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The Underground Gourmet

  1. the underground gourmet quick bite
    This New Amagansett Takeout Shop Has a Locavore Focus and a Smile ConnectionIntroducing the “terroir bowl.”
  2. the underground gourmet
    New York’s Best New Bakery Is Located in an Office-Building LobbyHow did a talented bread man end up opening a fantastic new bakery in the lobby of 40 Worth Street?
  3. Foodievents
    L.A.’s Ari Taymor to Host Dinner at Beach Plum Restaurant onTaymor will likely be looking for wild sea-beans and stinging nettles to serve.
  4. The Underground Gourmet
    Pi Bakerie Brings Astoria-Worthy Baklava and Spanakopita to SohoThe bakery turns out sweet and savory pastries made by a former Loi chef, a baklava maven, and a spanakopita specialist.
  5. Lists
    Cheap Eats Q&A: Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite on Assembling the UltimateThe Underground Gourmet explains just what it takes to actually rank 101 restaurants.
  6. The Underground Gourmet
    The Underground Gourmet: Rose Bakery Brings Brititerranean Cooking and HighIn the realm of department-store cafés, this one is as distinctive as it is delicious.
  7. The Underground Gourmet
    The Underground Gourmet: Former Shirtless Abercrombie & Fitch Greeter BringsA new shop intends to introduce New Yorkers to real panini in a minimalist and attitude-free setting.
  8. the underground gourmet
    The Underground Gourmet: Salvation Taco Takes Delicious LibertiesApril Bloomfield and Ken Friedman have gone out of their way to state that their humble efforts are no more Mexican than a Doritos Locos taco.
  9. In the Magazine
    The Underground Gourmet on Hung Ry; Platt Rounds Up the City’s Best PorkPlus: how to distinguish your heritage breeds, nose-to-tail with April Bloomfield, and more from this week’s ‘New York.’
  10. In the Magazine
    The Robs on Fonda Nolita; Crafty Caesar Salads EmergePlus: news from the week’s crop of openings, and a sweet-savory chestnut dessert, all in the latest ‘New York.’
  11. The Underground Gourmet
    Stephen Tanner Gets Back in the Fried-Chicken BusinessIt’s scorching hot and juicy with a craggy, ultracrisp crust that crackles resoundingly when you bite into it — the croissant of fried chickens.
  12. In the Magazine
    Underground Gourmet on Bill’s Bar and Burger; Danish Pancakes Surface inAlso in the magazine this week: Mexican cabbage salad, and a budget French lunch.
  13. The Underground Gourmet
    Ask the Underground Gourmet: Where to Take ‘The One’’New York’ food editors Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld answer readers’ questions.
  14. The Underground Gourmet
    Prune’s Oatmeal Sandwich Promoted to Lunch MenuA line cook’s family-meal creation moves into the dining room.
  15. In the Magazine
    Recession Spending Habits; High-end Value MealsAlso in this week’s magazine: urban foraging and Kyotofu’s cupcake recipe.
  16. The Underground Gourmet
    The City’s Best Welsh RarebitThe Underground Gourmet finds a new favorite sandwich at the John Dory.
  17. In the Magazine
    Recession-Ready Eats: Sandwiches, Sides, and Clam PiesIn the magazine this week: hot Alidoro sandwiches, cheap dumplings, Greenmarket cauliflower, and more.
  18. The Underground Gourmet
    Get an Alidoro-Sanctioned Sandwich at Puffy’s — With MayoIt comes on your choice of Grandaisy Bakery bread, and mingles sliced smoked chicken with arugula, tomato, and, yes, mayonnaise — Hellmann’s to be exact.
  19. In the Magazine
    Pizza, Pretzels, and Bourbon — Sounds DreamyA major new pizzeria in the East Village, where to find delicious pretzels, and the scene at a Prospect Heights bar — all in this week’s magazine.
