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Week of January 27, 2002

Tireless chef-entrepreneur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the Asia-obsessed Alsatian, has done French (nouvelle and bistro), Vegas steakhouse, haute hotel food, gourmet sandwiches, and his own riff on Thai fusion (four times). Next week, he unleashes his idiosyncratic take on Chinese food at 66, where kitchen recruits from Hong Kong and Chinatown collaborate on family-style platters that might look more familiar than they taste—or cost. Think Shanghai soup dumplings, sea-scallop shumai, and sweet-and-sour fried red snapper with pine nuts, for starters. The stark modern design is by Richard Meier; the uniforms by Vivienne Tam. Fish tanks divide the kitchen from the dining room, which is furnished with Eames chairs and round resin tables, each with its iconic lazy Susan. At lunch, the 44-foot-long communal table becomes a dim sum and noodle bar. At night, we boldly predict, it will be a scene.
241 Church Street

· Cuisine: Chinese

Blue Ribbon Sushi
Now that brothers Eric and Bruce Bromberg have established an outer-borough beachhead with their Blue Ribbon Brooklyn, they’ve taken the inevitable next step: cloning Blue Ribbon Sushi right next door. The Park Slope spinoff, formerly Vaux, is bigger and boxier than the Sullivan Street original, and features a raw bar—something of a Blue Ribbon signature—stocked with giant abalone, sea urchin, and Alaska king crab. Partner Toshi Ueki oversees a menu identical to Manhattan’s, from appetizers like peppered lamb with red miso and soy sauce to special maki rolls like the Blue Ribbon (half a lobster, shiso, and black caviar).
278 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn

· Cuisine: Japanese

Brasserie 360
With its light, airy décor—all cheery yellow walls, Art Deco ceiling fixtures, and amber lighting—Brasserie 360 seems like just the thing for the heavily trafficked but somewhat dreary intersection of Third Avenue and 60th Street. A new staircase in the middle of the room connects the old Yellowfingers space to the old Contrapunto space. That’s big enough for two sizable talents: Belgian-born Luc Dendievel (Bayard’s, Waterloo), who goes classic brasserie downstairs with saffron-mussel soup, braised veal cheeks, and a few refinements like Chilean sea bass with fennel fondue; upstairs belongs to Kazuo Yoshida, formerly of Jewel Bako, and his sushi bar.
200 East 60th Street

· Cuisine: French

When Jean-François Fraysse opened the funky, romantic La Lunchonette on Tenth Avenue fifteen years ago, West Chelsea was uncharted restaurant territory. The same can’t be said of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, home to more chefs than the Food Network, but this week, Fraysse joins the Court Street fray with his second bistro, Quercy, named for his native region in southwestern France. Rather than go the trendsetting route yet again, Fraysse has shrewdly duplicated La Lunchonette’s menu (at a slight Brooklyn discount), reprising proven crowd-pleasers like mustard-slathered roast chicken with luxurious potato gratin, sautéed calf’s liver with balsamic vinegar, and top-notch tarte Tatin.
242 Court Street, Brooklyn

· Cuisine: French

Openings Archive

Week of January 13
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, Cassis, Thomas Beisl
Week of January 6
Fada, Five Front, Don Don Ya, M J Grill, Noi Cafe, Pisticci
Week of December 31
Jefferson, Peep

and more ...

Photos: Kenneth Chen, Tina Rupp, Patrik Rytikangas (3-4)

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