Having accomplished his dream of serving the eggs of eight different birds at one brunch, Haute Barnyard enfant terrible Colin Alevras of the Tasting Room is now contemplating his own high-end burger. But only if it “isn’t just another burger or some kind of over-the-top tarted up silliness. It had to have integrity.” Fair enough. So what did Alevras come up with? “I’m still working on it,” the chef tells us, “but we won’t be using pork fat like some people do, because then it’s just a sausage.” (Take that, Ryan Skeen!). “I want to put neck meat in there and tongue and heart and a little bit of calves’ liver for flavor. And why use fat, which just melts away anyway? I’m going to use marrow for fat, which will stay intact and also have a beefier, deeper taste.” Alevras is ensconced in bun and cheese issues, but the burger will debut for brunch service on March 30. Its name? The Old McDonald Burger. How's that for Haute Barnyard?
Related: The Tasting Room Lays Eight Eggs on Us
In what has to be the clearest example yet of Haute Barnyard run amok, Eighty One has sent us a scroll containing a list of “81 people who bring Eighty One to life.” Rob and Robin weren’t kidding when they said the ingredients were meticulously sourced — everyone gets credit from the “mushroom expert” to the frog’s-legs purveyor to exec chef Ed Brown’s body double. There are more shout-outs here than on a Diddy album, but we suppose it’s not the worst idea — Brown wouldn’t want to be accused of making false organic claims.
PDT’s winter cocktail menu debuted last night, and we are still hung-over. Mixologist Jim Meehan consulted his peers for the menu, which includes contributions from Pegu’s Audrey Sanders, Tailor’s Eben Freeman, “International cocktail maven” Charlotte Voisey, and others. There’s even a nod to Adam Platt in the description of PDT bartender Don Lee’s Benton’s Old Fashioned, a combo of bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and angostura bitters: “the crossroad of Haute Barnyard and Barroom.” (If this keeps up, we’re going to have to add Haute Barnyard to the banished-words list soon.)
The voracious maw that is daily journalism goes through fresh phrases like they were going out of style, which they always are. This week’s “maximum cockupancy” is next week’s “tell it to the hand.” Now that Lake Superior State University has released its annual list of banished words, it appears that “organic” has entered the dustbin of history, joined by such deserving phrases as “throw under the bus,” “X is the new Y,” “back in the day,” and “post 9/11.” “Organic” has been especially hated for years by both farmers and consumers, but we doubt it’s going anywhere. There are (much-criticized) government regulations in place concerning the use of the “organic” label, and every day more shitty products up their sales because of the moniker. (Although, as one commenter to Lake Superior's list pointed out, all the food we eat is technically organic.) Still, the fact that the word is taking abuse is a sign that maybe, just maybe, the Haute Barnyard movement has reached its peak.
Lake Superior State University Banished Words List [LSSU]
Related: The Haute Barnyard Hall of Fame
This week, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld herald the impending return of the Second Avenue Deli with a peppery interview with owner Jeremy Lebewohl. Expect deep-fried chicken skins at every table, he says. Beats a bread basket. Irving Mill managed to extract a grudging single star out of the Haute Barnyard–phobic Adam Platt, and the Smith, despite a business plan dedicated to filling NYU students with “almost burnt” macaroni and cheese, was able to sway Gael Greene, no sucker for comfort food. Will the new restaurants be so lucky? The Robs introduce us to a high-concept townhouse restaurant, a grass-fed-burger joint, and a progressive Italian spot. And when you get cold from running around outside trying new restaurants, you can sip a nice hot chocolate. The Underground Gourmet found the best cups in the city.
“The doctrine of seasonal correctness is as ingrained in the collective restaurant psyche, these day, as linen napkins, pre-dinner cocktails, and superfluous baskets of bread,” Adam Platt writes in his review of Park Avenue Autumn, and who are we to argue? The combined efforts of Platt, the Robs, and Gael Greene all point to the triumph of the seasonal aesthetic. But that’s not to say they aren’t fun. Platt gives two stars to Park Avenue Autumn, Gael seems fairly pleased with Irving Mill, and the Robs introduce three restaurants (Lunetta, Bacaro, and Smith's) that are all about fresh ingredients, as well as a recipe for Bosc pears that is, of course, in season. Meanwhile, back at the Greenmarket, a long-overdue crusade against plastic bags is at work. And, though not an expression of the Haute Barnyard mystique, it's very much a sign of the times: PDT has named a hot dog for David Chang — proof that the Original Soupman has made it to the big time at last.
We like football. We like seasonal vegetables, especially peas. We like Cuban sandwiches, and Italian food, and Mexican food, and new things to start the fall with. So we liked this week’s batch of food stories in the magazine, especially since it includes what passes for a glowing review by Adam Platt of BLT Market, despite his readiness to mock the Haute Barnyard movement and all that it stands for. Add in the intriguing Italian-Mexican hybrid Matilda, announced by Rob and Robin in openings, and a guide to football bars even Tom Coughlin would approve of, and it’s another first-class food issue of New York.
At a Nathan’s hot-dog-eating contest qualifier in Phoenix, American Joey Chestnut shatters the world record set by Takeru “the Tsunami” Kobayashi. [NYP]
In a rare critic-on-critic showdown, Frank Bruni comes down hard on Il Brigante, whose pizza the Voice’s Robert Sietsema called “the city’s most perfect evocation of the true Naples style.” Hardly, Bruni says. “Nothing about this pizza argued strongly for a trip outside your own neighborhood.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Related: New Restaurant Not Just for Lonely Mountain People [Grub Street]
A critical roundup of the city’s lobster rolls decrees Ed’s Lobster Bar “the world’s best.” [NYP]
Related: Consider the Lobster Roll [NYM]
Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony, not to be confused with Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, is one of the city’s top Haute Barnyard cooks, a veteran of Blue Hill and a natural with produce. His Spring Vegetable Medley is a centerpiece of both Gramercy’s market menu and its vegetable tasting menu. “The idea is to bring springiness to a spring menu,” he says. “I don’t know a better way to do that then with a dish that highlights the crunch and brightness of spring flavors.” Mouse over each element to read the chef’s description.
Few chefs are better known for their devotion to seasonal vegetables than Bill Telepan; his eponymous Upper West Side restaurant is one of the city’s foremost temples of Haute Barnyard. Here Telepan guides us through the springtime Greenmarket while offering up tips and opinions.
Related: Manhattan Gets Fresh [NYM]
Alain Ducasse speaks out on his restaurants, his rivalry with Joël Robuchon, and the challenge of running a global empire. But his most pointed remarks are about molecular gastronomy: “I prefer to be able to identify what I’m eating.” [Bloomberg]
BLT Market, Laurent Tourondel’s entry into the Haute Barnyard sweepstakes, has been pushed back to August. [RG]
“Hipster chef” Sam Mason’s new Internet TV show gets love in the Daily News, which swooningly describes him as “witty, goateed and extremely good-looking.” But you already knew that. [NYDN]
Related: The Launch
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.