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Bar Boulud

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Chef Counters on the Rise; Chefs Put in Their Time on the Line

As chefs and cooks take on more roles of service, they cut out more costs and create a more intimate dining experience, especially at restaurants with counters overlooking the food preparation. [NYT] Related: Ringside Seats at the Chef's Counter Apparently, restaurants’ hanging of red velvet curtains in colder months signals metaphors of birth and womblike spaces for diners. Ew. [NYO] Chefs like Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria and Josh Eden of Shorty’s.32 both spent years cooking on the line before being able to fly solo. [TONY]

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Bar Boulud, Loved at Last; Cuozzo Not on the Dovetail Bandwagon

“It's a new era, and Bar Boulud belongs to it.” That's why, even though the hot items are mostly “snoozers,” the restaurant deserves two stars. Another Zeitgeist review from Frank Bruni. [NYT] Steve Cuozzo doesn't give out stars, but if he did, he wouldn't be giving three to Dovetail, whose stellar critical reception he recapitulates in a forceful, acerbic review. “The Times' Frank Bruni, who found 'drab' décor at Anthos a reason to deny that truly original, forward-Greek place three stars, overlooked Dovetail's butt-ugly brown palette to exult over the likes of — holy cow! — monkfish and lobster on the same plate.” [NYP] Writing on his GQ blog, Alan Richman obliterates Brasserie Les Halles, but why? Who was thinking about it, anyway? And who thought it was good? The review seems conceived as a blow against Tony Bourdain, but it does him no harm. [GQ]

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Ringside Seats at the Chef's Counter

Chef's tables used to be the final word on special treatment: the one table in a good restaurant to which the chef paid personal attention. But as the entertainment ante is upped each year — blurring the line between gastronomy and theater — chef's tables have given way to the even more intimate chef's counters. There, the lucky diner sits only a few feet of burnished wood away from the action. From the high-end bar at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon to the counter-only option at Momofuku Ko, diners are eager to see the sausage being made. Here are a few of our favorite counters, each an example of the narrow border between feeder and fed.

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Wylie Wins Respect for Molecular Gastronomy With a Third Star; Bar Boulud Finally Gets a Good Review

In a landmark for molecular gastronomy in America, the movement’s top proponent, Wylie Dufresne, gets his third star for wd-50. A historic review, especially as Frank Bruni expresses the usual reservations about overly cerebral cooking. [NYT] Bar Boulud finally gets some respect from Alan Richman, who praises its blue-ribbon charcuterie and says of its much-maligned mains, “The worst that can be said…is that the recipes are relentlessly conventional — lamb stew, roasted chicken, boudin blanc. The best is that such a style of cooking is terribly missed.” [GQ] Restaurant Girl seems to have been distinctly unimpressed with about half of the dishes she tried at Adour, resulting in a lukewarm, two-and-a-half-star review. Ducasse’s latest is not getting off to a great start. [NYDN]

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Socialista Back in Business; 2nd Avenue Deli Still Delivers

Socialista, now rid of that pesky hepatitis-A problem, is once again hosting celebs like Sting and Josh Hartnett. [NYP] Conflict-of-interest alert! The soon-to-be-new president of the Obesity Society had to step down after drawing criticism for his paid consultant work for the restaurant industry, for whom he produced a puzzling affidavit asserting that posting calorie info on menus could have a negative effect on obesity. [NYT] Good news: The 2nd Avenue Deli still delivers anywhere in town. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]

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Catty Males Shake Beatrice; Charcuterie Mania

Clinton Hill: There are a few places in the nabe to find gluten-free products, but one celiac sufferer would like to find out about any others. [Clinton Hill Blog] Lower East Side: Video of a Tailor bartender doing his thing. [Snack] Midtown East: Former Savoy chef Matt Weingarten's year-long plans to start dinner service at Café St. Bart’s will come to fruition on May 5. [Zagat] Upper West Side: Bar Boulud may claim the top charcuterie in town (though Mia Dona’s stepping up), but you can also find some tasty stand-ins at Café d’Alsace and elsewhere, including Fort Greene’s Stonehome Wine Bar. [Citysearch] West Village: Spencer Morgan of the New York Observer supposedly slapped Hud Morgan from Men’s Vogue at the Beatrice Inn on Wednesday night because the latter didn’t respond to the former’s apology e-mail. A true New York noble. [Gawker]

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