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Week of January 13, 2003

the underground gourmet
Demand and Supply
It’s been a tough year for Wall Street, but downtown workers got an unexpected Christmas bonus almost as valuable (and rare) as a healthy 401(k): a serene spot to grab a delicious, low-priced lunch. Financier Patisserie, the elegant new pastry-shop annex of the Poulakakos family’s Hanover Square complex—which already includes Harry’s and Bayard’s and is soon to add an enormous Irish pub called Ulysses—opened last month, to the delight of viennoiserie-deprived locals. And even though pastry chef Eric Bédoucha’s Danish, tarts, and seasonal specialties like exquisitely flaky galettes des Rois make a tantalizing impression, the kitchen is slowly building an equally enticing savory menu. The soups du jour, like vegetable-packed chicken barley or smoky lentil with ham, are served in deep ceramic bowls. Terrific chicken panini with goat cheese and marinated artichoke hearts come on crispy Tom Cat Bakery ciabatta. And if that garnish of mixed greens from Satur Farms, the North Fork sideline of Bayard’s executive chef Eberhard Müller, whets your appetite for farm-fresh produce, buy a whole Satur salad bowl, sold with Müller’s Asian or white-truffle dressing.
Financier Patisserie
62 Stone Street

gotham food
Breakfast for Dessert
Waiter, is that a Cocoa Puff in my soup?!? Mais oui! The city's finest restaurants can't get enough of dessert cereals. Jean Georges's baby-faced pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini, tops his juniper-berry-chocolate soup with chocolate-covered Cocoa Puffs, and Jean-François Bonnet at Atelier is caramelizing Rice Krispies with peanut-butter ice cream. Blue Fin's James Distefano adds corn flakes to his banana tart. And Brasserie 8½'s Martin Howard has concocted a fritteresque take on clubland culture: Special K Holes. Raison d'être: "Pastry chefs always look for new textures," says the 28-year-old Iuzzini. "Besides, I'm a big kid. I still eat Little Debbie's. I eat so much sugar. Listen to how fast I talk!" What if we can't wait until after dinner? Jacques Torres Chocolate covers corn flakes with dark chocolate (718-875-9772). And at $5 a quarter-pound, they're no more than a box of Count Chocula.

Canned Peach
Any internationally renowned restaurant worth its salt (or sauce) has to have a signature product these days, to hawk to customers who can’t get enough of a good thing. If you want to relive your Peter Luger beefathon in the privacy of your home, you may do so with a bottle of the restaurant’s proprietary steak sauce. Do your chances of scoring a table at Rao’s look slim? Buy a jar of their marinara at D’Ag’s. And nostalgia aside, even civilians get to take salamis home from Katz’s. Now Cipriani deigns to bring its signature cocktail out of its rarefied surroundings and into your refrigerator with its new Bellini base, a lightly carbonated peach soft drink available at its takeout branch, Cipriani Le Specialità ($1.75). On the rocks with vodka, gin, or rum, or mixed with white wine or prosecco, the drink packs a surprisingly fresh and fruity punch.
Cipriani Le Specialità
110 East 42nd Street


Ask Gael
Washington Heights for dinner? Are you mad?
I go to the Cloisters to feed my head. Now that I know what’s cooking up at Republi’K in the name of Latino fusion, I can’t wait to return. Chef Ricardo Cardona’s spicy offering—dips tucked into a tricolore flower of handmade chips—is our first clue that the show in this spiffy space is grander than the neighborhood. A trio of sensational seviches, nestled in ice, compounds the pleasure. Grilled-shrimp salad with fresh palm hearts and coconut crisps, and the fragrant bisque with so many perfectly cooked sea creatures, are starters big enough to be entrées. It takes four of us to handle the parrillada (surf and turf for two) with its triple tier of sides. Skirt steak, sirloin, chorizo, chicken, lobster, octopus, and head-on shrimp—all are a marvel of careful cooking. Upstairs, a lounge waits to be discovered. And soon there’s to be lunch, spiced and priced for the neighborhood.
114 Dyckman Street

Bites & Buzz Archive

Week of January 6
The BLT gets upscaled at RM; Beyoglu's Sultan of Swagger has gone.
Week of December 31
Chef Collichio hones his craftbar; the applejack cobbler martini; a chocolate garden in SoHo; birthday season at Trattoria Dell’Arte
Week of December 16
Olives get sugar-coated; dinner is jazzed at Daniel; holy holiday fishfests; Christmas cake to keep; low-decibel dining Upstairs at '21.'

and more ...

Photos: Patrik Rytikangas, Kenneth Chen (2nd & 3rd).

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