With all the exciting new restaurants opening in town, you’d never know there’s talk of a recession. But Frank Bruni figures anything opening now was planned a few years ago in better economic times, which makes us worry about restaurant openings in 2010. [NYT]
Death & Co. can continue to operate until mid-April, but don’t expect owner David Kaplan to produce any more nightlife destinations after that: “I’ll never open another bar, another restaurant, a deli, a fucking bodega — I’ll never open up anything ever again in New York.” [NYO]
The current cocktail craze has led to a lot of handmade – and therefore illegal – ingredients being mixed into drinks. Marijuana-infused gin, anyone? [NYP]
Philip Ward, head barkeep at Death & Co., is hoping to broaden the relatively small world of Manhattan mixology by launching a bartender exchange program that he says is the first of its kind. This week the bar welcomes Kirk Estopinal from Chicago’s the Violet Hour, who brings to the bartop his own house-made bitters and a little something known as a “black lime,” wherein a lime is cooked in salt water, dehydrated, and zested into a drink such as a tea punch. (Let's hope someone has told the out-of-towner to glove up before handling the lime — the Health Department is watching.) Next month Ward swaps duties with a bartender at Alembic, a San Francisco favorite, and the following month a mixologist from London cocktail mecca the Lonsdale will cross the pond. If you can think of any other mixologists who’d be an asset to Death & Co. (and who are based in cities its bartenders might actually want to travel to), do name them in the comments.
Our favorite celebrity sighting of the week was, of course, Lindsay Lohan at Peter Luger on Tuesday night — that’s because we saw her with our own eyes. Of course, we can’t be everywhere and see everyone, so as usual we’ve combed the gossip columns for other stop-ins. We’re sorry we missed Tracy Morgan at the Plumm, shirtless and offering to father babies as usual, and boy do we wish we were a fly on the wall when partners Ken Friedman and Taavo Somer, along with David Chang, dined with Stephen Starr at Buddakan. Is there a Spotted Buddafuku in the works?
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]
Eater must’ve spotted us at Hotel Delmano on Friday because they took a break from their holiday yesterday to post interior shots of Billyburg’s first cocktail palace, from the owners of Union Pool. We might’ve done the same — that’s how impressive this place is — but we confess to being too hung-over from one too many elderflower tequila gimlets, which is what happens when you ask the barkeep there to make you something with tequila. That and a tequila with grenadine and bitters made “by hand” (hence the moniker “Delmano”). As for the cocktail list, the Commandant’s Cocktail is the only original one and the most expensive at $14 (it contains pear cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice, and green chartreuse), but mixologist Jeff Hanson’s $9 to $12 renditions of the Last Word, Corpse Reviver No. 2, the Hemingway Daiquiri, and the Seelbach Cocktail are plenty revelatory.
In an article in The Villager this week, State Liquor Authority spokesman Bill Crowley claims that Death & Co. has lost its license to serve and could be closed for “illegally trafficking alcohol.” But partner David Kaplan disputes the story.
There’s a new social-networking site for members of the restaurant industry called FohBoh, but if you’re not an industry insider, you can enjoy the forums, blogs, and videos on all aspects of food. [Red Herring via The Grinder/Chow]
Le Bernadin’s Eric Ripert will open a new restaurant called 10 Arts at the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton this spring. [Zagat Buzz]
A lot of people may be freaking out over the FDA’s approval of meat and milk from cloned livestock for consumption, but cloned food products have been in the food supply for some time. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Related: FDA to Beef Industry: Send in the Clones
We got a note from everyone’s favorite secret-supper-club chef, the mysterious “D” of Bite Club NY. (Bite Club, like the Ghetto Gourmet and other secret-dinner societies, serves invitation-only meals by trained chefs at private homes around town.) Bite Club is pretty much the French Laundry of the dinner clubs, and now the cocktail program is of equal stature, thanks to the addition of Joaquin Simo from Death & Co. The next dinner, with such Simo-created pairings as foie gras–infused bourbon, is on December 22. Bite Club is accepting new members.
