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Cluizel, Goldfarb to Join Forces in Dessert Pact

Will Goldfarb
Word in candyland is that a dual project of some kind is in the works between Chocolat Michel Cluizel, one of the city’s top chocolatiers, and none other than Will Goldfarb, Grub Street “It” boy and master of a million projects. Neither side would release details to us but did tacitly acknowledge that something is up. It wouldn’t surprise us to find out that at least one other dessert-making entity is involved as well. The project’s official announcement is likely a week or so away, but we thought you would want time to brace yourselves for its arrival.

Let No Scone Go Unclotted

Tea and Sympathy
Are we in the midst of a clotted-cream crisis? Nicky Perry, owner of Tea & Sympathy, believes so. She just learned from her supplier, Epicure, that an entire shipping container of clotted cream — made from unpasteurized milk and used in baked goods — was destroyed by the FDA a few weeks ago. The reason: more foot-and-mouth disease in the U.K. She panicked. “Help!” she wrote back to friends in England. “What’s happening?”

Dona to Return, in Relaxed Form

Dona, long departed and much missed, is on its way back. But while the last incarnation was a fairly refined, plutocratic concern, this one will be more casual. With a working title of Dona Café and a short list of possible locations (we’re hearing East 58th Street tops it), Donatella Arpaia and Michael Psilakis should soon be in a position to complete what sounded, less than a year ago, like an impossibility: to create Kefi, Anthos, and a new Dona, all one right after the other. Although owner Arpaia cautions that “it’s all just in the planning stage,” we’ve heard things are pretty far along. For anyone who ever got hooked on the Greek-Italian fusion that was Dona’s special achievement, that’s good news.

McNally Unites With the Workers of the World

Keith McNally

Keith McNally can appreciate the effectiveness of a good rally — you’ll recall he personally protested the billboard that’s going up atop the Gansevoort Hotel. So when workers rallied outside of Pastis over the restaurant’s use of provisions from Wild Edibles (which has been sued over allegations of unpaid overtime), you can bet McNally listened. Brandworkers International announced today that Balthazar, Schiller’s, Morandi, Pravda, and Lucky Strike will no longer use products from the company until the dispute is resolved. Comrade McNally, we’re heading to Pravda right now to toast you with a horseradish-and-poached-egg martini. Earlier: Wild Edibles Gets Caught in the Net of the Law

Exclusive: Chemel Leaves Café Boulud and NYC; Head Chef Named at Bar Boulud

Bertrand Chemel
Bertrand Chemel, the chef recently praised in Frank Bruni’s three-star review of Café Boulud for deftly filling Andrew Carmellini’s shoes, is leaving the restaurant in mid-December. A source says he made his announcement three days after the Times rave and will be starting his own restaurant in the Washington D.C. area. Boulud spokesperson Georgette Farkas confirms, “Bertrand is spreading his wings. He’s made an amazing contribution. Daniel has chosen a new chef, but he’s not prepared to announce it.” Daniel is, however, ready to name the head chef at his soon-to-open Bar Boulud, and that will be Damien Sansonetti, a sous-chef at Daniel for almost five years. So did media outlets jump the gun when they said Ed Cotton would be exec chef there? “He was someone Daniel had considered but decided it wasn’t his choice,” Farkas tells us. Not that Daniel left him in the cold — we hear he’s the one who scored Cotton the interview at Veritas, his new home. Reading Fortunes in a Bowl of Pasta [NYT]

Big Lou Elrose Hired as Wildwood Pitmaster

When Steve Hanson decided to launch a major barbecue restaurant (as we told you about in August), he didn’t have to look far for a pitmaster. He turned to the most critically acclaimed new barbecue in the city’s history, Hill Country. Big Lou Elrose, ex-cop, ex–competition barbecuer, and now ex–deputy pitmaster at Hill Country, will lead the pit team at Wildwood BBQ when it opens in December. The six-foot-five ex-policeman will also help develop operations for subsequent restaurants. “Lou has a lot of passion,” the B.R. Guest bigwig told us. “And he really knows pork. He’s truly gotten into the culture of barbecue, and he’s going to be one of our main guys.” Elrose, for his part, has a simpler ambition. “I just want to cook good barbecue,” he says. Related: B.R. Guest's New BBQ: Will Wildwood Succeed?

