Displaying all articles tagged:


Most Recent Articles

Fiamma’s Menu a Fraction of Its Former Self

We’re told that Fiamma has sprung into action, using all the powers of the B.R. Guest machine, to try to ferret out what went so catastrophically wrong with Nick Paumgarten’s meal. “We are all disappointed in the service. We take this very seriously and have everyone looking into the problems,” B.R. Guest chieftain Steve Hanson tells us. But all the negative attention Fiamma has gotten over the last day or so obscures a larger, thornier question about the restaurant: What has happened to the sprawling, lavish, ambitious menu that Fabio Trabocchi launched his administration with?

Produce Carts Approved for Low-Income Areas; Calling a Clone a Clone

The City Council passed a watered-down version of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to place produce carts in low-income neighborhoods. The new plan cuts the total number down to 1,000 from 1,500 and reduces the number of targeted precincts from 43 to 34. [NYP] The Post hit two midtown Starbucks yesterday and found that, while Tuesday night’s three-hour training session for baristas may not have instilled the ability to make perfect drinks, they will remake it as many times as you force them to. [NYP] A City Council member introduced legislation yesterday that would require meat from cloned animals to be labeled as such. [Metro NY]

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]

‘The New Yorker’ Hits Fiamma Hard

The New Yorker’s “Tables for Two” reviews have generally been mordant little affairs, short on criticism and long on wry descriptions of restaurant culture. Not this week. Nick Paumgarten comes down hard on Fiamma, describing “FEMA-like” service, cold food, a martini made without vermouth, and, in general, the very picture of a major ripoff operation, subsisting on “a strong euro and the proximity of the Soho Grand hotel.” It’s a wild departure from the usual “Tables for Two” mold, and though it may or may not be reflective of Fiamma (practically all of the reviews have been very positive, including Adam Platt’s two-star job), it’s certainly a lot more fun to read. Something tells us Paumgarten had a lot of fun writing it. Tables for Two: Fiamma [NYer]

What's the City’s Greenest Restaurant™?

Self-described “vegetarian bistro” Counter, home of the iridium martini, has become a Certified Green Restaurant™ (we’re required to put a ™ after that, or they’ll force us to drink iridium). Becoming a truly green restaurant in the eyes of the Green Restaurant Association doesn’t happen overnight, but Counter has taken the initial steps by using nontoxic chemicals, energy-efficient lighting, recycling used fryer oil, and using occupancy-sensing lights. Not all green restaurants seek the GRA’s blessing (take what might be the greenest of them all, Birdbath), but for good measure we broke the certified restaurants down according to their current ratings.

Starbucks Nixes Breakfast Sandwiches; Kenny Shopsin Ready for Mind-Altering Substances

In addition to slowing its expansion (finally), Starbucks will halt “sales of hot breakfast sandwiches because their smell interferes with the aroma of coffee.” [WSJ] If Padma Lakshmi could eat anywhere right now, she’d head to a little taco stand in Mexico for some fish tacos on the beach. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Chelsea hot spot Stereo, which was closed by police earlier this month, will not be reopening at its current location because the landlord bought out the lease. [NYP]

Jennifer Garner Likes the Food at Fiamma More than Padma Did

The week’s most exciting celebrity sighting was that of beer-sippin’ McLovin at Diner. No other celebs were busted getting their underage drink on, but there were other surprises: Rachael Ray rolled into the Orchard with a posse bigger than Diddy’s, and Jennifer Garner liked the food at Fiamma so much she slipped into the kitchen to beg Fabio Trabocchi for recipes. We figure that makes up for supposedly getting dissed by Padma Lakshmi a couple weeks ago. (And yes, there a Padma sighting this week, too…)

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]

Bloomberg Delivers Cheesecake; McDonald's Takes on Starbucks

Hizzoner showed up to a political summit in Oklahoma with Junior’s cheesecake for all. [NYS] Jennifer LeRoy sees another 30 years of LeRoy ownership at Tavern on the Green, but she isn’t striking a deal with Donald Trump to keep the place. [Insatiable Critic] When world adventurer Anthony Bourdain found out that Food Network would be re-airing episodes of his series A Cook’s Tour, he was sitting by a pool in Hawaii. His reaction? “This was like being unexpectedly groped and publicly slipped the tongue by the ugliest girl at the prom.” [Anthony Bourdain’s Blog/Travel Channel]

Shake Shack Reopens Today; Fabio Trabocchi's Last Meal

Sweet glory, Shake Shack reopens today at 11:30! You can call ahead to place your order, but you won’t be enjoying the new heaters until next week. [Eater] The British agree: Adam Platt's term “haute barnyard” defines the prevailing dining trend. [Guardian] Related: The Haute Barnyard Hall of Fame The manager of Sarabeth’s on Central Park South caught a 50-year-old thief taking $27 from her pocketbook over the weekend. [NYP]

Tom and Gisele Lock Lips at Nobu, ‘Full House’ Cast and the B-52s Hit Bowery Hotel!?

Earlier this week we linked to a Daily News item claiming Padma Lakshmi rudely refused complimentary dishes from Fiamma’s chef. A commenter wrote, “I was at Fiamma the night Padma was dining there and it absolutely did NOT go down that way. When the dishes arrived at the table, she thanked them profusely and apologized for being too full to eat any of them!” Whatever happened, Padma was just one of many celebs to chow down (or at least show up) at local restaurants this week, and here’s our gossip-column compendium of just who went where.

