Most of the focus at Sobe is on the big celebrity-driven events (and, of course, the parties that follow them), but the event also functions as an immense trade show by the sea. But since it’s Sobe, it has to be slick. The American Lamb Board the trade group for America’s lamb farmers is spreading its message via a dozen unnaturally busty, scantily clad lambassadors; a booming sound system playing old hip-hop and R&B; and Lonesome Dove chef Tim Love cooking up lamb sirloins on a big stage. Add four cocktail stations and vaguely sexualized slogans (again, about lamb) like “More Than a Nice Rack,” and you’ll find yourself at one of the festival’s most popular tents.
With the recent news that the celebrated Charlie Trotter might be opening up an outpost here in New York, our thoughts turned to the whole phenomenon of out-of-town chefs and their usually disastrous forays to New York. We thought to contact our dour friend Adam Platt to see what kind of world-weary wisdom he might dispense on the subject. As expected, the big man had deep thoughts at the ready, and we transcribed our exchange for posterity, in case Charlie Trotter wants something to put on his refrigerator.
The Restaurant Responsibility Act, just introduced in City Council, would keep eateries from abusing the help by tying operating permits to labor laws. [Gotham Gazette]
Fatty Crab owner writes in to say that Eater has it all wrong about an Upper West Side location. [Eater]
It’s salmon season in Alaska’s Copper River, and some of the city’s top fish cooks are spawning original dishes to take advantage. [NYDN]
It's a classic story: A brash outsider, fizzing with ambition, comes to the big city and gets a thoroughly educational thrashing. And yet now that Lonesome Dove, the Manhattan outpost of Tim Love's Texas steakhouse, has shuttered, the blogs are pouring a little moonshine on the ground for the departing joint. Sure, some of the dishes were ridiculous, as was that cowhide on the sidewalk, but there was also a little Manhattan snobbery and, dare we say, a touch of misplaced blue-state rage in the collective drubbing administered to Love. Grub Street has put together a collection of links in tribute.
Lonesome Dove Flies Away [Grub Street]
Bonus: Adam Platt's original evisceration [NYM]
Paula Deen is confronted with a naked man in a hotel and kindly gives him her newspaper to cover up with. Not the Food Network star we would have expected this story to be about. [NYP]
Rats, big ones, have taken up residence at the KFC-Taco Bell on West 4th Street and Sixth Avenue, and WNBC has the video to prove it. [WNBC]
A lot of New Yorkers are cooking up a storm for their Oscar parties. Personally, we think they would do better to heed Rob and Robin’s advice, and just order out. [NYDN]
Related: Oscar Night Delivery: East Side EditionOscar Night Delivery, Part II: West Side [NYM]
Dear Grub Street,
I have some friends coming into town from Texas and want to recommend a great restaurant to them. I think they'd appreciate a Texas theme, but I'm not sure if Lonesome Dove is really the way to go, or if Blue Smoke or Dinosaur are better bets instead. Money doesn't seem to be much of an issue.
The best barbecue in New York is RUB. They have great burnt ends, a beef-brisket treat any meat-eating Texan can appreciate. But they're not going to get better Texas food here than at home. I would take them to Great N.Y. Noodletown for Chinese spareribs. Or, if money really isn't an issue, this may be your one chance for a meal at Masa!
Ramsay strikes a chord with Ryan Sutton: "This is artful food that makes you ponder the meaning of life, but it's also accessible, gutsy fare that excites the senses and fills the tummy." [Bloomberg]
Bruni does the ever popular steak two-fer (witness Platt's double-up on STK and Lonesome Dove), declares Porter House New York "an M.B.A. program for beef eaters who did undergraduate work at Outback," turning out "well-sourced, well-prepared flesh" though getting into trouble elsewhere. Despite the limo-like seats, he's not grooving to the beat (or the meat) at the other spot: "STK might want to think about buying some soundproofing, along with a vowel." [NYT]
Richman isn't convinced Porter House New York is a steakhouse, or at least as good of one as its predecessor V. Instead it's "an accessible, sensible eating establishment with decent prices and classy, comprehensible food." [Bloomberg]
Welcome again to the Annotated Dish, where the creator of a buzzed-about New York entrée walks you through its essential components. Simply scroll over the arrows on the image to get quotes from the chef. (We've got Oompa-Loompas working around the clock on a taste component, but no promises.) Today, Tim Love tells us all about his $125 Tomahawk Chop. Love's Lonesome Dove Western Bistro has taken its knocks in New York Adam Platt, for one, handed it the proverbial bagel (or, if you prefer, goose egg). (Read Platt's breakdown here.) But nearly all the reviews have singled out Love's mammoth bone-on-rib chop for praise; Platt called it "expertly chosen and well-aged."
