So you think you know spaghetti carbonara? You don’t know spaghetti carbonara. That is the theme of the Italian chef coalition ITChefs – GVCI’s current campaign to educate New Yorkers about the classic dish. TChefs – GVCI’, which stands for Virtual Group of Italian Chefs, is charging four of the city’s top Italian chefs to make it exactly according to the “authentic” recipe for one night. On Thursday, Cesare Casella of Maremma, Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Kevin Garcia of Accademia de Vino, and Ivan Beacco of Borgo Antico, will make the dish according to the master recipe approved by ITChefs – GVCI. Or will they? Like every traditional recipe in every cuisine, "authentic" carbonara changes with every chef that makes it.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of Chelsea Market, a place we would avoid if there were anyplace else to get Setaro pasta. The supremacy of the Campagnan product, sold only in Buonitalia at the market, is something we never stop hearing about: last night, Kevin Garcia of Accademia del Vino told us, “All the top chefs I know use it it’s the pasta of choice, the best I’ve ever been able to find.” Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Jonathan Benno at Per Se, and any number of other food luminaries swear by the stuff. But why? Buonitalia co-owner Antonio Magliulo says, “This company, Setaro, is very small. They don’t produce a lot of pasta. And when they dry it, it’s at low temperatures, so it keeps the flavor and texture. The way it cooks, the bite that it keeps it’s something special.”
For the first time Danyelle Freeman is one step behind Adam Platt in her review choice, and she matches his star selection for Accademia di Vino. [NYDN]
Related: Molto Trendy [NYM]
Blue Ribbon at Six Columbus is expected to open in a couple of weeks. [Eater]
Related: Blue Ribbon Sushi at Columbus Circle Will Open in October
Hung offers insight into DiSpirito’s comment that the Top Chef contestant reminds him of himself: “He’s confident, he’s cocky, he’s good looking … his technique is on, his flavor profile is my kind of food. I respect him a lot.” [Eat for Victory/VV]
What if you were a 60-year-old church congregation in North Carolina and had somehow found a pipeline to the fast-paced New York restaurant scene via your salted peanuts? And then you hear from Rob and Robin that another North Carolina church congregation was moving in on your action? Wouldn’t you feel upset? Or how about this: You meticulously design a restaurant, down to the last detail, and then have to change everything three months later. Or what if you opened a good Italian restaurant that Adam Platt liked, but he only gave you one star because, well, he’s Adam Platt? What then?
These and other hypotheticals are answered in this week’s issue of New York.
Frank Bruni gives Bar Stuzzichini one star, praising its small plates (which give him his obligatory Zeitgeist paragraphs at the top) and then pointing out that the room and service are basically that of a “midtown mess hall.” The moral? Aim low, price right, and execute, and the critics will give you the guarded praise you need to stay open. [NYT]
Here's one we never would have predicted in a million years: Insieme getting the panegyric it deserves from Robert “horsehead soup in the Bronx” Sietsema. Interestingly, the one thing he didn't like was the lasagne, which was the place's proudest boast when it first opened. [VV]
We predicted recently that it was just a matter of time before someone came down on Wakiya, but we never dreamed it would be Danyelle Freeman. She hits the place hard, mostly for the “dull” and “skimpy” food but, not a killer at heart, gives them credit for service, cocktails, and soup dumplings. But it won't be long before another, meaner critic really lets it fly. [NYND]
Dear Grub Street,
The Upper West Side is teeming with activity, as is every other area of Manhattan, but I very rarely see anything on the Upper East Side. What have you got against the several hundred thousand people who live there and their restaurants and chefs?
A reader with a valid gripe.
Whole Foods’ master plan for local domination, code-named (no kidding) Project Goldmine, is accidentally released to the public by federal regulators. [NYT]
Jeffrey Chodorow’s war against Frank Bruni continues with another Times ad. [Eater]
Buddhists buy $7,000 worth of eels, frogs, and turtles from Chinatown markets and then release the fortunate animals into the Passaic River. Where they immediately died from toxic shock. (Okay, we made the last part up.) [NYP]
The lull of midsummer is already over, and new growths sprout everywhere. A young chef gives his first restaurant a go, a veteran gets his own place for the first time, and an established star gets a fresh start. We have restaurant openings, new and better lemonades, and even a baked squash blossom. Summer is starting to tire, but the food stays sharp.