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Dovetail

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Adam Platt on Best of New York: “It's a Matter of Taste, Cutty!”

Having pawed and pondered this week's Best of New York issue endlessly, we knew that the only way we could possibly make up our minds about it was to pester Adam Platt into giving us his thoughts on why he made his picks, who he had to leave out, and what his reasoning was. Since Platt is always readily available on IM, the following chat answered our questions and made our peace with his picks.

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Dovetail's Food Editor–Hostess Tells Her Tale; Dessert Truck vs. Treats Truck Tonight

The Food & Wine editor–cum–hostess at Dovetail had a hard time learning the ropes of the job at first, but by the end she learned that star ratings from critics matter, and there’s more to being a hostess than checking coats. [TONY] Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed a suit against Tonic East for “a pattern or practice of denying African-Americans from admittance into its club.” [Down by the Hipster] Unbeknownst to us, rapper Coolio has a cooking show on the Web called, succinctly, Cookin’ With Coolio, but he might not be the most adventurous kitchen personality we’ve ever seen: “I don’t like pork, I don’t eat pork, and I don’t cook pork.” [Serious Eats]

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Socialista Back in Business; 2nd Avenue Deli Still Delivers

Socialista, now rid of that pesky hepatitis-A problem, is once again hosting celebs like Sting and Josh Hartnett. [NYP] Conflict-of-interest alert! The soon-to-be-new president of the Obesity Society had to step down after drawing criticism for his paid consultant work for the restaurant industry, for whom he produced a puzzling affidavit asserting that posting calorie info on menus could have a negative effect on obesity. [NYT] Good news: The 2nd Avenue Deli still delivers anywhere in town. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]

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Women Rule the Wine Cellars of New York

Dovetail
Two of this season’s most anticipated restaurants — the three-star Dovetail and Ed Brown’s Eighty One — launched with female sommeliers. Former Daniel sommelier and wineshop owner Jean Luc Le Dû recently remarked to Grub Street that only a few years ago, non-white males in the role were considered an anomaly. Today, only three women (and 21 men) in the United States have the coveted “Master of Wine” designation, awarded to 264 sommeliers throughout the world. But in New York, women helm some of the city’s most respected wine programs, including Gramercy Tavern, the Modern, and the entire B.R. Guest group. We interviewed several of these ladies of the cellar for their ideas on the industry, their experiences on the floor, and picks on retail value bottles. Look for them at restaurants near you. —Alexandra Vallis Slideshow: Women in Wine

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Bar Blanc Draws Its Deuce; Mia Dona Welcomed by Richman

Frank Bruni finds Bar Blanc fussy, mannered, overly fastidious — and very, very good. The two stars should take the sting out of his review for the place's owners. [NYT] Related: Raising the Bar Restaurant Girl hits Williamsburg’s Zenkichi and, between the room, the food, and the sake selection, seems to have a real find on her hands. [NYDN] Randall Lane joins in the general enthusiasm for Dovetail , but now he seems unwilling to go back to his five-star-granting ways and so ends up giving them only four — the equivalent, in traditional star terms, to a two-star review, which is not what this reads as. [TONY]

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A Dovetail Spy Scandal; Gordo Ruins New Jersey Valentine's Day

A Food & Wine contributing editor has been working as a hostess at Dovetail, the new three-star restaurant, for the past two months. Part of her arrangement with chef John Fraser? To spot food writers and alert the kitchen, but apparently she was no help in pointing out Frank Bruni. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Shake Shack and Burger Joint will face off tonight at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival for the title of champion in the “Burger Bash.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Landmarc at the Time Warner Center is throwing an Oscar party of sorts this Sunday, featuring a five-course tasting menu and two flat-screen TVs in the dining room. [Zagat]

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Another Triumph for Dovetail; Another Disappointment for Bar Boulud

