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Michael Lomonaco

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Hearth Spawns a Wine Bar in the East Village

East Village: It looks like Hearth may spawn a wine bar. [Eater] A date with Momofuku’s David Chang is only worth $1000 at auction (Jean-Georges Vongerichten brought in $6100) but that’s not too bad for a night at a dive bar. [Snack] Greenwich Village: NYU is hosting a panel on Building a Food Professional Pedigree from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday, with speakers including Michael Lomanaco and Florence Fabricant. [NYU] Long Island City: The Food Film Festival at Water Taxi Beach kicks off tomorrow. [The Food Section] Midtown West: Brasserie 8 1/2 will join the dessert-bar fray starting tonight by repackaging its lounge as After 8.5, and serving desserts after 8:30 p.m. — get it? [NYT] Times Square: Insieme is starting weekday lunch service between noon and 2 p.m. [NYS] Tribeca: Fresh Pie has been taken over by Ruben’s Empanadas at 149 Church Street. [Grub Street]

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Dude, Did You See the Video of Michael Lomonaco and the Flounder?

You might’ve seen our new Overheard video feature, where Daniel Maurer quizzed diners exiting Jeffrey Chodorow’s new restaurant, Wild Salmon. Here, in our debut In Season video, charismatic Porter House New York chef Michael Lomonaco turns a whole local flounder into a beautifully crisped filet dressed with a vinaigrette, following the recipe featured in this week’s issue. Pretend it’s television! In Season: Local Flounder [NYM]

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This Week: Contents Under Pressure

This week’s food section is all about pressure: A pastry chef has to cook every night for a president who hates pineapples and will send him packing at the first hint of progressive dessert-making; Vinh Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese-American, rolls the dice with his Williamsburg restaurant Silent H, and, as far as Rob and Robin are concerned, comes up lucky seven; Jeffrey Chodorow, fresh off his battle with Frank Bruni and Adam Platt, opens a big new restaurant and hopes for the best; and four new restaurants open, surely hoping for the best as well. Even this week’s In Season is rife with tension, calling as it does for a delicate filleting operation that could easily destroy a beautifully roasted flounder. The New York food world is not for the faint of heart.

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Neroni Leaves Porchetta; City Hates Big Pink Cupcake

Chef Jason Neroni leaves Porchetta, citing “irreconcilable differences,” and claiming that pastry chef Mandy Brown and “most of the kitchen staff” are leaving with him. We don’t know the details (yet), but this seems pretty harsh: The restaurant gave him absolute creative license, as far as we can tell, for as long as it’s been open. [Eater] Related: Chef's Desperate Plea: Nominate Me for an Award! [Grub Street] New Yorkers aren’t really spooked by health violations: “If you take the subway, you know what’s down there.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] The city wants Burgers and Cupcakes to take down its huge, incandescent pink cupcake sign because it's too close to a hydrant, saying, "This isn't a campaign against cupcakes." [NYP]

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The Nine Steakhouse Commandments

In recent weeks, the Gobbler has found himself sitting night after night in a succession of new steakhouses, staring glumly at the mounting platters of T-bone and porterhouse along with thrombotic servings of greasy hash browns and au gratin potato. The Gobbler has nothing against these restaurants per se. He enjoys a good sizzling hunk of cow as much as the next fellow. But the presence of so many high-profile new ones on the landscape is an unsettling sign. Steakhouses don't perish in times of trouble; they propagate. This fall, the city's superstar chefs are away opening spinoffs in places like Vegas and Shanghai, and the buzz, to the extent there is any, is being created by aged revivals (like the Russian Tea Room), and new ventures by venerable out-of-towners (like L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon). Into this vacuum, invariably, rush more steakhouses. The recipe for the successful New York chophouse is precise, however, and you tinker with it at your peril. So here is the Gobbler's list of random, highly subjective Steakhouse Commandments.

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