  20. In the Magazine
    Introducing the ‘Gastroteca’ Even in the dead of winter, good new things keep happening to New York City. The Underground Gourmet giddily points out a new wine bar, Gottino, that is outpacing its panini-packing rivals. The Insatiable Critic found a new, urbane restaurant in Dovetail and loves the Sunday prix fixe. Among this week’s openings, Periyali adds a midtown sister in Persephone, giving the city another blue-chip Greek restaurant. Ah, New York: Even our lean seasons have their harvests.
  21. The Underground Gourmet
    Steve Schirripa Has No Problem With Little Italy, Steaks In his new cable cooking show, Steve Schirripa’s Hungry (Lifeskool network, debuting December 6), Uncle June’s faithful manservant Bobby Baccalieri tours his favorite New York Italian kitchens and takes some sauce-splattered pointers from pals like Rao’s Frank Pellegrino and Peasant’s Frank De Carlo. Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld asked the man Tony Soprano immortalized as a “calzone with legs” to expound on his favorite pastime — eating on and off the set. There are a lot of cooking shows out there these days. What distinguishes yours from the competition? This is a real guy going into a real kitchen; I think after you watch this, you’re really going to learn how to make the meatballs from Rao’s. It’s a combination of talking, comedy, and how-to. Who does the cooking at home? My wife; I eat, she cooks. Which is why I’m doing this new show. They’re teaching me how to cook. In one episode, you spotlight the Mulberry Street restaurant Il Cortile. Do you think that Little Italy gets a bad rap? I think it does. First of all, it’s a lot of fun down there. There’s a lot of tourists, but Il Cortile is as good an Italian restaurant as any in the city.
  22. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: The Cheesesteak Waitrose Food Illustrated, the British magazine put out by the Waitrose supermarket chain, recently listed its “100 Greatest Moments in Food,” and, initially at least, the Underground Gourmet along with the gluttonous staff at Sandwich of the Week couldn’t have been more pleased had someone sent them a six-foot hoagie. Coming in at No. 2 on the list, you see, right after the harnessing of fire for cooking purposes, was John (4th Earl of Sandwich) Montagu’s invention of the sandwich.
  23. In the Magazine
    Women Chefs Take the Reins in This Week’s Issue“It’s a man’s man’s man’s world,” James Brown once sang. Was it the official anthem of the restaurant world? Sometimes it seems like that, but this week’s issue has eight reasons to the contrary. The names of the first seven are April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Rebecca Charles (Pearl Oyster Bar), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter), Sara Jenkins (formerly of 50 Carmine), Anita Lo (Annisa), Jody Williams (Morandi), and Patricia Yeo (formerly of Monkey Bar and Sapa). All talked about a woman’s place in the kitchen in a special New York forum. The eighth reason? Alex Raij, whose new tapas restaurant, El Quinto Pino, gets three stars from the Underground Gourmet. All this, and a recipe for pan-roasted chicken (plus a video!), come at you in this week’s issue of New York. A Woman’s Place? Small Is Beautiful In Season: Pasture Raised Chicken [NYM]
  24. The Underground Gourmet
    The Cutest Sea-Urchin-Egg Sandwich Ever at El Quinto Pino There is no end to what you can shove between two slices of bread and call a sandwich, and that, of course, is the beauty of the thing. But is everything edible suitable sandwich material? That was the point brought up for debate the other night at El Quinto Pino, the new taperia from the Tía Pol folks, where the UG tucked into a ficelle smeared with rich blobs of sea-urchin roe. Oddly, the sandwich in question was listed on the otherwise all-Spanish chalkboard menu as an “uni panini.” It came swaddled in a wax-paper jacket like a Danny Meyer Shackburger, still warm from a gentle turn in the sandwich press and smeared with butter flavored with a zingy Korean mustard oil. And although it was only about the size of a Tootsie Roll and the UG could have finished it off in a bite and a half, it was the kind of toothsome tidbit you want to savor slowly.
