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Insatiable Critic

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Introducing the ‘Gastroteca’

Even in the dead of winter, good new things keep happening to New York City. The Underground Gourmet giddily points out a new wine bar, Gottino, that is outpacing its panini-packing rivals. The Insatiable Critic found a new, urbane restaurant in Dovetail and loves the Sunday prix fixe. Among this week's openings, Periyali adds a midtown sister in Persephone, giving the city another blue-chip Greek restaurant. Ah, New York: Even our lean seasons have their harvests.

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Gael Reports on Spring Rolls and Marital Strife at Bun

Nobody can put together food and matters of the heart like Gael Greene, and the Insatiable One really brings it in her blog today with a tale of love and dumplings. Michael Huynh just opened Bun with his new wife, and Greene was on hand to witness the marital strife between the two: “The bride, Thao Nguyen,” writes Greene, “stands at the counter in another world, seemingly wrapped in serenity, her hair tightly bound, eyes black with mascara, as she fashions classic spring rolls in fragile paper, two by two, for waiters — both freshly hatched and speedy veterans — to carry away. ‘He doesn’t like my food,’ she whispers. ‘He criticizes my food.’” A bad omen! Greene, at least, likes the food there. A lot. But it's the threatening clouds looming over the Huynh union that you'll remember after reading this. Anyway, they say the first six months are the hardest. Is it Soup or Soap Opera at Bun? [Insatiable Critic]

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Wise Hooters Girls Loose in Midtown West; Gael Greene Down With Park Avenue’s Gimmick

Boerum Hill: The owners of Gravy have surrendered the struggling space to their adjacent beer garden Trout and are now serving “fish shack fare.” [Brownstoner via Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Carroll Gardens: Nino’s Pizzeria on Henry Street has closed, possibly another victim of Lucali’s favoritism. [Bergen Carroll] Fort Greene: iCi is hosting a winemaker dinner on October 25 with guests Emmanuel Guillot-Broux from Macon and Laurent Tibes of Clos des Camuzeilles in Languedoc. [Grub Street] Long Island City: Central restaurant and bar is hosting Greek Aid on Friday to raise money for victims of the country’s recent fires. [Joey in Astoria] Midtown West: Hooters unveiled its 2008 calendar last night where the cover girl had these wise words: “I started off with a small picture, then split the back cover with another girl, finally made it to Ms. February and now I’m on the cover. I’ve made it. I’m at the very top of my profession.” [Gawker] Upper East Side: “There is definitely a slightly Home Depot feel to the AvroKO switch on Park Avenue: the screw-on wall panels, the tacky little leatherette placemats … the reversible chair backs’ upholstery reversed…” But Gael Greene loves it anyway. [Insatiable Critic]

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From Peanuts to Enotecas

What if you were a 60-year-old church congregation in North Carolina and had somehow found a pipeline to the fast-paced New York restaurant scene via your salted peanuts? And then you hear from Rob and Robin that another North Carolina church congregation was moving in on your action? Wouldn’t you feel upset? Or how about this: You meticulously design a restaurant, down to the last detail, and then have to change everything three months later. Or what if you opened a good Italian restaurant that Adam Platt liked, but he only gave you one star because, well, he’s Adam Platt? What then? These and other hypotheticals are answered in this week’s issue of New York.

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Gael Greene Unmasked and on the Loose in Midtown West

Astoria: Sakura sushi has just opened on Ditmars near 36th Street, and they have quite an extensive menu. [Joey in Astoria] Flatiron: Macaroni-and-cheese porn has been posted to tease an upcoming roundup on the city’s best, and Mayrose already sounds like it has a leg up on the crusty contenders: “Down and dirty, this macaroni. It will fight you on the way down, and you may lose.” [Gridskipper] Midtown West: Gael Greene unmasks herself at BLT Market and is treated to some nice extras. “A note to my pal, Restaurantgirl, ” she writes, “that’s what a restaurant can do when you’re not anonymous.” [Insatiable Critic] Upper East Side: An Alto Adige white on Sfoglia’s wine list does not name the varietals because producer Elena Walch refuses to share what grapes she uses. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] West Village: Julius on West 10th Street is open again after a brief seizure by New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and “crammed with the usual ancient drunkard queens.” [Eater]

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The Center Cannot Hold, and Why Would You Want It To?

Suba
This week brings together some disparate threads of the great suffocating quilt that is the New York food world. Modern Spanish and Latin food have almost nothing in common, other than, in the form of Suba and Rayuela, getting one star each from Adam Platt. Uptown Gael Greene rocks out Southern Hospitality. Downtown, Rob and Robin find a chef that knows all there is to know about the frying game and discover what’s happened to restaurant matchbooks in these days of the smoking ban. Plus, Kirby cucumbers are in season this week.

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A ‘Top Chef’ Surprise and Other Summer Treats

Perilla
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.

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Gordon Ramsay Suit Tossed; Vendy Nominations Open

If there’s a halal-chicken guy on your corner whom you think is unappreciated, now’s your chance to do right by him: Nominations have opened up for the Vendy Awards. [Gothamist] A judge has tossed out the suit against Gordon Ramsay brought by the manager of Dillons for acts committed in the name of reality TV. [NYP] Simon Oren, the owner of new French bistro Charolais, double-crossed the Insatiable Critic, and she isn’t happy about it. [Insatiable Critic] Related: New French Bistro Has an Old Soul

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Alain Ducasse Has Designs on LCB’s Midtown West Space

Astoria: Sai’s Organics health-food store will open a new location that incorporates a wellness center, and they’re hiring. [Joey in Astoria] Bensonhurst: Do Carluccio’s heroes have a right to be famous? Has anyone heard of them? [Brooklyn Record] East Village: A sake retailer is moving in on East 9th Street. [Down by the Hipster] Flatiron: Charlie Palmer shuts down Kitchen 22. [Eater] Fort Greene: Pequeña chef and co-owner Johannes Sanzin, who also partners in Olea and Maggie Brown, is developing a space on Fulton and Clinton Avenue for an unknown restaurant. [VV] Midtown West: Our Insatiable Critic’s new blog breaks news that Alain Ducasse cohorts claim to have secured the low-rent space of Department of Health–shuttered Brasserie LCB. [Bite] Upper East Side: There’s apparently something sacred about staring at bodega workers just trying to have dinner in peace. [The Upper East Side Informer] Williamsburg: An Austro-Hungarian biergarten — huge, with a restaurant — is in progress on North 3rd Street! [A Test of Will]

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A Journey Through the Food Groups, and Thence to Bed

The typical New York diner (to say nothing of the typical New York reader) will generally get around to all the major food groups in the course of a week. There is the fish group, represented this week by Adam Platt’s one-star review of Wild Salmon, and the southern Italian sea bounty of Bar Stuzzichini, Rob and Robin’s lead opening. The meat group is well served by Prime Burger, the Insatiable Critic assures. The vegetable tribe appears courtesy of Mark Ladner’s spring-onion flan in In Season. Finally, after all this eating, all most of us would want is a bed to lie down in, and Rob and Robin provide some tips for that as well.

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