Citing cleverness, finesse and his own “hugely positive” experiences eating there, Frank Bruni gives Dovetail three stars to go along with Adam Platt’s. [NYT] Related: This Dove Flies Poor Bar Boulud, on the other hand, continues to get pilloried. Randall Lane gives it only three stars (of six), and no doubt it would be a lot worse if not for the world-class charcuterie. [TONY] Related: Daniel Disappoints Restaurant Girl, too, got her licks in on BB, giving it two stars (of four) for Syrah-heavy sauces, unreliable service, and mishandled snails and tartare. This has got to be killing Boulud. [NYDN]

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Dovetail's Deconstructed Muffuletta Is a Trojan Horse for Lamb's Tongue

Dovetail, John Fraser’s new Upper West Side restaurant, is enjoying a critical reception not seen in some time. Adam Platt’s three-star review highlighted the deconstructed muffuletta sandwich with fried lamb’s tongue. Fraser says the dish came to him in a dream but also has a more practical explanation: “Lamb’s tongue is not the easiest thing to sell, so you have to pair it with something really interesting.” As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.

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Praise for 2nd Avenue Deli and Dovetail; Southgate Suffers

Frank Bruni can't help but make a one-act play out of his one-star 2nd Avenue Deli review: Sholom Aleichem by way of Oscar Wilde. A classic review, even if you don't come out of it knowing much about the food at 2nd Avenue Deli. [NYT] Reviewing on his blog, Alan Richman delivers a less colorful, but more accurate and knowing account, of the place, which is even more admiring. [GQ] Ryan Sutton isn't impressed one bit by Southgate — he thinks it's expensive and uninspired, broadly speaking. Not a whit of enthusiasm here. [Bloomberg]

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Le Cirque Back in the Three-Star Club; It’s La Belle Epoque Again at Adour

Who says Frank Bruni has no heart? After demoting Le Cirque last year, Bruni restores the third star, courtesy largely to new chef Christophe Bellanca’s masterly handling of ultraluxe ingredients and, of course, the Maccioni family’s trademark feudal service. [NYT] Maybe you don’t consider the salmon at Dovetail “a religious experience,” the way Restaurant Girl does, but everyone seems to agree with Adam Platt that it’s a very fine restaurant and outrageously good for the Upper West Side. [NYDN] Related: This Dove Flies Ryan Sutton has filed the first review of Adour, and he makes it sound, at least to anachronistically minded readers, truly awesome. Did you know Adour is serving lobster thermidor? Lobster thermidor! In this day and age! Sutton is also impressed by the virtual wine list, as most other visitors have been. [Bloomberg]

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Dovetail Takes Flight, Merkato 55 Opens, and All Is Well

Well, here’s some news the food world will find welcome: Adam Platt is so won over by the Upper West Side’s Dovetail that he has gone and awarded the place three stars. And in further good news, Merkato 55, Marcus Samuelsson’s much-awaited African restaurant, finally opens its doors in the meatpacking district, as Rob and Robin report in this week’s Openings. On the other side of the trendiness spectrum, the 2nd Avenue Deli comes under the gaze of Gael Greene, and the Insatiable Critic likes what she sees. Add in a fine sangria recipe, and you have plenty to chew on in this week’s magazine.

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Bar Boulud's Wine-Tasting Table, Chop Suey's Dining Room Both Half-Full

Spot Check
The first time we dropped in on a batch of new restaurants to take head counts, we hit the East Side. Then we threw it over to the West Side. Last Friday we took it uptown to see what’s doing above 42nd Street. It wasn’t easy hitting half a dozen spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., but luckily we were navigating familiar territory — Mermaid Inn? Magnolia Bakery? Blue Ribbon Sushi? Zak Pelaccio’s new spot? It’s like we never left downtown.

