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Restaurant Openings

Week of December 17, 2007: Dovetail, Urban Rustic, and Giano.


Photographs by Jeremy Liebman  

103 W. 77th St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-362-3800
Tea and sherry might remind you of a proper British aunt, but not when they’re delivered by John Fraser, the chef-owner of Dovetail, slated to open this weekend in an Upper West Side townhouse. Besides a 25-bottle sherry list and tasting menu, Fraser, who last cooked at Compass and, before that, Snack Taverna, has devised a sophisticated menu of dishes like Brussels-sprout salad with serrano ham, manchego, and cauliflower purée (pictured), not to mention a $38 Sunday supper featuring rustic fare like lamb meat loaf with spiced tomatoes, and house-cured salmon with horseradish latkes. Brunch launches next month, and so does afternoon tea, replete with cucumber sandwiches and poppy-seed financiers.

Urban Rustic
236 N. 12th St., nr. Union Ave., Williamsburg; 718-388-9444
Imagine if Morgan Spurlock were to open a burger joint where the hamburgers were fashioned from contented, grass-fed, sustainably raised cows. That would be something like the situation at Urban Rustic, the new grocery store opening in Williamsburg this weekend. Co-owner Aaron Woolf also happens to have directed the documentary film King Corn, and as it was in his film, Woolf’s mission here is to raise awareness about where our food comes from as much as it is to sell groceries. At Urban Rustic, the goods come mainly from local farmers, butchers, cheesemakers, and assorted purveyors. The 2,600-square-foot space is designed, in the current fashion, to look like a sleepy nineteenth-century general store, but has just about everything you’d expect to find in a modern foodie emporium, including a juice-and-coffee bar and an elevated dining area. Every item for sale, from the biodynamic yogurt to the Brooklyn bath salts, has a story, and, like good documentarians, Woolf and his partners plan to tell each one.

126 E. 7th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-673-7200
Named for the Roman god Janus, whose two heads face different directions, Giano looks to the past and to the future with both its food and décor. The front of the East Village restaurant is sleek and modern, with a curving resin bar and wine specials projected on a screen in a font that mimics handwriting on a chalkboard. Walk farther inside, and the motif shifts to rustic wood and exposed brick. The three owners hail from Milan, as does chef Gianfranco Iuorio, whose menu, like Insieme’s Marco Canora’s, is divided into separate categories for the traditional and the contemporary. Lasagne alla Bolognese and osso buco occupy the former, naturally, while the latter is devoted to novelties like soy-marinated tuna with apples, and pancetta-wrapped beef with horseradish mousse.


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