  25. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: The Pavarotti at Alidoro When an international celebrity of Luciano Pavarotti’s magnitude dies, it’s only to be expected that there will soon follow a flood of posthumous recordings. But what to make of the posthumous hoagie? That was the question on the Underground Gourmet’s mind after the Golden Tenor had taken his final bow, and Walter Momente, the owner of the Soho sandwich shop Alidoro, had decided that a fitting tribute to the opera superstar would be to meticulously layer salami, smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and sweet peppers into a titanic semolina loaf and call it the Pavarotti. “We had to do something for him,” says Italian-born Momente. “Besides, I am a huge soccer fan, and before he became a singer, Pavarotti was a very good professional soccer player.”
  26. In the Magazine
    Where to Shop Like a Chef The current issue of New York features a command performance by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld. Their extensive guide to the new trend of food markets spun off from restaurants belongs on every New Yorker’s refrigerator door — these stores are “stocked with the precision and artistry of museum curators.” And in their guise as the Underground Gourmet, they introduce us to a former art-supply store now serving what the Robs say is some of the best Mexican food in Brooklyn. Something tells us Dumbo General Store is going to be packed this week.
  27. In the Magazine
    Cheap Eats est Arrivé!The annual Cheap Eats issue arrives this week and represents, as usual, a massive compendium of low-end gastronomic wisdom. The Underground Gourmet round up some of the city’s very best cheap eats in the main section, but Adam Platt also weighs in on what passes for cheap in the city’s high-end places, some top chefs give their own picks, and three of the city’s greenmarket specialists vie to outdo each other not just in locavorism but also in “cheapavorism.” Add to that laser-focused profiles on burgers, barbecue, and Korean fried chicken, and you have a Cheap Eats supplement to put all others to shame.
  28. The Underground Gourmet
    Tuscan Square’s Meatball Maven Gets His Say — and Sandwich of the If you saw Page Six last Thursday, you know that there may be a vast meatball conspiracy upon us. A quick recap of the item: Restaurateur Pino Luongo yields to no one in his devotion to the study and the making of meatballs, and along with Coco Pazzo chef Mark Strausman, he is feverishly scribbling a manuscript entitled Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen. Yet Luongo was ignominiously left out of an article by the Lee brothers in the Times’s Dining Section entitled “The Expanding Meatball Universe,” which traced the not-so-recent popularity of the things to the giant beef-veal-and-pork orbs made by Ápizz chef-owner John LaFemina (author of A Man and His Meatballs). Luongo smelled a rotten polpetta.
  29. The Underground Gourmet
    Taco Mix’s Torta Cubana May Be Overstuffed, But It’s Also Sandwich A good sandwich is a balanced sandwich. This, as any faithful reader of the Underground Gourmet’s sandwich dispatches can tell you, goes without saying. Good sandwich-making requires not only skill but also a delicate touch. Frantically stuffing a sandwich the way cartoon bank robbers cram bills into sacks emblazoned with $$$ symbols is considered bad form among the sandwich elite, and emblematic of what is wrong, culinarily and nutritionally, with our Supersize Nation. As Mario Batali once explained to the UG in between dainty bites of a toasted panino, “The American tendency is to obfuscate the perfect simplicity of the sandwich by putting too much crap in it.” Despite prevailing carbophobic biases and the legacy of a certain diet doctor, Batali asserted, “The bread is the main event. There shouldn’t be more stuff inside than outside.”
  30. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: The No Mayo Tuna Sandwich at Henri Bendel of All Places Eating for a living takes the Underground Gourmet to all sorts of strange and mysterious places — the Upper West Side, for instance — but none more sinisterly exotic than the typical department-store café. As anyone who’s ever lunched on frozen yogurt and cantaloupe at Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots or nibbled miniature quiche at the American Girl Cafe can attest, these shopaholic fuel stations are not the manliest places to tie on the noonday feedbag. So how the UG found himself ensconced at a petite table at Henri Bendel’s new third-floor Chocolate Bar the other day, God and Ms. UG only know.
