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Di Fara Pizza

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Reubens Are Totally Like Corned Beef and Cabbage, and You Can Find Them at Lots of Places

Astoria: Martha’s Country Bakery on Ditmars frosts its cupcakes wedding-cake-style (with fondant icing), and they’re open until 1 a.m. on weekends. [NewYorkology] A restaurant called Cellar 34 has opened at 34-02 Broadway, and the New Orleans–bred chef is adding Cajun and creole accents to some of the basic dishes. [Joey in Astoria] Boerum Hill: Lunetta is just one restaurant participating in Dine-In Brooklyn (March 24–31), when restaurants will offer three-course meals for $23. [Zagat Buzz] Brooklyn Heights: Seventy-two-year-old restaurant Armando’s will close after Sunday dinner. [Eater] Midtown East: If a Reuben is as close as you want to get to corned beef and cabbage on Monday, you can find a good one at Patrick Conway’s on East 43rd Street. [Gridskipper] Midwood: This photomontage follows the making of a Di Fara pie; though Domenico’s secret weapon might be revealed by the article's last line: "And then he’s off to the back room for a shot of grappa (I think that’s what it was), and it’s back to making pies." [Epi-Log/Epicurious]

The $4 Di Fara Slice: We Break It Down

Dom De Marco raised the price of a Di Fara's slice to $4, and Chowhounders are aghast, reports Slice's Adam Kuban. But do the accusations of making a quick buck lobbed against the Saint of Avenue J have any merit? We did a little research into the cost of ingredients at Di Fara and confirmed our suspicion that De Marco doesn't make much money.

Rosé-Sparkler Tastings in Clinton Hill; Eat Cake, Not Dinner for Valentine’s Day

Chelsea: The former Daniele’s Piadina space on 22nd Street east of Sixth Avenue sat empty for two years, but it will reopen as a sandwich shop called Ashby’s on Monday. [Eat for Victory/VV] Clinton Hill: Gnarly Vines is hosting a rosé-sparkler tasting tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m., and bottles of those sample selections are 10 percent off. [Clinton Hill Blog] Dumbo: The ‘D’ Space Restaurant at Jay and Front streets serves Indian buffet, but will it raise the bar on local delivery options? [Dumbo NYC] Flatiron: Shaffer City Oyster Bar & Grill will close February 23 and reopen in March as Flatiron Joe’s with cheaper American fare and a jukebox. [Zagat] Fort Greene: In her list of last-minute Valentine’s Day options, Danyelle Freeman recommends Cake Man Raven if you want to "just forget dinner and grab a few whopping slices of the decadent red velvet cake that made this bakery famous." [Restaurant Girl] Soho: In honor of this romantic week, it’s only right that bananas (and resulting desserts around town) are celebrated for being "not only insanely phallic but also brimming with potassium and B vitamins, which are necessary for keeping your sex drive going." But you don’t have to tell your date that after deciding to share Blue Ribbon Brasserie’s top-rated banana split. [Gridskipper] West Village: Pig's-feet and collagen temple Hakata TonTon has been closed by the Department of Health. [Eater]

Charcuterie Continues to Wow on the UWS; Beer, Cheese, and Chocolate Go Together in the East Village

Chelsea: Cain’s Website is already “pimping” a London opening. [Down by the Hipster] East Village: Jimmy’s No. 43 is hosting a cheese, beer, and chocolate pairing on January 22. Luckily, cheese before beer, you're in the clear. [Gridskipper] Danal on 10th Street has given up the ghost. [Zagat] Hell’s Kitchen: Tasting World is hosting its first Wine Essentials course of 2008 on January 17. [Tasting World] Midwood: The Amateur Gourmet’s "Best Place I Should’ve Been To Already and Where I Should’ve Already Gone Back To" for 2007: Di Fara Pizza. There are surely too many out there who can relate. Upper West Side: Ed Levine is as wowed by Sylvain Gasdon’s charcuterie at Bar Boulud as we were. [Ed Levine’s New York Eats via Eater] West Village: David Page and Barbara Shinn have left Home to focus on their North Fork winery and have taken the wine-sensitive heart of the restaurant with them. [Eater]