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Mesa Grill Keeps One Star, Barely; Richman Rejuvenated by Dovetail

Mesa Grill loses a star, but this is one of the worst one-star reviews you'll ever read, even going so far as to compare it to gulag gourmet: “During one dinner the three slivers of chicken in the appetizer tacos were among the most shriveled, desiccated pieces of meat I’ve seen outside a bodega buffet at 3 a.m.” [NYT] Related: Salute the Gulag Gourmet Movement Now this is something cheering: Alan Richman found a tablecloth restaurant that got him genuinely excited. Dovetail's food, he says approvingly, is “exuberant and shocking” — in a good way. [Bloomberg] Paul Adams hits Cooper Tavern, a not particularly ambitious hotel restaurant recently given a "meh" review by Frank Bruni, and likes it a little better, although the fries are “pathetically poor” and the pork chop is “hardly going to be the talk of the city's pork chop grapevine.” We can testify that that part is true. [NYS]

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Introducing the ‘Gastroteca’

Even in the dead of winter, good new things keep happening to New York City. The Underground Gourmet giddily points out a new wine bar, Gottino, that is outpacing its panini-packing rivals. The Insatiable Critic found a new, urbane restaurant in Dovetail and loves the Sunday prix fixe. Among this week's openings, Periyali adds a midtown sister in Persephone, giving the city another blue-chip Greek restaurant. Ah, New York: Even our lean seasons have their harvests.

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Barbuto Saved by a Chicken; Fiamma Comes Up Short

The wildly uneven Barbuto earns a single star from Frank Bruni, almost entirely on the strength of a well-roasted Bell & Evans chicken. To quote Winston Churchill, “Some chicken!” [NYT] Alan Richman was appalled by how small the portions were at Grayz, how much they cost, and how shady most of them were, except for the magnificent, world-beating short rib: “In complexity and satisfaction, this dish reminded me most of the Gray Kunz of Lespinasse, the chef we miss so much.” [Bloomberg] Randall Lane gets that Fiamma’s Fabio Trachocchi is cooking in a grand, Continental style and doesn’t hold that against him, but the food is too rich and the service too sloppy to give him the five or six stars the place would have liked And so they have to settle for four. [TONY]

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DOH Now Against Cats, Too; Poor Man's Guide to New Year's Eve

Bodegas are keeping themselves free of vermin thanks to their trusty cats. But naturally the Health Department has to give them a hard time about it, even though they admit that the cats are doing a good job. [NYT] Running Tavern on the Green is something like running an ocean liner – an ocean liner that feeds 700,000 people a year, has a staff of over 500, and makes more than $38 million annually. [AMNY] Gordon Ramsay wants lights for his backyard soccer field for Christmas. [The Glasgow Herald]

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Gusto Now Going to Look and Taste Like Centro Vinoteca

Chelsea: It doesn’t look good for those who are just getting used to the belly; pig’s ears are the latest trend, and even the version at stellar tapas spot Tía Pol was described by Peter Meehan as "crunchy and sticky with a funky pigskin flavor." [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Financial District: Don’t forget, the trial run for the proposed year-round seasonal market at South Street Seaport starts on December 16 (and Molto Mario will be there). [Grub Street] Park Slope: Tempo Presto is closing this Friday because the restaurant can’t keep up with the pricey rent. [Gowanus Lounge] Upper West Side: Dovetail‘s opening next week. [Zagat] West Village: Sasha Muniak must feel really good about the Centro Vinoteca formula; after tapping chef Anne Burrell to take over for Amanda Freitag, he plans to redesign the Gusto space by next year with help from Centro Vinoteca and Jean Georges designer Thomas Juul-Hansen. [Restaurant Girl] Andrea Strong unveils renderings of Jason Neroni’s new gig, 10 Downing. [Strong Buzz via Eater] Magnolia Bakery will be open regular hours every day this holiday season except for Christmas, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 24, kids can pick up a cupcake that comes with a note to Santa. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Williamsburg: A benefit party at Supreme Trading tomorrow night promises an open Bass Ale Beer bar from 7 to 8 p.m. and "one of the most difficult cuisines to find in New York City: Rwandan." [Cakehead]

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