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The Oyster Bar's Got Soft-Shells — in March!

And they keep making it sound like rising global temperatures are a bad thing. Feh! How else would we be lucky enough to have soft-shell crabs in March? Yup, that's right, rising ocean temperatures have tricked the clueless crustaceans into shedding their skins early, making the summertime treat available before you've even filed your taxes. Where can you find 'em? Only at Grand Central's Oyster Bar, which claims to have cornered the market on the currently available supply of the critters. What else does global warming mean for the fate of crabkind? Find out on Grub Street. Don't Tell Al Gore: Soft-Shell Crabs Already Here [Grub Street]

Fancy French Dip: Mmm, Jus-y

The things we did not know about the humble French-dip sandwich are, it is now clear, legion. We did not know that it was invented in Los Angeles. We did not know two restaurants dispute which of them came up with it first. And we did not know that Flatbush Farm, in Park Slope, serves what is quite possibly the best one in New York, an Haute Barnyard combination of heritage meat, melted Gruyère, and a horseradish sauce, served on name-brand bread. It's Grub Street's Sandwich of the Week, and we now know we'll be disappointed by whatever we end up scrounging for lunch. Haute Barnyard Take on a Classic SoCal Sandwich [Grub Street]

Some Models, Apparently, Eat As Much As You Do

Think models don't eat? If Missy Rayder — currently featured in Gap's khakis campaign — is any indication, that's hardly the case. Missy runs down her week of noshes in the new New York Diet, and we count mentions of "really greasy" French fries, lobster rolls, "the best brisket ever," and Heath bar ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. That's not all. Find out what else she scarfed down this week on Grub Street. Model Missy Rayder Drinks Garlic and Eats 'Dragon Bowls' [Grub Street]

We Just Go to the Penthouse Club for the Intellectual Conversation

You're not particularly surprised that Sara, a waitress at the Penthouse Executive Club — presumably Frank Bruni's new favorite cocktail lounge — looks like, well, that. You're also probably not entirely surprised that Sara once received as a tip a pair of two-carat, platinum-set diamonds, from a regular customer who, she explains, "always liked to sit with me." But you likely didn't expect that Sara is also working on a doctorate in philosophy, that she calls working at the club her "mind-body dualism" ("I maintain an accurate balance in the social-physical world and the thought-filled world," she says), or that she's never walked in on anything more explicit that PG-13. Learn lots more about Sara at Grub Street. Sara of the Penthouse Executive Club Knows Your Children's Names [Grub Street]

None Is the Lonesomest Number

It's a classic story: A brash outsider, fizzing with ambition, comes to the big city and gets a thoroughly educational thrashing. And yet now that Lonesome Dove, the Manhattan outpost of Tim Love's Texas steakhouse, has shuttered, the blogs are pouring a little moonshine on the ground for the departing joint. Sure, some of the dishes were ridiculous, as was that cowhide on the sidewalk, but there was also a little Manhattan snobbery — and, dare we say, a touch of misplaced blue-state rage — in the collective drubbing administered to Love. Grub Street has put together a collection of links in tribute. Lonesome Dove Flies Away [Grub Street] Bonus: Adam Platt's original evisceration [NYM]

Rats Ruin It for Everyone

Grub Street brings us the worrisome news that the New York City Department of Health is going all vigilante on area restaurants following last week's embarrassing rat infestations. This weekend's victims? West Village stalwart John's Pizzeria and neighboring Risotteria. Operators of both restaurants were furious, as were thwarted customers. Grub Street has all the dirt (which may or may not be in the restaurants themselves). Customers Rush to Pizzeria's Defense [Grub Street]

Daniel Pinchbeck Hates Processed Food, Likes Coffee

Daniel Pinchbeck, the mind-expanded author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, realized the first time he took mushrooms — back in college — just how much he didn't like processed food, and he's been trying to eat on a higher plane ever since. How does he do that? With a lot of coffee, it seems, and occasional stops for raw food. Find out his latest noshes in this week's New York Diet, at Grub Street. Psychedelic Writer Daniel Pinchbeck Likes His Chocolate With ‘Special Properties’ [Grub Street]