Dom De Marco's Hands of Steel; Smith's Opens Tonight in the South Village

Astoria: The Sparrow’s pain perdu dessert is “basically a grilled chocolate croissant with homemade butterscotch syrup on it, with a dollop of real whipped cream on the side.” [Joey in Astoria] Harlem: Doug E.’s Fresh Chicken and Waffles still isn’t ready to open. [Uptown Flavor] Gramercy: Blue Smoke takes top honors in this roundup of the city’s best sweet-potato fries. [Gridskipper] Greenwich Village: Smith’s from this week’s Openings starts serving tonight. [Eater] Midwood: Yes, Dom De Marco’s pies at Di Fara’s are impressive, but what’s really cause for amazement is “his asbestos hands. That man can pull a square pie out of the oven, which must be about 800 degrees, with his bare hands.” [Eat for Victory/VV] Nolita: Public’s butternut-squash soup with spiced marshmallows, crispy chickpeas, and pumpkin-seed oil is just one example in this list of fall dishes showing up all over town. [Restaurant Girl] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Meytex Lounge is now calling itself Meytex Cafe, but their tasty fried chicken hasn’t changed. [Across the Park]

Zagat 2008 Smiles on Daniel, Gordon Ramsay, Others

New York’s little red book, the 2008 Zagat guide, is out today. It is more significant to the restaurant world than the Michelin guide, and for good reason: The same people who use it are the ones who write it. So what if it’s a popularity contest? Life is a popularity contest. There were some minor shakeups in this year’s rankings, such as Union Square Cafe retaking its sibling Gramercy as most popular restaurant, and Daniel retaking the top spot in cuisine from Le Bernardin. But the more interesting points required a slightly closer look.

Eric Ripert to Feed Reader Who May Lose Sense of Taste

Dear Grub Street,
Next weekend I’m getting surgery done on an impacted wisdom tooth which is growing very close to a central nerve. I’ve been told that if this nerve is damaged, there’s a chance I will lose a large part of feeling in my face – including a loss of my sense of taste. I’ve gone into “doomsday mode”, thinking of all the best flavors this city has to offer in an effort to get them ingrained into my gray memory. As of now I’ve got a reservation at Degustation, will be making at least three visits minimum to Ssäm Bar, and another to Sasabune. Are there maybe two or three dishes or places that should be added to this ever-growing list? Le Bernardin is in my sights of course, but understandably may be difficult to get into.
Signed,
Facing My Final Hour

Noise Police Harden Their Hearts for Mr. Softee; Trans-Fat-Free Fryer Oil Arrives

Mr. Softee vendor busted for noise pollution: “I am aware of the law, but I need to play [the jingle].” [NYT] DiFara’s Dom De Marco bows to the Health Department, but he ain’t happy about it. [TONY] Steakhouse offers a “cut specifically for women,” but Nina Lalli ain’t having it. [VV] Drew Nieporent tells Baird Jones, with pickle breath, that he’s lost 50 pounds in 100 days. [NYDN]

Ramen Rivalry About to Boil Over in the East Village?

Astoria: All pints of Lagunitas beer will be $4 tonight at Sunswick on 35th Avenue at 35th Street. The bar food is supposedly pretty good, too. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Don’t get too excited over that fancy new organic market going up on Lexington Avenue near Grand Avenue; it’s part of a set for a Steve Martin flick. [Clinton Hill Blog] East Village: Momofuku responds to Setagaya’s claims that its ramen is more authentic… [Eater] And the Tokyo-based chain has already lured crowds of diners — and impressed them. [Eat for Victory/VV] The Sunday Greenmarket now has a Hamptons-based fishmonger. [Gothamist] Harlem: Fishers of Men has expanded to 125th Street, and rather than oust Papaya King from the space, the seafood restaurant has opted to share it. [Uptown Flavor] McCarren Park: JellyNYC’s summer pool parties kicked off the series this weekend with dodgeball, Slip 'n Slide, Brooklyn Beer, and grilled grub (and we have video). [Down by the Hipster] Midwood: DiFara is once again up and running. [Slice] Park Slope: Union Market will bring its fresh produce to a long-empty storefront on Seventh Avenue, but there’s concern over nearby mom-and-pop grocers. [The Brooklyn Paper] Ridgewood: Butcher Karl Ehmer inspired such love of meat in a young girl that she now sells meat-inspired pillows to “hipsters, artists and Western Europeans.” [The Food Section]

