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Richman Flings Feces at Monkey Bar; Soto Drops the Sushi Ball

Alan Richman gives it to Monkey Bar, and means it to stick. He gets that the place is supposed to be fun, but the bottom line is that the food sucks: “The dishes are incoherent and the food is thuddingly heavy. No focus. No finesse. Lots of salt.” [Bloomberg] Soto seems to have shot itself in the foot, dazzling Frank Bruni with its composed dishes, “vibrantly seasoned and intricately composed works of culinary and visual art,” but disappointing with the sushi, and screwing up the service (proof that lack of anonymity doesn’t matter). Now they have to settle for the same catchall two-star rating as Franny’s. [NYT] Randall Lane seems to have bestowed four (of six) stars on Wakiya more out of a sense of duty than anything else — the restaurant described in his review sounds infuriatingly stuck-up, and the food, by his account, spotty at best. Wakiya is still getting the benefit of the doubt, but it can’t hold up for long. Something tells us that a slam is coming. [TONY] Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street

More Meatopia: Our Readers Get All Old Testament

Meatopia, the Woodstock of edible animals, has captured the imagination of Grub Street readers. Suggestions for next year’s theme have flooded in, nearly overwhelming both the Grub Street in-box and our wildest expectations. Send your idea to grubstreet@nymag.com by 6 p.m., and we might see you tomorrow. Among the contenders:

New Chef Brings Bangin’ Brunch and Killer Frog’s Legs to Park Slope

Consulting chef Jared King moved on from Alchemy shortly after its opening and was last seen in Florida, but fans of his Guinness pudding need not fret: Newly installed chef Paul Nanni is now whipping up Guinness pancakes for the Park Slope gastropub’s new brunch, and according to Monsieur Chef, “The brunch is bangin’.” Nanni, who cooked at Aquavit for two years before becoming the food stylist for Marcus Samuelsson’s show, Inner Chef, has created a new dinner menu, too, that includes buttermilk-fried frog’s legs (“I think they’re killer,” he informs us). Although Alchemy’s publicity materials still describe it as a gastropub (despite Platt’s protests this week that the fad has spun out of control), don’t say anything about that to the chef: “I don’t want it to be called that; we’re more of a tavern. We’re not like the Spotted Pig.” Sorry Park Slopers — no drop-ins from the Jigga Hov anytime soon. Alchemy menu Earlier: Park Slope Gastropub Serves Guinness on Tap — and as a Foam!

The Coffee Shop Open Again; Marcus Samuelsson Heading to Meatpacking?

With Gordon Ramsay, DB Bistro Moderne, and others, room service has recently gotten a lot more ambitious — though not necessarily successful. [NYT] The Coffee Shop is back in business after its brief and much-publicized closure. [NYP] Once they move into Sascha, the brothers behind PM plan to put Aquavit’s Marcus Samuelsson in charge of the kitchen. [Eater] Related: PM Owners to Open Harlem Restaurant, Bistro-Bakery-Club in Sascha Space

BondSt Sushi Burns; Coffee Shop Closing Averts Bad Date

Coney Island: Surf Avenue LLC has just purchased nearly 16,000 square feet across from the Cyclone, possibly on which to build a chain restaurant, maintain a parking lot, or create another “Shoot the Freak.” [Gowanus Lounge] East Elmhurst: La Guardia gets fancy with Michael Navarro’s Deluge. Getting drunk before a flight finally gets a classy gloss. [Gayot] East Village: Photos of the electrical fire that scorched BondSt sushi at dawn. [Eater] $500,000 in damages predicted. [Gothamist] Midtown West: Italian, Asian, French, and Latin cuisine coming together at 4Fusion on West 58th Street. We suggest the burger. [Gayot] Park Slope: Former Oceana chef Jared King no longer involved with Alchemy, but the menu’s holding steady. [Gothamist] Tribeca: Will a fancy new bus stop at the entrance of Bouley spur the rich people’s interest in public transportation? [Curbed] Union Square: Coffee Shop’s closing saves pretty waitress from a date with sleazy customer. [NYS]

The Travails of the Produce Biz; A Rebuke to Our Rachael Ray Defense

An inside look at what restaurants’ produce suppliers go through and the razor's edge their business turns on. [NYT] Nina Lalli believes that we were wrong to defend Rachael Ray, who, she says, just throws fatty food at the masses, with no care for their well-being. [VV] Joël Robuchon has confirmed that he’s going to open a restaurant in Chicago; now it looks like Alain Ducasse will be doing the same. If, as some speculate, Ducasse never reopens here, we may actually end up behind Chicago in something. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Park Slope Gastropub Serves Guinness on Tap — and as a Foam!

A few months ago, we alerted you that the “gastropub” phenomenon, deftly explored by Rob and Robin, was infiltrating Park Slope. Well, on February 21 the eagle lands in the form of Alchemy, the love child of former Lucky Strike barkeep Kevin Read and Jared King, previously a chef at Peacock Alley, Windows on the World, and Oceana. Their collection of antique jars isn’t the most impressive in town (guys, how could you let Simon Hammerstein beat you? Those things come so cheap at the Seventh Avenue flea market), but the menu, available for you here exclusively, is nothing to scoff at. Hanger steak served with bone marrow? Scallops with acorn-squash purée and Guinness froth? Cuttlefish with chorizo-oil mayonnaise? O’Connor’s across the street better step up its game — bar nuts ain’t going to cut it anymore. —Daniel Maurer Earlier: The Slope Gets Gastropub — With Garden, Perfect for Six Months From Now

The Slope Gets Gastropub — With Garden, Perfect for Six Months From Now

Kevin Read, former barkeep at Lucky Strike, has given a post-Victorian makeover to a Park Slope hardware store, trucking in a 100-year-old bar, and will soon open Alchemy, a bar-restaurant inspired by his time in the townhouse gastropubs of Hempstead, London. Chef Jared King — formerly of Windows on the World, Oceana, and most recently, Peacock Alley — will cook $12 to $25 entrées of roasted chicken, ravioli, seasonal stews, and a hangar steak in red-wine reduction, plus more adventurous specials made with game and organ meat. Ingredients will be largely local, organic, and free-range, and come spring the patrons will be free-range too: There's a garden in the back. Alchemy, 56 Fifth Ave., nr. Bergen St.; Park Slope, Brooklyn — Daniel Maurer