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]
Where does Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman hold his holiday party? Not at the Spotted. When does he hold it? Not during the holiday season. And what does he serve? More food that you can imagine. This past Sunday — Super Bowl Sunday — Friedman threw a belated holiday party for his Pig staff at Del Posto, another eatery owned by part Pig owner Mario Batali. The feast was one of Dionysian excess — a roasted pig, mac 'n' cheese with black truffles, innumerable apps, cake "served by scantily clad babes." Rob and Robin have the complete menu — plus photos! — at Grub Street.
Batali Helps Devise Insane Feast for Spotted Pig Staff [Grub Street]
Bad news for all the single people of New York: Valentine's Day is mercilessly creeping up on us. (Depressing, isn't it?) There are several gastronomic ways to mark the date, as the Underground Gourmet points out on Grub Street today. You could stay at home and order pizza; you could drown your sorrows in a vat of Häagen-Dazs; you could spend the evening with the gallant General Tso, who in such cases we have always found to be both an officer and a gentleman. Or if you're determined to celebrate your singlehood — and perhaps ensure that you remain that way — you could try the sandwich the Underground Gourmet has identified as Sandwich of the Week: the Breakup Burger. Find out all about it at Grub Street.
Sandwich of the Week: Twisted Burger's Breakup Burger [Grub Street]
The self-consciously hip Flatiron club Room Service has several gimmicks, and one of them is this: With a reservation for one of the curtained-off VIP cabanas — and 24 hours' notice — a Room Service concierge will deliver anything your VIPness desires. So what have patrons been requesting? Grub Street's Daniel Maurer got his hands on a list of every item demanded over a two-week period, and it runs from Ben & Jerry's to wasabi peas. We promise some stops along the way are more salacious.
Weird Deliveries Demanded by Club VIPs [Grub Street]
Well, hey, who'd have thunk it? Turns out Ilan won Top Chef. (Of course he did. No surprise ending has been this preordained since John Faso thought he stood a chance against Spitzer.) But, still, even though the result wasn't in doubt, the great existential question of reality television demands attention: What did it mean? Thankfully, Grub Street's Josh Ozersky joined New York's favorite couch potato, Adam Sternbergh, to answer just that question. Read their colloquy on Grub Street.
Ilan Won, Yes, But What Does It All Mean? [Grub Street]
A room at the Gramercy Park Hotel: $500. The steak-frites at Balthazar: $30. Being able to order the latter while staying in the former, at any hour: Priceless. Grub Street's Daniel Maurer is reporting that when Park Chinois, the hotel's restaurant, finally opens in the spring, its 24-hour room-service menu will offer facsimiles of classic dishes from many well-known New York restaurants. The list isn't close to final, but Grub Street's got the inside track on some likely contenders.
Gramercy Park Room Service: 'This Next One Is a Nobu Cover' [Grub Street]
We know we're biased, but we say this in all seriousness: Grub Street has just published its best Ask a Waiter thus far, and what we have to imagine will be the best Ask a Waiter ever. It's with Dirty Delta of Lucky Cheng's, and you'll learn everything you ever wanted to know — plus much more — about being a drag-queen waitress. What does Dirty think about the East Village institution's food, for example? "You don't come to Lucky Cheng's to eat gourmet food," she says. "You come to see some bitch in a G-string acting crazy at your table." But of course. There's so much more at Grub Street.
Dirty Delta of Lucky Cheng's Serves Orgy Bowls to Britney Spears [Grub Street]
If you pay attention to local foodie press, you've been hearing a lot about PrimeTime Tables, the new service that, essentially, scalps reservations at top restaurants. You've heard speculation about who's behind it, debates about its morality, doubts about whether it actually works. But you haven't heard what it's like to actually use the service. Until now. This weekend, Grub Street's Josh Ozersky pulled off a feat of participatory journalism the likes of which hasn't been seen since George Plimpton last suited up in Detroit. Read all about it on Grub Street.
We Submit Ourselves to PrimeTime Tables [Grub Street]
So how expensive is it to open a restaurant in the Time Warner Center? According to rumors Grub Streeter Josh Ozersky is hearing, rent alone can set you back $72,000 a month. Grub's sources say that's what Marc Murphy will pay to open a new branch of his Tribeca bistro Landmarc in the upscale mall at Columbus Circle. If Jean-Georges Vongerichten couldn't make a go of it there, can things work out for the far more modest Landmarc? Josh considers the question at Grub Street.
Landmarc in the Time Warner Center May Already Be Doomed [Grub Street]
Next week is Winter Restaurant Week, which means $24.07 at lunch and $35 at dinner for a three-course meal from one of the dozens and dozens of participating New York City eateries. That's quite a deal for lunch at Gramercy Tavern or dinner at Spice Market. But the catch is that there are only so many reservations available — and buzzy spots like those two are probably long booked. What to do? Grub Street to the rescue! Josh Ozersky lists four spots low enough on buzz to give you a good chance of snagging a spot but high enough on quality to earn his recommendation. It's at Grub Street.