Bruni shares Platt's horror over Lonesome Dove's "hairy and scary" welcome mat and agrees the "mistakes don't end at the front door." For one, the quail quesadillas and rabbit empanadas taste like, well, chicken. Still, it's not all bluster: "Mr. Love seems dedicated to getting first-rate cuts of meat, and if the rub-happy kitchen goes overboard in seasoning them, especially with salt and pepper, it certainly knows how to cook many of them." [NYT]
Forget the two-hour rule at Ramsay at the London: Paul Adams fumes over getting bum-rushed at Goblin Market: "When a place goes to such lengths to make it clear that they don't want customers, I for one am glad to oblige." [NYS]
At David Burke's Hawaiian Tropic Zone, the dishes taste "like they came from a war zone, not a tropic zone." But then again "at a human zoo like this, the quality of the food just doesn't matter." [TONY]
Bruni has his birthday party at "reinvigorated" Picholine and, to the tune of three stars, declares it "arguably the nicest restaurant surprise of this disappointing season." [NYT]
Meehan has mixed feelings about Lunetta but concedes: "Mr. Shepard can cook." [NYT]
Alan Richman goes slumming at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and finds signs of promise at best. "Metro Marche is not a great restaurant. Unless Escoffier takes over the kitchen, it will never be a fashionable one. It could become quite respectable, though." [Bloomberg]
Steak and ssäms continue to rule the reviews with a white truffle thrown in for good measure.
• Saving Lonesome Dove for the blog, Bruni checks into another meatery, Harry's Steak. The bone-in steak "spoke to the timeless glories of aged prime beef," but the menu's saddled with "clever tweaks." [NYT]
• Andrea Strong checks in on Lonesome Dove (again) and is way more impressed with the kangaroo nachos than her boy at the Post was. [Strong Buzz]
• At STK, Alan Richman eyes the hotties "who look like they're barely past puberty" and shares in our fascination with the restrooms. "If only the food admittedly great-looking were as flavorsome as the customers." [Bloomberg]
• Dana Bowen visits Momofuku Ssäm Bar, and after raving about the late-night menu we first reported, hints that it may see the light of day. [NYT]
• As if Danny Meyer was starving for publicity, Moira Hodgson reassures us that Tabla is "one of the city's great restaurants." Something to do with chef Floyd Cardoz's new cookbook? [NYO]
• Paul Adams schools upwardly mobile I-Chin: "Going upscale involves more than buying buff-colored cloth napkins and hiring servers to assiduously refold them at every opportunity." [NYS]
• Augie splurges on a white truffle at Gotham presumably not as pricey as Morimoto's $10,500 highbrow-despicable truffle. [Augieland]
The other day we wrote about what seemed like the biggest swindle since the sale of Manhattan — Texas chef Tim Love's paying, according to a newspaper report, over $1 million a year in rent for his new medium-size restaurant on West 21st Street, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. Mr. Love himself wrote in and told us that we'd been sold a bill of goods: "I was kinda surprised by that figure in the Star Telegram too … There seems to be an extra zero added in there, because that would definitely be a Texas-sized price. I plan on cooking here for a long time, and if my rent were that high, that might make things a little difficult. Oh and by the way, I think my space looks pretty nice! I appreciate your concern!"
Maybe you can't believe everything you read.
Is Tim Love getting screwed? According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegramprofile (registration required), the cowboy-hatted celebrity chef, who recently moved from Texas to New York, signed a ten-year, $10.2 million lease on the space for his new Lonesome Dove Western Bistro on West 21st Street. The reviews aren't in yet on the food (though Rob and Robin did publish a glossary of his exotically named dishes), but we'll vouch that the room is nothing to write home to Fort Worth about: It's fairly narrow, not much to look at, and facing a Flatiron side street without a precedent for restaurant success or even much pedestrian traffic. We asked Picken Real Estate founder Alexander Picken, who specializes in nightlife and restaurant realty, to tell us what he thought: "Based on what I saw, that figure is outrageous — at least three to four times what he should be paying." We dearly hope Love succeeds, but it sounds like he would have done better playing three-card monte in Times Square than signing that lease.