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Is This the Lamest Winter Ever?

With restaurants and bars cutting back their hours and less people stepping out, can we still call ourselves the city that never sleeps?

By Daniel Maurer

Clock Tease

Delicatessen says it won't go 24/7 for a few months.

By Daniel Maurer

Critics Like Chop Suey Despite Themselves; One Star for Ilili

Frank Bruni awards one star to Ilili, establishing the restaurant’s critical reception as generally admiring but far from ardent. Bruni uses it as an occasion to discourse on the current trend of highlighting previously low-rent genres, but he seems to have liked all the food and not found the prices or noise too distracting. [NYT] Steve Cuozzo wanted to hate Chop Suey, he really did. The name was dumb, and he was skeptical of consulting chef Zak Pelaccio, whose “résumé of short-lived eatery associations … is as long as his list of bona fide accomplishments is short.” But he loved the food and its “bold, explosive” flavors. [NYP] Ryan Sutton also plays the “better than it has any right to be” card with Chop Suey, declaring the place as “jolting, gorgeous, frightening” and reluctantly praising its Korean-themed food. [Bloomberg]

EPA Joins Mercury Craze; A ‘Seinfeld’–Inspired Food Study

The Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to examine the mercury levels in the twenty most commonly eaten fish in the New York City region. [NYT] Top Chef seductress/hostess Padma Lakshmi is moving into a full-floor loft in Alphabet City. [The Real Estate/NYO] The holy triumvirate of burgers, fries, and milk shakes continues to dominate the nation's culinary imagination. [NRN]

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.

Michael ‘Bao’ Huynh Out at Bun; A Le Cirque Documentary

Michael “Bao” Huynh has left his post at Bun, saying he couldn’t get along with his partner. Next up: a new noodle shop in Tribeca. [Insatiable Critic] Burgerphilia: a new term about burger obsessives we won’t be using. [Time] Related: Daniel Boulud’s Downtown Burger Place Finally Signs the Lease A Table in Heaven, a documentary that looks at Le Cirque’s move from the Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg building, was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and promises to show Sirio Maccioni’s tendency to exceed the restaurant’s 2 percent cap on free meals. [NYDN]

One Star Seals the Deal for Irving Mill; Ilili Surprises in a Good Way

The story on Irving Mill was written before Frank Bruni delivered the coup de grâce — an ambivalent one-star review that pointed out the restaurant's odd inconsistencies. At this point, a one star was probably a best-case scenario for the place. [NYT] Speaking of best-case scenarios, we bet that Gordon Ramsay had higher hopes for Bruni's rereview of his big restaurant than the one that runs in Dining Briefs. Bruni finds Gordon Ramsay at the London still excellent but boring, and Peter Meehan isn't too crazy about Bun. [NYT] We heard that Ilili was a disaster, with bad service and worse food. So did Paul Adams, who was surprised to find that the word on the street was dead wrong. Adams even calls the food was “far, far better than it needs to be.” [NYS]

Bun Asks the Age-Old Question: ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’

Baha Men
The trend Frank Bruni got hip to a year ago — restaurants piping in obnoxious music — seems only to have gotten worse. We were willing to let it go when recently opened Jamaican bar/restaurant Red Stripe subjected us to reggae interpretations of Madonna and Prince (they were not without their charm, and people do dance to it), but this weekend Michael Huynh’s mostly empty Vietnamese joint Bun hit a low note by blasting a techno remix of “Who Let the Dogs Out.” Really, Bun? Really? Foie gras and Baha Men?

Comedian Aziz Ansari Won't Stand for Gourmet Chicken and Waffles

Since being named Rolling Stone’s “hot stand-up,” Aziz Ansari has risen to still more prominence as — quite memorably — the racist fruit vendor on Flight of the Conchords and a star of MTV’s Human Giant (now filming its second season). One of the latter show’s memorable skits has Aziz taking a blood oath with his co-stars Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel to visit the fictional BBQ joint KC Rib Tickler’s (having grown up in South Carolina, Aziz is indeed a barbecue fan). Though they have yet to actually shed blood over it in reality, Aziz and his co-stars are passionate about checking out newly opened spots (using Adam Platt’s reviews as a pointer, we’re happy to hear!). We asked him where he’s been this week.