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Bubbles in Your Vodka a Good Thing on the Upper East Side; House-Made Charcuterie Hits Cobble Hill

Chinatown: A stellar Chinese dessert discovery: “[F]laky green pastries that resembled caterpillars” flavored with durian fruit “came to the table piping hot filled with a bright yellow pudding.” Find them at Chatham Square (6 Chatham Square). [Gothamist] Clinton Hill: The food at Restaurant New Orleans is good, but the entire operation seems completely haphazard. [Clinton Hill Blog] Cobble Hill: The Red Deli at 264 Clinton Street near Verandah Place opens this week with “house-made charcuterie along with grab-and-go items like fried chicken.” [TONY] Dumbo: The D Space offering an Indian buffet is actually called Marrakesh Express, and the food is worth a try. [Dumbo NYC] Nolita: This list of spots to drink up free or cheap wine includes Le Jardin Bistro, where on Monday and Tuesday nights $12 adds all-you-can drink Bordeaux to your dinner. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: A new sparkling vodka called Camitz is for sale at Sherry-Lehmann, Astor Wines, and, in the near future, at Morrell’s, but you can try it in a cocktail at Park Avenue Winter among a few other restaurants around town. [Strong Buzz]

Caviar and Vodka Warming Hearts in Midtown; Danal Not Down for Long in the East Village

Astoria: The guacamole at Luna de Juarez is prepared tableside. [Joey in Astoria] Central Park: Someone may take over the Tavern on the Green someday, but they won't be calling it Tavern on the Green. That name belongs to owner Jennifer LeRoy. [Insatiable Critic] East Village: From a tipster comment on yesterday’s nabe watch: Danal is reopening on January 10 in a new Fifth Avenue space just south of 13th Street. [Grub Street] Lincoln Center: Bruni gives Rosa Mexicano thumbs up for its kid-friendly service and adult-friendly fare. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Lower East Side: Móle might make some of the tastiest tamales in town. [Gothamist] Midtown East: Reservations are required for Gastronomica editor, Russian professor, and cookbook author Darra Goldstein’s sustainable-caviar and vodka tasting next Wednesday in the Williams Club at 24 East 39th Street. [Williams Club] Nolita: Ceci-Cela on Spring Street will bake you a buttery galette des rois with only one day's notice … [Snack] Tribeca: … while Ceci-Cela on Chambers has officially closed after rising rents compelled the bakery to give up its lease. [Grub Street] Upper East Side: Rome expat Enrico Proietti (Baraonda, Per Lei, and Bella Blue) is opening a fourth Italian restaurant, which he’s named Ciaobella in commemoration of his first, long-closed, New York venture. [NYS] Upper West Side: Not only does DB source great charcuterie for Bar Boulud, the chef also knows how to throw a party. [Eater]

Is Funky Thai Closed, or Just in a Temporary Funk?

Funky Thai has been shuttered for a couple of weeks, which isn’t exactly a shocker. Despite its entrepreneurial spirit (diners got three free tater tots every time they surrendered their dignity by saying the words “all tongue-tied for three free tasty Thai tater tots!!”), the place spent its first year of operation depressingly empty, in so far as a restaurant with a fluorescent-green-and-purple color scheme and an affinity for smiley faces can be depressing. A phone message had them back from Thanksgiving vacation on November 27, but here we are a week later and still a padlock instead of pad Thai. Could this be the end of the latest incarnation of the spot that was Funky Broome and then briefly Jazzi Wok? And if so, what will replace it, Swingin’ Szechuan? Funky Thai Café [Official site]

L'asso Ropes in a Full Liquor License

We didn’t think things could get any better at L’asso, the hipster’s go-to pizza place in Nolita. After all: Nutella pies! Marshmallow pies! But after over three years of tossing them into the wood-fired brick oven, L'asso finally has a liquor license. They’re adjusting from wine and beer slowly (last night our server didn’t know what a Dark and Stormy was, though it was on the menu), but once they come around, we’re confident there will never again be a reason to join the line at Lombardi’s.

FR.OG Had to Choose Between Death and Didier

Here’s what we know about the departure of Didier Virot from FR.OG. The fact that he’s gone and the restaurant is still there may just prove something we had heard and only half-believed: that the chef was in fact an employee and not a partner. A source tells us that that the restaurant had been struggling (not helped by its name, which every food writer with an Internet connection had sport with). Rather than just close shop — a real consideration, we’re told – owner Philip Kirsh let the chef, who made a very significant salary, go to his next job, a cushy gig at the Palm Court. Currently, the menu is being produced by the line cooks. Efforts to reach Virot haven’t been successful, but should he be up for talking about the endgame at FR.OG, we’ll let you know the score. Leaping From FR.OG [NYT]

