Beautiful, one-of-a-kind spaces rarely serve good food, for the simple reason that they don’t have to. But in bringing in former Savoy and Porcupine chef Matt Weingarten, the new owners of Café St. Bart’s have put in more effort than anyone had a right to expect. The place is already doing boffo business with its lunch menu, which consists of typically simple but potent Weingarten dishes like linguine and clams with pancetta lardons, summer savory, and wild ramps; pan-braised hake in a spring herb nage; and his signature grilled-lamb-and-prune-hyssop-butter sandwich.
When the dignified and unflappable restaurant critic Adam Platt learned that, in a moment of unzipped candor, the great Mario Batali had called him a “miserable fuck,” the critic removed a dusty bottle of rye from his desk drawer and poured himself a noonday toast. After all, if chefs don’t squeal like stuck hogs once in a while, a restaurant critic isn’t doing his job. But the Gobbler had a different reaction. “Miserable Fuck”?!??!?! Wasn’t that a bit over the top? The Gobbler got on the phone with Mrs. Gobbler to find out.
Bedford-Stuyvesant: You can only wonder what owners of sober-faced neighboring brownstones think of this Santa Claus acid trip on Pulaski. [Bed-Stuy Blog]
Dumbo: Now open for viewing, the meticulously restored antique carousel of Jane Walentas, wife of area hero-villain developer Dave. [DumboNYC]
Greenpoint: Every neighborhood should have its own billy goat. [Gowanus Lounge]
Park Slope: Visitors want to ensure that any new plan for a green redo of Prospect Park's Wollman Rink has plenty of parking. [Streetsblog]
Upper East Side: Attention scavengers: Make an appointment to troll through an uptown mansion next week for some pre-gutting cash-and-carry. [Brownstoner]
Williamsburg: In the bocce off-season, take up ping-pong. [Brooklyn Record]
The fourth season of Project Runway starts taping next month, and Tim Gunn warmed up last night with Project Ruffway, a dog fashion show he hosted in a Chelsea gallery space. A benefit for Stray From the Heart, which rescues stray dogs around the globe, the show featured designer fashions for dogs and their walkers. A dog fashion show, it turns out, is a lot like a people fashion show. Looks were shown in the categories of eveningwear, weekend, resort, and "ruff and tumble" ("whatever that means," Gunn unhelpfully explained), and many models, all adoptable or recently adopted, came from South America. Clothes were by top designers like Nicole Miller and Juicy Couture; Champagne was the drink of choice, though many well-heeled attendees sipped "Hair of the Dog" cocktails made with blood-orange juice, Champagne, and vodka; and the theme was taken seriously: hors d'oeuvre included little bone-shaped sandwiches of roast beef and grilled cheese and French fries in tiny bone-patterned paper cones.
It was a great plan. Two-thirds of each Academy graduating class would be dispatched by the NYPD to crime hot spots throughout the city, giving the rookies a trial by fire without draining manpower from better-controlled areas. It was called Operation Impact, and it was a centerpiece of a strategy that has pushed crime down 30 percent in New York's worst neighborhoods. And now it's not going to happen anymore, because the city pays its rookie police officers $25,100 a year, and there are simply not enough suckers. The next Academy class, budgeted for 2,800 people, will be lucky to have 800 enroll. Yesterday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly drew this grim picture before the City Council before suggesting that the city negotiate with the police union separately (as opposed to lumping the cops with the rest of municipal workers). However, the Daily News reports, the mayor's not sold on the idea. So it seems the only hope now is for joining the force to become a new vogue among New York's rich. Condé Nast manages to fill all its editorial-assistant slots with similar wages, after all.
It's a Crime! [NYDN]
Though not technically the owner of Bar Stuzzichini (the place is in his wife Carolyn’s name), Gerard Renny is plainly its animating spirit – or so Rob and Robin suggest in this week’s Openings. Of course, although Renny, a veteran restaurateur and the author of The Men of the Pacific Street Social Club Cook Italian, brings deep feeling for southern-Italian conviviality to the eatery, its fate will be determined by chef Paul Di Bari’s namesake stuzzichini —small tapaslike appetizers ranging from southern-Italian standards like eggplant caponata and arancini (rice balls) to less familiar snacks like ricotta with saffron and honey, or baccala zeppole. You can skim the menu online here, thanks to our ever-acquisitive database, but it probably won’t be same without the friendly atmosphere.
Openings: Bar Stuzzichini, Bodeguita Cubana, and Cecel Crepe Cafe [NYM]
Bar Stuzzichini menu
Fatty Crab may not be coming to the Upper West Side, but locals need not fret — we’ve learned that Jeffrey Chodorow and Zak Pelaccio are in discussion to do a Malaysian place called Kopi Tiam in the neighborhood. A kopi tiam is what Chodorow calls a “Malaysian coffeehouse,” and this one would occupy the 77th Street space that formerly housed Fishs Eddy. Kopi tiams, Chodorow tells us, “are popular throughout Malaysia and frequently serve both Malaysian and Western foods this restaurant would be very different from Fatty Crab.”
• "A Celebration of Learning" autism benefit. Pier 60, West Side Hwy. nr. 23rd St., 6:30 p.m. Conan O'Brien, Will Arnett, Candace Bushnell, Andrew McCarthy, and NBC Universal CEO Bob Wright are expected to be there. Wright is, roughly, the real-life analogue to Alec Baldwin's character on 30 Rock. No word on what kind of voice-mail messages Wright leaves for his kids.
So maybe you think that first-season Sopranos scene, when Tony garroted the witness-relocated turncoat while taking Meadow to visit colleges, was the show's most disturbing scene. Or maybe you were as disturbed as we were by his quick, cold asphyxiation of Christopher last week. Whatever your preference, last night's episode — How to Clean Practically Anything! The Little Italy beating! Bogdanovich and the water bottle! A.J. (poor A.J.)! — was one of the greats. And, argues New York critic Emily Nussbaum on Vulture, A.J.'s attempted suicide ranks as the show's single most disturbing scene yet. With only two episodes left, we hope they don't get much more disturbing.
The Most Disturbing 'Sopranos' Scene Yet [Vulture]