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Restaurant Openings

Week of January 18, 2010: RBC NYC, Choptank, and Colicchio & Sons.

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RBC NYC
71 Worth St., nr. Church St.; 212-226-1111
In New York’s expanding coffee-shop scene, operators jockey for every competitive advantage: single-origin bean source, barista expertise, and, especially, cult brewing equipment (remember the Clover?). To that end, RBC NYC, opening next week in Tribeca, has purchased the city’s first $18,000 Slayer espresso machine, crafted in Seattle by the sort of obsessives who rail against the industry’s increasing automation, and described online by one of its creators as “a notoriously, horribly, beautifully manual machine.” The Slayer’s selling point is its barista-controlled pressure variability, intended to highlight the flavor nuances of individual roasts— a function RBC owner Jodi Richard will exploit by showcasing a rotating roster, starting with San Antonio’s Brown Coffee Co. and Dallis Coffee in Queens. Also in the works: cuppings and classes, plus Downtown Cookie Co. treats and a light menu.


Choptank
310 Bleecker St., nr. Grove St.; 212-675-2009
New England has largely dominated the flavor of New York’s burgeoning fish-shack category, but regional diversity comes this week with the opening of Choptank in the former Bar Q space. Named for a river in Maryland where the owners and the culinary consultant, Kevin Patricio, grew up, the joint references the Chesapeake Bay region with crab chowder, Old Bay seasoning, and Baltimore’s Ostrowski’s Polish Sausage, served with soft pretzels and mustard. Although chef Matthew Schaefer’s menu focuses on seafood, there are meatier, southern-inflected options, like a Virginia-ham plate and fried chicken (pictured).


AND… At Wall & Water, the David Rockwell–designed restaurant at the new Andaz Wall Street hotel, the chef, Maximo Lopez May, is from Argentina, but the menu (lamb sausage with baked sunchokes, moulard duck with chard and turnips) takes its inspiration, and most of its cheese and charcuterie, from the Hudson Valley. Opens this week for breakfast, next week for lunch, and the following week for dinner (75 Wall St., at Water St.; 212-590-1234) … To accompany its recently procured wine-and-beer license, The Smile in Noho launches dinner service next week, with Mediterranean-inflected plates like Moroccan lamb meatballs and baked tilapia with orange-and-olive gremolata (26 Bond St., nr. Lafayette St.; 646-329-5836) … Following in Calexico’s footsteps, DessertTruck’s Jerome Chang has made the move from street to storefront. Within the next week or so, he and two fellow pastry chefs, all Le Cirque alums, unveil DessertTruck Works, or DT Works for short, dispensing signature confections like warm slow-baked apples with cranberries (pictured below), plus new grab-and-go items, like mini whoopie pies. The counter-service café will seat about fifteen, and carry Counter Culture coffee to go—but regulars can leave a mug on premises (6 Clinton St., nr. E. Houston St.; no phone yet) … Pichet Ong hasn’t sat still since he closed P*ong and Batch. First he launched the new dessert canteen Spot, on St. Marks Place. And now he’s consulting on Lesly Bernard’s Village Tart, a Nolita corner café. As at P*ong, Ong will do sweet (crème brûlée cannoli, sesame semifreddo, plus tarts, cakes, cookies, and bars) and savory small plates—everything from Wagyu in a blanket to Peking-duck pizzetta (86 Kenmare St., at Mulberry St.; 212-226-4980) … At Colicchio & Sons, Tom Colicchio wants to go where few chefs of his super-mega stature have gone before: back behind the stove to cook. That is where he says you’ll find him, in the former Craftsteak space, dispensing with the stripped-down Craft aesthetic in favor of a more creative, composed-plate style of cooking—as if he were a hungry young Top Chef contestant (85 Tenth Ave., at 15th St.; 212-400-6699) … 63bites, opening by the end of the month at the West Side Y, is partly a project of Alice’s Tea Cup and will sell, in addition to that shop’s popular scones, Stumptown coffee, Treats Truck sweets, and snacks made with “hidden vegetables,” per Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook. Most intriguing are the foods “inspired by” local landmarks, like the tribute Philly Dog, and the Sunny & Annie roast-beef-on-a-roll shout-out (5 W. 63rd St., nr. Central Park W.; 212-877-6363).


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