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Is Le Souk Finally Sunk?

Le Souk
The fate of beleaguered boîte 205 was to be decided today by the State Liquor Authority, but as tends to happen, the hearing has been held over till the next meeting. Meanwhile there’s evidence that another protracted case has been resolved: A friend of Grub Street tried to go to Le Souk last night only to find it closed. Her waiter at a nearby Moroccan restaurant (who happened to have worked at Le Souk) told her it has been shuttered for a week but didn’t know anything more. Since last December the place had been operating under a temporary license while it awaited word on the status of its renewal request. Can we take it the SLA has denied it once and for all? We’ve asked the Authority for the official word, but if you have any insight, do leave a comment. Update: It would seem that Souk gang was merely on suspension after a nasty flame-permit issue — and seven other charges, which have since been dropped.

Oriental Spoon Gives Up on Tapas, Relaunches As Japanese Pasta House

No sooner had we begun to understand Oriental Spoon, the Pan-Asian tapas restaurant hidden away in the rear of Ramen Setagaya than it had changed again. Welcome, Pasta Wafu! The newest incarnation of the space specializes in “Japanese-style pasta,” says manager Charlie Huh. Think of flying fish roe in a cream sauce with penne or linguine with sea urchin and “homemade oil sauce.” But if you’re not into Italianate fusion, there’s also a full sushi bar. But be daring, says Huh. “This is top-notch food, and it’s very affordable! It’s not just for Japanese people.” We’ll settle for just not having to stand in the Setagaya line. Related: New East Village Ramen Spot Insists It’s More Authentic Than Momofuku

Will Ken Friedman Open a Restaurant With Ilan Hall?

We are hearing that Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman is planning on doing a restaurant with former Top Chef winner Ilan Hall. The rumor chorus places the new eatery down the street from the Pig on far West 11th Street and says it may be only a few months out. Friedman did not confirm any of this, but he didn’t deny it, either. “I hope all those things are true,” he responded when we repeated the details.

Bowery Burger Battle: Veselka Looks to Open Up Next Door to Daniel

Watch out, Daniel Boulud! Your downtown burger barn is about to get some stiff competition. Veselka, home to our all-time favorite hamburger in the East Village, is in negotiations to lease a 5,100-square-foot space in the very same building as Daniel, but on 1st Street. Owner Tom Birchard tells us, after the obligatory caution that nothing has been signed yet, “Veselka has been working pretty well for 53 years, so it’s going to be pretty much the same, Ukrainian and American comfort food— although maybe with a little tinkering on the menu. We’re thinking of calling it Veselka Bowery, and it will take about a year to build and open.” But what about going head to head with the inventor of the DB burger? Can the lush and lavish Veselka bacon cheeseburger, with its double layer of American cheese and thick, salty-sweet bacon, compete with foie gras and short-rib stuffing? “Bring it on,” Birchard says. We’re already geared up: Happily, in any burger battle, the true victors are always the customers. Earlier: Veselka 2: Electric Boogaloo

Astor Place Update: Beard Papa Up, Cold Stone Creamery Down

Cold Beard Soup
In a bit of Astor Place musical chairs, Beard Papa has reopened as promised while its neighbor around the corner, Cold Stone Creamery, is taking a week off. Beard Papa has added pre-made Japanese-style cakes and pastries from Gateaux bakery (we cracked open the plastic on a croissant filled with ham and half of a hard-boiled egg and also sampled some tapioca balls). Cold Stone, which had to seek approval from Landmarks for construction, is promising Original Soup Man products when it reopens November 1. Because it’s getting cold and all. Related: Beard Papa Returning Downtown, May Hit the Slope

Until 1OAK Opens, Look for Richie Akiva at Scores

Scores Ladies
1OAK is a little behind schedule, but that isn’t stopping its investors from throwing a Halloween bash — at Scores?!? A friend of Grub received this e-mail (sent “by Jeffrey Jah, Lyman Carter, Richie Akiva, Scott Sartiano, & Ronnie Madra / 1OAK, 453 West 17th Street”) inviting him to throw down with strippers. Hey, Scores is a classy enough substitution for the venue that will “change the face of nightlife in New York,” but why didn’t the boys just have their party at the 10AK construction site? Now that would’ve been spooky. Related: Richie Akiva's and Scott Sartiano's 1OAK Will Not Open Friday N.Y. Diet: Butter's Richie Akiva Dines With Puffy, Cooks for the ‘Wifey’

Café Bari's Velvet Rope Keeps You Away From Diddy, Day-Old Pizza

Velvet Rope
This weekend we were combing Broadway for an outfit that would get us into Upstairs, Danny A’s club on the second floor of Café Bari (and the location of Diddy’s most recent fisticuffs), when we passed the café/club itself and saw its once intimidating velvet rope doing its day job: guarding a display table of rather foul-looking dishes. Mind you, this wasn’t kitschy plastic display food like in Japan, but an actual burger, pizza, and pasta exposed to the elements all day. It took away whatever remaining luster this place had.

