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Chicken Fingers Clutch at America’s Youth; Eco-Rebels Reject Bottled Water

United States of Arugula author (and friend of Grub Street) David Kamp worries for the next generation: “America is in the grips of a nefarious chicken-finger pandemic, in which a blandly tasty foodstuff has somehow become the de facto official nibble of our young.” [NYT] Doing their part for Mother Earth, more restaurants are eschewing bottled water and the profits it brings. But only Del Posto is on board in New York. [NYT] Other restaurants are looking to inflate water prices even more: “When paired correctly with fine wines, particular waters enhance subtle flavors and fragrances, allowing for the ultimate dining experience.” [Chef Magazine]

Damon Wise, Now Officially the Man at Craft, Brings in Shane McBride

Restaurant Girl reported earlier today that Shane McBride, formerly of 7Square (RIP), had been hired as the chef at Craftsteak, taking over for Chris Albrecht, apparently nudged out in January. Craft emperor Tom Colicchio set the record straight with us: “Here’s the deal,” he tells us. “For the last three months, Damon Wise has been the acting chef at Craftsteak and has completely changed the way things are done there: the suppliers, the menu, everything. Shane has been hired specifically to execute the menu that Damon created. Damon has worked his ass off day and night, and I want him to get credit for that.” Done and done.

7Square Closing This Very Minute

7Square, a “modern chophouse” we’re fond of, has suddenly and unexpectedly gone under. The restaurant will close after lunch today, we’re told by a source from within the restaurant, owing more to financial complications than the restaurant’s ability to lure customers. The close might be billed as temporary, but our source insists the doors will be shut for good. If only we hadn’t made plans to scarf lunch at our desk. Earlier: A Modern Chophouse's Roman Excess [Grub Street] Adam Platt's review [NYM]

California-France Rematch in Historic Wine Battle

A dinner at 7 Square next Tuesday commemorates one of the great moments in U.S. wine history: the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The "Judgment of Paris," as it's called by grape geeks, was an epochal event — it was the first time that California wines met French wines on their own turf and emerged victorious. To honor this great victory, Manhattan Wine Company (a private storage facility for high-powered wine collectors — isn't that fancy!) will break out five 1986 Bordeaux with five 1986 California wines of comparable character and pair two at a time with each course in chef Shane McBride's robust menu. (The final dish comes with four different glasses, yeah!) Read on for the lineup. $250 per person. Contact the Manhattan Wine Company at 973-243-8700 for reservations.

Raves for Picholine and Porter House New York; Everybody Else Damned With Faint Praise

Bruni has his birthday party at "reinvigorated" Picholine and, to the tune of three stars, declares it "arguably the nicest restaurant surprise of this disappointing season." [NYT] Meehan has mixed feelings about Lunetta but concedes: "Mr. Shepard can cook." [NYT] Alan Richman goes slumming at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and finds signs of promise at best. "Metro Marche is not a great restaurant. Unless Escoffier takes over the kitchen, it will never be a fashionable one. It could become quite respectable, though." [Bloomberg]

A Modern Chophouse's Roman Excess

In theory, a chophouse is a pretty simple place. You go there to eat chops, pork, and otherwise. But such isn't the case at 7 Square, the "American chophouse" from Venezuelan-born, Tokyo-based restaurateur Alvaro Perez. The chef, Lespinasse alum Shane McBride, is known for his ornate, rarefied cookery and standards that are "a little more modern."