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Monkey Bar

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Chris Cheung’s Foie Gras Bao Resurface in Midtown East

When chef Chris Cheung told us “Chinese cooking is cloaked in secrecy. I know those traditional recipes, but I also have been trained in the new, cutting-edge techniques that a lot of Western chefs are using” after leaving his post at Almond Flower last July, he simultaneously had us pining over the loss of his modern Chinese dishes and anticipating his return to the city’s dining landscape. Well, the liquid–foie gras–squirting bao are back — along with sweet-chile baby back ribs — and now available at Cheung’s newest post, Monkey Bar. The Glazier Group hired the Nobu alum as a replacement for chef Patricia Yeo in hopes that he will have better luck revitalizing the chronically buzz-lacking restaurant. With the Chinese New Year starting tomorrow, Cheung informed Gothamist he'll be cooking dishes designed for prosperity, but his new permanent menu, which includes sliders in bao buns and wok-fried noodles with short ribs in house-made abalone oyster sauce, might just be all the luck he (and Monkey Bar) needs.—Alexandra Vallis

Monkey Bar Menu

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A New Food Blog From the ‘Times’; Can Dining Alone Get You a Date?

The Times has launched a new food blog called Bitten that’s being written by "Minimalist"-column writer Mark Bittman. What’s in store for readers? "We’re going to look at great food made with everyday ingredients and readily achievable techniques — as The Minimalist has been doing for a decade — not food as something to be admired from afar, but as a part of daily life." [Bitten/NYT] Monkey Bar chef Chris Cheung thinks he deserves a little credit for making black miso cod so popular at Nobu. [Gothamist] Several changes in their dining culture have led the Vietnamese to embark on a “rodent-eating bonanza.” [WSJ]

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Chris Cheung Looking to Bring ‘Evolutionary Asian Cuisine’ to Monkey Bar

We've always liked Chris Cheung, going back to the days when the young Long Island–born chef was trying to reinvent Asian fusion from the Chinese side at Almond Flower in Chinatown. (His exit from the place, and its epic aftermath, made some good Grub Street fodder.) Now that Cheung has taken over from Patricia Yeo at Monkey Bar, he’s trying to implement his style of “evolutionary Asian cuisine.” So what does that amount to?

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Chris Cheung Swings in to Monkey Bar; Astoria's Greek Restaurants Challenging Thanksgiving Leftovers

Astoria: The nabe’s Greek tapas offer a light respite from overstuffing on leftovers. [NYT] A & D Meat on 31st Street now sells organic beef. [Joey in Astoria] Hell’s Kitchen: Not only does Bis.Co. Latte on 47th at Tenth Avenue make over 40 varieties of biscotti, but the bakery also offers seasonal soups and daily gelati. [Blog Chelsea] Financial District: Flames Steakhouse is now an Italian restaurant called Giardino D’oro, though the chef hasn’t changed. [Restaurant Girl] Midtown East: After dispensing with Patricia Yeo, the Monkey Bar has installed promising chef Chris Cheung, who so memorably left Almond Flower this past summer. [Eater] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Lime might not be open yet, but the bar is planning a fund-raiser for a nonprofit preschool. [Across the Park]

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Massive Piedmontese Market Coming to Midtown; Lady Chefs Are Tougher Than You Think

A food bazaar in Turin, Italy, called Eataly, which combines a “European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center” is opening its second location in a 10,000-square-foot space on 18 West 48th Street. [NYT] Despite David Chang’s unwavering confidence that Noodle Bar 2.0 would open early this week, the restaurant’s not yet ready; he blames Con-Ed. [Eater] Women chefs who’ve found success aren’t hard to come by in New York, according to Cuozzo, who mentions at least two examples. [NYP] Related: A Woman’s Place? [NYM] The Post goes on to blame Patricia Yeo for Monkey Bar’s failure. [NYP]

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Bourdain's Reaction to ‘Top Chef’; Goldfarb and Cluizel Sittin' in a Cacao Tree

Bourdain considers “Hung’s well deserved victory … a nice, stiff middle finger to all those boneheads who’ve been predicting that ‘The producers are setting it up so Casey will win,’ as well as the poor, deluded souls who feel they can somehow taste food through the television screen.” Are you listening, Adam Platt? [Bourdain's Blog/Bravo] Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret wants chefs on their toes: “One thing you have to understand is that stars are not engraved in marble, but crystal, and that they can break easily.” [Metromix NY] Will Goldfarb is officially shacking up with Michel Cluizel at ABC on a dessert café, and Patricia Yeo has abandoned Monkey Bar after leaving Sapa to work on the project in March. [NYT] Related: Cluizel, Goldfarb to Join Forces in Dessert Pact Patricia Yeo Leaving Sapa, Opening Rib House; Something About a Monkey

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Richman Flings Feces at Monkey Bar; Soto Drops the Sushi Ball

Alan Richman gives it to Monkey Bar, and means it to stick. He gets that the place is supposed to be fun, but the bottom line is that the food sucks: “The dishes are incoherent and the food is thuddingly heavy. No focus. No finesse. Lots of salt.” [Bloomberg] Soto seems to have shot itself in the foot, dazzling Frank Bruni with its composed dishes, “vibrantly seasoned and intricately composed works of culinary and visual art,” but disappointing with the sushi, and screwing up the service (proof that lack of anonymity doesn’t matter). Now they have to settle for the same catchall two-star rating as Franny’s. [NYT] Randall Lane seems to have bestowed four (of six) stars on Wakiya more out of a sense of duty than anything else — the restaurant described in his review sounds infuriatingly stuck-up, and the food, by his account, spotty at best. Wakiya is still getting the benefit of the doubt, but it can’t hold up for long. Something tells us that a slam is coming. [TONY] Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street

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Monkey Bar Gets Hit; Three Stars for Café Boulud

Paul Adams liked some things about Monkey Bar, but it’s never a good sign if you hire a famous Chinese chef (Patricia Yeo) and the review includes the words “My neighborhood Chinese takeout does better dumplings.” [NYS] Café Boulud, in an important rereview, gets three stars — enough to add momentum to Daniel Boulud’s empire building. [NYT] Insieme looks dull, observes Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, but “profligate flavor and spirited service” show themselves once the food starts coming. [NYer]

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