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Gilt Groupe

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It's Not a Lou Reed Event Without Andy Rooney

Unnamed event honoring Lou Reed. W Union Square, 201 Park Ave. S., nr. 17th St., 7 p.m. That's not some postmodern title; this event does not seem to have a name. Bono, David Bowie, Steve Kroft, and others are scheduled to attend. You know what they say — not a lot of people bought Velvet Underground records, but everyone who did started a band and/or television newsmagazine.

Urgent All Points Bulletin for Spring Vegetables

You don’t have to look far to see spring vegetables on menus all over New York. But look for local spring vegetables, and you may find they’re AWOL. Unseasonal weather has put the kibosh on many area sources, and for chefs that pride themselves on local ingredients, it’s a problem.

Chefs Try to Take It to the Next Level in This Week’s Issue

Five established chefs take center stage in this week’s issue – or six, if you count Kurt Gutenbrunner, who, per In Season, has a way with white asparagus. The others? Michael Anthony, the Blue Hill Haute Barnyard prodigy who stepped into Tom Colicchio’s shoes at Gramercy Tavern; Christopher Lee, a major rising talent who filled big shoes at Gilt; Kerry Simon, a Las Vegas–based Vongerichten lieutenant who is now doing the food for a giant karaoke bar; and finally Marco Canora and Asian dessert master Pichet Ong, whose long-awaited debuts, Insieme and P*Ong, respectively, open this week. All this star power, along with two short lists that couldn’t be more different, awaits in this week’s magazine.

I Am Stalking Gramercy Tavern’s Former Dessert Chef

Dear Grub Street,
I have been an occasional customer of Gramercy Tavern over the past several years. On a recent visit, I was greatly dismayed to find that my favorite dessert, a chocolate dacquoise, was no longer on the menu. It was explained to me that Gramercy has a new pastry chef and he has put his stamp on the dessert menu, apparently at the expense of my dacquoise. I was wondering if perchance you knew the name of the former pastry chef and whether he is working elsewhere.
Mark Raskin

Give a Fast-Food Receipt, Get a MetroCard

The city, seeking to find out just how badly New Yorkers eat prior to implementing its new calorie-info law, is trading MetroCards for meal receipts. [Nation's Restaurant News] Akthar Nawab of E.U., Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, and Chris Lee of Gilt all talk about the challenges of taking over an established restaurant (getting reviewed too soon, finding the fuse box, etc.). [NYP] The Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield is being named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef. [NYP]

Nick Morgenstern Rips Gilt a New One

Former Gilt pastry chef Nick Morgenstern has given us the inside dope on his firing last week. According to Morgenstern, chef Chris Lee and hotel management are pinning the move on each other: “They’re doing a little dance, pointing at each other, and they don’t want to give me any severance,” he tells us. Meanwhile, he’s heard that Lee’s pastry-chef buddy David Carmichael (formerly of Oceana and the Russian Tea Room) was seen checking out Morgenstern’s kitchen while the chef was out of town. But why did he get canned, anyhow?

Gilt’s Tradition-Defying Tuna Wellington

Overshadowed at first by his controversial predecessor, Paul Liebrandt, Gilt’s Christopher Lee is finally being recognized as one of the city’s most accomplished chefs. His signature dish, tuna Wellington, is characteristically inventive, intense, and well balanced. “I wanted to do a classic in a different light,” he tells us. Get his description of each painstakingly chosen ingredient by mousing over the arrows.

Can Paul Liebrandt Make New York Safe for Molecular Gastronomy?

The details aren’t yet clear, but it seems that one way or another, Paul Liebrandt will soon be leading a restaurant in New York. (Snack asserts that it will be Montrachet, but Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten tells us that it will be a new venture with Drew Nieporent; the two are searching for a space.) Add to that the launch of Sam Mason’s Tailor, the buzz around Jordan Kahn’s work at Varietal, and the mainstreaming of tropes like foams, and it looks like molecular gastronomy will have another shot with New York diners.

Chodorow Sure to Be Pissed Over New ‘Times’ Steakhouse Review

This one is bound to kill Chodorow. Bruni visits a steakhouse even more vulgar than Kobe Club and awards it one star: Robert’s Steakhouse, inside the Penthouse Executive Club. Adam Perry Lang, as most recognize, is one of the city’s top meat guys. [NYT] Meehan affirms that Kefi’s has terrific food at a bargain. He notes that it was strangely quiet the nights he was there, but that has changed, we’re told, since the Underground Gourmet gave the restaurant four stars. [NYT] Think of this less as a review of Gilt than an excuse for Steve Cuozzo to acknowledge Chris Lee, one of the city’s most underappreciated chefs, whose ill fortune it was to follow Paul Liebrandt and his alienating high-concept cookery. [NYP]

Going for Gold in the Gilt Restrooms

First Le Cirque 2000 was out at the over-the-top opulent Palace Hotel and Gilt was in; then foam fiend Paul Liebrant was out, along with his wallet-busting lunches, and the more sedate Christopher Lee was in. We wondered how the bathrooms were surviving the changes (had the toilets been sold on eBay along with the bar?), so we slipped into the surprisingly shabby stairwell leading to a carpeted hallway.

