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Restaurants Not Feeling the Love Last Night; Menu Secrets Kept From Riffraff

A brutal Valentine’s Day for New York restaurants, battered by cancellations owing to the lousy weather. [WCBS] Many of the city’s best restaurants have off-the-menu specials: foie gras donuts at Telepan, Daniel Boulud’s lobster ravioli at Le Cirque, and more, all revealed here. [Restaurant Girl] Chocolate, of all things, turns out to be New York’s No. 1 specialty-food export — if you eat it on the East Coast, chances are it came from here. Food processing is “by far the most stable major manufacturing sector” in the city, and one of the last. [NYT]

Biscuit Battles ChipShop, Part Three: Are White Castles Better Fried or Smoked?

At the conclusion of the first and second stages of the battle between Josh Cohen of Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and ChipShop's fry guy Chris Sell, the latter had moved ahead: Both chefs disgusted judges Ben Schmerler and Gabrielle Langholtz more or less equally when they alternately smoked and fried sushi ("Sushi is owed an explanation and apology by both of these methods," said Judge Gabrielle), and ChipShop figuratively battered Biscuit in the cod challenge. The question going into the final two rounds: Which method of cookery would prevail on rice pudding and (brace yourselves, cravers) White Castle sliders?

Biscuit Battles ChipShop, Part Two: Is Sushi Better Fried or Smoked?

Yesterday, when we left the battle between new Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and batter-happy neighbor ChipShop to determine whether our off-the-menu requests tasted better smoked or fried, the competition was neck and neck: ChipShop's owner Chris Sell impressed judge Gabrielle Langholtz of Edible Brooklyn with his fried PB&J — "My brain stem is like, 'Gorge on the fat while you can'" — but Biscuit's owner Josh Cohen bounced back when onetime Iron Chef judge Ben Schmerler lauded his smoked ribs as "savory and primal." Who, then, will take the next two rounds?

Biscuit Battles ChipShop: Is PB&J Better Fried or Smoked?

Next time you decide that peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich could use something extra, know this: Not only will Park Slope's ChipShop deep-fry anything so long you make the request in advance (and suggest something that won't compromise the oil) — it's how fried macaroni and cheese wound up on the menu — but Fifth Avenue's new barbecue joint Biscuit recently announced that they'll "smoke anything!" (They charge $2 per pound and also require advance notice.) To help you decide whether that PB&J should be fried or smoked, we had ChipShop owner Chris Sell and Biscuit owner Josh Cohen prepare the sandwich both ways and invited a couple of local food obsessives — Gabrielle Langholtz, chief editor of Edible Brooklyn, and Ben Schmerler, formerly a senior editor of the Zagat Survey and a onetime judge on Iron Chef — to evaluate the results. And since this was clearly an exercise in excess, we didn't just leave it at peanut butter and jelly. Today, we present the first two rounds of this epic battle, with the remaining challenges (including White Castles, sushi, and rice pudding) to come tomorrow and Wednesday.

Barbecue: The New Kosher Food?

Reading about the launch of Blue Smoke in Danny Meyer's new book Setting the Table, we had an epiphany. It's somehow happened that, in the midst of the greatest barbecue boom New York has ever seen, nearly all of the cuisine's major restaurants are either owned or operated by Jews. Given the wide berth our people have historically given pork, this seems worth commenting on. Meyers's launching of Blue Smoke was just the beginning. Josh Cohen has just reopened Biscuit in Park Slope; Adam Perry Lang has become a major star in competition BBQ, in addition to launching his Daisy May's empire; Andrew Fischel's RUB was anointed by Adam Platt as the city's best barbecue; and the field will only become further Semiticized this spring, when Mark Glosserman and Robert Richter launch Hill Country BBQ in the Flatiron district. Don't get us wrong. There are some very fine Gentile barbecuers in New York: John Wheeler at Rack & Soul and John Stage at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are both expert practitioners. Still, we're surprised someone didn't coined the phrase sooner: Bar-B-Jew.

Breaking News: Beloved Biscuit to Be Reborn

It was a sad day a couple of years back when Sample chef and co-owner Josh Cohen closed Biscuit, his Park Slope barbecue restaurant. By now, you may have gotten over it. Which makes this an extra-special surprise: Biscuit is coming back. On Monday, Cohen finalized plans to convert Night and Day, at 230 Fifth Avenue (not to be confused with 230 Fifth Avenue, the Manhattan restaurant), into a bigger and better version of Biscuit, scheduled to open on October 30. His slow-smoked pork, spareribs, point-cut brisket, and chicken, along with other southern standards like fried chicken and u-peel-'em shrimp, will all be making a triumphant return. There will also be a full bar and blues and bluegrass music. "I think we have a chance to really do Biscuit right this time," Cohen told us. Hey, we liked it the last time.