Dani has closed, apparently. Eater has it from a sign on the window that Don Pintabona’s much-praised, but seldom-visited, Southern Italian restaurant on the fringes of Hudson Square has gone into the banquet business full-time. While that’s generally been an indicator of failure, there’s no doubt that a lot of restaurants (Guastavino’s comes to mind) have continued to make pretty good money by not serving meals. The restaurant business is truly a strange one.
Deathwatching: Dani Goes Bye-Bye [Eater]
Related: Dani Says, ‘You Be the Chef — and the Investor!’
Chelsea: Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit will present a free Thanksgiving 101 wining and dining seminar on Saturday, November 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. that will be catered by City Bakery and feature chef Don Pintabona of Dani, pastry chef Nancy Olson of Gramercy Tavern and chef Galen Zamarra from Mas (farmhouse), giving cooking tips in addition to the requisite wine tasting. [Grub Street]
East Village: Chikalicious will be serving on Thanksgiving, if you’d like to pass up a traditional feast for a $12 tasting of “warm cornmeal pound cake with corn ice cream and a duo of grapes in Moscato d’Asti.” [Restaurant Girl] The new and improved Momofuku Noodle Bar now features soft-serve ice cream served in brownie-stuffed cones. [Eater]
Financial District: Blue Ribbon Sound on Ann Street is a recording studio brought to you from the restaurant group of the same name because the owners of the sushi houses and bakeries around town are also “dedicated to high quality sound production in a comfortable and professional environment.” [Down by the Hipster]
Flatiron: Parea will be remade into a rustic Greek eatery, with an organic menu and green architecture. [Restaurant Girl]
Flushing: Sai Bhavan Snack & Sweets at 141-20 Holly Avenue is a good place to find vegetarian South Indian fare to celebrate the India’s annual Festival of Lights. [Gothamist]
Harlem: The farmer’s market outside of Morningside Park at 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will close for the winter after November 17. [Uptown Flavor]
Midtown East: Alto has a special table for two that overlooks the dining room, but protocol for securing the prized seating remains hazy. [Eater]
We’ve heard of guest bartending (pouring shots down people’s throats is good and fun on your 21st birthday in Murray Hill), but guest chef-ing? That’s exactly what Dani will let you do during private parties, according to a press release.
Do you grip a knife like a baton? Do your tomato wedges fall apart in seedy clumps? Recent Top Chef winner Hung Huynh visited with Grub Street at Dani yesterday to demonstrate his famous knife skills. The quicksilver cook showed how to julienne squash and a speedy way to slice meat. Definitely try this at home. But first, watch the video.
How to Chop Like a Top Chef [Video]
Contrary to recent reports, Dani is not in danger of closing, but when the restaurant reopens on September 17, there will be a major shift: Owner Don Pintabona tells us there will no longer be any dinner service. “It’s going to be all events, corporate dinners, and parties,” he says. “I already have a bunch of weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other stuff lined up.”
Usually, when a restaurant announces that it’s closing for dinner service, whitewashed windows and snarky obits aren’t far off. But there’s reason to think that Dani, which we’ve learned will be closing at 6 p.m. between now and Labor Day, might not be in such dire straits.
Harlem: Eat at Dinosaur, get bowling discount. [UPTOWN flavor]
Lower East Side: Holes suspected in Schiller’s rubber glove story. That’s right, holes. [Gridskipper]
Soho: Babouche, the Moroccan restaurant and lounge brought to us by the people behind Barbes, now serves brochettes at brunch. [PDF: Babouche NYC]
Tribeca: Former Abboccato sous chef Greg Johnson is the new chef de cuisine at Dani. Sun amuses self calling the cook Dani Boy. [NYS]
Union Square: 15 East now serving lunch. But why didn’t the Eater boys “live-blog” the event? [NYS]
West Village: Blind Tiger will open at 4 p.m. today with beer on tap after an exasperating tug-of-war with the SLA. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: Mystery Japanese restaurant on North 6th thought to open tonight. [A Test of Will] But you probably won’t get in until this weekend. [i'm not saying, I'm just saying] Thankfully new tapas joint Nita Nita has room enough for wide asses. [Bad Advice]
The impending arrival of Morandi, the amply covered, Sicilian-inflected restaurant from Keith McNally, may have whetted your appetite for the island’s regional cooking. (Seeing the menu certainly did it for us.) But Morandi isn’t open for another week, and if you’re anything like Jeffrey Chodorow, you’ll want to be prepared to offer your own informed critiques of the place should the mean ol’ major critics review it harshly. So where can you train your tongue by sampling Sicilian specialties in the meantime? We’ve got just the three places for you.
Whom can we hold responsible for the music that gets played in restaurants? [NYT]
Tasca, Po, and Cambodian Cuisine opening; Sumile metamorphosing into Sumile Sushi. [NYT]
Starbucks hops on the trans-fat banned-wagon. [Food Business Review]
The story behind Dona’s closing (with a plea to understand the developer responsible for it). [NYP]
Related: Dona Closing Saturday!
Caviar once again flowing from the Caspian Sea to the U.S. [NYT]
With the closings of Caffe Bondi and Bussola (and with the exception of Don Pintabona's Dani and some venerable outer-borough focaccerias), Sicilian food continues to be woefully underrepresented even in this Italian-food-crazed city. That's one reason we were happy to hear about Cacio e Vino, a new "wine bar, pizza, and Sicilian spuntino" opening this week in the former East Village location of A Salt & Battery. The other, of course, is the installation of a wood-burning pizza oven, to be manned by ex-Mezzogiorno pizza chef Alessandro Ancona, who's named one of the menu's 27 pies after his Sicilian hometown. The Castellammare del Golfo features anchovies, shrimp, ricotta, capers, oregano, and the Sicilian herb mixture called ammogghiu — not a topping you're likely to find at your neighborhood slice joint. That oven will also be put to use for flatbreads called schiacciate, and stuffed calzones called farciti. Beyond the wide world of baked dough, Cacio e Vino honors its Sicilian roots with regional specialties like caponatina, stuffed sardines, and cassata, the love-or-hate-it fruitcake of Italy.
Cacio e Vino, 80 Second Ave., nr. 4th St.; 212-228-3269.
— Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld