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Gavin Kaysen Tests His Menu at Café Boulud; Williamsburg's Pampa Still a Mystery

Astoria: Time Café is said to serve a solid brunch. The fries look a bit pale, but after a few "terrific" mimosas, they'll probably hit the spot anyway. [Joey in Astoria] East Village: The culinary study center the area desperately needs opens today. [Restaurant Girl] Flatiron: On Monday, January 28, 4-Foodies is hosting an Italian Favorites tasting at Lunetta. [4foodies] Upper East Side: Bar Boulud's success hasn't hurt Café Boulud, where chef Gavin Kaysen is currently testing his new menu; the latter DB spot still attracts eye candy like former Giants star Tiki Barber. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine] Williamsburg: A sleek new building on Graham Avenue will soon be home to a restaurant called Pampa, but no one really knows what the place will be like. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]

A Sausage-Fest Welcome in Chelsea; Gramercy Tavern Recipes

Chelsea: On January 15–20, Trestle on Tenth will begin its own yearly tradition of Metzgete, a Swiss winter celebration of sausage, choucroute, and wine. [Trestle on Tenth] Flatiron: Adam Shepard hasn’t yet been able to clone the success of his Boerum Hill original at Lunetta, in the old Mayrose space, but Frank Bruni thinks he’s capable of making the necessary adjustments. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Gramercy: Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony provided this recipe for East Coast blackfish over spaghetti squash, but we have his recipe for fork-crushed purple majesty potatoes in our database. [Restaurant Girl] Hells Kitchen: How is this world going to stop mispronouncing chipotle as "chi-POLE-tay" if restaurants like Kevin St. James on Eighth Avenue can’t even spell it right? [East Village Idiot] Midtown West: Our In-box submission claiming there are prostitutes at Maze has inspired a call for the best restaurants that attract good ol’ traditional gold diggers. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: Agata & Valentina Ristorante has permanently closed, but the original gourmet shop is still lively. [Eater]

Huckabee Loves Salad and Bread Sticks; Domino's Still Won't Deliver in 30 or Less

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee chose T.G.I. Friday’s when a Times reporter offered to take him to lunch anywhere in the city, but Huck ultimately settled for the Olive Garden. [NYT via Serious Eats] The Food Network’s ratings are hurting, which might help to explain why Emeril Live got canned. [NYT] How do Thomas Keller and Mario Batali fare against McDonald's when it comes to calories? Keller's veal breast and polenta and Batali's pork loin are worse for you than a Big Mac, but who cares? [WSJ

Bar Blanc Is So Open; Good Chinese in Sunset Park? Try Crashing a Wedding

Dumbo: Admission to Taste of Spain at the Dumbo Arts Center from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight includes a wine tasting and tapas. [Dumbo NYC] Flatiron: Boqueria is throwing a "Cava fueled fiesta" for New Year’s Eve. [Snack] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: The empty space on the corner of Flatbush and Beekman will become a Subway, and one blogger isn’t so upset: "At first we were disappointed that a big chain was coming in, but … some Subways even have full blown salads." Nice! Just like McDonald’s. [Across the Park] Sunset Park: Sietsema may have had to crash a Chinese wedding to figure this out, but dim-sum go-to Pacificana is also good for dinner. [Eat for Victory/VV] West Village: Bar Blanc seems to be in soft-open mode. [Eater]

Bradley and Freitag Planning a ‘Lusty’ Menu for the Harrison; Hot Chestnut Pancakes in Midtown West

Astoria: Bar 36 at 36-05 30th Avenue hosts Martini Thursdays, where it’s "$2 off every martini on their menu (or create your own). Can’t beat the free snacks, too!" [Joey in Astoria] East Village: You’d be hard-pressed find a better, more satisfying "fantastic when it was hot but … made for a mean late night snack as well" deal than bär-bo-ne’s nightly five-course fresh pasta tasting menu. [Gluttoness] Flatiron: Eisenberg’s has been serving tater tots as latkes, but "the owner talked about getting in some big latkes soon. Let’s hope so … A place like Eisenberg’s deserves to have the best latkes." [Lost City] Midtown West: Norma’s has added new breakfast items to its menu, including hot chestnut pancakes and a chocolate waffle with peanut-butter-toffee-crunch filling, but don’t expect to get in and try them until the tourist exodus in January. [Eater] Tribeca: With chef Amanda Freitag at the helm, Jimmy Bradley plans to strive "for a bold, lusty, soulful menu at the Harrison." Saucy! [Restaurant Girl] Upper East Side: On weekdays through December, Zoë Townhouse at 135 East 62nd Street is offering a 15 percent discount off bottles of wine from noon to 7 p.m. [Grub Street] Williamsburg: From these pictures, the opening of the Peter Luger annex, which would significantly expand the restaurant, seems imminent. [Eater]