  31. The Underground Gourmet
    The Underground Gourmet Taps Pig’s Ass As Sandwich of the Week Three words the Underground Gourmet never imagined he’d hear bandied about in a nice, respectable restaurant: Pig’s Ass Sandwich. And yet, there he was the other night at the brand-new Casellula Cheese & Wine Café surrounded by otherwise upstanding citizens speaking to their waiters in low, excited voices and putting in their orders thusly: “I’d like the Pig’s Ass Sandwich, please.”
  32. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: Lassi’s Tamarind-Pork Sandwich When the Underground Gourmet ponders flashes of fusion brilliance in the sandwich realm, he thinks of Zak Pelaccio’s interpretive Cubano at 5 Ninth, made with prosciutto and Boerenkass; the Greenpoint sandwich, a.k.a., the Polish bánh mì, at Williamsburg’s Silent H; and Sullivan St. Bakery’s deranged but delicious PBM (pancetta, basil, and mango). Add to this illustrious list the tamarind-pork sandwich at Lassi.
  33. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: Sullivan St. Bakery’s Brilliant One of the greatest gifts to the sandwich world, the Underground Gourmet has always said, is Sullivan St. Bakery’s ciabatta. With its smallish size, not-too-dense crumb, and sturdy crust, it has, over the past decade or so, become the bread of choice for discriminating sandwich chewers all over town, and, consequently, as brazenly knocked off as a Gucci handbag.
  34. In the Magazine
    New York’s Restaurant Jungle Grows a Little Lusher When spring comes, branches and leaves appear in the most unexpected places. This week’s food coverage is like that: There are no huge openings, analogous to maples or firs springing up overnight, but rather a rich carpet of new sprouts and saplings. Rob and Robin glory in the pig-out that is Resto, the new Belgian restaurant on Park Avenue South; Gael Greene stops in to enjoy the immense, spanking-new Landmarc in the Time Warner Center; David Chang knows just what to do with the long-awaited, precious ramps in In Season; and other unexpected treats, from a waterside barbecue in one of the Short Lists to a slew of spring Openings fill out the foliage.
  35. The Underground Gourmet
    Resto’s Tête de Cochon Is Our Sandwich of the WeekIt’s a sad fact of life that some of the best things to eat in restaurants never make it out of the kitchen and onto the Underground Gourmet’s plate. We’re talking about staff or “family” meals, of course, those rustic snacks that kitchen crews deem unfit for mass consumption but then greedily hoard behind kitchen doors like hungry wolves around a fresh carcass. Happily, that was not the fate of one of the best sandwiches the UG has ever sunk his teeth into, the tête de cochon at the new Belgian restaurant Resto.
  36. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: One Cheesesteak on Quotation Marks, Coming UpThe Underground Gourmet is not from Philadelphia, but if he were, according to a native Philly friend, his natural response upon being presented with Degustation’s new “cheesesteak” sandwich would be to either sue the chef for false advertising or wait for him outside the restaurant with a horsewhip. Of course, Philadelphians are born with Cheez Whiz running through their veins and that tends to cloud their judgment on such matters.
  37. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwich of the Week: BLT’s King Burger, in All Its Deep-Fried GloryNecessity may be the mother of invention, but never underestimate the creative potential of a kitchen staff with time on its hands and a deep fryer at its disposal. Take, for example, the culinary think tank that lies behind the swinging doors at Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Burger.
  38. In the Magazine
    This Week: Contents Under PressureThis week’s food section is all about pressure: A pastry chef has to cook every night for a president who hates pineapples and will send him packing at the first hint of progressive dessert-making; Vinh Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese-American, rolls the dice with his Williamsburg restaurant Silent H, and, as far as Rob and Robin are concerned, comes up lucky seven; Jeffrey Chodorow, fresh off his battle with Frank Bruni and Adam Platt, opens a big new restaurant and hopes for the best; and four new restaurants open, surely hoping for the best as well. Even this week’s In Season is rife with tension, calling as it does for a delicate filleting operation that could easily destroy a beautifully roasted flounder. The New York food world is not for the faint of heart.
