Athens Tavern? Does the name ring a bell? It opened less than a year ago to much hype, considered a potential rival to Anthos as the city’s most ambitious Greek restaurant. Chef Yiannis Baxevanis was the only Michelin-starred Greek chef not named Michael Psilakis, and the only one who actually had a restaurant in Greece. A Queens tipster reports that the restaurant has been closed a week, but owner Nikos Gregoriou insists that Athens Tavern is shuttered only temporarily while a new dishwasher is installed. "We will be open in a week," he says. "We just had to change some machinery." But our neighborhood source says neither the staff nor the vendors have been paid recently, and that there is major strife between Gregoriou and his partner. Moreover, Baxevanis appears to have left: He's currently working at a restaurant in Dubai. Gregoriou confirms that Baxevanis is gone (and has been replaced with an unnamed "lady") but was indignant when asked about owing staff and vendors money: "You come in and eat dinner with me next week, and then you can ask me those questions."
The last time we checked in, Will Goldfarb, the Room 4 Dessert chef, had just begun convincing restaurants around town to outsource their dessert program to him. Now the ultracaffeinated cake whiz has colonized Battery Park, beating out some major rivals to develop and operate two lunch kiosks there. The stands won’t be open until late summer, but Goldfarb has typically high-concept plans for both. Former Thor chef Kevin Pomplun will run the kitchen, producing high-end sandwiches (a sous-vide chicken club; an oil-packed Sardinian tuna with tarragon mayo on ciabatta) and Goldfarbian desserts (pistachio panna cotta, hot chocolate mousse).
The new Time Magazine — now out on Fridays! — has a cover hagio-profile of Al Gore. It's full of good detail on what Gore's up to these days, just how popular he seems to have become, and whether he'll maybe maybe maybe run for president. But the key quote has got to be this one:
Al and Tipper Gore's home, a 1915 antebellum-style mansion in the wealthy Belle Meade section of Nashville, is laid out a bit like Gore himself: a gracious and formal Southern façade; slightly stuffy rooms when you walk in the door; and startlingly modern, relaxed, informal living spaces to the rear.
Mayor Bloomberg has said he wants the State Legislature to act on his congestion-pricing proposals this session — which means in the next month, as the session ends in mid-June — and an influential state senator thinks that it's doable if the mayor stresses the public-health benefits of the plan. Senator Bill Perkins, a longtime Harlem pol, told us outside a panel discussion this morning that Bloomberg should stress how decreased traffic can lead to cleaner air and lower asthma rates, as a similar plan did in London. Kids' health is indeed one of Bloomberg's passions, but Perkins says that point hasn't gotten through in Albany. So far, he said, "the message has a businessman's flavor to it." A shift in rhetoric, the state senator said, could well lead to the needed legislation. "It's difficult, but it's possible," he said. —Alec Appelbaum