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Week of October 29, 2001

When Matthew Kenney's original restaurant, Matthew's, closed after a fire last year, Kenney kept busy at Canteen and Commune, his hip bastions of haute comfort food in SoHo and the Flatiron district. This week, he restores his uptown presence by reopening Matthew's as Commissary, with a new circular bar, glass façade, and continuous service from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. The kitchen revives some of the Mediterranean flavors Matthew's was known for in dishes like polenta with mascarpone at breakfast; panini of prosciutto, pear, blue cheese, and white-truffle honey at lunch; and lamb loin stuffed with goat cheese, mint, dates, and almonds, served with saffron fregula, at dinner.
1030 Third Avenue, at 61st Street
 Cuisine: Modern American

Just when macaroni and cheese threatens to put post-September 11 New York diners into a permanent sleeper hold, along comes former Atlas chef and rude-food warrior Paul Liebrandt, the Ornette Coleman of free cuisine, to loosen its starchy grip and wake -- or shake -- us up. Reports of his exile to Europe have been greatly exaggerated; in fact, he's resurfaced downtown at Papillon, determined to thrill us with his self-described "extremely high-quality cuisine in a very relaxed setting with very relaxed prices." That means a $45 prix fixe with no caviar, no truffles, and only one foie gras dish, in which the ubiquitous goose liver is ingeniously pickled in brine and crowned with écume de mer (clam foam). Other examples of Liebrandt's high-concept cuisine include langouste tartare with a sablé made from its roe (pictured, left), and entrées like côte de boeuf baked in hay with coffee-cardamom jus. Like-minded pastry chef Will Goldfarb ensures that the meal ends on a suitably avant-garde note with desserts like a liquid chocolate tart with a sheet of pulverized and baked Halls Mentho-Lyptus. Chicken soup, watch your back.
575 Hudson Street
 Cuisine: French

Notable Closings
Though not a comprehensive listing, here are a few dining spots that have bid adieu...
City Eatery (The, bar and lounge, however, are still open)
316 Bowery, at Bleecker St.
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...


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)


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)

January, 2002

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

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)

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 22
The Harrison, The Minnow
Week of October 15
Dylan's Candy Bar, Luce, roomservicecafe
Week of October 8
Vicala, Zazen, Fraunces Tavern
Week of October 1
Bodum Café & Homestore, Blue Grotto, Notable closings
Week of September 24
Jo Jo

and more ...

Photos: Patrik Rytikangas.
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