Jason Denton’s new restaurant, the one for which he poached Steve Connaughton (from himself) at Lupa, is called Bar Milano and will open at the end of March, Denton says. He promises an Italian restaurant specializing in the regions of Northern Italy: Veneto, Piedmont, and Emilia-Romagna. The wine list will also draw from those areas and includes some “really affordable wines,” he claims. But wait: It will also be “really fun, in the vein of 'inoteca and Lupa, but with elevated service and price point.” What's fun about that? We'll go anyway those restaurants are good.
Related: Jason Denton Pulls Lupa Chef for New Gramercy Venture
To everything, turn, turn, turn. And so we turn to Lupa! First, a recap: As we reported last month, owner Jason Denton's mighty sword tapped the shoulders of Lupa chef Steve Connaughton, who will head Denton's as-yet unnamed new venture in Gramercy Park. But Lupa's loyal (er, cultlike) customers can rest easy in the knowledge that though the maestro is leaving in December, he'll be replaced by a damn safe bet: Cruz Goler. A ten-year Batali veteran, Goler was the right-hand man of Lupa’s original chef, Mark Ladner, and followed the latter to Del Posto, where Goler was his “go-to guy” in the kitchen. They like to keep it in the family, you see.
Lupa, Mario Batali’s Roman osteria on Thompson Street, has a loyal following, so Steve Connaughton’s imminent departure likely won’t affect volume. (The customers barely twitched when former chef Mark Ladner left for Del Posto.) Co-owner Jason Denton says he has moved Connaughton to a new venture at 323 Third Avenue to open in March, but he's quiet about other details. We hear from an industry source that Connaughton’s replacement will likely come from within the Batali-Bastianich family, if not from within Lupa itself. Who will be the lucky chef?
Astoria: Freeze Peach at 22-00 29th Street has introduced tea-based ice creams including butterfly sencha and black currant to its repertoire. Plus, a man with a real French-sounding name has installed a new crêperie in the old Lil Bistro 33 space. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: Two new Italian restaurants slated to join the nabe, and one might have an outdoor space. [Clinton Hill Blog] Tough luck if you want to taste the source of those great bakery smells near Washington at Atlantic. The Hasidic bakers probably won’t let you in. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Flatiron: Otto investor Jason Denton, after stepping away from Otto, will open an “Otto-like restaurant.” [Eater]
Midtown West: A sly janitor at Penn Station will find a go-to solution if you spill your soda. [East Village Idiot]
Park Slope: Kara Zuaro will be signing her rocker cookbook tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble; live music from Maplewood is also in-store. [Brooklyn Record]
Times Square: The only view from Above restaurant at the Hilton is the back of a giant creepy hand. [NewYorkology]
Tribeca: The New York City Hot Dog Company on Church Street at Chambers that promises healthier options and myriad toppings looks closer to an opening now that a big picture of a hot dog is in place. [Grub Street]
Last week, the Underground Gourmet recommended Zingerman's Reuben sandwich kit as the perfect holiday gift for the sandwich nut on your list. This week — in acknowledgement of the fact that even Kate's Paperie cannot wrap a Reuben sandwich well enough so that placing it beneath a Christmas tree for several days would not run the risk of Taco-Belling the giftee — the UG has come up with a superb alternative gift idea. It's the new book, called Simple Italian Sandwiches (HarperCollins; $21.95), by Jennifer and Jason Denton, and it requires no refrigeration. As anyone who knows anything about Italian sandwiches is aware, Jason Denton is to panini, bruschetta, and tramezzini what Masa Takayama is to sushi, sashimi, and Kobe sukiyaki. The Dentons opened the West Village panini parlor 'ino back in 1998, and it's fair to say that they started the whole local craze for delicately balanced, deceptively simple Italian sandwiches, and that no one outside of the Boot does a better job of it.