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David Waltuck on Cooking in Tribeca for 30 Years; Clover Club Coming to Carroll Gardens

Carroll Gardens: The Clover Club — the Smith Street cocktail spot from the Flatiron Lounge people have a sign up. Getting close! [Off the Presses] Gramercy: Shockingly, for some cooked-food enthusiasts, "some of Pure’s dishes, and not just obvious things like salad, are downright delicious." [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Greenwich Village: Somebody told somebody that a bartender at a new bar told him that Keith McNally may have put a $1 million bid on Minetta Tavern. [Eater] Hell’s Kitchen: Video of Dave Martin concocting a special Valentine’s Day gelato to serve at Crave. [Snack] Tribeca: David Waltuck "first got behind the stove [at Chanterelle] — and set the restaurant on its path to becoming one of the city’s most cherished — before he was 25 years old. He’s now 53." And ready for a Q&A with Frank Bruni. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] West Village: Grom is totally coming to Bleecker Street, and they’re accepting applications now for a March opening. [Eat for Victory/VV] Was Beatrice Inn raided and shut down last night? [Down by the Hipster]

Where to Go for Restaurant Week

New York Restaurant Week is coming round again next month (January 24–25 and January 28–February 1), and today the reservation lines open up. We’ve always loved the whole concept, even though at some restaurants you get a simplified menu that may not do the place justice. But what’s great about the deal ($24.07 for lunch, $35 for dinner) is the chance it gives you to try places you might not otherwise get to if you had to pay full fare. Who rolls the dice when they know they’re looking at dropping two bills at the end of the meal? But at these prices, you can afford to see where you stand on places you may only have read about. Think of it as an introductory trial offer. We would recommend the following:

Theater District Restaurant Week to the Rescue; Get Your Lingonberries On

Chelsea: Jimmy Bradley says that the best rice and beans in town are at Cabo Rojo on Tenth Avenue, and we agree. [NYT] Financial District: The long-awaited food market at the Seaport is still on the way, and no, there aren’t any details. [Gothamist] Midtown East: Get your lingonberry fix with the Scandinavian Church food crawl tomorrow. [Eating in Translation] Midtown West: To help fight the effect of the strike, area restaurants are going to do a Theater District Restaurant Week from the 17th to the 25th. [NewYorkology] Red Hook: Layla, the successor to Lillie’s, is coming along nicely. [Eater] Tribeca: Chanterelle is hosting Poets and Port this Sunday, but you need like neither to want to go there. [TONY]

And the Tablecloths Burn

Revolutions don’t happen overnight, so we weren’t shocked that only one of the three Beard Award categories reversed tradition. Still, last night’s ceremony officially ushered in a new era in fine dining.

Beard’s Best Chef Nominees Spill Beans

The Beard nominees for New York City’s Best Chef know that there’s more to the award than who makes the best plate of spaghetti. Looking back at previous years in which he was nominated, Picholine’s Terrance Brennan says, “Our customers were always loyal, but because I wasn’t playing the game, we were under the foodie radar. Being friends with the [Beard] committee helps … I imagine if you know some people, your odds are probably better.”

New York Is Tops; More Sam Mason

New York named the nation's top restaurant city, based on total restaurants, number of internationally known fine-dining places, “a wide segment of second-tier restaurants,” and more. [MSNBC] The shuttered Tonic holds a press conference at the steps of City Hall to demand the protection of cultural venues. [Gothamist] Ed Levine goes inside Esca as they await yesterday's Times review. [Serious Eats]

Ian Tomaschik of Chanterelle Will Serve You Fake Wine If Your Secretary Asks

Actor Ian Tomaschik is a server at Tribeca standby Chanterelle, where he must also act as his own bartender, expediter, and runner, which means making his patrons’ cappuccinos, stocking bread and silverware, even shelving clean glasses while also plating and clearing a six-course tasting menu. “In the beginning,” he says, “I didn’t think I could pull it off.” Still, he saw the restaurant through its temporary closure and downturn in business after the terrorist attacks of 2001 and has now been there almost six years. We asked him to reflect on his time there.

Hark! James Beard Award Nominations

After much speculation, the 2007 nominees for the James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant world, are in. Adam Platt, Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld, and Grub Street all filled out Beard brackets (or at least revealed whom we’d like to see win) on Friday. Here's how the academy's coming down.

The Robs Heart Kefi; Gael Greene Hits the Hawaiian Tropic Zone

It’s an odd food section this week: Gael Greene goes to a restaurant most critics wouldn’t go near; four restaurants open all at once, and not one of them in a familiar genre; a chef describes a dangerous encounter with Adam Platt’s ravenous actor brother; and in the review, Rob and Robin bestow a rare four-star review on the Upper West Side’s Kefi.

A Restaurant Week Guide to the Forgotten and Underappreciated

The Restaurant Week participants we’re about to endorse aren’t obscure, strictly speaking. You just wouldn’t find their names in the same sentence as the word “buzz” – not, at least, since the Clinton years. But they’re all more than worth the $24.07 you’ll pay for lunch ($35 for dinner) starting on Monday, and you might even beat the crowds.