Shake Shack Opens Year-round; Five Guys On in Midtown

Flatiron: Shake Shack is hammering out a year-round plan that may kick off after the New Year and will include heat lamps. (It better!) [Eat for Victory/VV] Long Island City: Art-O-Mat sells nice neighborhood souvenirs like LIChocolate bars. [LIC-NYC] Lower East Side: New bar and restaurant Cafe Katja has earned some positive buzz for its touches like house-made pickles and sauerkraut and well-priced Austrian and German wine and beer. [Blog Chelsea] Midtown West: Five Guys Burger’s and Fries at 43 West 55th Street started serving today, a day ahead of schedule. [Midtown Lunch] Nolita: Katie Lee Joel’s favorite New York restaurant is Ballato’s on East Houston near Mulberry Street. [Restaurant Girl] Times Square: Top-notch steakhouse Del Frisco’s still has steak tips and mashed potatoes on its lunch menu for under $10, though the burger’s over $13. [Midtown Lunch] Upper East Side: Sassy’s Sliders at 1530 Third Avenue near 86th Street is the front-runner in this roundup of the city’s best mini-sandwiches, which also includes Burke’s burgers at Bloomingdale's and the Little Owl’s meatball version. [Gridskipper] West Village: The new bar replacing Luke & Leroy on Seventh Avenue South is having a soft opening tonight. [Imbible/Citysearch] Voyage has finally given up the ghost, and its prime Perry Street restaurant real estate with it. [Eater]

Dom De Marco's Hands of Steel; Smith's Opens Tonight in the South Village

Astoria: The Sparrow’s pain perdu dessert is “basically a grilled chocolate croissant with homemade butterscotch syrup on it, with a dollop of real whipped cream on the side.” [Joey in Astoria] Harlem: Doug E.’s Fresh Chicken and Waffles still isn’t ready to open. [Uptown Flavor] Gramercy: Blue Smoke takes top honors in this roundup of the city’s best sweet-potato fries. [Gridskipper] Greenwich Village: Smith’s from this week’s Openings starts serving tonight. [Eater] Midwood: Yes, Dom De Marco’s pies at Di Fara’s are impressive, but what’s really cause for amazement is “his asbestos hands. That man can pull a square pie out of the oven, which must be about 800 degrees, with his bare hands.” [Eat for Victory/VV] Nolita: Public’s butternut-squash soup with spiced marshmallows, crispy chickpeas, and pumpkin-seed oil is just one example in this list of fall dishes showing up all over town. [Restaurant Girl] Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens: Meytex Lounge is now calling itself Meytex Cafe, but their tasty fried chicken hasn’t changed. [Across the Park]

Plate of Pig Liver Silences Bruni in Nolita; ‘Top Chef’ Contestant's Restaurant Will Be Speakeasy

Astoria: Coffee and desserts are available at Tell Astorya Cafe on 28th Avenue during events including Friday’s Independent Film nights and afternoon jazz on Saturday. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Former Top Chefer Josie Smith-Malave has named her restaurant on Waverly and Greene Speakeasy. [Clinton Hill Blog] East Village: The food-feature documentary King Corn opens today at Cinema Village. [Cakehead] Flatiron: Centro Vinoteca’s Anne Burrell, Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez of Lassi, and Dos Caminos chef Ivy Stark will be cooking for next Thursday’s benefit for Women Chefs & Restaurateurs at the Prince George Ballroom. [Gothamist] Greenwich Village: Gray’s Papaya on 8th Street has endorsed Bloomberg for president because “he talks the talk, and he’ll walk the walk.” [Blog Chelsea] Nolita: Frank Bruni is actually at a loss for words to describe a favorite dish that Frank DeCarlo serves at Peasant: “the suckling pig liver will fascinate you because it tastes so very much like other liver you’ve had and yet … and yet … different, but in ways that are tough to pinpoint.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Will Dave Walentas Dunk?

Dumbo: Will local megadeveloper hero-villain Dave Walentas really subject himself to a carnival-type dunk tank at an arts festival Thursday night? [DumboNYC] East Harlem: Mt. Sinai will offer free prostate-cancer screenings on Thursday. Says an official there: "Smart men get checked annually." But what do you call men who get checked more? [Uptown Flavor] Lower East Side: The city's looking to remove those Essex Street stalls selling things like religious figures and Uzbek haircuts. [Vanishing New York] Nolita: Dandies, fops, feys, and flaneurs are the hot new archetype here. Wilde! [Gridskipper] Prospect Lefferts: Why can't that annoying marching band practice on the other side of Prospect Park … you know, where Jennifer Connelly lives? [Across the Park] Roosevelt Island: If you take a daytrip to this loo-deprived isle, you better hold off on the bottled water or cross your legs real tight. [Roosevelt Islander] Sunset Park: Oh my God, you guys, could we really get a park alongside some of that desolate postindustrial waterfront here? That would be awesome. [Brownstoner]

Name Boulud’s Burger, and Win Dinner For Two

Daniel Boulud
The suggestions for a name for Daniel Boulud's new burger place on the Bowery have been coming in to Grub Street, and no one quite seems to have hit on it yet. The ante has been upped, however: The prize for the best entry, awarded by us, is a free burger, beer, and ice-cream dinner for two at the place when it opens. As for the suggestions so far?

Community Board Bounces Kane's Club

We’ve just heard from Community Board No. 2 that its business committee, in a private meeting last night, voted unanimously to recommend a denial of liquor license to Forty Deuce. That recommendation will be mulled over by the full board on September 20, after which a recommendation of denial will most likely be sent to the SLA. Not a good day for Ivan Kane, David Bowie, or Sting, the last of whom will likely need to take a lot of hallucinogens to get over this. Earlier: Neighbors Take the Riding Crop to Forty Deuce