Padma Lakshmi Now Refusing Food

A juicy item in today's Daily News has Grub Street stoner-goddess Padma Lakshmi acting like quite the diva at Fiamma. According to the report, chef Fabio Trabocchi created several dishes for her perusal, which the lanky Top Chef judge sent back in a huff. Fiamma denies it went down like that, and we admit it’s hard to imagine Padma being roused to scream about anything, but given her willingness to eat the swill served by her Top Chef contestants, a few plates of Trabocchian improvisation doesn’t seem like too much to ask. Tart Words From the ‘Chef’ Host [NYDN] Related: The Salty Wit and Wisdom of Padma Lakshmi

Kate Moss Digs Le Royale; FreshDirect Fires 85 Workers

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]

Padma Leaves a Bad Taste in Fiamma's Mouth

Manhattan Moms, an East Coast equivalent of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County, will premiere early next year. A lot of the city's foremost graffiti artists congregated for a book party at Auto in the meatpacking district. Billy Joel is in talks with the Mets to perform a bunch of gigs at Shea Stadium. George Steinbrenner will have a high school named after him in Tampa. Padma Lakshmi was rude to the staff at Soho eatery Fiamma, but Martha Stewart overtipped and was nice. CNN gave out an award to someone for forcing "one of the world's largest oil corporations to pay more than $6 billion to clean up toxic waste in the Amazon rain forest," but didn't name Chevron as the company because they are an advertiser.

Ben Stiller Crashes a Party at Fiamma, Penélope Cruz Makes Out at Socialista

Claire Danes
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?

Platt Sees Only Disaster and Peril for Out-of-Town Chefs

With the recent news that the celebrated Charlie Trotter might be opening up an outpost here in New York, our thoughts turned to the whole phenomenon of out-of-town chefs and their usually disastrous forays to New York. We thought to contact our dour friend Adam Platt to see what kind of world-weary wisdom he might dispense on the subject. As expected, the big man had deep thoughts at the ready, and we transcribed our exchange for posterity, in case Charlie Trotter wants something to put on his refrigerator.

Fiamma Earns Its Third Star; Love for Kenny Shopsin

Fiamma hits the three-star jackpot, tickling Frank Bruni in his sweet spot and earning itself the critical credibility Steve Hanson wanted when he hired Fabio Trabocchi. Bruni admits the place isn't Italian, but he is in love with the ultrarich, ultracomposed food. [NYT] Market Table took over the space that was Shopsin's, and this gave the Randall Lane the good idea of reviewing both restaurants at the same time. Market Table earns four stars (out of six, mind you) for its solid food and gracious service. Kenny, in his new digs at Essex Street Market, gets three for his still terrific food and his not-so-gracious service. [TONY] The Fiamma review should wash away any melancholy caused by Alan Richman's lukewarm number on Primehouse, Fiamma's sister. Richman likes the steaks pretty well and singles out crab cake for enthusiastic praise, but he casts a skeptical eye on pretty much everything else, from its resident bull-god to the Himalayan salt aging room. [Bloomberg]

Gordo Blog Better Than the Real Thing; Water Trend More Ridiculous

A true innovator has started a mock Gordon Ramsay blog with such posts as “What? Emeril’s boobs aren’t nice enough?” But when will someone step in to fill in the gaps at Chodoblog? [News Groper via Serious Eats] Related: Food Network, Emeril No Longer Feeling the Love No holiday parties at Chumley’s this year; according to the owner Steve Shlopak, the space has no ceiling and no floor. [NYO] Even after a top-chef shuffle and “showdown between Fiamma, L’Impero and Alto … all three places have come through recent turmoil, and the good news is that they’re better than they were before,” says Steve Cuozzo. [NYP]

Jody Williams's Wine Bar Serving in the West Village

Greenwich Village: Send off truffle fever with a wine-sodden bang at Babbo’s December 3 Vintage series, which includes a white-truffle tasting menu with wine pairings discussed by Peter Jamros. [Grub Street] Hell’s Kitchen: Kyotofu is hosting a seven-course dinner-and-dessert sake pairing tonight at 7 p.m. [Grub Street] Midtown West: The Frederick’s space on West 58th Street will be transformed into Jour et Nuit, a French-American bistro offering, you guessed it, brasserie classics like croque monsieurs and moules frites. [Restaurant Girl] Soho: Fiamma is a little too liberal with its "Napkins of Shame," which according to Bruni are a "bit of patchwork that makes the table look clean again" to the embarrassment of the messy diner. The critic was subjected to one himself while on a date. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] The Vosges bacon-chocolate bar is accused of not reaching its potential and tasting "more like the barnyard than the pig and more like the rubber tree than the cocoa pod." [Chop Talk/Epicurious] West Village: Jody Williams is previewing her new enoteca and salumeria Gottino at Greenwich Avenue near Perry Street. [Eater] The chef’s main stage, Morandi, is also serving a Thanksgiving dinner of rosemary roasted turkey with fennel and bruschetta stuffing. Those looking for turkey alternatives can arrive early for regular breakfast. [Grub Street]

Fiamma, Tailor, and Turkey Carry the Weight This Week

This week’s issue carries a lot of freight, and there isn’t much room for consideration of the gluttonous arts. So the food content is slim — but potent! Adam Platt reviews two of the most anticipated debuts in recent years, those of genius dessert chef Sam Mason’s Tailor and Beard Award–winning chef Fabio Trabocchi’s New York debut at Fiamma. But that’s not all: There’s an In Season recipe for turkey-salad sandwiches, excuse us, tramezzini di tacchino, courtesy of ’inoteca’s Eric Kleinman; a guide to four very excellent Thanksgiving alternatives courtesy of Rob and Robin; and four new hotel restaurants likewise. We figured that with all the eating and cooking that’s going on this week, that should be plenty of food writing to get you by.