What's That You're Wearing? Roast Beef?

Time Bomb
Those of you who don’t already reek of booze should take note: CB I Hate Perfume in Williamsburg will unveil, this week, a new fragrance inspired by one of perfumer Christopher Brosius’s favorite drinks — whiskey and ginger ale with a slice of cucumber. It joins CB’s “food series,” which also includes roast beef, bruschetta, pesto, boiled rice, a California roll, cucumber sandwiches, French bread, and tortilla chips. The scents go for $25 to $35 for fifteen milliliters, but don’t try to buy the food ones on the Website. “I want people to come to the gallery,” Brosius says, “to smell them and know what they’re getting into.” So what are they getting into? We asked the perfumer himself.

Virginia Pig Farmer Is the Toast of the New York Pork World

It sounds like a fairy tale: Some Spanish hogs, brought over by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century, take over an island off the coast of Georgia and run wild there for hundreds of years. Feral and boarlike, they are also about the best tasting pork imaginable, and cousins to the world’s most celebrated ham. Is it a fable, conjured by the heated imagination of foodies? Or an eye-opening truth, as irrefutable as a piece of gamey and rich roast pork? We’re happy to say that it’s the latter. Bev Eggleston, of Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia, has started selling his amazing pork to a handful of New York restaurants, and soon he may be giving the Spanish a run for their money in the ham business.

Swiss Restaurant Mogul Looks to Become Uppity Burger Baron

Among the high rollers we met at last night’s autism benefit was a good-natured Swiss restaurateur with the formidable name of Dr. Wolf Wagschal. Wagschal was being shown around by our old pal Drew Nieporent, and we found ourselves chatting up the good doctor about his plans. It appears that Wagschal has it in mind to create a gourmet, high-end, white-tablecloth restaurant devoted entirely to hamburgers. “It won’t be like you have here, with your bacon cheeseburgers and so on,” he tells us. “We will have a cordon bleu burger, a vitello tonnato burger, a mushroom-and-Brie burger, and so on. And it won’t be like the DB burger either; it will be totally dedicated.” Wagschal wants the restaurant, which he plans to open first in Switzerland and then in New York, to have the atmosphere of Tribeca Grill. And who can blame him? But unless he serves one of our bacon cheeseburgers, we won’t be going there. Vitello tonnato!

James Beard Hopefuls Lobby on Facebook

Sumile Sushi
It’s time again for Beard nominations, and the whole kerfuffle over Jason Neroni last year isn’t stopping the shameless shilling. A Grub Street reader alerted us to the Facebook group "Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award," created by a friend of Rich, chef at Sumile Sushi. Rich is in a good spot if the group’s twelve current members are any indicator. Nice of the moderator to invite them all to Sumile! Let’s hope for the sake of propriety that there won’t be any comped green-tea ice cream. Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award [Facebook]

Greenpoint Man Eats Everything on Four Legs

We are especially attached to edible animals, but we have to hand it to Greenpoint resident Scott Gold, the author of the forthcoming book The Shameless Carnivore. The 30-year-old former literary agent puts us to shame when it comes to the breadth of his appetites. Although his book is filled with dietetic information, ethics, meat lore, cultural anthropology, and the like, the thing that really turns us on is the part where he ate 31 animals in 31 days. “It wasn’t one a day,” Gold assures us. “Some nights it would be three or four. On venison night, I ate whitetail deer, antelope, elk, and caribou. But on the other hand, turtle soup took two days to prepare.”

Farm on Adderley Owners Launching Tiny Ditmas Bistro

Ditmas Park is taking another step toward being the next big Brooklyn neighborhood with an addition to its scant restaurant scene. There now is the Farm on Adderley, Picket Fence, and a guy that cooks ribs on the street outside of left-wing cafe Vox Pop. But help is on the way, reports the Ditmas Park Blog. Gary Jonas and Allison McDowell, the owners of the Farm on Adderley, are planning on opening a small bistro on Newkirk Avenue, currently best known for its laundromats and ill-stocked Indian groceries. The two will be operating partners with Pacifico and Patois owner Jimmy Mamary. We asked McDowell about it, and she explained the plan: “It’s going to be tiny. We’re not doing a big, family-friendly neighborhood restaurant there. It’ll be more grown-up, European, but there won’t be a liquor license, just beer and wine. We’d like Tom Kearney, our chef at Adderley, to do the menu, but that’s still up in the air.” So, apparently, is the name: We’re suggesting the Barn, but only because Lentils & More is worse. Newkirk Bistro Aims for Xmas Opening [Ditmas Park Blog] Related: Best French Fries: The Farm on Adderley [NYM]

