And … Another Celebrity-Chef Calendar!
Proof that great ideas come in twos: Darwin and Wallace discovering evolution simultaneously, two Ethel Merman biographies coming out at the same time, and now, two celebrity-chef calendars appearing within a few weeks of each other. The first, announced here on Grub Street, was a Gourmet Institute effort, featuring images by My Last Supper photog Melanie Dunea; this one, offered by the Gohan Society, was shot by Kenji Takigami and offers a contrastingly serene approach (no cowboy suits or drunken fish!). The Gohan Society exists to promote Japanese gastronomy in the U.S., and proceeds from the calendar go to support it. Naturally, it has a fair share of Japanese chefs, but our favorite pictures are the ones above, of Amy Ruth’s Carl Redding, looking like the very picture of happiness, and François Payard, hard at work on some new confection. We’re going to put them both up. You can’t have too many chef calendars.
The Gohan Society Chefs Calendar 2008 [Gohan Society]
Related: Chef Centerfold Calendar Ready for 2008
Why Go All the Way to Times Square? Read the Spotlight Live Menu Here!Astoria: Arcos Portuguese restaurant has opened at 33-05 Broadway; porco à alentejana reported to be tasty, if not properly diced. [Joey in Astoria]
Dumbo: Down Danish vodka cocktails to celebrate spring tonight at Scandinavian design shop Tivoli Home. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: Our own Gillian Duffy joins François Payard and Donatella Arpaia at Broadway Panhandler on April 11 to talk table settings and Champagne cocktails. [Gothamist]
Fort Greene: The former T.G.I. Friday’s on Fulton Street waits to fulfill an aspiring restaurateur’s dreams. [Brooklyn Record]
Harlem: One fancy-pants eatery signified the end of the neighborhood that used to sell cooked chickens out restaurant windows. Damn you, gentrification! [Uptown Flavor]
Murray Hill: Les Halles closed by Department of Health until flood recedes, should reopen tomorrow. [Eater]
Times Square: Boozed-up karaoke fiends need to eat, too. Spotlight Live: Check out the menu. [Grub Street]
Tribeca: 66 will close April 15 for “renovations” — or is this finally our predicted deep-sixing of 66? [Eater]
Back of the House
Graydon Carter Acts Out; the Ultimate DietIf you’re a regular New Yorker and you don’t like the sound of construction outside, you’re out of luck. If you’re Graydon Carter, you’re still out of luck, but at least you can lash out. [NYP]
Readers write in to Bruni’s blog on the subject of the Cult of the Chef. Some of them seem to actually be in favor of it, to the critic’s surprise. He gives no ground, though. [NYT]
Dusty cakes sitting in the window of a Williamsburg bakery have officially reached landmark status. [NYT]
Chodorow and Payard May Also Ride Gravy Train to VegasThis morning we wrote that Artisanal owner Terrance Brennan may go prospecting for a new restaurant opportunity in Las Vegas. Looks like he might not be the only New Yorker with that idea. The real-estate broker who originally tipped us off says Jeffrey Chodorow, who already helms five spots in Sin City, is apparently looking for a place in which to install another branch of Asia de Cuba. Chodorow’s spokesperson would not comment. François Payard of Payard Patisserie & Bistro, meanwhile, openly tells us of his Vegas ambitions: “Yes, I’m working on a project in Las Vegas with Caesar’s Palace. It will be a small chocolate pastry shop called Payard. Most likely it’ll be open next year.”
Earlier: Terrance Brennan to Make Vegas Just a Little Bit Cheesier?
Nicole Kaplan Ditching Eleven Madison ParkOne of the city’s top pastry chefs is on the move: Nicole Kaplan, who served under two chefs at Eleven Madison Park and helped create the custard at Shake Shack, has given her notice. “I’m leaving sometime before the end of the year,” she tells us. “I’m looking at pastry-chef positions at several good restaurants and hotels.” Is there any temptation, we asked, to go the way of Will Goldfarb, Pichet Ong, and Francois Payard, and open her own dessert restaurant? “I’m not quite there yet,” Kaplan says. “I wish I was. But my husband” — Sea Grill chef de cuisine Jawn Chasteen — “and I have two kids and a big mortgage!” Kaplan says that wherever she goes, she plans on sticking to her style, which she describes as “three- or four-star comfort food.” “Dessert tastes don’t really change over time. Nobody is looking to eat a dessert they have to think about,” she says.
Calling All Augustus GloopsChocolate, of course, inspires in some people a kind of cultish devotion: They argue the merits of rival chocolatiers, debate the proper percentage of cocoa in candy, and would rather go dumpster diving than eat a Hershey bar. This is the weekend for them: The ninth annual Chocolate Show begins today at the Metropolitan Pavilion and extends through the weekend; $25 bucks will earn one adult and two tykes admission. Nearly every chocolate-maker worth his golden ticket present, many of whom, such as Francois Payard, Will Goldfarb of Room 4 Dessert, and many others, will be giving culinary demonstrations. And then there are the chocolate cocktails, the “KidZone” with chocolate painting, the spa treatments …
The Ninth Annual Chocolate Show New York 2006
The Other Critics
Pig Brownie Causes Ecstasy; Kimchee-and-Spam Sandwich, AmbivalenceIn this week’s review lineup, a motley crew of relative newcomers, including a noodle bar serving a kimchee-and-Spam sandwich, join some of the usual suspects, like Eleven Madison Park.
Having dissed the old-school last week, Alan Richman turns to the “epicenter of alternative dining” (the Spotted Pig, natch) but, disappointingly, fails to deliver any shockers: It’s “a ridiculously cramped gastro-pub in the West Village where you suffer physically and usually eat well.” [Bloomberg]
Bruni’s off blogging in Italy, but Julia Moskin doesn’t miss a beat dissecting Francois Payard’s InTent. The crowd consists of “headbangers and headbands.” The waiters “must be imported in carloads from Ann Arbor, Mich., or Madison, Wis.” The wine menu has categories that “suggest personality profiles at friendster.com.” And the food? “Sometimes it works beautifully, and sometimes the softness dissolves into mush.” [NYT]
Eschewing the newer, trendier steaks the Daily News has been drooling over, Moira Hodgson revisits Craftsteak hoping Tom Colicchio is running a tighter ship post-Gramercy Tavern. [NYO]
Andrea Strong gets her “buzz buzzing” at Eleven Madison Park, where new chef Daniel Humm’s “seductively piggy” confit, which she calls a “pig brownie,” nearly makes her weep with joy. [Strong Buzz]
Checking in on Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Andrea Thompson dismisses the three-terrine sandwich lauded by our own Underground Gourmet: “Who wants to spend nine bucks on a glorified burrito bar?” [NYer]
Meanwhile, the Spam-and-kimchee Asian-Cuban sandwich at Quentin Danté’s Noodle Bar has Robert Sietsema at a critical crossroads: “Some love this sandwich, while others hate it.” [VV]