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Week of March 18, 2002

Seder Savers
Passover, the holiday in remembrance of Jewish freedom from slavery, is a time for family and reflection. But, if the pressure of ridding your house of chametz (yeast foods) and getting those Seder dishes ready before sundown is making you kvetch, rest easy and try these places.

Artie's (pictured, 2290 Broadway, 212-579-5959) offers a "Send-a-Seder" option that delivers all the heat and serve fixin's to your home overnight.

(270 Columbus Avenue, 212-579-0100) provides a delicious way to enjoy unleavened foods with Scott Campbell's homemade matzo ball soup and gefilte fish with horseradish and beets.

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, Capsouto Frères (451 Washington Street, 212-966-4900) is hosting a communal, non-Kosher Seder that will donate proceeds of the $110 per person feast to the Joint Distribution Committee. "There is always a great demand for a restaurant Seder," says owner Albert Capsouto, "...and we feel wonderful about raising money for a good cause." Mazel Tov! — MARTINE DARDIGNAC

the underground gourmet
Think Small
Last summer, Sara Jenkins started hanging out at a bar called Patio, the open-air annex of Mugsy's Chow Chow, and as soon as she saw the adjacent restaurant, she wanted to cook there. "Four tables, four appetizers, four entrées — it's a chef's fantasy." Four tables is an exaggeration, but not by much; 26 seats are still far fewer than Jenkins was facing at Il Buco and I Coppi before that. And Jenkins saw Mugsy's one-person open kitchen as her opportunity to break out of the Italian-chef role she'd been channeled into, not only through her past positions but through genetics. Her mother, food scholar Nancy Harmon Jenkins, isn't just an established authority on the cooking of Tuscany, where Sara and her brother Nico, pictured, grew up — she wrote the book on it (Flavors of Tuscany). Two weeks ago, after a few months when Patio's sliding door started to resemble more of a revolving door for chefs, Sara took over the range at Mugsy's, which will henceforth be known as Patio Dining, where she's cooking a daily changing menu, forging her own seasonally inspired identity with dishes like cauliflower soup, spring rabbit stew, and pan-seared duck breast with fennel three ways (roasted, shaved, and pollen-dusted). — ROB PATRONITE
Patio Dining
31 Second Avenue

Ask Gael
I'm a dedicated X-ray. I dare not eat dessert.
Who am I, an all-too-human non-sylph, to tempt you? All you Upper East Side wraiths, munching your grassy lunch at Orsay, are missing something. Life is more than escarole. Not only is Orsay turning out its signature tartares — the classic beef with capers is fabulous — but I'm bowled over by the rose-blush perfection of salmon steak on Moroccan couscous and my guy's steak-frites. And now even dessert is worth a splurge. Fresh from Mexico City, just 26, without much English, José Manuel Hernández walked in one day carrying scrapbooks of sweets, clippings, recipes. He wowed the partners here in an audition of French classics. That's what he does — crêpes Suzettes, profiteroles, luscious tarte Tatin, fabulous cookies, madeleines, chocolates. And every day, a fantasy of his own, like this Jacques Torres-esque chocolate globe balanced on a tower of ganache. Loosen up, Ms. Discipline. Share mine.
1057 Lexington Avenue, at 75th Street

Bites & Buzz Archive

Week of March 11
The chessesteak Czar; Greek Orthodox Lent at Estiatorio Milos; a female sushi chef?; Gael delivers the verdict on jury duty dining
Week of March 4
Prune's new brunch; a cheese lover's handbook; Gael gets taken for a ride in Rego Park
Week of February 25
Breakfast cooking classes for kids; Montparnasse's dazzling duo; Gael gets an eyeful at Mexico Magico

and more ...

Photos: Andre Souroujon

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