Oriental Spoon Gives Up on Tapas, Relaunches As Japanese Pasta HouseNo sooner had we begun to understand Oriental Spoon, the Pan-Asian tapas restaurant hidden away in the rear of Ramen Setagaya than it had changed again. Welcome, Pasta Wafu! The newest incarnation of the space specializes in “Japanese-style pasta,” says manager Charlie Huh. Think of flying fish roe in a cream sauce with penne or linguine with sea urchin and “homemade oil sauce.” But if you’re not into Italianate fusion, there’s also a full sushi bar. But be daring, says Huh. “This is top-notch food, and it’s very affordable! It’s not just for Japanese people.” We’ll settle for just not having to stand in the Setagaya line.
Related: New East Village Ramen Spot Insists It’s More Authentic Than Momofuku
Will Ken Friedman Open a Restaurant With Ilan Hall?We are hearing that Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman is planning on doing a restaurant with former Top Chef winner Ilan Hall. The rumor chorus places the new eatery down the street from the Pig on far West 11th Street and says it may be only a few months out. Friedman did not confirm any of this, but he didn’t deny it, either. “I hope all those things are true,” he responded when we repeated the details.
Think of Pera’s Picnic Baskets As Reproductive SporesPera’s plan to sell picnic baskets may seem like just another sop for Hampton-bound swells; really, it’s part of the restaurant’s master expansion strategy. Executive chef Jason Avery tells us that “Pera was never intended to be a one-shot deal; we’re looking to expand in the city, and across America.” Pera hasn’t found the right space or lease yet, but when it does, it will follow the lead of what Avery is already calling “our flagship restaurant.”
24-Hour Diner Brings Blintzes Back to Kiev SpaceLast week, after over a year of construction, the American Grill finally opened in the old Kiev space, and it will soon be operating 24/7 (it’s currently open till midnight). Will the glorified diner be able to succeed where Loside (now closed 24/7) failed? Will old-neighborhood offerings of pirogen and blintzes lure 4 a.m. drunks away from Odessa? Probably not, but ten-ounce Angus-beef burgers topped with Gruyère, proscuitto, or avocado just might, not to mention a sandwich menu that includes the ‘wich-hound’s holy grail (the hot muffuletta) and a selection of proper entrées created by consulting chef Pnina L. Peled, who previously worked with Sensa and Elmo. The owners (three Greek brothers from Queens) expect to instate their-beer and-wine license any day now, but management insists this is a family spot. You know, in case the tots are hankering for a sixteen-ounce steak after a night at Sin Sin.
American Grill, 117 Second Ave., at 7th St.; 212-777-1286.
American Grill menu
What to Eat Tonight
Spin the Shawarma Wheel
Edible Brooklyn has a piece on a subject very dear to our hearts: Those mysterious wheels of meat called shawarma that you find in falafel and gyro joints around town. The article covers the best of Brooklyn; our picks for outside of Brooklyn follow.