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EDITED BY ROBIN RAISFELD AND ROB PATRONITE
Week of November 5, 2001
Happenings
Boy From Brazil
Brazilian treat: Visiting chef Alex Atala's shrimp and mango salad.

Last month, François Payard opened an outpost of his Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro in São Paulo, where he discovered the avant-garde Franco-Brazilian cooking of Alex Atala, the European-trained chef-owner of D.O.M. and Na Mesa. Payard became such a fan that he invited Atala to New York to guest-chef a five-course, $75 tasting menu from November 6 to November 10. Reserve soon: You never know when you'll get another chance to sample balsamic-foie-gras-and-vanilla soup or papillote of snook fish with ginger-lemongrass butter.
Payard
1032 Lexington Avenue, near 73rd Street
212-717-5252
Happenings
Sticking to Their Ribs
 

Latino soul food and the throbbing salsa club next door wired Jimmy's Bronx Café into the nightlife radar. For Jimmy's Uptown in Harlem, the charismatic and ambitious Jimmy Rodriguez wanted to create a sexy rendezvous for cool hipsters of every culture. Bouley-trained chef Linda Japngie's fusion of soul and Latino classics with New American technique won raves. Now she's tackling old-school soul food for the groaning buffet stations at the Glory Glory Hallelujah $25 Sunday brunch upstairs in the lounge. One table is a salad bar. At another, chefs slice turkey and fresh ham and spoon up mashed potatoes and crusty macaroni and cheese. At still another, there are more than a dozen add-ins to stuff into your couture omelette. Plus ribs, fried chicken, oxtails, and all the fixings. Hit the buffet from 2 p.m. on. At 3:30, the soaring voices of a troupe from the Mama Foundation for the Arts (Dejahnee Richardson, pictured, left, with Knoelle Higginson-Wydro) launch a rousing hallelujah, and the fervor never lets up. Listen for my favorite: "My God Is a Washing Machine." --GAEL GREENE
Jimmy's Uptown
2207 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, near 130th Steet
212-491-4000

 

In Print
Da Boss
If you've ever wondered just what the hell Silvano Marchetto has been saying the past 26 years, you'll find the Da Silvano Cookbook (Bloomsbury; $40) an invaluable resource. In person, the indefatigable, incomprehensible restaurateur communicates less in words than in effusive actions: Where else would the owner be found kissing your girlfriend (on the lips) to convey something about the difficulty of smuggling a shipment of burrata cheese, plopping down a giant heirloom tomato when you can't fathom what a special appetizer of "aluminum" tomatoes might taste like, or once again engaging your girlfriend in a jiggly dance to celebrate the wobbly nature of his panna cotta? In his book, he lays it all out in plain English, in recipes and anecdotes about everything from panzanella (which he claims to have introduced to New York when he opened in 1975) to pasta (when in doubt, "keep it al dente") to that panna cotta (the long-guarded secret to which turns out to be cooking it twice to make it firmer). And the book is nearly as celebrity-studded as the restaurant, with quotes from the restaurant's guestbook scattered throughout. Our favorite: "Thanks in advance for the free meal!" -- Steve Martin.



Ask Gael

Is this the moment for Afghan comfort food? Find a place in your diet for compassion. On a stretch of Second Avenue where numbed locals seeking solace filled the surrounding sidewalk cafés and stretched Baraonda to bursting throughout September, Pamir was ominously deserted. Desperate, the Bayat brothers, Sultan and Farid, covered up the big sign above the awning that trumpeted THE FOOD OF AFGHANISTAN and hung not one but three American flags in the window. Slowly, friends of the past two decades began to return. "Thank God," says Sultan. I'd almost forgotten the coziness of tribal carpets, hanging copper and saddle bags, the warm (now almost relieved) welcome, and the luscious ravioli-like aushak under a mantle of yogurt and savory meat sauce. I'd come again for the aushak alone, and for satiny eggplant and pumpkin similarly draped. We're happy sharing crisp phyllo turnovers studded with scallions or onion and potato (to dip in a trio of sauces), juicy ground-beef kebabs and skewers of marinated lamb chops with caramelized onion and brown rice. Chunks of juicy lamb shore up the pistachio-and-almond-tossed pilaf (called palaw). The arrival of two young Middle Eastern-looking men at a table behind us chokes off our uninhibited debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the conversation segues to dessert. "The baklava [baghlawa] is pretty good," a pal advises. Agreed -- it's chewy and not too sweet. Okay, we're compassionate wusses. But well-fed.
Pamir
1437 Second Avenue, near 74th Street
212-734-3791

Bites & Buzz Archive

Week of October 29
Where to load up on carbs; Beppe's pumpkin panna cotta; Gael on Zitoune
Week of October 22
Cipriani's cheap eats; small Craft advisory; Café Spice's tasting menus; Gael visits Nam
Week of October 15
Three spots for comfort food; The Last Course Cookbook; Gael's top ten escapes
Week of October 8
TanDa vs. Moomba; Mugsy's Chow Chow's new look; Coconut Grove revisited

and more ...



Photos: Patrick Rytikangas; Carina Salvi.

 
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