Newfangled Toilets Make Us Wonder What They'll Look Like When They're Oldfangled

Toilet
Bushwick: All the 'swhik kids are chipping in to help Steve Trimboli, who runs local indie-rock mecca Goodbye Blue Monday, pay his mountain of post-cancer bills. That's nice. [VV]
Carroll Gardens: Who is trying to destroy the hood's "Democracy Wall," where locals post anti-development propaganda? Could it be … Councilmember Bill DeBlasio? [Gowanus Lounge]
Flatiron: The new Cemusa toilet's going up in Madison Square Park! Weird to think that something so sleek will soon be crawling with germs. (Or are these things self-cleaning?) [Curbed, Promediacorp]

Pamplona's Supersoft Poached Salmon (and Ultracrispy Skin)

Pamplona
Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.

Shake Shack Instates Line-Cutting and Heat Lamps; There's Only One DB, and He's Not in Forest Hills

Carroll Gardens: Renovations seem to be happening at Jason Neroni's old haunt, Porchetta, but as of yet there are no reliable rumors about the new restaurant's pedigree. [Eater] East Village: Tasty Falafel’s eight-cent sandwich deal set for this Friday might come with more than you bargained for, like the roach pictured in this order. [Eat for Victory/VV] Flatiron: Shake Shack now accepts phone-in orders that allow burger fiends to skip to the front of the line; plus, Meyer has added heat lamps for those eating in the park. [Eater] Forest Hills: Little Danny Brown’s db Wine Bar & Kitchen at 104-02 Metropolitan Avenue just lost a trademark battle to the original DB, Daniel Boulud. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] West Village: The trick to scoring a table at tiny, cozy, exceptional restaurants like the little owl: Show up late like Charlie Rose. [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine]

Can't Beat Building Sex

Carroll Gardens: Nobody wants to buy into this notorious new building, pictured here mounting an older, prettier structure from behind. [Brownstoner] Corona: The sad thing about this (apparently) new building is that, if you squint, it might even pass for Deco period if it weren't for the hideous balconies and front door. [Queens Crap] Flatiron: Edwidge Danticat "reads from his memoir" tonight at B&N. Dude looks like a lady to us. [East Village Idiot]

New York to Charlie Trotter: Bring It On!

So Charlie Trotter is coming to New York at long last. (Or so the New York Times says today, reporting that the celebrated Chicago chef has plans for a restaurant on East 22nd Street, at One Madison Park.) Our question is, what took him so long? Trotter has been considered one of the top chefs in America for years, but big names in second-rate food cities rarely make a big splash here. Paul Prudhomme, the pride of New Orleans, had only mixed success here, and in recent years Charles Ramseyer of Seattle (at Wild Salmon), and Fabio Trabocchi of Virginia (at Fiamma), both the toasts of their former towns, have received tepid responses here. (Tim Love, the pride of Texas, washed out completely with Lonesome Dove.)

New Momofuku(s) Opening Next Week; Meryl Streep to Play Julia Child

Momofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 is set to open Tuesday, which by David Chang’s accounts should mean Ko will be raised in one night and ready by Wednesday in the original’s former space. [Eater] Related: Keeping Up With the Momofukus Food & Wine questions whether Meryl Streep can carry the role of their “Patron Saint” Julia Child, though they have hope from a scene in The Hours in which the actress “deftly separated egg whites from egg yolks by letting the whites run through her fingers.” [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine] Hudson Valley is the largest foie gras producer in the country so even though 15,000 breeding ducks were killed in a fire this week, it “shouldn’t seriously affect production,” says Frank Bruni. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Shake Shack Opens Year-round; Five Guys On in Midtown

Flatiron: Shake Shack is hammering out a year-round plan that may kick off after the New Year and will include heat lamps. (It better!) [Eat for Victory/VV] Long Island City: Art-O-Mat sells nice neighborhood souvenirs like LIChocolate bars. [LIC-NYC] Lower East Side: New bar and restaurant Cafe Katja has earned some positive buzz for its touches like house-made pickles and sauerkraut and well-priced Austrian and German wine and beer. [Blog Chelsea] Midtown West: Five Guys Burger’s and Fries at 43 West 55th Street started serving today, a day ahead of schedule. [Midtown Lunch] Nolita: Katie Lee Joel’s favorite New York restaurant is Ballato’s on East Houston near Mulberry Street. [Restaurant Girl] Times Square: Top-notch steakhouse Del Frisco’s still has steak tips and mashed potatoes on its lunch menu for under $10, though the burger’s over $13. [Midtown Lunch] Upper East Side: Sassy’s Sliders at 1530 Third Avenue near 86th Street is the front-runner in this roundup of the city’s best mini-sandwiches, which also includes Burke’s burgers at Bloomingdale's and the Little Owl’s meatball version. [Gridskipper] West Village: The new bar replacing Luke & Leroy on Seventh Avenue South is having a soft opening tonight. [Imbible/Citysearch] Voyage has finally given up the ghost, and its prime Perry Street restaurant real estate with it. [Eater]

Borough Food and Drink Kills the Retail Counter

BFD
The relaunching of Borough Food and Drink under Zak Pelaccio has already begun in earnest, but in an unexpected way: The restaurant has given its retail counter, one of the main pillars of its identity, the heave-ho. Why? More drinking space was needed! “The bar was getting too crowded,” BFD representative Meryl Scheinman tells us. “We loved the retail area, but it created a bottleneck. This makes it more welcoming, less crowded, and warms the room up a little.” Other big changes — you know, the ones to the menu — are still in the works, but intel is under wraps as of right now. In the meantime, if you didn’t get your Bosnian butter or Brighton Beach Russian bacon at the now-defunct counter, our condolences. Commiserate over a drink at the spacious bar, perhaps? Related: Zak Pelaccio Taking Over Borough Food and Drink From Jeffrey Chodorow

Bruni Down With Lunch at Craft; Blue Ribbon to Open This Week in Columbus Circle

Clinton Hill: A Nigerian restaurant, EN of Africa, is opening on the corner of Cumberland and Lafayette, and there’s relief that it’s not another French spot. [Clinton Hill Blog] Flatiron: Frank Bruni finds the newly instated lunch at Craft a good, logical fit, in that “Craft doesn’t project the kind of fussiness — on the plate or in terms of décor — that can feel more stilted and constraining at lunch than at dinner.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Hell's Kitchen: Xai Xai, a new wine bar, has opened up. [Endless Simmer] Murray Hill/Kips Bay: From November 7 to 10, the Champagne room at Country will be transformed into a bonbon shop where you can pair pastry chef Hsing Chen’s house-made chocolates with specialty cocktails or order a chocolate tasting menu as part of a collaboration with the upcoming Chocolate Show. [Grub Street] Park Slope: Katina’s seems to have been taken over by super Greek diner Purity and may now be called Little Purity. [Grub Street] Upper West Side: Blue Ribbon Six Columbus is poised to open this week, and here’s a sneak peak of the interior. [Zagat] West Village: Mary’s Dairy has closed both of its locations supposedly because the shops weren’t making enough money. Can ice-cream-only stores no longer cut it? Mary’s comes on the heels of Emack & Bolio's Seventh Avenue closure and Ben & Jerry’s Bleecker Street failure. [Eater] Williamsburg: Three of the ten-plus restaurants that serve sushi in the nabe made the cut in this Brooklyn raw-fish roundup. [Gridskipper]

Celebrity-Chef ‘Pop-Up’ Café Open in Midtown; Halloween Recipe From Stanton Social

Astoria: Freeze Peach is hosting a costume party Saturday at 8 p.m. and it’s BYO. [Joey in Astoria] Boerum Hill: Balsamic vinegar is available as a topping at the new ecofriendly ice-cream parlor Blue Marble, on Atlantic Avenue near Bond Street. [Bergen Carroll] Chelsea: Tekserv is hosting a Mac OS X Leopard release party tonight with free food and live jazz, and the winner of the leopard-themed costume contest gets an iPod. [Blog Chelsea] Clinton Hill: New restaurant Mariam at 975 Fulton Street features cuisine from Senegal, Kenya, and Guinea, but even though okra was “cooked down to an indiscernible sludge,” it doesn’t feel overextended; the spot will soon add Jamaican food to the menu. [Eat for Victory/VV] Flatiron: The Manhattan branch of Boerum Hill restaurant Lunetta opens Monday on Broadway at 21st Street. [Grub Street] Lower East Side: Essex Street’s newest Shamalian bar may have opened for a night this week, but it’s closed now. [Eater] Just in time for Halloween house parties, the Stanton Social has provided a simple recipe for pumpkin croquettes. [Restaurant Girl] Meatpacking District: The communal table at Los Dados is supposedly a hot singles scene. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Midtown West: Bon Appétit’s “Pop-Up” café opened yesterday and features sandwiches and salads designed by Emeril, Giada, Govind, and Pichet Ong, plus desserts from Will Goldfarb. [Midtown Lunch] Related: Celebrity Chefs Flock to Former Home of Cheesy Celebrity Restaurant Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Papas & Sons market was busted Wednesday. “Word on the street is that someone in there was running numbers,” but no one’s talking. [Across the Park]

