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Restaurant Openings

Week of November 2, 2009: Le Caprice and Tipsy Parson.

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Le Caprice
795 Fifth Ave., at 61st St.; 212-940-8195
First the venerable Pierre Hotel got a $100 million makeover under new owners, the Tata Group’s Taj hotels. Now it gets a branch of London’s Le Caprice, a Piccadilly institution known as much for the scene as the food. Part of an acquisition juggernaut that includes the Ivy and J Sheekey (and stretches from New York to Dubai), the new spot echoes its predecessor’s black-and-white design, punctuated by a series of David Bailey photos. Chef Michael Hartnell arrives via sister restaurant Daphne’s, and spent a year studying past a under London’s Giorgio Locatelli. His Mediterranean-inflected menu displays Britishisms from grilled kippers and Welsh rarebit to kedgeree with poached eggs, plus salads employing lettuce like gem hearts and cos (what the Brits call romaine). There’s shepherd’s pie, Yorkshire pudding, and a proper English breakfast—the third of late, counting fellow hotel-restaurant newcomers the Breslin and the Crosby Bar.


Tipsy Parson
156 Ninth Ave., nr. 20th St. 212-620-4545
At their Chelsea sequel to the Lower East Side’s Little Giant, partners Julie Taras Wallach and Tasha Garcia Gibson have 74 seats, an oyster-and-charcuterie station, Stumptown coffee, and—most important—a gas line. That last bit liberates Wallach to do what she couldn’t in an electric-powered kitchen—sauté, grill, broil, and, especially, fry (as in fried pickles, fried cheese curds, and a vegetarian “Fry Up”). “Our sweet spot is refined comfort food,” she says, clearly alluding to such regional specialties as pimento cheeseburgers and Pig in a Poke (poached eggs with andouille and grits). Tipsy Parson, named for a boozy dessert, will be open continuously from 7:30 a.m. on, dispensing three squares plus house-baked breads and pastries, southern cheeses and hand-sliced Benton’s country ham, and frozen drinks like a Concord-grape julep.


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