Brooklyn Heights Barge to Feature a Fake Beach, With Hamburgers

Astoria: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden opens at 3 p.m. today and next Friday for teacher appreciation days. The public is welcome, and the BBQ’s sure to be fired up. [Joey in Astoria] Brooklyn Heights: A swimming pool in a floating barge off the waterfront will take its maiden voyage July 4 and feature a man-made beach and concession stands. [NYP] Chelsea: Hotelier André Balazs may have a hand in restoring the Chelsea Hotel. [NYP] East Village: You need to send a recent photo of yourself if you plan on applying for one of the many positions still open at Tailor. [Eat for Victory/VV] Flatiron: Former CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer will step in as front man to country band “Honky Tonk Confidential” on June 27 at Hill Country barbecue. Songs he’s written include “Little Lulu and Sister Hot Stuff” and “TV Anchorman.” [NYP] Lower East Side: A tipster reports that Kossar’s Bialys has unveiled plans to sell hand-cut sushi from kosher vendor Eden Wok. [Grub Street] Midwood: Dom De Marco’s scarlet letter from the Department of Health has been covered in expressions of support in the wake of DiFara’s most recent close. [Eat for Victory/VV] Times Square: Brighton Beach’s Ladder Co. 169 brought home victory last night at Gallagher’s Fire Department grilled-steak-off fund-raiser. [NYDN]

Shopsin's Arrives At Last in Its New Lower East Side Berth

Chelsea: Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano will not utilize the old Plaid space for their next club; 1OAK (One of a Kind) is now set for 17th between Ninth and Tenth. [Down by the Hipster] Klee Brasserie will give out its new peach sangria for free this Sunday to mark Gay Pride Day. [NYS] Lower East Side: Shopsin's finally open in the Essex Street Market. [Eater] Midwood: DiFara open tomorrow? No, but “maybe Friday.” [Lost City] Upper East Side: Owners of recently departed Jovia will give the townhouse space a more casual feel with a name and menu reminiscent of the owners’ Soho restaurant, Zoë. [NYT] West Village: Jefferson Market has the single-origin-chocolate ice creams from Choctál newly imported from California. [NYT]

New York is Now Fat City; Korean KFC Comes to New York

Fat is where it’s at in New York today, thanks to the efforts of what Adam Platt would call the “refined meathead” school of chefs like David Chang and Zak Pelaccio. [NYT] Related: You Know You’re a Meathead When… [NYM] Kyochon Chicken, the Korean chain behind the current wave of Korean fried-chicken restaurants, has opened in Flushing. Two more locations are planned for Bayside. [NYT] Ilan Hall defeated Sam Talbot in their outdoor Top Chef rematch yesterday, Hall’s soft-shell crab salad triumphing over Talbot's grilled quail and potatoes. [NYDN]

Union Square to Host Top Chef Cook-off Tomorrow

Harlem: A plea goes out to identify that colorful “newish-looking” frankfurter stand on 125th Street; locals fear it’s just a case of mistaken papaya. [Harlem Flavor] Nolita: Barcelona-based hard-candy maker Papabubble plans to open its first New York store this summer. [Down by the Hipster] Prospect-Lefferts Gardens: Caribbean Sweet Hand opening on Washington Avenue, possibly a roti shop, possibly sells babies. [across the park] Roosevelt Island: Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation slapping restaurants with so much red tape that there are only two left on the island. [NYC Nosh] Union Square: To launch the new Top Chef season, the show is doing a big outdoor rematch cook-off between Ilan Hall and Sam Talbot from noon to 1:30 p.m. [Grub Street]

Senator Schumer Stands Up for the Red Hook Ball Fields; Di Fara Set to Reopen

Senator Chuck Schumer visits the Red Hook ball fields and stands up for the vendors in front of rolling cameras: “Removing this for something that might make a little more money for the City of New York makes no sense. We don't want McDonald’s here.” [NYDN] Earlier: Senator Schumer Springs to the Red Hook Ball-Fields’ Defense Di Fara will reopen by the end of the week. But it isn’t clear what owner Dom DeMarco will be doing to prevent another closure. [AMNY] FreshDirect has a rival in tiny, Long Island City–based Bread-n-Brie. Unlike FreshDirect, with its vast inventory, Bread-n-Brie goes to good markets and gets things for you upon request. [NYT]

DiFara Fans All at Sea; Gray Kunz Enters the Small-Plate Wars

Brooklyn held hostage, day four: DiFara fans reeling from this latest, pointless blow from the Department of Health. “It hurts. It’s the best pizza in my life, ever.” [NYT] SliceNY uses the DiFara time-out to point out that, in recent months, the Saint of Avenue J has been burning his pizzas pretty badly around the edges. [SliceNY] Gray Kunz’s new small-plates restaurant, Grayz, joins a growing number of such restaurants run by lesser beings. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]