Bite Club NY [Official site]
Bite Club menu
Apparently the opening-night party at Le Royale was a success, drawing the likes of Kate Moss, who made out with the D.J. [Imbible/Citysearch]
Related: Le Royale Might Just Bring Nightlife Out of the Doldrums
Frank Bruni applauds restaurants seeking out new forms of hospitality, but is wary of the WiFi availability: “Will the glow of laptop screens and the percussion of typing become pervasive visual and aural backdrops for our meals?” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
A former Scores cocktail waitress is suing the owners for being told to act more like a stripper. [NYP]
Since this is a big weekend for holiday parties, we thought you could use some new drink ideas. Why serve your guests the same old Syrah when you could make them a Mae West Royal Diamond Fizz or whip up some spiced butter to go with that hot rum or mulled cider? We sent a camera to LeNell’s, Flatiron Lounge, and Death & Co. to learn winter secrets from some of the city’s booze experts. They even shared the recipes with us. So watch, prepare, drink, and repeat.
Dumbo: The Japanese publication Mapple released a guide to the nabe and recommends Jacques Torres Chocolate, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and Grimaldi’s as top picks. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: You don’t need to hunt down any Danish to track Frank Bruni; he’s a huge fan of Death & Co (and hopes the bar’s not really in trouble). [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Meatpacking District: A $25 Champagne tasting at Paradou next Tuesday also comes with snacks. [Paradou NYC]
Midtown: A rare bottle of scotch fetched $54,000 at Christie's liquor auction last night. The Rob Roys we made with it were great. [Food and Wine]
Woodside: For a truly hands-on holiday meal, you can head to Bismillah Live Poultry market in the warehouse quarter; choose your "turkey out of a flock of around 30, and off it went in a shopping cart to be slaughtered, scalded in hot water, and plucked by the staff. Fifteen minutes later it emerged in a bag, warm to the touch, its fat tail sticking out." [The Grinder/Chow]
The new location of Bourgeois Pig (at 111 East 7th Street, across from the old one) is opening Wednesday, and this is your first look at the space. Owner Ravi DeRossi says he plans to keep the old and new locations open simultaneously for two weeks, after which the old spot will become a New World wine bar with a gourmet line of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade reproductions of Hostess products. As for the new Pig, expect beer and Champagne cocktails created by Philip Ward, head barkeep of DeRossi’s other bar Death & Co., and Champagne punches served in silver punch bowls. Operating hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Earlier: Death & Co., Pegu Club, and Flatiron Lounge Players Engage in Musical Chairs
The bad news: The Bourgeois Pig West, easily the coolest bar on Macdougal Street, is closing after this Saturday, and the East Village location is moving. The good news: Owner Ravi DeRossi says that he and the manager at his other bar, Death & Co., decided yesterday to reopen the West Village location in about a month as a Belgian beer bar. But that’s not all! Also in about a month, the East Village location will move across the street to 111 East 7th Street (a larger space, at 1,000 square feet) and morph into what the current location’s manager describes as a, um, “female Death & Co.,” seating 50 to 60 people for chocolate and cheese fondues and a larger wine list of 100 bottles and 50 glasses.
Earlier today Eater all but smacked “Deathwatch” status on Death & Co., speculating that contrary to an outgoing message saying the restaurant is closed for the remainder of the week for “spring cleaning,” State Liquor Authority issues are to blame. What exactly are those issues?
Sasha Petraske’s new wine and beer joint wasn’t the only boîte that took a royal drubbing during Tuesday’s CB3 meeting. Neighbors of Death & Co. protested that the cocktail den, which serves a menu of small plates like macaroni and cheese on silver spoons, is only masquerading as a restaurant and deserves to have its liquor license revoked. The most vociferous protestor was upstairs neighbor Joe Hurley (who happens to be the front man of a bar band). In addition to complaining about noise, Hurley said that neighborhood seniors are scared of Death & Co.’s name (apparently, they’re okay with Rogue’s March, the name of Hurley’s band). Though Death’s name comes from a Prohibition-era anti-drinking propaganda piece, neighbors (according to those who spoke at the meeting) find it reminiscent of Nazi fascism and believe the stark cedar exterior recalls an Auschwitz rail car. “A restaurant with no windows seems like an affront,” Hurley said.
Good news for Jeffrey Chodorow: A restaurant owner in Ireland has successfully sued a critic's publication for giving him a bad review. [BBC]
A Texas pizzeria riled anti-immigration types with a pesos-for-pizza stunt. This subsequent essay is part marketing communications, part sociology. [NYT]
Fun interview with Drew Nieporent. Question: Is his favorite low-end restaurant really the random Benito’s II in Little Italy? [NYT]