Colin Alevras: Do You Want Marrow With That?Having accomplished his dream of serving the eggs of eight different birds at one brunch, Haute Barnyard enfant terrible Colin Alevras of the Tasting Room is now contemplating his own high-end burger. But only if it “isn’t just another burger or some kind of over-the-top tarted up silliness. It had to have integrity.” Fair enough. So what did Alevras come up with? “I’m still working on it,” the chef tells us, “but we won’t be using pork fat like some people do, because then it’s just a sausage.” (Take that, Ryan Skeen!). “I want to put neck meat in there and tongue and heart and a little bit of calves’ liver for flavor. And why use fat, which just melts away anyway? I’m going to use marrow for fat, which will stay intact and also have a beefier, deeper taste.” Alevras is ensconced in bun and cheese issues, but the burger will debut for brunch service on March 30. Its name? The Old McDonald Burger. How’s that for Haute Barnyard?
Related: The Tasting Room Lays Eight Eggs on Us
Expensive, Possibly Interesting Theatrical Event Coming to the Tasting RoomWe just got this press release this morning about a theatrical event to be held at the Tasting Room. The irony wasn’t wasted on us: The Tasting Room is one of the least theatrical restaurants in the city, though none the worse for that. But what will no-frills chef Colin Alevras come up with to go along with three short plays written for the evening? And more importantly, do you want to pay $250, the price according to the event’s Website, to find out?
‘Scruffy Loner’ Heath Ledger Ate Solo at Grotta Azzurra
As our sister blog Daily Intel has pointed out, this week was all about Tom Brady and Eli Manning sightings, with Tom and Gisele hitting the town (what else is new?) and Eli making it a quiet week. Michael Strahan also found a moment to sip chowder (question being, was it New York or New England style?). On a somber note, the Daily News uncovered Heath Ledger’s haunts in Soho: Spring Street Natural and Miro Café among them. The sighting we were most intrigued by, however, occurred in Park City, Utah: Sirio Maccioni eschewed trendier restaurants to hit Burger King. Now there’s a Whopper freakout we’d pay to see.
Seinfeld Sued Over Cookbook; Goldman Employees to Eat SteakSneaky Chef author Missy Chase Lapine has sued Jerry Seinfeld for defamation after he called her a “wacko” in response to her allegations that his wife plagiarized her cookbook. [NYDN]
The beloved Moondance Diner, which survived a trek from New York to Wyoming, has partially collapsed under the weight of fresh snow. [Casper Star-Tribune via Eater]
Related: The Moondance Diner, Neglected in Wyoming, Now a Shell of Itself
Commerce, chef Harold Moore’s forthcoming restaurant, is slated to open in February, but still no word on the cuisine. [The Feed/TONY]
Related: Harold Moore of March to Take Over Grange Hall–Blue Mill Space
Back of the House
‘Forbes Traveler’ Bungles Best BrunchesThe view of New York from Dubuque and Ho-Ho-Kus is a laughable one, but we could never understand the reason why. Don’t the editors of Forbes Traveler, author of this ridiculous “America’s Best Brunches” feature live in New York? It’s as if Vogue were to get its New York fashion sense from watching Sex and the City. The four brunches called out — Balthazar, Prune, Cookshop, and Norma’s — are places nobody we know would touch if they were giving away bottomless mimosas. Not because they aren’t good. But they’re all wildly crowded, and in neighborhoods where no one would ever want to be on a hung-over weekend day. (Despite Forbes’ assurance that West Chelsea is “the trendiest of neighborhoods.”)
The Tasting Room Lays Eight Eggs on Us
Most brunches offer “your choice of eggs,” but Colin Alevras of the Tasting Room is taking the concept to an almost ludicrous degree. In an act of Haute Barnyard extremism, the chef is giving customers the choice of eight different kinds of eggs: goose, pea hen, duck, wild turkey, pheasant, guinea hen, black silky chicken, and of course regular organic farm eggs for the terminally unadventurous.
Tippling and Tinkling at the Tasting Room Café
The Tasting Room may have moved to bigger digs, but its venerable espresso machine remains at its old location, which was rechristened the Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café in February. It’s unlikely that the best espresso in the city will do Starbucks-style damage, but just in case, we sussed out the restrooms.
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The Tasting Room Now Accepting Coupons
Lugging a dining guide around is so last millennium — these days it’s about Grub Street on your Treo — but there’s a certain usefulness to the Dining Deck, a pack of cards that blurbs 52 different restaurants, as well as providing $10 coupons for each one. This holiday season brings a new Downtown Diner’s version, featuring restaurants like the Tasting Room and Veselka (and, d’oh, the now-kaput Blue Mill). There’s also a Bar & Lounge deck for East Village pub crawling, which suggests a creative use: Since the box resembles a pack of cigarettes when pocketed, it could make a fine icebreaker: “Actually, I don’t smoke — but can I treat you to a Cosmo?” — Daniel Maurer
Purchase online or visit City Shuffle’s booth at the Union Square Holiday Market.
The Other Critics
Déjà Vu: Toqueville, Tasting Room, Frederick’s, and PeriyaliBruni visits the bigger-but-not-better new locations of the Tasting Room and Tocqueville, taunting them with the same number of stars (one and two, respectively) Grimes gave their old locations. [NYT]
Meehan turns his nose up at BLT Burger, agreeing with Augieland’s earlier assessment that the Kobe sandwich isn’t worth the extra $50 — and pointing out that you can get a better burger at BLT Fish. [NYT]
Moira Hodgson eyes the beautiful people (well, beautiful bankers) at Frederick’s Downtown and finds the food (including the “dish of the moment,” scallops with cauliflower and white raisins) makes up for the pounding techno. [NYO]
The Other Critics
Bruni Comments on Nice Buns; Dirty Bird for Crazies?This week the fork-and-penners visited four joints where the primo grub made up for the less-than-stellar service and atmosphere.
• Bruni doles out judicious three stars to Joël Robuchon, noting that the chef’s foie gras–and–Kobe beef slider (“the haute burger of the new millennium”) has nice buns. [NYT]
• Meanwhile, Bruni’s colleague Peter Meehan thinks he’s discovered “the city’s best new hamburger” at Royale, a nondescript bar on Avenue C. [NYT]
• After some throat-clearing that involves the mention of “a sex act you don’t want to know about,” Lauren Collins states in no uncertain terms that “you’d be crazy to want to eat” at Dirty Bird. But you should definitely get a mess of the spicy, succulent legs delivered. [NYer]
• Andrea Strong misses the “amazing haze of really good energy” at the old, smallish Tasting Room but finds redemption in “a creamy haze” of sweet potatoes. [Strong Buzz]
The Haute Barnyard Hall of FameNew York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt files periodic musings for Grub Street, under the pseudonym the Gobbler.
Haute Barnyard restaurants like the Tasting Room have been around for a while now, but the phrase is new — so new, in fact, that the Gobbler is the only one using it. Therefore it requires a little elaboration. All Haute Barnyard restaurants are Greenmarket establishments, of course, their menus more or less dictated by the rhythms of the season. New York’s versions of the genre, however, have evolved their own highly self-conscious style.