Think of Pera’s Picnic Baskets As Reproductive SporesPera’s plan to sell picnic baskets may seem like just another sop for Hampton-bound swells; really, it’s part of the restaurant’s master expansion strategy. Executive chef Jason Avery tells us that “Pera was never intended to be a one-shot deal; we’re looking to expand in the city, and across America.” Pera hasn’t found the right space or lease yet, but when it does, it will follow the lead of what Avery is already calling “our flagship restaurant.”
The ‘Entourage’ Guilt/Pleasure Index: Costco? Seriously?One week after an innovative and exciting season premiere, in which a documentary crew chronicled Medellin’s impressive on-set turmoil, Entourage transports the whole crew safely — and, for this viewer, sadly, — back to L.A. Good-bye, jungle mania and creative meltdowns!
24-Hour Diner Brings Blintzes Back to Kiev SpaceLast week, after over a year of construction, the American Grill finally opened in the old Kiev space, and it will soon be operating 24/7 (it’s currently open till midnight). Will the glorified diner be able to succeed where Loside (now closed 24/7) failed? Will old-neighborhood offerings of pirogen and blintzes lure 4 a.m. drunks away from Odessa? Probably not, but ten-ounce Angus-beef burgers topped with Gruyère, proscuitto, or avocado just might, not to mention a sandwich menu that includes the ‘wich-hound’s holy grail (the hot muffuletta) and a selection of proper entrées created by consulting chef Pnina L. Peled, who previously worked with Sensa and Elmo. The owners (three Greek brothers from Queens) expect to instate their-beer and-wine license any day now, but management insists this is a family spot. You know, in case the tots are hankering for a sixteen-ounce steak after a night at Sin Sin.
American Grill, 117 Second Ave., at 7th St.; 212-777-1286.
American Grill menu
last night's gig
Rappers Unite: Ghostface, Fat Joe, and … Marty Markowitz?Staten Island native Ghostface Killah left his bling at home while performing a medley of new and old faves at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival on Saturday. Sporting a rhinestone-encrusted tee in lieu of his typical dinner-plate-size pendant, the headliner echoed the Crooklyn-4-eva festival vibe as he signed off after performing “One.”
in other news
Starting Next Week, Bloomberg Would Like You to Quiet Down, Too
These days you’ll find a Chase branch, not kids with boom boxes, on nearly every corner of the city, but, even so, New York’s not exactly a quiet town: There’ll always be horn-honking, engine-revving, and your downstairs neighbor’s death-metal band practice. But don’t be surprised if all those irritants become a bit more muted next week. Bloomberg’s new noise regulations take effect July 1. Unlike Hizzoner’s smoking and trans-fat bans, the 2005 noise-ordinance tweak attracted surprisingly little, well, noise. The tabloids did decry the supposed silencing of Mr. Softee trucks — they will now be allowed to blast their jingle only while on the move — but even that got only limited traction (mostly because everyone hates the damned jingle).
‘John From Cincinnati’: Dr. Smith, We’re Counting on YouWe suspected Dr. Michael Smith would be more important than he looked: Despite appearing in the classically ephemeral television role of “doctor delivering the news in a hallway,” his picture and bio are listed on John From Cincinnati’s official Website. A dead giveaway.
Arts Club Honors Heatherette — But Why?
What was Heatherette duo Richie Rich and Traver Raines doing being honored by the stuffy old National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South last week? To be honest, no one was quite sure. “I was so taken aback when they called me,” Rich said, looking around him. “It’s like going to Naomi Campbell’s house. I was like, ‘Wow. I’m actually doing something with myself.’” Club president O. Aldon James Jr. explained the rationale: The club wants to be hipper. “They do not need this award,” James said. “Our award needs them.” But were the risqué fashion designers — Heatherette recently brought buttless pants to the runway — the best pick for an institution so unfashionable as to have an old-style dress code? “Oleg Cassini would protest that,” James indignantly replied. “He was a member for 40 years!”
Michael Moore to Tom Delay: It’s On!“[I] will be happy to debate DeLay in whatever prison he ultimately relocates to and allow ABC to cover that debate.” —Michael Moore’s response to Tom DeLay, who called him “chicken” for canceling their debate [Variety]
Is Christine Quinn Turning Her Back on AIDS Causes?
Is the longtime lovefest between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the city’s AIDS activists finally over? Quinn rose to power working under HIV-positive then-councilman Tom Duane, advocating for tenants, gays, and people with HIV and AIDS when Duane pushed through legislation enabling poor New Yorkers with AIDS to get housing assistance and other benefits. But now a broad swath of activists want those benefits to be available to low-income HIV-positive New Yorkers before they progress to AIDS, and Quinn opposes the plan.
Paul Auster Is Huge in France, on Crosby Street
The two women hurried to finish their cigarettes on the steps of Housing Works bookstore last night, exchanging excited, quick trills in French: Paul Auster was about to arrive in person. This was not surprising: The first thing you hear as you approach an Auster reading, anywhere in the world, is French. Merely a best-selling author in these parts, Auster is a rock star in Paris. He is a subject of picture books — one, called Paul Auster’s New York, contains photos of locales from le maître’s novels — regarded as an official ambassador of authentic New Yorkiness, alongside Woody Allen. And a quick scan of the fans who turned out for a reading from his new novel, Travels in the Scriptorium, suggested a similar ardor can be found in many foreign countries.