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Bret Thorn

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Huynh Still In at Bun, But Reluctantly So

Yesterday Bret Thorn seemingly debunked Gael Greene’s assertion that Michael Huynh left Bun because he wasn’t getting along with his partners and was opening a noodle shop near his other joint Mai House. Thorn had it from the restaurant that Huynh was merely on vacation. Bun’s publicist, Sam Firer, e-mailed something to that effect: “Michael just came back from Vietnam last night and he's a wee bit surprised to find out he's left two of his restaurants. He hasn't. Just a malicious rumor.” However now the Insatiable Critic, who started all of this in the first place, hears from Huynh that although he considered leaving the restaurant, he decided he didn't want to lose his investment.

Vegetables Suggest Liebrandt's New Restaurant Is a Reality

Liebrant and Sweeney
The mystery and excitement surrounding Paul Liebrandt’s new venture is a testament to … what? Boredom? Curiosity? The shaggy dog story? The cutting-edge chef has never been a big favorite with the public; he’s more of a cook’s cook, much in the same way that A.J. Liebling was a writer’s writer, or Mark Jackson, a point guard’s point guard. But there’s a hint that his long-rumored restaurant might actually be more than just a rumor, thanks to Bret Thorn from Nation’s Restaurant News, who happened to receive a press kit for the Culinary Vegetable Institute. (What, like you’ve never been to a vegetable institute? Just stay with us here.) Liebrandt is named as having taken part in a chefs summit at the institute; more important, he’s actually listed as “Chef Paul Liebrandt, of his signature Restaurant Liebrandt, opening Fall 2007, New York City.” What? Thorn is on the case, and so are we. More as this develops. Restaurant Liebrandt? [Foodservice Blog/Nation's Restaurant News] Related: Liebrandt and Nieporent, Sitting in a Tree…

Inside the Troubled Russian Tea Room; Meyer and Others on Media Scrutiny

The fullest account yet of the debacle that is the new Russian Tea Room. Gary Robins comes out looking far more sinned against than sinning, and the owner comes out looking like a jerk. [NYP] A blue-ribbon panel including Mario Batali, Bill Telepan, and Danny Meyer study the question of whether it’s possible to open a restaurant under the radar. The near unanimous answer is no. Will Goldfarb suggests one way: “Do it in Queens.” [Snack] Pichet Ong formerly of Spice Market is the first of the hot pastry chefs to open his own restaurant, the eponymous P*ong. Rivals Sam Mason and Jehangir Mehta (formerly of Aix) are close behind. [NYS] Related: The Launch [Grub Street]

Trans Fats Versus Razor Blades; ‘Times’ Inspired by Our Restroom Report

Bruni ponders bathrooms, giving a shout-out to Grub Street's Restroom Report; apparently the Sultan had a pretty nasty encounter with the ones at Gordon Ramsay. [NYT] Hamptons officials loosen up and consider lifting the music ban in restaurants — if there's very tight regulation of it. [NYP] E! wrap-up on the Top Chef finale, including a plate-by-plate account of the competition’s Last Supper, which is more interesting, to us anyway, than whether Ilan got his money and new oven. [E!] Related: Ilan Won, Yes, But What Does It All Mean?

Do Not Come Between Limbaugh and His Trans Fats

Subway time-killer L Magazine comes up with a pretty good year-end restaurant retrospective. [L Magazine] Health food so green you can eat the container. Or something like that. [New York Press] Brett Thorn rallies to the defense of Varietal and their weird ingredients. [Nations’s Restaurant News] Special Trans-Fat Updates: In the trans-fat ban, Rush Limbaugh sees everything bad about … yes, you guessed it, liberals. [Rush Limbaugh] Connecticut gets on board the trans-fat banned wagon. [Stamford Advocate] Good trans fat under development by pie-loving scientists. [UPI]