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Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Week of May 16, 2005: Sette Enoteca e Cucina, Frederick's, and Habana Outpost: Brooklyn. Plus, a preview of Bouley Bakery, and a classy hot dog-eating contest.

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Preview
Bouley Bakery & Market
David Bouley is the chef who put Tribeca on the culinary map. First at the pioneering Montrachet, then at his eponymous foodie mecca, and finally in a shifting constellation of properties and unhatched plans, he’s steered an often brilliant, occasionally irascible course over the past two decades. At one point, he famously partnered with Warner LeRoy to build an ambitious dining and education complex, with multiple restaurants, a cooking school, and an “Organic Institute.” It never panned out. And after 9/11, he converted Bouley Bakery into a new incarnation of his original, more formal Bouley. But next week, he revives the spirit of the bakery and belatedly realizes part of his original market-school concept with the tri-level Bouley Bakery & Market. Bouley prides himself on sourcing the best and freshest local ingredients; many of them will be for sale in the cellar market, which will also house a cheese room and an area for dry-aging beef. A wood-burning oven takes center stage at the street-level bakery, where the day’s breads, pastry, pizza, salads, and sandwiches will be available for takeout or to eat at sidewalk tables or the upstairs café. The second floor will also contain a small sushi bar and a demo kitchen, anchored by a fire-engine-red Molteni oven from France. Although the 30-seat space is too intimate to have a bar per se, it does have two bartenders: brothers Albert and Stefan Trummer, whose eclectic cocktails are meant to complement Bouley’s globally inspired menu.
130 W. Broadway, at Duane St.; 212-608-5829


Gnocchi and sweet peas at Sette  

Openings
Sette Enoteca e Cucina Over the course of Park Slope’s culinary renaissance, Fifth Avenue has become an indisputable dining destination, trumping the mostly mediocre Seventh Avenue in both quality and choice. Which is why it seems odd that ambitious restaurateur Giovanni Tafuri would not only pick Seventh Avenue as the location of his new Sette Enoteca e Cucina but name the place after it. His optimism no doubt comes from his choice of chef: Amanda Freitag, veteran of Verbena and the Dining Room and most recently ’Cesca’s chef de cuisine. Her seasonal Italian menu features dishes like fresh mozzarella with grilled ramps, strozzapreti with roasted corn and sweet hot red peppers, and leg of lamb with creamed-Swiss-chard-potato cake. Sette’s got a couple of other things going for it that should lift the Seventh Avenue curse: Italian brunch fare like spicy soppressata pizzette, outdoor seating, and an affordable “Venti per Venti” wine list—twenty bottles for $20 apiece.
207 Seventh Ave., at 3rd St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-499-7767


Laurent and Frederick Lesort.  

Frederick’s
Last fall, brothers Frederick and Laurent Lesort (of Buddha Bar and Jour et Nuit fame) resurrected their mid-nineties East Side lounge, Frederick’s, on East 58th Street. Now they’re expanding the franchise with a new restaurant in the heart of their old stomping grounds. Frederick’s menu is in the ambidextrous hands of Vincent Chirico, who shifts from 58th Street’s Asian-inspired fare to his spin on Mediterranean food, catering to Madison Avenue browsers and boulevardiers with braised-rabbit ravioli and slow-baked cod in a shellfish nage.
768 Madison Ave., nr. 66th St.; 212-737-7300

And . . .
The only vestige of NL that lives on in the new Sullivan Diner is the Dutch pancakes. Everything else is all-American, from eggs Benny to mac ’n’ cheese. Breakfast served to 4 P.M. daily (169 Sullivan St., nr. W. Houston St.; 212-228-6091).

After closing its West Village café, Sacred Chow has reopened in NYU’s neck of the woods, where it serves breakfast, lunch, and a vegan-tapas dinner menu; beer and wine soon (227 Sullivan St., nr. W. 3rd St.; 212-337-0863).

At Cima, all the Italian-inspired sandwiches (prosciutto di Parma with taleggio and fig tartare, for instance) are artfully arranged on the counter, ripe for the pressing. Sfogliatelle are trucked in from Brooklyn’s Paneantico bakery; ultrabuttery croissants are baked in-house (3781⁄2 Greenwich St., at N. Moore St.; 212-349-8500).

This weekend, Nolita’s Café Habana expands to Fort Greene with an environmentally conscious seasonal enterprise. Habana Outpost: Brooklyn is part outdoor market, part cultural center, and part restaurant, with a kitchen run on solar power (755-757 Fulton St., at S. Portland St.; habanaoutpost.com). At Starwich, which invades the financial district this week with branch number three, you can heed the late Warren Zevon’s advice and enjoy every sandwich, even if it runs you ten bucks. Not only do you get to enjoy it, in fact, but you can design it, and then monitor its production via video screen (63 Wall St., nr. Pearl St.; 866-942-4864).

Event
A Hot-Dog-Eating Contest Letitia Baldrige Could Win
Removing a hot dog from its bun and gulping it down like an uncouth toddler may be fine for the Nathan’s Fourth of July smackdown, but it’s considered bad form at Schnäck’s first Memorial Day hot-dog-eating contest. To give the event an Old New York flavor, Schnäck commissioned ancient Brooklyn baker Caputo’s to build a 28-inch bun to hold the 30-inch frankfurter that old-time Bronx sausage-maker Stahl-Meyer has concocted. More caveats: Contestants must be over 18 and in “good health,” no swallowing without sufficient chewing, and no dunking the bun in water to make it go down easy—basic rules of etiquette, incidentally, you can apply to any dining-out situation. (Sign-up deadline is May 20; call 718-855-2879 for more information.)


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