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Week of October 15, 2001

Dylan's Candy Bar
A semisweet stream for customers to plunge into headfirst like Augustus Gloop is about the only Wonkaesque thing missing from Dylan's Candy Bar, the supersize new candy store across the street from Bloomingdales. (We're guessing it was the astronomical insurance premiums, plus the difficulty of hiring Oompa Loompas these days.) The brainchild of Dylan (daughter of Ralph) Lauren and Jeff Rubin (an FAO Schweetz co-creator), Dylan's is a dentist's nightmare of custom-colored Skittles and M&Ms, a Pez zone where vintage dispensers go for $3,500, and an old-fashioned soda fountain with custom-made ice-cream flavors, from rugelach to Animal Crackers. And if you're determined to take a bath in chocolate, head to the (inedible) Candy Spa, where you'll find Hot Chocolate Bath Salts, Cheeky Chocolate-Milk Bubble Bath, and Crème Brûlée spray cologne -- a fragrance some might find more seductive than Polo.
1011 Third Avenue, at 60th Street
 Cuisine: Candy

Sixth Sense: Owners Peter Sclafani, Kristen Hallett and chef Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn at Luce in Park Slope.
Is Brooklyn's Sixth Avenue the new Fifth Avenue? Well, not quite yet, but Park Slope's newest restaurant, Luce, may do for that lonely, pappardelle-deprived stretch what pioneering Cucina did for the Slope's now-burgeoning boulevard twelve years ago. Owners Kristen Hallett and Peter Sclafani, who opened L'Udo in NoHo seven years ago, have beautifully restored a grimy bodega, excavating its original tin walls and ceiling, buffing its tile floor, and installing a stylish glass-and-oxidized-tin façade. In the kitchen, chef Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn, formerly chef de cuisine at Savoy, has come up with a casual but intriguing Italian menu emphasizing fresh local ingredients and including Sicilian seafood couscous, guinea hen with pomegranate sauce and ricotta gnocchi, and even a bravely revisionist take on a borough favorite, spaghetti and meatballs -- tiny lamb ones, that is.
411 11th Street, at Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn
 Cuisine: Italian

Cafés in retail stores are nothing new, but finding one that serves Vegemite on toast is. Expat Australians and other devotees of the salty spread will rejoice over its presence at roomservicecafe, the new snack bar at Room Interior Products, a year-old Australian-housewares store in the West Village. The café menu, much like Down Under's ever-evolving cuisine, is a multicultural mélange specializing in Asian-flavored fare like "lettuce cups," individual Boston leaves full of fresh, well-seasoned salads like sweet-chili shrimp or Chinese jerky, served with jasmine rice; and banh mi, a Vietnamese sausage-and-pâté sandwich. Uncommonly delicious pastries come from local specialists like Panya, a Japanese bakery in the East Village, and Café Porto, a Portuguese bakery in Yonkers. No kangaroo, though -- maybe it's stuck at Customs.
435 Hudson Street
212-847-8488, ext. 111
 Cuisine: International Café

Notable Closings
Though not a comprehensive listing, here are a few dining spots that have bid adieu...
Bar Odeon (Luckily, its progenitor, The Odeon is still alive and well)
136 W. Broadway

1 Fifth Avenue, at 8th Street
52 E. 41st Street, at The Dylan Hotel
Peacock Alley
301 Park Avenue, at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
350 Hudson Street
Q Bar
267 W. 4th Street

Looking Ahead...

Late October

Commissary, 1033 Third Ave. at 61st St., 212-339-9955
Set-up: Encased in floor-to-ceiling glass with 100 seats and circular bar for optimal people watching.
Cuisine: Modern American
Chef: Sarma Melngailis
Owner: Matthew Kenney (Commune, Canteen)

Fiamma, 206 Spring St., 212-653-0100
Set-up: Tri-level space in SoHo with exterior glass elevator and 130 seats
Cuisine: Italian
Chef: Michael White (formerly at the four-star Spiaggia in Chicago and chef di cucina at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy)
Owner: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Blue Water Grill, Park Avalon, Ruby Foo's)

Marseilles, 630 Ninth Ave. at 44th St., 212-333-2323
Set-up: Two-story, 4000 square-foot space designed in 1940's French-Moroccan style with zinc bar and ebonized mahogany accents.
Cuisine: French/Mediterranean
Chef: Alex Urena (Blue Hill)
Owner: Simon Oren (Sushi Samba, L' Express, Maritime)

The Minnow, 442 Ninth St., Park Slope, Brooklyn
Set-up: Cozy 60-seat space with exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and private garden.
Cuisine: Eclectic American/Seafood
Chef: Aaron Bashy (Slate, Alva)
Owners: Aaron Bashy and wife, Vicki (Former pastry chef at Boston's Four Seasons Hotel)

The Harrison, 355 Greenwich St., 212-274-9310
Set-up: Designer Mark Zeff creates a 100-seat dining room filled with wainscoting, handmade chandeliers, and a walnut bar. Nine French doors will open onto the street, with an additional 40 seats available for sidewalk dining.
Cuisine: Eclectic American
Chef: Joey Campanaro (protégé of Jonathan Waxman)
Owners: Jimmy Bradley and Danny Abrams (The Red Cat)


Suba, 109 Ludlow St., 212-982-5714
Set-up: Subterreanean, multi-level grotto with moat, underwater lamps, and floor-to-ceiling glass-paneled doors. Designed by Andre Kikoski.
Chef: Stephane Bucholzer (L'Actuel)
Owners: Yann De Rochefort and Phillip Morgan


Blue Fin,
Set-up: Situated in the highly-anticipated W Times Square Hotel, this 400-seater will have a floating staircase connecting its two levels and a view of the Great White Way.
Cuisine: Seafood
Chef: Paul Sale (Icon at W Court Hotel)
Owner: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Isabella's, Atlantic Grill)

April, 2002

Blue Smoke, 116 East 27th St.
Set-up: Jazz joint with a built-in barbecue pit at former 27 Standard space.
Cuisine: Barbecue
Chef: Pitmaster Kenny Callaghan (Sous Chef, Union Square Cafe)
Owners: Danny Meyer (Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, Eleven Madison Park)


Hear about a restaurant opening? Post an announcement - even a rumor - in the Food Forum.


Openings Archive
Week of October 1
Bodum Café & Homestore, Blue Grotto, Notable closings
Week of September 24
Jo Jo
Week of September 17
Tarallucci e Vino, Salute!, Cicchetti Bar at Scopa
Week of September 10
Bid, Long Tan, Enoteca at Sapori d'Ischia

and more ...

Photos: Patrik Rytikangas.
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