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 Restaurants
EDITED BY ROB PATRONITE AND ROBIN RAISFELD
Week of November 11, 2002
 

trend
They Don't Stand Alone
Is the cheese course -- served from an antique cart with the usual fruit-and-nut suspects -- going the way of tuxedoed restaurant captains and Ducasse's asparagus holders? Some chefs around town are definitely getting more experimental in the fermented-curd department, pairing cheese unexpectedly with things you usually don't see until dessert. Nancy Kershner, the pastry chef at Town, may have started the trend, combining aged Gouda with apple-maple streudel, and we smell a movement. At Tudor City's L'Impero, diners choose three Italian cheeses from a stripped-down selection of eight, and each selection comes with unusual condiments, like the bitter-chocolate shavings and orange marmalade that accompany a chunk of Gorgonzola. "I love cheese," says L'Impero partner Chris Cannon, "but when the cart comes to the table with 40 or so selections, I get lost every time; we wanted to do it in a different way that's fun rather than imposing." Perhaps the most fun you can have with cheese, though, might be at RM, where pastry chef Pichet Ong makes unique pairings like a chocolate mousse with a piece of creamy bonne bouche goat cheese; together, they evoke a supersophisticated chocolate cheesecake. Then there's his baked doughnut with a hidden dab of fromage blanc, house-made Concord-grape jelly, and a wedge of mild tome de grand-mère. It's a cream-cheese-and-jelly sandwich gone nuts. — ROB PATRONITE
RM
33 East 60th Street
212-319-3800

shopping
Bread and Chocolate
Ted Matern and Alan Palmer are specialty-food specialists, having managed Dean & DeLuca's flagship, all its Manhattan cafés, and its Georgetown satellite. By the end of the month, they'll have pooled their collective experience and persnicketiness to open Blue Apron Foods, a Brooklyn shop full of Sullivan Street Bakery bread, Neal's Yard Dairy cheese, Jacques Torres chocolate, and everything else needed to stock a proper brownstone larder. With a bit of Benjamin Moore "lemonade" and a checkerboard floor, the partners transformed a former pet store into a European-style market with its own cheese cave and a well-curated selection of charcuterie, smoked fish, patés, and savory tarts. "I wanted to walk to work," says Matern, who's lived in Park Slope long enough to thoroughly understand the neighborhood's anti-chain attitude. Even the coffee beans are locally roasted -- but not, as Palmer points out, burned. "It's our reaction to Starbucks."
Blue Apron Foods
814 Union Street, Park Slope
718-230-3180

best of the week
The Chocolate Show
Do we really have to sell you on this one? Sample the creamy best from more than 50 manufacturers (including Valrhona, Jacques Torres, and Guittard), gifts, cookbooks, and much more.
Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th Street
November 15 through 17, $15
212-865-6100 or visit chocolateshow.com for info

in print
The subtitle of Italian Comfort Food (ReganBooks; $29.95) is particularly apt: Intensive Eating From Fresco by Scotto Restaurant perfectly describes hefty dishes like eggplant-and-zucchini pie, braised lamb shanks, and Sunday sauce, the meatiest fate ever to befall a plate of pasta. Equal parts family scrapbook and recipe collection, the cookbook plays up celebrity encounters with loyal customers like Regis Philbin, Cindy Adams, and Rudy Giuliani. Matriarch Marion Scotto traces her family's culinary roots back to the Brooklyn poultry market her grandparents opened in 1915— a far cry from the festive midtown restaurant where Bill and Hillary Clinton recently celebrated their wedding anniversary with fourteen guests and his-and-hers portions of praline-cookie ice-cream sandwiches (she shared, he didn't). .

 

Ask Gael
Why are you toting an '85 Lafite to Fairway?
It's BYO at The Steakhouse at Fairway, where the new steak dinner is almost cheaper than eating at home. The house amuse (if you will) is baba ghannouj. We start with a fine Caesar and a crock of exceptional onion soup. The steak -- strip, filet, or rib-eye -- is cooked just the way I like it (though it's a bit bland for prime dry-aged, as billed). À la carte options: grilled tuna, Cornish game hen, pastas, a burger, and two outsize crab cakes with a little too much filler. Desserts ($4.50) are huge, too. The chocolate layer cake disappears fast. Savvy locals arrive with great Burgundies from their own cellars, and host and patron Mitchel London strides the room making sure everyone has enough to eat -- a lot like Mom.
The Steakhouse at Fairway
2127 Broadway, at 74th Street
212-595-1888

Bites & Buzz Archive

Week of November 4
Daniel Boulud's newest achievement; organic microwaveable meals; Goupil & DeCarlo heads west; beating the blues at 11 Madison Park.
Week of October 28
Little Manila's new Filipino hot spot; Brooklyn's near-perfect bouillabaisse; new menu additions at NL; Union Square Cafe's new exercise in excess; Gael deviously devours pig.
Week of October 21
Tony May's new fast-food PastaBreak; the 2003 Zagat Restaurant Survey; Royal Crown's new Piazza Mercato; Sam DeMarco introduces the back room at Merge; Pastry sharp Wayne Harley Brachman finds a new home.



and more ...



Photos: Kenneth Chen (1st and 3rd), Carina Salvi

 
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