Allen & Delancey Gives Area Roués the Late-Night Menu They Have Been Waiting For
Don’t expect to get into Mansion tonight without an invite – or anytime this weekend unless you’re a model or designer. But you can experience their sex toys firsthand on Valentine’s Day. [Down by the Hipster] Related: Mansion’s House Is Not Entirely in Order Frank Bruni thinks Allen & Delancey and Sfoglia are romantic choices for Valentine’s Day. Too bad you won’t be able to get in. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Restaurant Week may be over but there are still some (relatively) good deals to be had in this town. Case in point: on February 19 you can get a four-course meal at Café Boulud for the price of three courses. [Zagat Buzz]
Hizzoner showed up to a political summit in Oklahoma with Junior’s cheesecake for all. [NYS] Jennifer LeRoy sees another 30 years of LeRoy ownership at Tavern on the Green, but she isn’t striking a deal with Donald Trump to keep the place. [Insatiable Critic] When world adventurer Anthony Bourdain found out that Food Network would be re-airing episodes of his series A Cook’s Tour, he was sitting by a pool in Hawaii. His reaction? “This was like being unexpectedly groped and publicly slipped the tongue by the ugliest girl at the prom.” [Anthony Bourdain’s Blog/Travel Channel]
In spite of lousy desserts and a misstep in the fish department there, Frank Bruni couldn't avoid giving Allen and Delancey's complex, accomplished food two stars. [NYT] Alan Richman, no pushover, was also very impressed by Allen & Delancey, though he noted that the chef's strength clearly lies in the realm of turf, rather than surf. Still, the respect is there: “The visceral satisfaction is high. He piles on flavors, and he does so with assurance.” [Bloomberg] Irving Mill: tired concept, spotty execution. Restaurant Girl joins the chorus. [NYDN]
Michael Psilakis is moving Kefi into a bigger and better space not far from its current location. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Jeffrey Chodorow’s plagued seafood endeavor Wild Salmon is rumored to close before the New Year. [Eater] A list of restaurants for Christmas Eve and day dining includes traditional picks like the Café at Country and Allen & Delancey, and more unique options like a Scandinavian Christmas Eve feast at Aquavit and dim sum from Chinatown Brasserie. [Restaurant Girl]
Bruni waited to be the last one to pronounce on Tailor, and his review pretty much recapitulates, albeit in wittier prose and with some much-appreciated Grub Street love, what everyone else has said: erratic brilliance, wee portions, and a killer cocktail program. The result: one star. [NYT] Allen & Delancey keeps impressing the critics, at least with chef Neil Ferguson's meat mastery. His fish, though, is strictly from hunger, according to Restaurant Girl. [NYDN] Randall Lane offers one of his most thoughtful and precise reviews of Allen & Delancey, finding fault only in flavor balances and the fact that the place has to close up at midnight. [TONY]
After seeing that our good friend Adam Platt awarded Allen & Delancey, a restaurant we especially admire, a measly two stars, we decided to confront him with his misjudgment, and request – nay, demand! – that he explain and even justify his method of awarding stars to us. We knew it was an argument we couldn't win, and what's more that we shouldn't win, given the fact that Platt is arguably the city's top critic, but we also know he would respond to us like the big baited bear that he is. The debate played out via our favorite medium, Instant Messenger.
A citywide truffle shortage can explain why “the Waverly Inn jacked up the price of its infamous truffle-topped mac & cheese from $55 to $85. The dish was an amusing punch line at $55; at $85, it's just obscene.” [NYP] Related: Le Cirque Bids High for Monster Truffle Bruni eschews all the courtesies one suffers at the dinner table, which he refers to as restaurantspeak: “Would I ‘enjoy coffee with dessert?’ I don’t know; it depends how good the coffee is. I’ll have some, yes, then we’ll see.” [NYT] FR.OG has now lost Jean Georges alum chef Didier Virot to the Plaza’s new restaurant-to-be, the Palm Court, set to open later this year. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
The Times’ verdict is in on Alto and L’Impero, and it’s the expected three and two stars, respectively. Lost in the Alto upgrade is the hard fact that L’Impero now enters the dreaded two-star limbo into which Frank Bruni puts any place neither transcendent nor mediocre. Personally, we would have had it at four and three. [NYT] Alan Richman admires the new Fiamma (former home to Mike White) in a cool and distant way, finding the food busy and not at all Italian, although not exactly lousy by any means. No one will read this review and want to spend money to eat at Fiamma. [Bloomberg] On the other hand, Restaurant Girl’s three-star review reads like a perfume ad, it’s so loving: “Like an artist, he paints deeply flavored ragu onto a pappardelle canvas, finished with tender ribbons of venison.” Ew! But Steve Hanson must be happy. [NYDN]
Chefs say “Ratatouille gets it, it totally gets chef culture.” Even Tony Bourdain is onboard, calling it “the best restaurant movie ever made — the best chef movie.” [Ruhlman] Related: How Much Thomas Keller Is Really in ‘Ratatouille’’s Remy? Allen and Delancey may be coming back. Or rather, opening for the first time. [Eater] Related: Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won't Open The good people of Iowa may not get the whole niche-pork thing, but they are happy to supply the product. [Des Moines Register]
The latest from inside the industry: Rachael Ray does burgers, a Long Island burger joint does iPods, and Graydon Carter doesn't want you honking if you're hungry. • Rachael Ray opening a joint serving swordfish and 189 other types of burgers. [Fishbowl] • Mickey D's gets a makeover and American Burger Company in Hicksville debuts individual iPod jukeboxes. Plus, a new Chipotle and trackside chili delivery in Grand Central Terminal. [NYS] • In search of beauty rest, Graydon Carter tries to reverse the laws of traffic near his Ye Waverly Inn. [Eater] • Michelin editor Jean-Luc Naret tells of his favorite cities for dining (none of them French) and the best pickup restaurant in NYC. [UrbanDaddy] • Chef Akhtar Nawab gets the boot two weeks before the opening of Allen and Delancey; Eric Lind takes over at Flatbush Farm. [NYT] • Newly relocated Mekong and others throw open their doors. [Eater] • Some outer-borough openings, including a bistro on Bedford. [Eater] • Izakayas are blowing up. [Nation's Restaurant News]
Allen and Delancey, the much-awaited restaurant from former Craftbar chef Akhtar Nawab, had been set to open in less than two weeks. But things change quickly in the restaurant world, and now we hear, from the man himself, that the opening has been delayed — possibly permanently. An investor pulled out at the eleventh hour, leaving Nawab $200,000 short of his opening costs. The downcast chef told us: "Out of the blue, the investor said, 'I'm not spending this kind of money!' He called everybody and fired them yesterday. The chairs just arrived two days ago!" Our guess is that Allen and Delancey will find an investor between here and the finish line, but in the meantime, the restaurant is in serious peril. "This situation is very sensitive, and something needs to happen very quickly," Nawab told us.