Sam Mason: “It’s Like the Special Olympics”

Sam Mason, the former star pastry chef at wd-50, will be launching his own restaurant and lounge, Tailor, at the beginning of March. In the weeks leading up to then, he’ll take us behind the scenes of a hot restaurant opening.

Hunger Gala to Help Feed Recently Fired Chef

Paul Liebrandt, the talented young chef recently handed the mitten at Gilt, will be back in action next Wednesday, cooking at the Action Against Hunger fall gala. Liebrandt, one of the few unemployed chefs in New York with his own Website, will be prepping the main course, chef Joe Murphy of Jean Georges will be doing the dessert, and Andy Gold of the Institute of Culinary Education is handling the appetizer. Though the focus, we admit, will probably be on the honorees, Susan Sarandon and Dr. Daniel Py, and the presenters, Christy Turlington and movie director Terry George. The event will be held at Capitale, the opulent former bank space where we so recently attended the Batali roast. We expect this to be far more dignified. And far more expensive. World Food Day Gala, November 15, Capitale

No Love for Love; Another Arty Eatery; Tapas That Rock

In this week's reviews, Cuozzo draws his six-shooter on Tim Love and Ted Turner, Ryan Sutton drinks the $12 bottled water at Gilt, Andrea Strong's blood boils over the pricey wines at Devin Tavern, and more. Cuozzo to Tim Love and Ted Turner: "Welcome to New York: Now leave!" [NYP] Ryan Sutton takes the temperature at Gilt now that the foam has cleared and finds that "if Liebrandt's cuisine was hyperactive, [new chef Christopher] Lee's is hyper-restrained." Though the grub's a bit cheaper, there's still a $12 "you just got fleeced'' fee on bottled water. [Bloomberg] Julia Moskin visits the Morgan's dining room, the latest in arty eateries, and finds the nicest restaurant salad she's had in years. Of the beef Wellington: "Some dishes, like musicals, should never be revived." [NYT] Paul Adams contemplates the sublime porkiness of Momofuku Ssäm Bar [NYS] At Palo Santo, a Pan-Latin joint on a Slope side street, $25-and-Under (not the super-stingy Meehan we've been loving) unearths off-the-menu items like beef-cheek asopado. [NYT] Reeling from "Spain's 10," Augie taps the tapas at Boqueria and finds they rock almost as hard as Jane's Addiction doing "Ripple." [Augieland] Taking up the good fight alongside Meehan, Andrea Strong visits Devin Tavern and her blood boils over the $40-plus wine list: "This is not very tavern like. Come on." [Strong Buzz] Ignoring the Gobbler's advice on how not to get made, the Amateur Gourmet is exposed at Country. [Amateur Gourmet] Katie Julian weighs in on the Tasting Room and agrees with everyone else: Some dishes work (porcini topped with a fried egg and crispy pork skin), and others don't (raw matsutake-mushroom slices drizzled with "cheese-pumpkin juice"). [NYer] BlackBook delves into Haute Barnyard at Flatbush Farm. [BlackBook]

Mario Slammed for His Crocs; Zagat's Dinner Prices a Crock?

Plenty of new chefs and openings to report, but the real hubbub is over the persistence of Batali's orange shoes and a certain skinny red book. • Per the Flo chart, Boulud opens a wine bar, Tourondel opens a burger joint, and Neiporent teams up with Bao 111's Michael Huyn for a Vietnamese venture. [NYT] • Batali wears the Crocs for a movie premiere and our friends the Fug Girls declare him "the poster child for this crime against global retinas." Meanwhile Radar reports he dishwashes his 30 pairs. [Chow] • New chefs attempt to breathe life into Gilt (Chris Lee; lobster sliders), Thor (Kevin Pomplun; oxtail fettuccini), and tapas bar Marbella (Fernando Echeverri, squid-stuffed chorizo). [Strong Buzz] • Zagat drops, and Jennifer Leuzzi asks the usual chefs how they feel about landing the usual spots. [NYS] • Meanwhile, Steve Cuozzo complains that Tim and Nina are still lowballing meal costs, which have climbed 14.5 percent at top spots: "Many figures given as the 'average estimate of the price of a dinner with one drink and tip' at specific restaurants still seem more like cheapest-case scenarios than averages." [NYP] • Finally, last call for the chipotle-gorgonzola-black-bean-lasagne at Williamsburg's eatery-cum-screening-room Monkey Town. [Eater]

City Fears Unflaky Pie Crusts, Turns to Whoppers and Whiskey

• The city bans trans fats from restaurants, despite the fact that nobody minds the stuff, the industry is against the regulations, and New Yorkers stand to lose their flaky pie crusts. (NYT) • McDonald's, meanwhile, donates $2 million to childhood-obesity research. (Nation's Restaurant News) • And hackers bust open Burger King's free Whopper offer. (A Hamburger Today) • More women are hitting the hard stuff. (NYDN) • In a champagne-and-caviar matchup, fired Gilt chef Paul Liebrandt will consult for Stephen Starr, the mogul behind Buddakan and Morimoto. (Snack)