Week of August 4, 2003
Dominic Restaurant/Social Club
Rocco isn’t the only chef returning to his red-sauce roots: After two years crafting nouvelle Portuguese at Pico, John Villa has turned his elegant Tribeca premises into Dominic Restaurant/Social Club, a winking tribute to his Jersey roots (and an allusion to a certain HBO family, perhaps?). Fried clams and calamari, veal Milanese, and linguine with white clam sauce are pure Little Italy, but with a little creative editing, Villa has managed to preserve Pico’s signature suckling pig and sonhos, the pillowy Portuguese doughnuts, on a menu that’s become much more affordable--especially with the 20 percent discount good through Labor Day.
349 Greenwich Street
The North Fork is all about the wine, of course, but for brothers Albert and Stephan Trummer, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for swank cocktails. The two, who for better or worse helped popularize the term bar chef with their creative shaking and muddling at Town, Bouley Bakery, and Citarella, have opened Home, a marvelously mellow two-story outdoor lounge with a beachy Amalfi Coast vibe, located clandestinely behind a Victorian house that serves as a real-estate office by day. “We call it a quiet hot spot,” says Albert. So far, that’s especially true on slow weeknights, when the local thirst for $12 watermelon martinis and honeydew cocktails, plus panini and cheese plates, has been limited. But on weekends, with Manhattanites en route to Shelter Island and Home’s 3 a.m. closing time in effect, things pick up nicely, in a quaintly un-sceney, anti-Hamptons way.
124 Front Street, Greenport, Long Island
K.R Space Untitled
Just as Space Untitled, the artsy, high-ceilinged café and coffee bar, fits seamlessly into its Soho environs, its new Koreatown spinoff, K.R Space Untitled, blends into the kimchi district. Perhaps too well: Its 32-item cafeteria-style buffet menu, with everything from spicy squid to boiled pork belly, bears a striking resemblance to Woorijip’s up the street (but costs slightly less, at $5.25 per pound). There’s also a noodle bar, Korean-style sushi, and a few intriguing examples of East-West fusion like the bulgogi sandwich with Swiss cheese.
34 West 32nd Street
object of desire
Mead, the ancient honey-based alcoholic drink thought to possess mysterious aphrodisiac powers, was until recently something we had left to leotard-wearing Renaissance Faire types. But that was before we tried Lurgashall, an English mead from Sussex that’s the Dom Pérignon of the genre. John Tucker and Neil O’Malley, who run Park Slope’s Rose Water, offer Lurgashall’s complex, not-too-sweet special reserve as a digestif, and also poured over ripe peaches or nectarines and housemade vanilla ice cream as an elegant seasonal dessert special.
787 Union Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Lurgashall Special Reserve is also available for $14.99 a bottle at Crossroads, 55 West 14th Street; 212-924-3060.
The Original Juice
The pomegranate’s illustrious past goes back, some believe, to the Garden of Eden, where Eve succumbed to its sweet-tart temptation. So did Persephone, in Greek myth. Now, in an attempt to rescue the leathery-skinned fruit from its seasonal-centerpiece fate, a California grower has launched a line of all-natural, sugar-free pomegranate juices. POM Wonderful’s curvy glass bottle sets it apart from the plastic-packed competition, as does its health claim: One study shows it packs more anti-oxidants than grape juice, green tea, or red wine.
Available at Citarella and Eli’s Manhattan.
Inspired by the success of his annual utensils-optional Beefsteak, Waldy Malouf is introducing its warm-weather counterpart, the Summertime Chowder Dinner at Beacon Restaurant. On August 5, chowderheads, Joseph Mitchell fans, and anyone else with a Falstaffian appetite can gorge on clam and corn chowders generously bailed out of steaming cauldrons. Experienced Beefsteakers, however, will pace themselves for the spread of lobster, oysters, chicken, fresh corn, tomatoes, potato salad, and an unlimited supply of Brooklyn beer. ($75)
25 West 56th Street
It’s my favorite grape nut’s birthday.
Let him flaunt his cellar’s precious treasures on BYOB Mondays at Montrachet, the vino mecca where Chris Gesualdi, a chef I’ve always admired, is back at the range. A cloud of nostalgia descends as I see so many ancien offerings on the menu. My pal the Wall Street Voluptuary has toted an amazingly stalwart ’53 Latour downtown, thrilled that there’s no corkage fee. Bold enough for the wine’s challenge are luscious braised tripe with roasted salsify, sautéed frogs’ legs in a red-wine escargot fricassee, and a giant globe of expertly roasted sweetbreads with cauliflower and a contemporary hit of yuzu mustard. Sound too wintry? Well, favas, morels, corn, and summer truffles abound, too. Oenophilic revels are routine here, with Burgundies, of course, the usual love object. If your wino is cheeky enough, he or she may want to play “What’s My Wine?”—the house’s blind-tasting challenge. Guess the country, region, appellation, varietal, vintage, and/or producer of the sommelier’s choice to suit your meal, and win a discount on the bottle. With six correct answers, the wine’s a gift.
239 West Broadway