Rockabilly Bar in Progress on the LES; Dévi Reopens With a Discount

Astoria: “A lot of people in town are excited” about the 7-Eleven that just opened on 30th Avenue and 30th Street, so much so that the Slurpee machine may have broken from overuse. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: No more soft opening! Speakeasy from former Top Cheftestant Josie Malave opens tonight, and photos taken of the menu in the window reveal such inspired dishes as zucchini sticks and fettuccine with spinach and sun-dried tomato. [Clinton Hill Blog] Flatiron: Dévi reopens tonight, and the dinner menu will be 20 percent off through November 20. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Little Italy: Papabubble’s grand-opening party went well on Saturday; as you can see from these pics, the “walls were fully stocked with fresh candy, open jars with samples were everywhere, and … stateside Papabubble proprietors, even put on a little candy making show.” [Down by the Hipster] Lower East Side: Fat Baby and Spitzer’s Corner owners Rob and Will Shamlian seem well on their way to opening a rockabilly bar and restaurant at 133 Essex Street, minus a liquor license and a mechanical bull. [Eater] Sunset Park: Pepper and salt fish are tiny fish deep-fried in a batter that puffs up like funnel cake; they go well with abundant mini-shots of beer, and conveniently both are served at Ren Ren on Eighth Avenue every day until 3:30 a.m. [Eat for Victory/VV]

Momofuku Won't Close for Even One Day; Half Off Wine at Artisanal

East Village: David Chang plans on wasting no time turning Momofuku Noodle Bar into Momofuku Ko next month: The place won't close for even much a day but rather will morph overnight into its new identity. [Grub Street] Related: Keeping Up With the Momofukus Flatiron: Cookbook editor Judith Jones will lead a discussion and wine tasting at Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit on October 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. [Grub Street] Fort Greene: On Saturday evenings the gourmet shop L’Epicerie turns into “a $40 per head, BYOB, family-style restaurant offering a casually sophisticated take on the dinner party.” [NYO] Midtown: All the wines by the glass at Artisanal will be half off after 10 p.m., starting next week. [Grub Street] Red Hook: The bar-robbing thugs who held up Bait & Tackle bartenders at gunpoint have been apprehended. [Eater] Times Square: The Palm West will be serving a Purple Martini this season that includes some new liquor that to our knowledge does not include grape juice. [Grub Street]

Plate of Pig Liver Silences Bruni in Nolita; ‘Top Chef’ Contestant's Restaurant Will Be Speakeasy

Astoria: Coffee and desserts are available at Tell Astorya Cafe on 28th Avenue during events including Friday’s Independent Film nights and afternoon jazz on Saturday. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Former Top Chefer Josie Smith-Malave has named her restaurant on Waverly and Greene Speakeasy. [Clinton Hill Blog] East Village: The food-feature documentary King Corn opens today at Cinema Village. [Cakehead] Flatiron: Centro Vinoteca’s Anne Burrell, Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez of Lassi, and Dos Caminos chef Ivy Stark will be cooking for next Thursday’s benefit for Women Chefs & Restaurateurs at the Prince George Ballroom. [Gothamist] Greenwich Village: Gray’s Papaya on 8th Street has endorsed Bloomberg for president because “he talks the talk, and he’ll walk the walk.” [Blog Chelsea] Nolita: Frank Bruni is actually at a loss for words to describe a favorite dish that Frank DeCarlo serves at Peasant: “the suckling pig liver will fascinate you because it tastes so very much like other liver you’ve had and yet … and yet … different, but in ways that are tough to pinpoint.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Sushi Comes to Prospect-Lefferts at Last

Flatiron: Hill Country has unveiled a special cocktail list that makes use of artisanal Texas vodka Tito’s (also found in house cocktails at Morandi). [Down by the Hipster] Long Island City: Even though its cheese soup is awfully cheesy, Bricktown Bagel Cafe is a welcome addition to the area for its comfy chairs and the mere fact that it’s not a liquor store. [LIC-NYC] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Sushi Tatsu is opening a second location on Flatbush in the space that was China City. [Across the Park] Soho: Real-estate mogul Andrew Borrok plans to open a four-star restaurant next year with no concern for profits. [Eater] Upper East Side: If you’re an adult, it’s best to avoid Bemelmans Bar on weekend afternoons when the iconic hotel lounge hosts a "Madeline tea party" for grade schoolers. [NYDN]

A Voce Sequels to Appear Soon in a City Near You?

Andrew Carmellini
We hear from multiple sources that plans are under way to re-create A Voce in other cities. At least two are in the works, we hear, but chef Andrew Carmellini warns us that no leases are signed yet. “You can have meetings every day, but it’s all bullshit until you sign on the dotted line.” We couldn’t agree more!