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Restaurant Openings

Week of August 10, 2009: Joseph Leonard, Bia Garden, Bark Hot Dogs, Cafe Pedlar at Frankies 17, and Güllüoglu.


Joseph Leonard
170 Waverly Pl., at Grove St.; 646-429-8383
Gabriel Stulman, last seen running the front of the house at West Village restaurants Market Table and the Little Owl, hasn’t traveled far to open his first solo project. This week, he unveils Joseph Leonard, a no-reservations “bar with serious food” named in honor of his grandfathers, both of whom appear, along with his investors’ ancestors, in the framed photos that serve as décor. Stulman designed the space himself, prowling flea markets for finds like a high-school clock and an office-building exit sign, modeling a paneled ceiling after a thirties boardroom, and fabricating a bathroom mirror inspired by the one at Montreal’s Joe Beef. Half of the seats are clustered around a central zinc bar, and another two overlook the open kitchen. Chef James McDuffee, late of Bouchon Bakery, has crafted a French-accented American menu that he’ll eventually serve continuously from 8 a.m. through 2 a.m., starting with breakfast (Cheddar biscuits with scrapple and fried egg) and featuring lunch sandwiches like pastrami on rye. For now, it’s dinner only, and current offerings include salt-cod brandade, peach-and-Cheddar salad, and roasted lamb T-bones with pistou and cauliflower gratin—plus a raw bar, and the New York exclusive on Boxed Water Is Better, filtered Minnesota H2O packaged in milk cartons.

Bia Garden
154 Orchard St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-780-0010
Michael “Bao” Huynh already operates BarBao, Pho Sure, and proliferating Baoguettes, and next week the expansionist chef opens what might be New York’s first Vietnamese beer garden. The subterranean space has been reconfigured into a front takeout counter and a ten-seat dining room and 50-seat garden that you access through a refrigerated walk-in. “Bia” means beer in Vietnamese, and the list here is all Asian, with cans and bottles served in coolers by the six-pack, twelve-pack, or case, and billed by how much is consumed. A circulating pushcart will dispense $5 bites, and the Vietnamese street-food menu is organized by plate size: small (lotus rootlet salad with shrimp and pork), medium (sambal-garlic frog), and big (fish-head hot pot with okra, taro shoots, and pineapple).

Bark Hot Dogs
474 Bergen St., nr. Flatbush Ave., Park Slope 718-789-1939
One way Joshua Sharkey and Brandon Gillis, chef-partners of Bark Hot Dogs, intend to distinguish their enterprise from, say, Gray’s Papaya is by the method they’ll use to finish their pork-and-beef wieners. Rather than just turning them over casually on the griddle, they’ll baste them like a Peter Luger porterhouse with—get this—housemade smoked lard butter. Another example: making everything from pickles to sauerkraut in-house, and meticulously sourcing the rest from top-notch purveyors. The franks (including an all-beef version) are churned out upstate by a venerable Austrian sausage maker, the beans are of the heirloom variety, and the bacon from S. Wallace Edwards & Sons. Because hot dogs for breakfast—lard-butter-basted or not—can be a tough sell, there’s also a morning menu of homemade biscuits and egg sandwiches. Opens next week.

AND... The Lower East Side coffee scene gets a jolt with the imminent opening of Cafe Pedlar at Frankies 17, a daytime repurposing of the Frankies Spuntino annex. As at the Cobble Hill café, Stumptown coffee will be on offer, plus sandwiches, soft pretzels, fresh pastries, and soon, a bona-fide breakfast “egg program” (17 Clinton St., nr. Stanton St.; 212-253-2303) . . . Speaking of coffee, fans of the strong, thrice-boiled Turkish variety, will be ecstatic to know that Güllüoglu, the venerable Turkish pastry chain, is opening its second New York shop, this one in Midtown East. To go with the joe, there will be baklava, kadayif, sandwiches, salads, and, for breakfast, su böregi— a multilayered spinach and cheese noodle pudding of sorts. Outdoor seating too (982 Second Ave., at 52nd St.; no phone yet).


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