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Sunday: The New Saturday?

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Goin in action at Prune.  

Suzanne Goin is one of those chefs whose names have permeated the national culinary consciousness. A visit to Lucques or A.O.C., her Los Angeles restaurants, is as essential a part of the finicky foodie’s itinerary as a grilled pizza at Al Forno or Sonoma-goat-cheese salad at Chez Panisse (both places, incidentally, where well-traveled Goin has happened to work). But 90 New Yorkers got to save the round-trip airfare when Goin breezed through town last week to promote her first cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques (Knopf; $35), borrowing her friend Gabrielle Hamilton’s kitchen at Prune to cook one of her signature prix fixe Sunday suppers—homey, familial affairs that have become, like Grilled Cheese Thursdays at Campanile and Mozzarella Mondays at Jar, an L.A. phenomenon. At Prune, Goin’s parsley-strewn beet salad with fried chickpeas and ricotta salata, and barramundi with bagna-cauda-sauced radicchio, romanesco, and radishes captivated the full house, but when she launched Sunday nights in L.A., Goin says, “I couldn’t pay people to come. They thought they didn’t like not having choices.” Now Sunday rivals Saturday for busiest night of the week. Will that pattern ever catch on in New York? Hamilton, who tried in vain to launch her own Sunday “Firehouse Suppers” some years back, is skeptical. She encountered the same resistance as Goin early on, but “I caved, she didn’t.” Before finally reverting to her regular menu, she says, “I ended up cooking what people wanted with my teeth clenched, resenting everybody.”


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