  39. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwiches of the Week: In Celebration of National Grilled-Cheese Month Not that anyone needs to be reminded, but April is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month. In honor of this auspicious occasion, we bring you our picks for New York’s best grilled cheese, from Keller-crafted high to Kraft-oozing low.
  40. User's Guide
    Easter Meals, Six Ways (and Five Days) From Sunday There’s more to Easter than binging on Peeps and throwing up in church — 2,000 years of beautiful history, for one, and special Sunday dinners for another. Last week, we told you where to have unusual Seders; this week, Rob and Robin tell us where to get the best Easter meals. Because our Borg-like database must continually grow — it will someday consume us all — we’ve nabbed you the menus. They run the gamut from old-school Easter antipasti and spaghetti with lamb ragù (at Lupa) to whole-roasted lambs (pictured above), rotated on the sidewalk in front of Estiatorio Milos. And none of them, we’re glad to report, include Peeps. Easter Feasts: Uptown Easter Feasts: Downtown [NYM]
  41. The Underground Gourmet
    Filet-O-Fish Sandwich Now Twice as DeliciousThere are many delicious things with which you could embellish a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich — if your goal was to make it even more calamitous to the waistlines of the general Filet-O-Fish-loving public than it already is. A Scotch egg, a pound of bacon, or a deep-fried Snickers bar all spring to mind. But if you really wanted to go all out, if you really wanted to vex the fast-food police, what you might do is simply plop an additional Filet-O-Fish on top of the first one.
  42. Openings
    Boi to Go Brings Bánh Mì and More to Turtle BayThe Underground Gourmet is among New York’s fiercest bánh mì fans, and they welcomed Boi to Go, a new Turtle Bay Vietnamese sandwich shop, in this week’s Openings. The restaurant is sleek, neat, and casual; you can check out the menu (the latest addition to our vast database) here. Boi to Go menu [Menus] Openings [NYM]
  43. The Underground Gourmet
    Enviro-Friendly Eateries Take It to the Next LevelBy now, it’s become commonplace for restaurants of a certain environmentally correct ilk to cite their purveyors on their menus, especially when said purveyors are boutique organic farmers or tiny artisanal producers. But two restaurants, Franny’s (Brooklyn’s Chez Panissean pizzeria), and Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, might be the first establishments to name-check their energy suppliers. Franny’s credits the progressive ConEdison Solutions, while Shake Shack simply gives a shout-out to the wind, as in “The Shack’s electricity is now 100% powered by wind power!” In a similar vein, Maury Rubin’s East Village “green bakery,” Birdbath — in what might be an attempt to discourage anyone thinking of going on a cookie run in a stretch Hummer — has posted a sign advertising a 50 percent discount to customers arriving on a bicycle or skateboard. Pedestrians, presumably, pay full price. — Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld Related: Danny Meyer on Shake Shack 2.0
  44. The Underground Gourmet
    The World’s First Polish Bánh Mì Is Our Sandwich of the WeekConsider the “Greenpoint” sandwich at the new Williamsburg Vietnamese restaurant, Silent H, the world’s first Polish bánh mì. At long last, these two seemingly unfusable cuisines have fused, and no one could be happier about this blessed union than the Underground Gourmet, who yields to no one in his devotion to both Polish sausages and Vietnamese sandwiches. The “Greenpoint” is by all outward appearances a regular bánh mì (itself, of course, one of the greatest fusion dishes of all time) meticulously primped with pickled carrot, cucumber, daikon, fresh jalapeño, and cilantro. One side of the bread is slicked with pork-liver pâté, which serves nicely as a condiment rather than a filling; the other with a judicious swipe of aïoli.
