He is, quite literally, the fair-haired
boy of Argentine cuisine. Starting in his hometown of
Bariloche -- think Jackson Hole with grass-fed beef and
Hermès scarves -- Francis Mallmann earned a reputation
as the most flamboyant and gifted Argentine chef of his
generation. Now, joining the diaspora of talent occasioned
by the unsettled economics of his homeland, Mallmann comes
to the seaside Patagonia West in Westhampton on
May 23, with his kitchenful of beautiful women (a trademark),
his eclectic décor (love verses hand-lettered on the walls,
their sources ranging from William Blake to Yehuda Amichai
to Teddy Roosevelt), and his Andean haute cuisine (organic
meat and fresh everything). Among the classics from the
Mallmannian oeuvre: a rich and unctuous "71z2 Hours" gigot
of lamb, "twisted and smashed" sirloin with thyme, silky
and delicate salmon confit, and "cast-iron box" of sea
bass (a specialty of his restaurant in Punta del Este,
Uruguay). Mallmann's long association with the leading
family of Argentine wine, the Catenas (a sort of younger
house of Mondavi), informs a wine list strong in the Malbecs,
Cabernets, and almost Burgundian Chardonnays of Mendoza.
"I am an American," says Mallmann. "Trained in Europe,
but American. Buenos Aires and New York have a similar
stylish sophistication, and the Hamptons is Punta del
Este with different constellations in the summer sky."
379 Dune Road,
· Cuisine: Argentinian
Inspired possibly by Café Sabarsky,
the elegant, echt-Viennese kaffeehaus at the Neue Galerie,
Brian McNally has opened a fin-de-siècle-ish spot of
his own, complete with Wiener Werkstätte table accessories,
open-faced herring sandwiches, and a delicious goulash.
But McNally named Café Lebowitz not for an art
dealer but for caustic New York writer Fran. "It's very
thrilling," says Lebowitz, calling from an undisclosed
location out of town, where she's stolen away, she says,
"with the idea that I'll finish my book within my lifetime."
Although the gently priced bistro menu includes a "green
salad Lebowitz" and a spectacular graham-cracker-crusted
"Lebowitz cheesecake," neither dish holds any particular
significance for the café's namesake. "They're not my
favorite foods. Well, green salad is no one's favorite
food." But she is considering contributing an apricot-strudel
recipe from her mother, "the Albert Einstein of strudel."
A fan of coffeehouses and their role as incubators of
culture, she admits that she hasn't had much time to
spend at the place yet. "I was only there once after
dinner; I mainly went to see it and to see the awnings.
I went with [Francesco] Clemente, and he was so envious
that that really hyped my pleasure. He was despondent."
· Cuisine: Cafe
After lying dormant for eight months,
the Embassy Suites Hotel in Battery Park City has finally
reopened, with a brand-new restaurant to replace Larry
Forgione's shuttered Manhattan Prime. Unity came
by its patriotic name in the gloomy days after September
11, when someone traced that message on a dust-covered
window while the hotel was being used as a triage center.
Chef de cuisine Gary Moran, fresh from a stint at Citarella,
hopes to keep that spirit alive and lure even more diners
downtown with an all-American comfort-food menu that
includes slow-roasted brisket, a Kennebunk lobster roll,
and lobster-and-wild-mushroom macaroni and cheese.
· Cuisine: Italian
of May 13
Chocolate Bar, teany, Bar Veloce, THAT Bar
of May 6
Sweet Mama's, Amma, Dolcino
of April 29
Remedy, Atelier, A Salt & Battery
Photos: Kenneth Chen