Harold Dieterle Explains Why He Loves BangkokIn a random but oddly enjoyable interview with Harold Dieterle, the Perilla chef and Top Chef laureate tells Gridskipper he loves Bangkok for its duck and deep-tissue massages — but not that kind.
Debriefer: Top Chef Harold Dieterle [Gridskipper]
Cipriani Still Living High on the Hog; Another Mechanical Bull Comes to New YorkThe nation can rest easy in the knowledge that Giuseppe Cipriani is still cruising around in a Rolls-Royce, has kept his private jet, and may even build another yacht in addition to the one he already owns. [NYP]
The Shamalian boys opened their rockabilly bar on Essex last night even though it’s unfinished, and there really is a bull! [Eater]
The Federal Trade Commission has launched their second attack against the Whole Foods–Wild Oats merger vowing that even though money has already exchanged hands that the integration can still be stopped. [NYT]
Stark Cuts the Cord With Amalia; Betting on the Next Iron ChefIvy Stark has quit as executive chef at Amalia and may, in fact, return to the B.R. Guest group to spearhead plans for a Dos Caminos Las Vegas. [Foodservice Blog/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: Will Ivy Stark Return to B.R. Guest?
Tom Colicchio doesn’t mind that people come to his restaurants for his celebrity, plus he ponders a showdown with Harold Dieterle and Ilan Hall in this Q&A. [Radar]
Caesars Palace is setting the odds to see who will be the Next Iron Chef. Our money’s on Aaron Sanchez. [CNN]
In the Magazine
A ‘Top Chef’ Surprise and Other Summer Treats
The lull of midsummer is already over, and new growths sprout everywhere. A young chef gives his first restaurant a go, a veteran gets his own place for the first time, and an established star gets a fresh start. We have restaurant openings, new and better lemonades, and even a baked squash blossom. Summer is starting to tire, but the food stays sharp.
In the Magazine
The Tragic Tales Behind ‘Top Chef’So let’s say you somehow make it on to Top Chef or Project Runway, elbowing past the thousands of other rivals seeking to fertilize the egg of an upcoming reality-TV-show season. And let’s say you even win the contest, getting crowned Top Chef or No. 1 designer: Shouldn’t that be enough to launch a career? You would think it would be, but as Jennifer Senior’s article from this week’s issue reveals, it often isn’t — a fact we hope our own Top Chef non-winners, like our friends Joey and Lia, will remember as they return to the kitchens they knew before fame came calling.
The Near-Fame Experience [NYM]
Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag
‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner Lia on What Went Wrong
The Other Critics
Hill Country Triumphs; Perilla Gets Measured Praise, Three Times OverPeter Meehan hails Hill Country as the barbecue to beat in New York, at least as far as beef is concerned: “[The deckle brisket] is a thing of balance and of beauty.” [NYT]
As much as Meehan liked the place, Steve Cuozzo may like it even more, not hesitating to crown it New York’s best: “Lots of New York places now claim to have ‘real’ barbecue, and some truly do. But until they catch up with Hill Country, they’re just blowing smoke.” [NYP]
15 East feels the glow of two-star approval, especially for its star octopus. Ushiwakamaru, though not as good, is cheaper, and that’s worth something. [NYT]
The Other Critics
Landmarc Steals More Stars; Mercat Earns First KudosFrank Bruni inexplicably grants a star to a restaurant with zero ambience, overdone pastas, “tame entrées,” and a “loud” room that’s “dreary at night.” Which is what Adam Platt and everybody else said about Landmarc TWC, though without granting a star for the accomplishment. [NYT]
Related: Off the Mark [NYM]
Landmarc somehow coaxed three of six stars out of Randall Lane, despite comparable comments on uneven food and a room filled with rebars. The wine list seems to have been the saving grace. [TONY]
Mobbed Mercat gets the Paul Adams seal of approval, its first major positive review, which compares it favorably to Boqueria and praises it for special authenticity. Only the desserts are denied praise, and at that point in the review, it hardly matters. [NYS]
New York’s Restaurant Jungle Grows a Little Lusher
When spring comes, branches and leaves appear in the most unexpected places. This week’s food coverage is like that: There are no huge openings, analogous to maples or firs springing up overnight, but rather a rich carpet of new sprouts and saplings. Rob and Robin glory in the pig-out that is Resto, the new Belgian restaurant on Park Avenue South; Gael Greene stops in to enjoy the immense, spanking-new Landmarc in the Time Warner Center; David Chang knows just what to do with the long-awaited, precious ramps in In Season; and other unexpected treats, from a waterside barbecue in one of the Short Lists to a slew of spring Openings fill out the foliage.
Car Plows Into Hop Kee; Neroni Keeps SpinningA car plows into the venerable Hop Kee restaurant in Chinatown. The restaurant is damaged, and one person is hurt. [Downtown Express]
Izakaya invasion! The city now boasts everything from simple sake joints with food to full-blown small-plate restaurants. [NYDN]
The official Times take on the Neroni Affair includes this classic quote, in defense of the Desperate Chef: “If Marco didn’t want anyone signing checks, including Jason, he should have put the checkbook in the safe.” [NYT]
Openings for Dieterle, Pelaccio; Strange Beard BylawsZak Pelaccio and Top Chef’s Harold Dieterle open new restaurants. [NYT]
Related: Harold Dieterle’s Perilla to Open … on Jones Street! [Grub Street]
And Jeffrey Chodorow’s new Malaysian restaurant, for which Pelaccio was consulting chef, opens in London. [This Is London]
Related: Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible? [NYM]
The rat expert who instructed the Department of Health says the city is a rodent’s paradise. [WP]
Harold Dieterle’s Perilla to Open ... on Jones Street!For someone who cooked his way into the national consciousness on broadcast television, season-one Top Chef Harold Dieterle is taking a surprisingly low-profile approach to the imminent opening of his Greenwich Village restaurant Perilla. An Asian-food fanatic whose signature dish is steamed Thai snapper, the Long Island–raised, CIA-trained chef named the place after an aromatic plant also known as shiso but has kept its location a closely guarded secret. But even the best-laid plans are sometimes foiled by a paper trail: Thanks to a notice of public hearing for a liquor-license application we spotted in the corner of the paper-covered window at 9 Jones Street, just off West 4th Street, the secret is out. Dieterle hasn’t officially confirmed it, but unless there are two Greenwich Village restaurants named after an obscure Asian leaf on the horizon, it looks like it’s only a matter of time before Perilla opens in the space previously occupied by Inside (and before that, Drover’s Tap Room) and Dieterle faces an even tougher panel of judges: the New York dining public. — Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld
Back of the House
Daily Intel Gets GrubbyIt’s been a food-centric day on Daily Intel: There’s a survey of what our new congressional reps ate for breakfast (Eliot Engel is importing New York lox, bagels, and herring); a report on the soon-to-be-reopened 2nd Avenue Deli; and finally, post on Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle and his habit of hanging around the bathroom.
Harold Dieterle, ‘Top Chef’ Winner and Health-Code Violator
The Breakfast of Champions [Daily Intel]