  45. The Underground Gourmet
    Haute Barnyard Take on a Classic SoCal Sandwich Almost as much as he loves discovering and devouring worthy sandwiches, the Underground Gourmet also loves to brush up on his sandwich lore and then regale Ms. UG with his fascinating findings — which is precisely what he did after a recent excursion to Park Slope’s Flatbush Farm, where he tucked into a delicious French-dip sandwich. As you may or may not know (Ms. UG did not), the illustrious French dip, like so much of America’s storied sandwicherie, has a slightly murky history. Two restaurants, both founded in 1908 and both located in downtown Los Angeles, lay claim to it. The owners of Philippe the Original say that the French dip was born when founder Philippe Mathieu, while making a sandwich for a policeman one day in 1918, accidentally dropped a long French-style roll into some meaty pan juices. The copper — whose name may or may not have been Officer French — liked it so much he came back the next day for an encore performance. Had Philippe possessed better reflexes or the cop fussier standards, the world might be, to this day, bereft of French dips.
  46. The Underground Gourmet
    Sandwiches of the Week: In Celebration of National Peanut MonthNational Peanut Month — like National Baked Bean Month (July) and National Accordion Awareness Month (June) — comes but once a year, and that means celebrating, Peter Pan salmonella outbreak notwithstanding. Our top five nut-butter sandwiches, below. 1. The Elvis at Peanut Butter & Co. Excellent peanut butter, honey, sliced banana, and optional (but recommended) bacon on white toast. Historical culinary note: In what might be the most famous case of the munchies, Elvis flew from Memphis to Denver on his private jet just to sample the progenitor of this fine sandwich, which was a loaf of Italian bread sliced lengthwise, a jar of Jif, a jar of jelly, and a pound of bacon. It was meant for sharing, but Elvis wolfed one down all by himself. 240 Sullivan St., nr. W. 3rd St.; 212-677-3995.
  47. Openings
    Psilakis, Pretty Much a Greek God, Has Another OpeningMichael Psilakis’s ambitious new restaurant, Anthos, opens Monday in the old Acqua Pazza space. It’s been a busy, up-and-down year for the chef: His critically praised Dona closed, unexpectedly, one week into 2007. Just a couple of weeks later, he converted his high Greek eatery Onera into the more casual Kefi, which went on, in this week’s issue, to win four stars from the Underground Gourmet. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning, as they say. Looks like it’s lifting Psilakis back up. We went inside Anthos and got all the evidence.
  48. The Underground Gourmet
    The Fatty Slider: A Home RunThe Underground Gourmet isn’t saying that his mother was a disaster in the kitchen, but her idea of sprucing up the young UG’s burgers before she cooked them to a fine crisp was to fling a packetful of Lipton onion-soup mix into the ground beef. The UG was reminded of this culinary catastrophe as he bit into a Fatty Slider the other day, at the inaugural brunch at Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab. Before you get the wrong idea, you should know that a Fatty Slider is not a Lipton onion burger — far from it. But it does fall into the same general category of spiced-up ground-beef patties, however great the temporal and culinary divide between seventies suburbia and 2007 meatpacking district.
  49. The Underground Gourmet
    It’s Alive! The Tasting Room’s Kimchee-and-Cheese Sandwich When Slow Food practitioner Colin Alevras, the chef-owner of the Tasting Room and as familiar a Greenmarket presence as corn in August, sets out to make a cheese sandwich for his new Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café, you don’t expect him to slap together some Kraft singles between two slices of Pepperidge Farm whole wheat and call it a day. No, what you expect is great, local ingredients, cleverly combined. What you expect is what our colleague, Adam Platt, would undoubtedly call a sandwich conceived and crafted in the Haute Barnyard style.
  50. The Underground Gourmet
    Keith McNally on Why Morandi Will Be His Last Restaurant EverThis Sunday, if all goes according to plan, Keith McNally will fling open the doors of Morandi, his new West Village trattoria. (See our opening announcement; here’s the menu.) Until then, there is pine to be varnished, Italian bread to be baked at Balthazar Bakery, and pasta to be rolled and stuffed by chef Jody Williams, with the fortuitous help of a McNally deputy’s visiting 80-year-old Bolognese mother. In the midst of the pre-opening chaos, Mr. McNally took some time to explain why the Brit who invented the New York breed of French brasserie is opening an Italian place in his own backyard.
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