Steven Eckler Joins Red Cat, Plans New Restaurant with Jimmy Bradley

Red Cat
A new restaurant marriage has been consummated! Lever House GM Steven Eckler has joined the Red Cat’s owner Jimmy Bradley. The two are now operating partners in the Red Cat and are developing further plans. Bradley tells us that he hopes to have the Red Cat open for lunch within the next couple of months and is also looking to add a private dining room to the restaurant. “We’re still working on the lease, but there is space here for us to do it,” he says. And that’s not all! Eckler and Bradley are planning a new eatery, in theory an 80-to-100-seat restaurant “somewhere between the Thirties and Canal Street on the West Side.” So why move on this now? “Steven wants to open his own restaurant, and that’s something I want to do with him,” Bradley says. “We’ve known each other a long time, and now it’s time for us to do something.”

Yakitori Totto to Get New Soba Sister

New York soba fans (more than you might think) will be pleased to hear that the city is getting a much-needed addition to its roster of buckwheat-noodle restaurants. The source is impeccable: Ryuichi “Bobby” Munekata, the owner of the Cheap Eats favorite Yakitori Totto and Aburiya Kinnosuke. “There are only three or four soba restaurants in New York, compared to hundreds of sushi places,” says Munekata. The planned location for Totto Yakitori and Soba, though, is directly atop one of its few competitors: Sakagura, which occupies the basement floor of the same East 43rd Street building. You’ll find Totto Yakitori on the ground floor, likely as of mid-December.

Jimmy's Secret Chef Performs Culinary Miracles in the East Village

We always like Jimmy's — the Belgian beers, the sausage plates, the occasional bacon tasting. But nothing could have prepared us for our recent discovery of a living, breathing young chef working gastronomic magic in Jimmy’s ultraprimitive kitchen. Using only two hot plates and a toaster oven, Philip Kirschen-Clark, the former fish man at wd-50, is making surprising, inventive dishes every night at the East Village bar.

Beatrice Currently Closed to Everyone, Not Just You

Gawker reported earlier today that the Beatrice was closed last night, though “no one knew why.” Co-owner Matt Abramcyk fills us in. In order to address noise complaints, Abramcyk was doing renovations to facilitate quick entry and exit to and from the club. However, someone failed to apply for a permit to do some plumbing work. “When [the mayor’s task force] shut construction down,” Abramcyk says, “they left us with our pants half down, since we were doing it to satisfy them.” He’s working with his lawyers to get his pants back up in time to open tonight — not that it matters to the 99.9 percent of the city that can’t get in anyway. Paul Sevigny’s Beatrice Inn Shut Down Last Night [Gawker]

Aspen Has a New Chef and a New Sustainable Menu

An overtime lawsuit isn’t the only shake-up happening in Aspen’s kitchen — Greg Brier’s lodge-themed spot has a new head chef. Robert Betanzos formerly cooked at Pacific East, the Hamptons eatery that Diddy was rumored to be buying from feuding owners Aram Sabet and Michael Castino (disco broker Steven Kamali is now shopping Pacific East at $6.5 million). As you can see from the new menu, Chef Betanzos is moving from small plates (though the bison sliders stay) to entrées such as wild salmon with beluga lentils and beets — many of them made with ingredients from Hope Farmyard, which practices sustainable agriculture. What a reputation improver! Aspen menu Related: Workers Lodge Complaint Against Aspen

Akhtar Nawab to *NOT* Leave E.U., Will Open New Restaurant

Akhtar Nawab
Akhtar Nawab, the talented chef who turned around E.U.’s fortunes, is expecting to leave, Grub Street has learned. “We’re planning something, and we are looking at a space,” Nawab told us. The new restaurant, which Nawab will open with Dani operating partner Noel Cruz, will be on West 8th Street. The menu will reflect casual but sophisticated Mediterranean food “something like the original Craftbar,” Nawab explained. (This style is in contrast to earlier rumors, which aligned the new venture with Nawab’s more upscale Allen and Delancey model before he parted from that project.) Nawab was reluctant to present any sort of timeline; he will leave E.U. “soon,” but the new restaurant likely won’t open until late winter or spring. UPDATE: We spoke to Nawab yesterday and misunderstood. Though he will open a new restaurant, he plans to stay on at E.U. Grub Street regrets the error, our bad, etc. Related: Allen and Delancey Tripped at the Finish Line, Won’t Open