153 Rivington St., nr. Suffolk St.; 212-253-5311
As Marc Murphy opened Ditch Plains in homage to the Montauk surf spot, Heathe St. Clair will soon unveil Bondi Road, a similarly laid-back, seafood-centric hangout with a surfer theme and, eventually, all-day service, from breakfast till 2 a.m. St. Clair, who also owns the Sunburnt Cow, has converted his margarita-fueled Cafe Juanita into an Aussie-style fish-and-chips shop, where diners peruse a display of imported Australian and New Zealand seafood and then ask to have it grilled, sautéed, or battered and fried. Besides a salad bar, a raw bar, and some of the Sunburnt Cow’s signature cocktails, Bondi Road has something the makeshift Cafe Juanita lacked—a full, gas-fired kitchen. Or at least it will once Con Ed flicks the switch.
345 E. 12th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-358-7912
Erstwhile engineers Sarita Ekya and her husband, Caesar, learned a few revealing things while doing intensive citywide reconnaissance for S’MAC, their new macaroni-and-cheese emporium (short for “Sarita’s mac”). “I’m a cheese snob,” says Sarita, who gravitates to higher-end fromage. “He’s all about the all-American.” Also, presentation counts. That’s why, when they open later this week, they’ll serve all ten varieties in a skillet, from the ground-beef-enhanced Cheeseburger to the Brie with roasted figs and shiitakes. Orders can be customized with various meat and vegetable add-ons, a choice of traditional elbow or whole-wheat pasta, and optional bread crumbs, to gild the lily. The salad, we imagine, is there for token greenery—and guilt appeasement.
Give Me a BLT, Hold the Tomato
Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W. 47th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-265-5580
Everyone knows that a superior sandwich starts with great bread. So it goes without saying that Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery’s reigning dough doyen and emerging sandwich savant, has a leg up on the competition. His light touch and affinity for great ingredients have recently yielded a new line of sandwiches—available at the Hell’s Kitchen branch only, where Lahey, having sold his interest in the Soho store, has decided to focus his energy. He went so far as to create a new sandwich bread, flauto, or “flute” in Italian, an airy, focaccia-like loaf brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Lahey describes it as “an anti-bread bread, a kind of bread that disappears into the sandwich.” The attention is drawn to inspired combinations like crisped pancetta with basil leaves and mango, seasoned with chile pepper—a brilliant take on the classic BLT. But act fast, since that minor masterpiece is only a stopgap measure, according to Lahey, “until I can get some good heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market.”