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Adam Kuban

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Cheap Food Still Available in Astoria; Bronx Pizza Will Get Better

Astoria: Wow, cheap-eats prices may be going up in elsewhere, but at Omonia (the café that baked the elaborate wedding cake for My Big Fat Greek Wedding), you can get a $12 brunch that includes an entrée, dessert, a morning cocktail, and coffee, tea, or juice. (And it’s good.) [Foodista] Bronx: Peter Meehan found someone to drive him to Trattoria Zero Otto Nove on Arthur Avenue to try the margherita that’s been getting blog buzz as "the best Neapolitan pizza in New York City.” It’s good, he says, but needs work (and less sweet sauce). [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Slice’s Adam Kuban, Ed Levine’s, and DJ Bubbles also tried Zero Otto Nove and found potential not perfection. The grilled pizza from Coals at 1888 Eastchester Road was also dubbed "surprisingly good" during the same trip. [Slice] Lower East Side: Chubo has closed, and it looks like it’s going to be turned into a Japanese cooking school that will sell its pastries out of a flagship café by this summer. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: Chef Michael Vernon has left Geisha to consult on new Serafina restaurants. [Strong Buzz] Midtown East: The owner of now-closed Portofino Grille will open a steakhouse called Creston’s Bar & Grill in the same space come May. [Zagat Buzz] Upper West Side: Spigolo chef Scott Fratangelo loves Land Thai restaurant. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Williamsburg: The state of neighborhood pizza here is weak overall, evidence being leftover slices you don’t even want to eat. [A Brooklyn Life]

Heroic Blogger Saves Burger Lovers From Winter of Discontent

Adam Kuban, editor of A Hamburger Today and a Yahoo Food blogger, has solved a problem that has perplexed New York's burgerphiles for a long time now: Shake Shack will close for the winter on December 1, and the city will once again be stripped of its most acclaimed burger. How can one hope to sate that singular Shake Shack craving? Tantalizingly, Blue Smoke (owned, like the Shack, by Danny Meyer) uses the same meat mixture — but their burgers are twice the size, making for an almost grotesque substitute. Ordering one of them is like asking to borrow dad's Corvette and getting the Lincoln; it's great, but it's the opposite of what you have in mind. Inspired in a rather literal way by King Solomon, Kuban has devised a bold and brilliant work-around: Ask the kitchen to split the burger in half. Of course, were it not for the cooperation of the restaurant, all would be lost. Blue Smoke general manager Mark Maynard-Parisi tells Kuban that "the restaurant is happy to make two 4.5-ounce burgers for the same price as the single nine-ounce sandwich on its menu ($11.50, comes with fries; cheese and bacon each $1 extra)." Not only do you get a nice approximation of the Shake Shack's burger in winter, you also don't have to stand in line for it. If the hamburger world had a meritorious public-service award, Adam Kuban would have just earned it. Blue Smoke on the Cheap [A Hamburger Today]