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Restaurant Openings

Week of February 8, 2010: Print and El Quinto Pino.


653 Eleventh Ave., at 48th St.; 212-757-2224
The era of the jet-setting celebrity chef and umpteen-course degustation tasting meal is over, according to Adam Block. He should know—the longtime restaurant consultant and sometime investor has spent his career working with many of the biggest names in the business, from Charlie Trotter to Thomas Keller. What people want now, he believes, is something a bit simpler: straightforward, farm-to-table food, sourced regionally and presented casually. That’s the vision he had for Print, his first project as sole operator, which opens this week for breakfast and lunch in the Kimpton-run ink48 hotel on the far western fringes of Hell’s Kitchen. The onetime printing plant has gotten a makeover by David Rockwell, who also tweaked the décor to Block’s specifications. “I was looking for something with soul,” says Block, wary of hotel-restaurant connotations but entirely approving of Print’s Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs, sturdy copper-topped tables, Heath Ceramics dishware, and separate street entrance. For insight into his biggest influences, Block flew his culinary team (chef Charles Rodriguez, a Sony Club alum, and his wife, pastry chef Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez) out West, to eat at Chez Panisse, Zuni Café, and, less predictably, Dynamo Donuts, the inspiration behind brunch’s maple-bacon sticky buns. At Print, the water is filtered, the refuse is composted, and the burger is made from Arcadian Pastures grass-fed beef, topped with New York Cheddar on an Orwasher’s bun. A staff forager procures local ingredients like Blooming Hill Farm’s salad greens and Argyle farm’s Greek yogurt. The butter is made in-house, and so is the ice cream (except on the room service menu, which features Van Leeuwen ice cream and ChikaLicious sorbet). Dinner launches February 15, and the glass-enclosed sixteenth-floor rooftop bar, the Press Lounge, follows in March, with spectacular river and city views and a spacious deck.

El Quinto Pino
401 W. 24th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-206-6900
After an ownership reshuffling, the Chelsea tapas bar reopens February 3 with a paint job, some reengineered standing room, and a huge new chalkboard menu. What you’ll see on it: multi-regional tapas, with new additions like sonsos, or fried sand eels in adobo and organic egg (pictured), and crispy lamb intestine with chile-garlic vinegar. Chef-partners Alex Raij and Eder Montero have also instituted a rotating “menú turistico,” showcasing the food and wine of a specific region. Up first is Galicia, with caldo gallego and sardine pie. To drink, there are two new cocktails, sangria by the glass or pitcher, and a choice of sherries. And Raij’s signature uni panini, of which she has regained custody? “That’s not going anywhere,” she reassures.


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