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Need Your Fix of Johnny Iuzzini News? You're in Luck!

After we had some sport with Johnny Iuzzini earlier this week, the dessert master was pretty steamed — he even asked us to take him off our list. No problem, but wouldn’t you have thought we would be off his? Not so! Yesterday brought us our long-awaited issue of “See What’s Up With Johnny,” the official Johnny Iuzzini newsletter. “As usual, Johnny has been receiving quite a lot of buzz,” it assured us, going on to quote Grub Street as calling the tattooed wunderkind “the most influential dessert chef working today.”

Jeffrey Chodorow Still in the Steak Game With Latest Restaurant

The Observer has the dope on Jeffrey Chodorow’s latest restaurant in the Empire Hotel: It’s to be a “classic American steakhouse.” Not a surprising choice, given how hassle-free, popular, and profitable steakhouses are — when they’re not Kobe Club, anyway. Jay-C is in Italy for a week, but as soon as we can get ahold of him, we’ll have the details. Given the ambition of his latest ventures, we’d be surprised if this is just another meatery. Chodorow to Open 'Classic Steakhouse' in Empire Hotel [NYO]

Dani Says, ‘You Be the Chef — and the Investor!’

Richie Akiva
We’ve heard of guest bartending (pouring shots down people’s throats is good and fun on your 21st birthday in Murray Hill), but guest chef-ing? That’s exactly what Dani will let you do during private parties, according to a press release.

Momofuku 2.0 Opens Tomorrow

Eater brings news that Momofuku Noodle Bar will be opening the doors of its more spacious new location tomorrow — good news for East Village diners who've been waiting in lines out the door at Ramen Setagaya and Rai Rai Ken. Is there some natural connection between Japanese noodle soup and long lines? It would seem to defeat its own purpose when on a cold day one has to first wait and then quiver on a tiny stool — why even leave the house? Especially when, in the case of Setagaya, you can’t get soup to go. Clearly the Momofuku move is a good thing for ramen — unless it turns out that the line is what makes the people come, not the soup. Momofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 Definitely Opens Tomorrow [Eater] Related: Keeping Up With The Momofukus [NYM]

Johnny Iuzzini's Plea: Elect Me Sexiest Chef!

We were still trying to make up our mind whether the Daily News’ “New York’s Sexiest Chef” contest was for real or not, when we got an e-mail blast from nominee Johnny Iuzzini, last seen wearing a meringue body stocking on his stylish Website. It read: “Check out todays ny daily news- get a hard copy. Register to see all the chefs and pics and vote!!!!”

Gael Reports on Spring Rolls and Marital Strife at Bun

Nobody can put together food and matters of the heart like Gael Greene, and the Insatiable One really brings it in her blog today with a tale of love and dumplings. Michael Huynh just opened Bun with his new wife, and Greene was on hand to witness the marital strife between the two: “The bride, Thao Nguyen,” writes Greene, “stands at the counter in another world, seemingly wrapped in serenity, her hair tightly bound, eyes black with mascara, as she fashions classic spring rolls in fragile paper, two by two, for waiters — both freshly hatched and speedy veterans — to carry away. ‘He doesn’t like my food,’ she whispers. ‘He criticizes my food.’” A bad omen! Greene, at least, likes the food there. A lot. But it's the threatening clouds looming over the Huynh union that you'll remember after reading this. Anyway, they say the first six months are the hardest. Is it Soup or Soap Opera at Bun? [Insatiable Critic]

Tom Colicchio Named One of the ‘Sexiest Men Alive’ and Sandwich Ambassador

In the wake of his bigger, bearier, and balder Top Chef season, Craft chieftain Tom Colicchio seems to be finding ways to keep himself busy. Craft L.A., though receiving mixed reviews, is doing boffo business, and two more Craft restaurants are on the way in Atlanta and Connecticut. And, having been appointed the new Earl of Sandwich by Sara Lee, Colicchio is now, just in time for National Sandwich Day, giving confused Americans helpful tips like “think BIG flavor.”