First Look Inside the New Bourgeois Pig

Bourgeois Pig
The new location of Bourgeois Pig (at 111 East 7th Street, across from the old one) is opening Wednesday, and this is your first look at the space. Owner Ravi DeRossi says he plans to keep the old and new locations open simultaneously for two weeks, after which the old spot will become a New World wine bar with a gourmet line of grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade reproductions of Hostess products. As for the new Pig, expect beer and Champagne cocktails created by Philip Ward, head barkeep of DeRossi’s other bar Death & Co., and Champagne punches served in silver punch bowls. Operating hours are 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Earlier: Death & Co., Pegu Club, and Flatiron Lounge Players Engage in Musical Chairs

The Box: The City's Unhealthiest Restaurant?

The Box
We still don’t know what was behind the August 24 shutdown of the Box. Was it partner-or-is-he-just-a-consultant Cordell Lochin going to trial for his involvement in a weed-dealing ring? (“Page Six”’s initial account of patrons being searched for drugs has been called into question.) Or was it the health inspection? That night’s evaluation yielded violations totaling a whopping 168 out of 175 points — the most out of all 23,126 restaurants in the Department of Health’s online database. Let’s put this in perspective, shall we? The infamous KFC–Taco Bell on Sixth Avenue received 62 points less. One of the violations: “Sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.” Or were the toilets just backed up from dubious flushing? Related: Restaurant Inspection Information: The Box [DOH] Earlier: Serge Becker: Drug-Dealing “Consultant” Is Not a Co-Owner of the Box, La Esquina [NYM]

The Feds Have a Problem Ordering Delivery from Saigon Grill

Saigon Grill
Labor activists, ousted employees, and local politicians gathered outside Saigon Grill’s uptown location to cheer a validating September 28 complaint against the restaurant issued by the National Labor Relations Board. In March, Saigon Grill sacked 22 workers who had taken steps to join the 318 Restaurant Workers Union. The NLRB also found that Saigon Grill’s owners promised pay raises (above a reported $1.60 an hour) to those who stayed away from the union and videotaped the employees who participated in regular demonstrations outside the Amsterdam Avenue restaurant and its University Place counterpart.

Freemans Fall Menu Is Heavy on the Meat

When we talked to Freemans server Cass Buggé a little over a month ago, the barbecue ribs were all the rage there. Bad news is summer’s kaput. Good news is the place’s fall menu, which we offer you here exclusively, includes enticing things like venison stew, Estonian meat pies, roasted pork loin, and so on. Will the cauliflower cream hold a candle to the ever-popular artichoke dip? We don’t know, but you’ll definitely find us here rather than attempting to find a seat for Oktoberfest at Loreley across the street. Freemans fall menu

Seven Nights of Wine, and No Blackout

The swirling, the spitting, the meditative expressions – do you regret that you, too, aren’t a wine expert? There’s a boom in wine education now, the oenophilic equivalent of the G.I. Bill. And Grub Street’s Alexandra Vallis offers a seven-day guided tour of some of them available throughout the week. Because there shouldn’t be a single day when you can’t take a wine class in New York. Seven Days to Sip and Swirl

Overtime Suits Officially a Buzz Topic

We’ve learned that Juan Garcia-Espinoza, a dishwasher who worked at Carmine’s for two and a half years is suing the South Street Seaport dive (no relation to the Upper West Side pasta joint) for allegedly violating overtime laws by paying him a miserly $260 to $300 for workweeks as long as 58 hours. We’ve pointed out that these cases are increasingly becoming “man bites dog,” and the cover story of this week’s Business Week proves it: In the last few years, companies have blown about $1 billion resolving them. At this point wouldn’t even Mr. Burns agree that that money is better spent fairly compensating workers in the first place? Related: Wage Wars [Business Week]

Kingswood Is a Respectable Hipstaurant, Except for That Infernal Song

We’ve heard more than one person refer to Kingswood as the new Freemans, and there are similarities: A greeter in an anachronistic hat, a bucolic vibe care of the butterflies on the ceiling, and drinks in which Glenfiddich is “massaged” by figs. There’s even some clothier-restaurateur synchronicity, à la Freemans, since it shares ownership with Ksubi clothing store. But if Kingswood is going to be a true hipstaurant, it’s going to have to put an end to one thing.

Red Hook Spokesman Strikes Back, Puts Down Coup

Ivan Kane
The Times reported dissension among the Red Hook vendors, and we were surprised. But not as surprised as Cesar Fuentes, who was furious when we talked with him over the weekend. “This wasn’t really dissension,” Fuentes says. “It was more of a coup d’état.” Seriously? What's going on in Red Hook?

