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EDITED BY ROB PATRONITE AND ROBIN RAISFELD
Week of May 20, 2002
Patagonia West
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."— PETER KAMINSKY
379 Dune Road, Westhampton
631-288-5250
·
 Cuisine: Argentinian

 

Café Lebowitz
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."
14 Spring Street
212-219-2399
·
 Cuisine: Cafe


Unity
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.
102 North End Avenue
646-769-4200
·
 Cuisine: Italian


Openings Archive

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Chocolate Bar, teany, Bar Veloce, THAT Bar
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Remedy, Atelier, A Salt & Battery

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Photos: Kenneth Chen
 
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