West Coast Restaurant Pulls a Single White Female on Chinatown Brasserie

When former Chinatown Brasserie chef Tyson Wong caught the last train for the coast, we knew that his new employers wanted to draw on his experience. But from the look of Red Pearl Restaurant’s menu, they’re doing everything to replicate Chinatown Brasserie but cloning the waiters and cooks from pirated stem cells. This has to be one of the most naked ripoffs since David Coverdale decided to make a career of imitating Robert Plant.

Chain Restaurants Are Where It's At!

Ed Levine, over at Serious Eats, raises a good point today in his spirited defense of Houston’s: Why is everyone so down on chain restaurants? Easy Ed basically recaps a good meal he had at Houston’s, but we actually think he could have gone a lot further. Essentially every restaurant should aspire to be a chain restaurant, and every restaurant does.

Jason Neroni Spotted in Cantina's Kitchen, ‘America's Most Wanted’ Not Called

Jason Neroni
East Village hot-spot-
in-the-making Cantina is the work of many Jasons. First there’s honcho Swamy, former owner of Movida. Then there’s designer Volenec, who also did Allen and Delancey and has worked with Serge Becker. And finally there’s consulting chef Neroni. Sure, we poked fun at Neroni during his brush with the law, but given the quality of his tasting menu’s pork shoulder dulce de leche (the full menu rolls out November 1, with beer and wine, brunch, and delivery to follow), we were glad to see him in Cantina’s three-by-four open kitchen rather than a jail cell (the jail cell probably would’ve been more spacious, but not as romantically lit). As soon as he put his knife down, we asked him what became of his beef with Porchetta, and where he’s been since then.

The Party to (Literally) End All Parties at Le Bernardin

Last Supper
There are book parties, there are banquets, and then there was the event held last night at Le Bernardin for Melanie Dunea’s My Last Supper. From the start, you knew it was going to be out of control: Rather than entering the front door, guests were led, à la the Copa scene in Goodfellas, through winding back stairs, hallways, and the kitchen, where winged dancing girls, identical twin Lenny Kravitz look-alikes, and even a Grim Reaper awaited. Eric Ripert’s meal was an astounding sleigh ride from a Puerto Rican whole hog to the most ethereal escolar imaginable, and included both a D.J. and cabaret performer Lady Rizo singing “White Wedding” on top of a piano, while dancers in veils and thongs frolicked underneath. The less said about the after-party, which inevitably ended with Daniel Boulud dancing on top of the banquet table, the better. But enough talk. On to the slideshow. Related: Eating the Last Supper

Batali, Bastianich Dip From the Same Cookie Jar for Different Candidates

66
After Nino Selimaj was ordered to take down his photo of Chelsea Clinton at Osso Buco (it’s still hanging), we got to wondering where other restaurateurs fall on the political spectrum. All we had to do was run some names through the Huffington Post’s FundRace 2008 search engine to find out, for starters, that Mario Batali gave $1,000 to John Edwards while his business partner Joe Bastianich gave $2,300 to Rudy Giuliani (this could get ugly). So who are other restaurant honchos like Drew Nieporent, Danny Meyer, Siro Maccioni, et al backing?

Who Will Be Cut Next on ‘The Next Iron Chef’?

Nothing can replace Top Chef in our reality-TV affections, but we have to say, The Next Iron Chef is pretty good. We only started watching this past week, being understandably resistant to another show built on the identical format of Top Chef. The premise Next Iron Chef is that, rather than just having the next Iron Chef selected by Food Network suits, the nation's most celebrated chefs should compete, with the winner given the dubious honor of cooking in weekly battles in Kitchen Stadium. (You would think chefs would be fighting to avoid such a fate, but such is the pull of fame.)

Could Gordon Ramsay's Act Get Any More Tired? Apparently So.

