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Restaurant Openings

Week of December 22, 2008: La Barra, Choice Greene, Ortine, and Barbarini Mercato.

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Choice Greene  

La Barra
250 Broome St., nr. Orchard St. 212-260-3900
Allan Feldman has cooked fancy French at La Grenouille and New American at Veritas, and next week, inspections pending, he returns to his Mexican (yes, Mexican) roots with La Barra, a diminutive cevichería on the Lower East Side. Joined in this seafood-centric venture by three childhood friends and former classmates at the American School in Mexico City, Feldman plans to offer a half-dozen versions of the flash-cured fish, ranging from red snapper to octopus. There are also vegetarian soups and seafood bisques, Argentine-style empanadas, and shrimp and chicken posoles, plus a raw bar and Latin American beer and wine. The storefront seats 22 (ten at the subway-tiled bar), and will be open noon to midnight, Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday for brunch.

Choice Greene
214 Greene Ave., nr. Grand Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 718-230-1243
In the beginning, there was Choice Market. Launched two years ago in Clinton Hill with an inventive menu of salads, sandwiches, and baked goods, the bakery-café filled a neighborhood niche. Then last month, it spawned Choice Greene, a gourmet grocery two blocks away. Housed in a 70-year-old landmarked building with weathered plank floors and ceiling beams, in fitting Brooklyn-general-store fashion, the shop sells fresh fish, produce, organic eggs and dairy, Pain D’Avignon bread, and an array of cheese and charcuterie. There are flowers, too, and sushi prepared by a Blue Ribbon veteran. That’s not all: By spring, the owners aim to expand to Dumbo with a satellite bakery-café, Choice Dumbo, at the looming new J Condominium (100 Jay Street, at York Street). And to supply all the outposts with prepared foods, a commissary under the supervision of Choice Market’s Boris Ginet and Belcourt’s Matt Hamilton should be in full operation within weeks. The commercial kitchen, Choice Atlantic, will also serve its Prospect Heights neighborhood out of a small retail storefront at 999 Atlantic Avenue (near Grand Avenue).


Ortine  

Ortine
622 Washington Ave., nr. Pacific St., Prospect Heights 718-622-0026
One thing you can say about Ortine, a new Prospect Heights electric-kitchen café, is that it’s decidedly family owned and operated. Sarah Peck, a former Schiller’s and Pastis manager, oversees the herb garden, the kitchen, and the eclectic menu (everything from Belgian waffles to braised short ribs). Her husband, Steve Guidi, an acupuncturist by day, acts as the restaurant’s beverage director and thus is in charge of the kombucha and the egg creams. Steve’s mom, Barbara, is the pizza and lasagne maven, and if the bulk of the menu skews Italian, blame it on her. Even the restaurant’s publicist’s father, Yossi, is involved: He contributed the recipe for the Israeli shakshuka.

AND… By Christmas, the Seaport area’s Barbarini Alimentari aims to expand into Barbarini Mercato, with skylit dining rooms, an Italian pastry chef, an open pasta kitchen, and a greater retail focus (227 Front St., nr. Peck Slip; 212-608-9622).


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