Purple, Annotated

Varietal pastry chef Jordan Kahn is, we're told, the pastry chef in New York right now. And what does the pastry chef want his desserts to taste like? Purple, apparently. In this week's Annotated Dish, he deconstructs his "Meditation in Purple," explaining all its luscious ingredients. Check it out at Grub Street. Varietal's 'Meditation in Purple': Need We Say More? [Grub Street]

David Cross Is Both 12 and 42 Years Old

In the fall and winter, David Cross drinks red wine with "almost every meal." (In the spring and summer, apparently, it's beer.) We'd assume he means every non-breakfast meal, but, then, he also has chili for breakfast, so who knows? He even likes red wine with his favorite snack, pretzel rods dipped in Smucker's all-natural peanut butter, chunky. What else did he have red wine with last week? Find out in the latest New York Diet at Grub Street. Comedian David Cross Likes His Peanut Butter and Pretzels With a Glass of Wine [Grub Street]

Apparently We're Calling This Chodogate

Yesterday morning, as you likely saw and no doubt heard, Kobe Club proprietor Jeffrey Chodorow took out a full-page ad in the Times dining section to lambaste Frank Bruni's previous pan of his establishment. In the seven-paragraph (and, we must note, poorly punctuated) screed, Chodorow claimed Bruni's attack on him was personal and bashed the critic for having no real "food background." (Remind us, by the way, not to eat in Chodorow's restaurants, as, lacking a food background of our own, we'll clearly be unqualified to know whether we enjoyed our experience.) He also named three critics who, unlike Bruni, liked the Kobe Club: New York's beloved Gael Greene (who indeed fawned over the restaurant in her 240-word squib), and Bob Lape of Crain's and John Mariani of Esquire (who are both known to be on the take). He didn't mention that lots of critics hated it, including New York's chief food critic, Adam Platt, who gave the Kobe Club no stars and called it "a bizarre agglomeration of restaurant fashions and trends, most of them bad." But Platt earned a glancing dig, when Chodorow announced an "After Adam" feature on his new blog. Platt responded yesterday afternoon on Grub Street, and last night, Grub's Josh Ozersky checked in with the ranting restaurateur to find out if there was more to say on the topic. Apparently there was. The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow's Broadside [Grub Street] We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He's Been Feeling Well Lately [Grub Street]

Show Me the Way to the Next Liquor Bar

For as long as there have been bars, there have been bartenders, and for as long as there have been bartenders, there have been liquored-up customers talking to them. What do they say to you when you're the bartender at Schiller's Liquor Bar? Well, the girls give you their numbers, the guys tell you about the urinary exploits, and a middle-aged guy likes to ask about sex clubs. There's a lot more in this week's Ask a Waiter, at Grub Street. Boyfriend Cheating? Corey Lima of Schiller's Is There for You [Grub Street]

Mmm, Mmm, Good

We know, we know. We never should have gone out in this weather dressed like that; of course we'd catch a cold. But what's done can't be undone, and now that we're sneezing and sniffling, what can we do? Grub Street to the rescue! In today's At the Market column, Zoe Singer rounds up the best chicken-soup options around the city and tops it off with a tip on the best seasonal oranges for fresh-squeezed OJ. Our sinuses are clearing up already. Chicken Soup for the House-Bound Soul [Grub Street]

Raw Foodie Sarma Melngailis Has a Secret

What does one of New York's leading raw-food restaurateurs — Sarma Melngailis of Pure Food and Wine — eat in a week? You'd be surprised. It's not just vegan-friendly vegetable concoctions and "weirdo shakes," as she calls them; there's also some lamb and venison, too. "Here’s how I rationalize occasionally not eating raw-vegan," she explains at Grub Street. "I always want to try good food." What other good food did she eat? Head to Grub Street to find out. Raw Foodist Sarma Melngailis Drinks Grapefruit Sake Mojitos Before Noon [Grub Street]