Leno
It’s not any breaking news that Gordon Ramsay’s act has been wearing pretty thin. But Thursday's appearance on the Tonight Show was so bad, and Gordo’s patter so labored, that he may have actually gone back in time and become twenty years over the hill, rather than just a month or two. Ramsey’s stilted, scripted spiel made a point of calling out such of-the-moment targets as snooty French people, cops, and even women drivers. (We kept waiting for him to start in on hippies, but maybe he’s saving that for Dick Cavett.)

A Voce’s New Pastry Chef Is Homegrown

There’s a new, high-powered young dessert chef in town. And get this — he’s homegrown! His name is Joshua Gripper, and his new boss, A Voce’s Andrew Carmellini, vouches for him thusly: “He’s the shit.” Gripper, a 27-year-old Queens native, has worked with Carmellini at Café Boulud and is also a member of A.C.’s hip-hop combo, the Crown. Primarily, though, he’s said to be a talented technician with a simpatico sensibility and eight years of classical training. So what is he doing at A Voce?

Chefs Continue to Rock, and We Reach for the Earplugs

Chef Rock
First the Spin article in which Anthony Bourdain remembers the glory days of CBGB, then Metromix starts a “Kitchen Radio” column in which chefs talk rock (the first subject, Jimmy Bradley, says he listens to Zeppelin in the kitchen and compares his cooking to the drumming of Charlie Watts), and now the Times asks Fergus Henderson for his playlist. We’re glad to see it’s remarkably diverse — including cuts from Handel, Etta James, William Blake, Fela Kuti, and The Jungle Book soundtrack — because this thing of rock-and-roll chefs (and we’re not talking about Kerry “The Rock and Roll Chef” Simon) is getting a little tired. Whether it’s Sam Mason’s Dinner With the Band show, David Chang comparing the opening of his second restaurant to Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, or Mario Batali dancing his ass off at a U2 concert where he hilariously snaps a camera-phone photo of himself singing “With or Without You” with Michael Stipe, we get it. Chefs like to rock. We’re warning you: This will only get worse. Think Joël Robuchon bragging of mixing batter with Lars Ulrich’s drumstick. Related: Bourdain’s Spin Essay Is Pretty Thin Soup Living With Music: Fergus Henderson [NYT] Michael Stipe Beautiful Day [YouTube] Kitchen Radio: Jimmy Bradley [Metromix NY] Dinner With the Band [On Networks]

Michelin's Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a Wall

Ed Levine raises some points about Michelin today in what will no doubt be the first of many arguments and think pieces on the subject. There won’t be much debate, though, on the larger question about Michelin: Nearly everybody we know agrees that the book sucks. Unlike its French original, whose authority was well earned and absolute, and based on an army of incorruptible gourmands, the New York book seems more like the product of two Short Hills foodies passing the time on a red-eye airline flight. We haven’t seen the book itself, so we can’t say if the prose will be as insipid and amateurish as last year’s, which was straight from the South Bend Pennysaver, but we think we might get why Michelin is so weirdly arbitrary, a “combination of the Edsel and the Yugo” in Levine’s words.

‘Forbes Traveler’ Bungles Best Brunches

The view of New York from Dubuque and Ho-Ho-Kus is a laughable one, but we could never understand the reason why. Don’t the editors of Forbes Traveler, author of this ridiculous “America’s Best Brunches” feature live in New York? It’s as if Vogue were to get its New York fashion sense from watching Sex and the City. The four brunches called out — Balthazar, Prune, Cookshop, and Norma’s — are places nobody we know would touch if they were giving away bottomless mimosas. Not because they aren't good. But they’re all wildly crowded, and in neighborhoods where no one would ever want to be on a hung-over weekend day. (Despite Forbes’ assurance that West Chelsea is “the trendiest of neighborhoods.”)

‘Top Chef’ Winner Declines to Shake Booty

Hung
After trash-talking and sous vide-ing his way through the season, Top Chef contestant Hung Huynh finally prevailed over his competitors in last night’s finale. Serving up dishes with a “touch of love”, Huynh seemed to answer his critics’ charges that his cooking lacked soul. He talked to us today about his change of heart and why he doesn’t feel like Brad Pitt.