Jason Denton’s new restaurant, the one for which he poached Steve Connaughton (from himself) at Lupa, is called Bar Milano and will open at the end of March, Denton says. He promises an Italian restaurant specializing in the regions of Northern Italy: Veneto, Piedmont, and Emilia-Romagna. The wine list will also draw from those areas and includes some “really affordable wines,” he claims. But wait: It will also be “really fun, in the vein of 'inoteca and Lupa, but with elevated service and price point.” What's fun about that? We'll go anyway those restaurants are good.
Related: Jason Denton Pulls Lupa Chef for New Gramercy Venture
Although Wakiya, the new high-end Chinese restaurant in Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel, is staffed almost entirely by Japanese chefs, the food is traditional Chinese, only slightly modernized. A good example is this “Bang Bang Chicken,” a classic Szechuan recipe in which, historically, a stick was used to soften the meat (hence the name). As prepared by Yuji Wakiya’s able chef de cuisine, Koji Hagihara, there are some hidden Japanese elements as well, but none that the eye can easily detect. As always, mouse over the different elements to see them described in Hagihara’s own words.
Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street
Ian Schrager’s Wakiya opened last night, bringing a much-awaited conclusion to the search for a luxury restaurant for the Gramercy Park Hotel. After an aborted engagement with Allen Yau, Schrager was able to bring over famed Japanese chef Yuji Wakiya to create a Chinese restaurant in the hotel. Grub Street correspondent Alexandra Vallis was on the spot to see what guests thought – including, we were happy to see, none other than Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, who noted approvingly that “this is what American people want.” Did the other diners agree? Check out the video and see.
Bay Ridge: The Duane Reade on Senator Street and Fourth Avenue closed. Please, please replace it with a grocery store. [Bay Ridge Brooklyn]
Boerum Hill: Some new residents on State Street were inundated with love notes from neighbors (or neighbor?) after jackhammering all weekend. [Brownstoner]
Chelsea: In this fairy-tale hood, there aren't just many wicked queens, but a dragon, too! [BlogChelsea]
Clinton Hill: There's a giant empty building on Emerson and Park. Apartments in there could be hot. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Gramercy Park: Beware a young new barber who trims beards to the jawline. [Manhattan Offender]
Harlem: It sounds like the bougie intellectual crowd and the pulp-fiction "sista lit" crowds clashed at the book fair this weekend. [HarlemFur]
Lower East Side: Efforts are under way to landmark a big chunk of the neighborhood before tenements are completely supplanted by shiny condos. [SaveTheLowerEastSide]
The winner of Tuesday’s Golden Scoop award for Best Bakery Recipe is coming to Gramercy soon — not that there’s a connection. Kelli Bernard of Amai Tea and Bake House says that plans have been in the works for her new retail bakery and tea house for a while. But the wait is over. “We’re going to open in two months, in early August,” she tells us from Alaska, where she’s currently on vacation. The signature item, naturally, looks to be her prize-winning green-tea sweet, a kind of sugar cookie made with matcha, the tea used in traditional Japanese ceremonies.
Wine stores and BYOB restaurants may be the most perfect pairing in the food world – as inseparable as Sauternes and foie gras, as complementary as Thai stick and Funyuns. As the number of affordable wines from every region continues to explode, the marriage is only getting better. Hence this week's Bar Buzz identifies six wine stores and six BYOB restaurants, all so close together that only a monk could fail to see the logic connecting them. From the pleasures of Two Buck Chuck at Angelica Kitchen, to Moscato d’Asti at Falai Panetteria, let us lead you by the hand to places where the wine markup is exactly zero.
Bar Buzz: Cheap Wine: Where to Buy It, Where to Bring It
We’re not in the habit of passing along unproven accusations about restaurant figures. Except, of course, when they’re so bizarre that we just can’t resist! An anonymous reader sent us this strangely Dickensian tale of a memorable encounter at Rolf’s along with the photo you see above. (By the way, it seems to us that the man, who may or may not be the place’s owner, was probably wearing lederhosen, not “knickers.”)
Don’t envy Las Vegas for having the very newest Batali-Bastianich restaurant, B&B Ristorante: We are about to get two more. A source high inside the restaurant organization tells us that a second Spotted Pig is on the way, this one a seafood concept helmed by newly minted Food & Wine Best New Chef April Bloomfield of the West Village original. Moreover, Casa Mono is also set to get a spinoff somewhere in NYC. The locations will be revealed when the deal is closed within a few days; in the meantime, this is good news for anyone who ever fought in vain to get into either place.
Clinton Hill: Cops will respond to the recent spate of thefts and break-ins around here, but only if you actually report them. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Gramercy Park: How long will it take for the abandoned buildings at 23rd Street and Second Avenue to go high-rise condo? [This Is What We Do Now]
Prospect Heights: Ratner's Atlantic Yards project starts to become real as demos proceed within the project's footprint — save those lots whose owners have filed suit, that is. [Atlantic Yards Report]
West Village: From top loin to Thom Browne? Yep, it looks like Barneys might be opening a new store in the meatpacking district's former home of Western Beef. [Curbed]
Williamsburg: Government environmental honchos want City Councilman Tony Avella to know that everything is all right with that oil oozing out of the ground at North 11th and Roebling. How reassuring. [Gowanus Lounge]