CB3 Loves Petraske, Hates His Plans

One thing was clear at the Community Board 3 meeting last night: The East Village board loves Milk and Honey proprietor Sasha Petraske. "He is probably the only owner in nine years who has run [his bar] according to his representations," said committee chair Alexandra Militano, who also noted he's received no complaints in nine years, as Daniel Maurer reports on Grub Street. So does all that good behavior and good will mean they'll allow him to open his planned Mighty Ocelot wine and beer bar on East 5th Street? Of course not. Noisily angry neighbors flooded the meeting, complaining that Petraske's establishment would create too much noise. And the board voted to recommend the State Liquor Authority deny his application. The full tale is at Grub Street. Neighbors Tell Milk & Honey's Sasha Petraske, 'Welcome to the East Village, Now Leave [Grub Street]

Something's Fishy at Picholine

So you've been to Picholine, and you've had the $80 three-course prix fixe, and you've loved the first course, chef Terrance Brennan's famous sea-urchin panna cotta, which you know to be one of only two items on the menu held over from the previous incarnation of the restaurant. But, still, you've always felt like you don't quite know the dish. And you've always wished Brennan would stop and explain it to you. Well, kids, now you're in luck: Grub Street's got a new Annotated Dish, and it's Picholine's sea-urchin panna cotta. Learn all about its fishy fabulousness at Grub Street. Picholine’s ‘Oceanic’ Sea-Urchin Panna Cotta [Grub Street]

Extra! Extra! There Is Chick-fil-A in New York

Rob and Robin deliver an astounding piece of news in their Sandwich of the Week update today: There actually is a Chick-fil-A branch — one, solitary outpost — in Manhattan. Even more astounding: It's located in an NYU food court, and the dedicated dining duo infiltrated said food court — sans student I.D. but avec verisimilitudinous knapsnack — to sample the wares. How was it? "Deliriously good," they report, "in a heavily seasoned monosodium-glutamate kind of way." Mmm … MSG. All the details are at Grub Street. Sneaking Past Security for the Sandwich of the Week [Grub Street]

The Gobbler's Guide to Avoiding Bad Meals

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of bad New York restaurants? The Gobbler knows. In his Grub Street column this week, Adam Platt distills the nine signs you're about to have a really sucky meal. From maître d' inspections to the "truffles-truffled" dichotomy to warnings about the size of the desserts (anything bigger "than your mother's handbag" is to be avoided), the Gobbler's got the telltale clues. Check them out on Grub Street. Signs You're About to Have an Awful Meal [Grub Street]

How to Make Eggs Like a Pro, and Other Adventures in Opening a Restaurant

Former wd-50 pastry chef Sam Mason will be opening a joint of his own, Tailor, at the beginning of March. As he prepares for the big day, he's been chronicling his exploits for Grub Street. In today's installment, he considers tableware, purchases some kitchen machinery, and reveals how to make the most perfect soft-boiled egg. (Hint: You won't be able to do it at home.) Learn about it at Grub Street. Sam Mason and the Fabulous Egg Machine [Grub Street]

‘Dutchman’ Flames On at Carlyle

carlyle_sm.jpg The Carlyle is an institution, and so, by now, is Per Se; still, glaring at each other diagonally across the park, they seem to belong to slightly different universes. No more! Brian Van Flandern, a former head mixologist at Per Se, is bringing his bag of tricks to the Carlyle's Bemelmans Bar. Van Flandern's signature, career-making, in no way autobiographical "Flaming Dutchman" (key ingredients: cognac, sherry, gin, and a lot of publicity) will be reborn at its new home with a slight twist. No word on whether Per Se's notorious "Tonic With Gin" concoction, which involved brewing small batches of homemade tonic water from imported quinine, will be reprised as well. Our Grub Street brethren have the rest of the scoop. Per Se Mixologist to Light a Flaming Lemon Peel Under Bemelmans' Ass [Grub Street]