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Restaurant Openings

Week of December 4, 2006: Pardo's, Nespresso Boutique Bar, Charles' Southern Style Kitchen, Da Enzo Ristorante.


92 Seventh Ave. S., nr. Grove St.; 212-488-3900
Peruvian rotisserie chicken has made occasional inroads into New York’s restaurant scene, most notably at places like Pio Pio and the pioneering El Pollo. This week, the category expands with the opening of Pardo’s, the first local branch of a twenty-year-old Peruvian chain. Peruvian chicken is all about the marinade, and owner Richard Wu, a onetime Morgan Stanley equity analyst, gets his straight from the Lima source. (His cousin is the chain’s majority owner.) Wu has installed a gas-fueled rotisserie rather than the traditional coal-fired one, but most of the menu has made it here intact, from the anticuchos (skewered beef heart) to the sweet purple-corn drink called chicha morada. And the Peruvian grape brandy called pisco shows up in several house cocktails, including the Manhattan-centric Piscopolitan.

Nespresso Boutique Bar
761 Madison Ave., nr. 65th St.; no phone yet
Nestlé subsidiary Nespresso has a slightly sci-fi way of describing its worldwide boutiques: “portals” through which the caffeine-addled public can venture to become, with any luck, loyal lifelong customers. North America’s first such portal has just opened on Madison Avenue, where espresso drinks are made from Nespresso’s twelve “Grand Crus,” each blend hermetically sealed in the company’s patented aluminum capsules. No matter where you stand on the pre-ground, pre-portioned coffee debate—it takes the human expertise out of espresso-pulling, or it eliminates the margin for error—Nespresso has wisely staked out its style-conscious retail territory. Beyond the café, which serves a light menu of pastries, salads, and sandwiches, the showroom is full of race-car-sleek machines designed to seduce the gadget-happy and modernize the fustiest Park Avenue kitchen.

Charles Gabriel.  

Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen
308 Lenox Ave., nr. 125th St.; 212-722-7727
Charles Gabriel, Harlem’s reigning fried-chicken maestro, makes his second move “downtown” this week, when he and his Rack & Soul partner, Michael Eberstadt, transform a corner of Eberstadt’s Slice of Harlem into a satellite branch of Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen. Gabriel shares the pizzeria’s seating and kitchen, but service will be buffet style, as at his original 151st Street outpost. Staples like oxtails, ribs, and that fried chicken will be available daily, but priced by the pound instead of his all-you-can-eat uptown format. “There’s only about twenty seats,” says Gabriel. “If I do all-you-can-eat, it would take too long to turn tables.”


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