craze may well overtake the nation: “Could we be seeing the next popsicle?”
Let’s hope so — for Mumbai’s sake.