Serge Becker: Drug-Dealing ‘Consultant’ Is Not a Co-Owner of the Box, La Esquina

Guest of a Guest broke the story yesterday that Cordell Lochin — thought be a partner in Serge Becker’s joints La Esquina, 205, and the Box — will be sentenced on October 10 for importing more than 100 kilos of weed and dealing it in New York in 2004 and 2005. There’s been speculation that the August 24 raid of the Box and La Esquina was related to this, and we’ve heard rumors that Cordell was recently arrested again — but the Box’s publicist, Nadine Johnson, tells us neither of these things are correct (a check with NYPD turned up no recent arrests). She also describes Cordell as a consultant and not a partner in the Box, as reported in a recent Observer profile and other places: “We had taken the decision to call him a partner, but he isn’t a real partner or employee for the Box or La Esquina.” Serge Becker did not know about Cordell’s past until ten days ago, when his case went to trial, Johnson says. She also issued an emphatic statement to Grub Street on behalf of Becker further disavowing Cordell’s ownership stake.

George Mendes Holds Down the Wallsé Fort Until Help Arrives

George Mendes
Having heard and read reports on Eater that the chefs at both of Kurt Gutenbrunner's restaurants had quit, we were on the trail of something juicy. Apparently, it isn't to be had. Gutenbrunner tells us that there are perfectly good explanations for the simultaneous departure of Mattias Froeschl from Wallsé and Martin Pirker from Blaue Gans. "I see it as a positive," the chef says. "People need experience, and now they will have more." Froeschel is moving to California with his new wife, and Pirker back to Austria to take over his family business. New chefs are on the way at both restaurants, but in the meantime Guttenbrunner is getting a helping hand from George Mendes, the former Tocqueville chef whose solo restaurant has been delayed longer than the Chinese space program. Guttenbrunner hasn't revealed the ID of his new chefs yet, but we'll let you know when we hear. Update: Word comes from Kurt Guttenbrunner: The new chef at Wallsé will be Alex Roesch, from the two-star Michelin restaurant Tantris in Munich, who’s coming in January. Conny Quehenberger has been promoted at Blaue Gans and is currently running the kitchen there.

Exclusive: Ivan Kane Kills NYC Plans for Forty Deuce

Ivan Kane
Club owners have a long, proud history of ignoring Community Board rulings, so we were surprised to hear that Ivan Kane has taken the massive opposition to Forty Deuce to heart. According to a spokesman, Kane will not open a burlesque club at 19 Kenmare or anywhere else in the city. This is despite the fact that construction was well underway and despite implying, during the CB meeting, that he might pursue the project regardless of outcry. Kane, who moved his family to New York while building the club, has returned to Los Angeles to open his Hollywood restaurant and lounge, Café Was, and will focus on opening Forty Deuces in San Diego and — pending negotiations, we’re told — perhaps Atlantic City. And here we thought New York was becoming too friendly to chains! Earlier: Neighbors Take the Riding Crop to Forty Deuce [Grub Street]

Modernizing the Fruit Stand in SoHo

Fruit Stand
The ramshackle fruit stand on the southwestern flank of the Broadway-Lafayette stop is getting a high-end makeover. Proprietor Pan Gi Lee has long wanted to expand the space, which is owned by the MTA. On Wednesday, the MTA board endorsed Lee’s proposal for a fanciful new look. As architect Tobias Guggenheimer explains, the space will become “kind of a bodega,” with coffee and “light foods,” but no seating. In his design, Guggenheimer appeals to the hopes of downtown preservationists. “Our theme for the selected design, represented by the tree silhouettes, is that of an orchard. The exposed steel structure, especially the columns, refer to the rhythmic patterns of SoHo’s cast-iron buildings.” Now the lofty class will have somewhere to contemplate the curve of an apple on their way to Desiron or BDDW. —Alec Appelbaum

Your Chance Has Come at Last to Eat Boulud’s Food for Free

Chef demonstrations tend to be pretty grim affairs, and the so-called “tastings” that come with it even worse. (Usually, it’s a sample of whatever horrible product the chef is currently hawking in groceries.) Tomorrow’s demo by Daniel Boulud at the Time Warner Center's Williams Sonoma, though, will be a rare chance to actually eat the chef’s actual food. The chef is promoting The Cafe Boulud Cookbook, but there's a bonus Bar Boulud tasting, too.