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Restaurant Openings & Buzz
Week of June 23, 2003

Vadim Ponorovsky opened Paradou, a French-inflected wine bar, in the meatpacking district, and now, like so many entrepreneurs before him, he’s expanded to Brooklyn. At the new South Slope spinoff (formerly Max & Moritz), he’s added a full bar and dishes like escargot-and-Brie torte, Basque-style mussels, and rabbit brochettes with eggplant mousse to his grilled-sandwich-and-crêpe repertoire. Like the Manhattan restaurant, this one has a garden, a French wine list, and a full line of delicately flavored truffles from master Provençal chocolatier Joel Durand.
426 Seventh Avenue, near 14th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Long before Estiatorio Milos made charcoal-grilled Greek chic, plenty of people were doing fish that way in Astoria. So when the owners of a Murray Hill trattoria decided to go wholeheartedly Hellenic, they enlisted Kostas Avlonitis, who opened Astoria’s Taverna Roumeli almost 30 years ago, to guide them. At Ethos, whole grilled fish is the main event, but the menu teems with classic meze (dips, stuffed grape leaves, charcoal-grilled sausages, and quails), feta-flecked salads, clay-pot-baked lamb, and honey-drenched Greek pastries.
495 Third Avenue, near 34th Street


The Italian suffix -ino is a diminutive, making it a great name for Jason Denton’s 23-seat panini bar. But now, among hungry New Yorkers at least, ’ino has come to signify the luscious Italian pressed sandwiches and bruschetta he serves there. Ever the savvy entrepreneur (as well as a partner in Lupa and Otto), Denton, joined by his brother, Joe, and Eric Kleinman, a former sous-chef at Lupa, has taken his Italian wine bar concept to the next level: a full-scale wine-themed restaurant, ’inoteca, opening in early July on the increasingly gourmet-friendly Lower East Side. In a space at least quadruple the size of ’ino, the partners have much more to work with—not to mention a real gas-powered kitchen. That’s where Kleinman will assemble an abbondanza of antipasti, fritto, salumi, and cheeses, plus heftier dishes like chicken cacciatore and eggplant lasagnette. Fans of ’ino’s truffled-egg toast will find it here, along with house-made mozzarella, porchetta panini, and a wine cellar for private parties.
98 Rivington Street

new york's best

Top 5 Iced Teas

Any southerner will say iced tea should be strong and sweet, but some Yankee versions get their oomph the old-fashioned way—from booze. Get the list.

object of desire

Found a Peanut

One of the consequences of eating too much of any one delicious thing, whether it be DB burgers or Cheez Doodles, is that you will inevitably tire of it. Such was the case, a year and a half ago, when Danny Meyer and his Blue Smoke reconnaissance team visited North Carolina to check out the barbecue. Daunted by the thought of yet another pulled-pork sandwich, they sought refuge at a roadside peach stand. The peaches were good, but what really impressed them was the roasted peanuts made by a local men’s church group. “They were the best peanuts I ever had,” says Richard Coraine, Meyer’s business partner. Back home, Coraine telephoned the First Methodist Church of Mount Olive to get some more. “You’re from New York, huh?” asked the befuddled peanut roaster, in a tone you might use with an escapee from an insane asylum. “Where’d you have our peanuts?” The smitten restaurateurs nevertheless persevered, and today, the ne plus ultra of peanuts are available at Blue Smoke right next to the barbecue sauce and the baseball caps, where they go for $4.95 a jar. Superfresh, extra-crunchy, wantonly salty, they are to other peanuts what Belgian frites are to Munchos. The only downside: Peanut roasting takes time, and a small group of septuagenarian hobbyists that meets once a week in a church leads to a very limited supply. “In another month or so, I’m going back down there to hang out,” says Coraine, who admits he’s got a private stash at home, “to see if they can maybe hire another guy or something. — ROB PATRONITE
Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street

The Really Fresh Direct
With customers like Michael Romano, Peter Hoffman, and Kurt Gutenbrunner, organic farmer Guy Jones is accustomed to an extremely demanding clientele. Sign up for the New York Open Center’s CSA, and you can join their finicky ranks. CSA, or community-supported agriculture, is the increasingly popular means by which veggie-starved city dwellers buy shares in a farm (Jones’s Blooming Hill Farm, in this case) and then reap the rewards in weekly allotments of arugula or leeks or whatever happens to be in season. And there’s the rub: You take what you get, be it cooking or salad greens, herbs and squash, or, if you’re lucky, those late-summer heirloom tomatoes. Shares for low-spray fruit and half-pound raw-milk cheeses from Cato Corner Farms are also available.
Call 212-219-2527, extension 170, for prices, pickup location, and schedule.


in print

Granita Magic
Few things beat the heat better than flavored ices, and granita, as Nadia Roden tells us in Granita Magic (Artisan; $15), is the “original, classic ‘ice’ ”—invented in China, appropriated by Arab traders, and transported to Sicily, where they spread it on brioche for breakfast. Cooking—and cookbooks—run in the author’s family: Her mother is Middle Eastern food scholar Claudia Roden, whose influence appears in flavors like pistachio-rose and saffron-honey. But Nadia, an animator and painter who also illustrated the colorful cookbook, pushes the granita envelope, using ice as a refreshing vehicle for offbeat flavors like horseradish, chili, and Sauternes.

at the greenmarket

Berry Treasure

Miraculously, something approximating summer has finally arrived, and so have the local strawberries we’ve been yearning for. New Jersey and upstate berry farmers attribute the late-starting season to the lack of sunshine, but a canny few were able to fool Mother Nature with heat-preserving tricks (like black plastic over raised beds). The season is fleeting, so enjoy the sweet, ripe goods while you can, before we’re all reduced once again to those behemoths from Driscoll’s, another species entirely.

Ask Gael
Don't you ever pay homage to Sarge's pastrami?
Sarge’s Delicatessen is definitely off my beat. It’s been there since 1964, but I have not. Curiosity piqued by the above gripe from a deli-maven reader, I step into a time warp, take a booth (young Abbie Hoffman smiles down at me), and let deli doyenne Jean Russo (a 28-year veteran) bring fabulous chicken in the pot. Our massive order doesn’t faze her. “Don’t worry, I’ll bring doggie bags,” she offers. I’ve forgotten how good sour pickles can be and love that house-cured pastrami—warm and fatty and full of flavor. (An old family recipe from the day Sarge’s was founded by a retired city cop.) My guest and I split a corned beef–tongue combo—splendid corned beef, wussy tongue. And I like more oomph in my Russian dressing. Carried away by the fat of it all, my pal longs for the chocolate cream pie of yesteryear. “Why not?” says Jean. How Thiebaud it looks. And yet . . . so real.
Sarge's Delicatessen
548 Third Avenue, near 36th Street

In the Archives

June 16, 2003
Ulysses, Zerza Bar, Pepe Rosso, Cafeteria at the Met; Mermaid Inn's lobster roll; Coach Farm's new fat-filled cheese; ice cream and cookies at 'Wichcraft; fiesta feast at Dos Caminos SoHo.

June 9, 2003
Kitsch, Ida Mae Kitchen-n-Lounge, Summit Restaurant and Lounge, Westville; Chocolate Bar's sweet treats; Monkey Bar's great steak.

June 2, 2003
SheepMeadow Cafe, Alma Blu, Ruth Chris Steakhouse; Rocco DiSpirito Q&A, Sidecar at P.J. Clarke's; new Sullivan Street Bakery pizza.

More Openings & Buzz

Photos: Carina Salvi, Bruce Katz, Kenneth Chen, Ellie Miller, Liz Steger.

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