A Restaurant Week Guide to the Forgotten and Underappreciated [Grub Street]
Winter Restaurant Week 2007 [NYC&Co.]
Grub Street has news today that there may finally be a new tenant for the West Village restaurant space best known for housing Grange Hall (and, more recently, Blue Mill) — and it's not highfalutin mixologist Sasha Petraske, who'd previously said he was interested. Nope, the new guy is Harold Moore, a chef who's worked for some of New York's top French toques. Josh Ozersky explains at Grub Street.
Harold Moore of March to Take Over Grange Hall-Blue Mill Space [Grub Street]
We all know how to eat breakfast like a champion. Lunching like a MacArthur genius, or dining like a novelist, well, those are less clear-cut endeavors. It's a good thing, then, that Colson Whitehead — MacArthur genius, novelist, Fort Greene resident — chronicled a week in his eating life for Grub Street. The man is an admitted fan of "any sort of meat-in-dough combo — whether it's hot dogs or wontons or pork tacos," but there's lots more in there, too. Check it out on Grub Street.
Colson Whitehead Is a Big Fan of Meat Inside Dough [Grub Street]
Grub Street is breaking the news that guidebook scion Ted Zagat is leaving his parents' Zagat Survey LLC, where he's been the company's president and COO. Writes Grub's Daniel Maurer: He joined the company to "'spearhead the launch of its nightlife guides' and eventually 'moved his way up the company ladder' before 'calling it a day.'" There's more at Grub Street.
Junior Zagat Resigns [Grub Street]
London superchef Gordon Ramsay opened his New York outpost in November, and critics have not been kind, faulting its food, its service, and its design. But Pink News, a British gay news service, may have identified a larger problem. Ramsay has apparently been ranked one of Britain's Top 50 gay icons, which would mean his West 54th Street location puts Gordon Ramsay at the London about 35 blocks north of its ideal location. It's part of Grub Street's continuing coverage of the (avowedly heterosexual) Mr. Ramsay.
Gordon Ramsay, Gay Icon [Grub Street]
Yes, yes: We know it's not easy to put something together. (Every minor detail is a major decision, etc.) But just how hard is it to open a new restaurant in the big, bad city? To find out, Grub Street has enlisted Sam Mason, the onetime pastry chef at wd-50 who's opening his own restaurant in March, to file a weeklyish status report. In today's installment, Mason opens his new kitchen toys and considers the profundities of garbage. It's at Grub Street.
Sam Mason Reckons With Garbage [Grub Street]
You've heard, of course, of the Sports Illustrated Curse: That teams or players featured on the mag's cover inevitably don't perform as well as they're expected to. We're now forced to wonder if there's a similar Adam Platt Curse, as Dona, a restaurant New York's esteemed chief food critic named one of the city's best newcomers in the current issue, and helmed by a chef, Michael Psilakis, Platt picked as an up-and-comer to watch, has announced it will be closing after Saturday night. Josh Ozersky has the scoop — and more details — at Grub Street.
Dona Closing Saturday [Grub Street]
It may or may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but there is no doubt it is the most well-fed time of the year. Indeed, we're all busy shoveling so much stuff into our mouths this month, we may not give proper consideration to what's coming out of it. Fortunately, New York food critic Adam Platt is here to help. How is ravenous different from famished? Stuffed different from sated? Platt considers twenty terms for degrees of hungriness, and he ranks them all on his Gobbler Scale of Rabid Food Consumption. It's at Grub Street.
The Scale of Rabid Food Consumption, From Ravenous to Blacked Out [Grub Street]
Yes, yes. We all know boldfaced names often get preferential treatment, and we know that loyal regulars do, too. So it's no particularly great surprise that when Charlie Rose waltzes into a neighborhood joint in the West Village, he'll be favored and flattered a bit. But recently, Rose went a step further, "accidentally" receiving nearly immediately upon his arrival a roasted chicken destined for — and long-ago ordered by — other diners. Here's the truly delicious part: The patrons whose dinner he droit du seigneured were none other than New York's Underground Gourmets, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld. At Grub Street, read their tale of woe — and remember that the pen is always mightier than a fawning maître d'.
Charlie Rose, Chicken Thief [Grub Street]
Tired of eating at the same handful of places? (Aren't we all?) Well, good news then. Grub Street's got word of two big new restaurants coming to the ol' Apple. First, "haute southern favorite" Lola has finally gotten itself a new Soho space, a liquor license to go with it, and even a famous chef; look for a February opening. Plus, Hearth chef Marco Canora has announced he'll be opening a new Italian spot in midtown; it's set for March. The Grubbies have the details, and now we're hungry.
Lola Scores Liquor License, Teary-Eyed 'Top Chef' [Grub Street]
Hearth's Marco Canora Opening Two Restaurants in One [Grub Street]