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Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Week of Oct. 3, 2005: Good Burger, The Cafe at Country, Jimmy's.

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Openings
Good Burger
If Good Burger, a newfangled Turtle Bay soda fountain of sorts, seems familiar, it may be because owner Nick Tsoulos of the Patsy’s pizza-chain family took the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien hotel as his model. Although he stopped short of draping the place behind a giant curtain, he did manage to lure away a couple of prized patty flippers from that once semi-secret but now famous burgery. The bright and shiny result has spot-on corner-malt-shop ambience, better-than-average Mickey D’s–style fries, a terrific black-and-white shake, and a darn good burger served on a squishy bun.
800 Second Avenue, at 43rd St; 212-922-1700


The Café at Country
What becomes a boutique hotel most? A David Rockwell design, yes. A European-style spa, surely. But the biggest draw, for scene-hungry tourists and locals alike, is the stylish chef-driven restaurant. The recently renovated Carlton, which has operated as a hotel for more than a century, gets an “It” kitchen of its own in Country, chef-owner Geoffrey Zakarian’s boutique bookend to Town at the Chambers hotel. Rockwell burnished the grand Beaux Arts premises, which include a bar and lounge, a formal dining room opening later this fall, and a 120-seat café, slated to open this week. Executive chef Doug Psaltis, the increasingly notorious memoirist behind the tell-all The Seasoning of a Chef and veteran of Mix and the French Laundry, cooks what he calls modern European-American fare, like country eggs in a jar, grilled-lamb gyro with hummus and yogurt, and salt-and-pepper shrimp.
90 Madison Ave., nr. 29th St.; 212-889-7100


Jimmy’s
One thing you can say about the yeasty stretch of East 7th Street that houses McSorley’s, Standings, and Burp Castle: No one who toddles down that pungent pathway is going to go thirsty. Eating well, however—whether to line the gullet in preparation for more quaffing, or just for the thrill of it—presents a challenge. Enter Jimmy’s, a brand-new low-ceilinged, multi-room rathskeller with great beer and food to match. Chef-owner Jimmy Carbone doesn’t go so far as to call Jimmy’s a gastropub, but that, in the modern parlance, is what it is. After an informal tutelage under Greenmarket-obsessed Sara Jenkins, the chef he hired to cook at his now-defunct Patio Dining, Carbone says he saw cooking in a new light; it shows in dishes like lightly sautéed escarole with slab bacon from the Ukrainian butchers around the corner, a hearty chickpea soup oddly but deliciously topped off with a couple of spareribs, and a sausage-heavy charcuterie plate the size of a satellite dish. There’s even a closet-size performance space where Carbone plans to book acts like the Mad Jazz Hatters, a great old-time jug band who played there recently to a wildly receptive and well-fed all-ages audience.
43 E. 7th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-982-3006


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