As a leadup to tonight’s Village Voice Choice Eats tasting event, Robert Sietsema gives Gothamist a lengthy interview and a barely disguised photo. Sietsema recalls his worst restaurant experience (cockroach) and explains how Frank Bruni maligned Katz’s by only giving it one star. His picks are after the jump.
As our sister blog Daily Intel has pointed out, this week was all about Tom Brady and Eli Manning sightings, with Tom and Gisele hitting the town (what else is new?) and Eli making it a quiet week. Michael Strahan also found a moment to sip chowder (question being, was it New York or New England style?). On a somber note, the Daily News uncovered Heath Ledger’s haunts in Soho: Spring Street Natural and Miro Café among them. The sighting we were most intrigued by, however, occurred in Park City, Utah: Sirio Maccioni eschewed trendier restaurants to hit Burger King. Now there’s a Whopper freakout we’d pay to see.
The wildly uneven Barbuto earns a single star from Frank Bruni, almost entirely on the strength of a well-roasted Bell & Evans chicken. To quote Winston Churchill, “Some chicken!” [NYT]
Alan Richman was appalled by how small the portions were at Grayz, how much they cost, and how shady most of them were, except for the magnificent, world-beating short rib: “In complexity and satisfaction, this dish reminded me most of the Gray Kunz of Lespinasse, the chef we miss so much.” [Bloomberg]
Randall Lane gets that Fiamma’s Fabio Trachocchi is cooking in a grand, Continental style and doesn’t hold that against him, but the food is too rich and the service too sloppy to give him the five or six stars the place would have liked And so they have to settle for four. [TONY]
The week of office holiday parties continues on, and we are fully into magazine territory. Last night saw fêtes for Allure at Socialista, Portfolio at Runway, and both Lucky and (maybe) Star at Pop Burger Midtown. We stopped by the last two, so you didn't have to. Though, really, shouldn't you be investing in your co-workers this holiday season? A little face time at the company bash might just make those quietly awkward office urinal moments a little more cheery for the rest of next year!
Lucky Magazine. We weren't sure what to expect when we went to midtown to crash the Lucky holiday party. For one, it was on the second floor at Pop Burger (yeah, that's right, it's a three-story club) and we weren't sure we'd get in. And for another, we weren't sure that sending a six-foot-three man to blend in with a bunch of tiny fashionistas was the best plan.
Every Friday a notable New Yorker tells us where they’ve been eating, but where are the rest of them chowing down? Starting this week we’ll sort through the gossip columns à la Ils Vont (RIP) to tell you who’s been seen where (casual sightings only — boring galas, vodka launches, and pluggy appearances don’t count). We’ll eventually compile a ranking of restaurants most often visited by celebs. Not that you care about that sort of thing! Oh, but if you do, won’t you please leave your own sightings in the comments?
Mayor Bloomberg calls the oatmeal-raisin cookies served up at Gracie Mansion “addictive,” an opinion not shared by Giuliani, who didn't care for the in-house baker's sweets. [NYDN]
Fresh owner Eric Tevrow pleaded guilty to pocketing more than $1 million in sales and payroll taxes from his restaurants. [NYP]
Tickets for Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s tribute dinner at next year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival have already sold out, despite being $500 a pop. Naturally, scalpers are already reselling them on eBay. [NYP]
Paula Froelich sticks up for close friend Amy Sacco in "Page Six" by making Sacco's ex-fiancé Luigi Di Carolis look like a dink. Parker Posey's dog peed on the floor of the Kiehl's shop in the East Village twice, and Kiehl's liked it Posey didn't clean it up. Anderson Cooper has a huge photographic portrait of mother Gloria Vanderbilt hanging in the guest room of his Manhattan loft. Graydon Carter and his partners are no longer interested in having to interact with tourists at the Oak Room in the Plaza Hotel. (Nello Balan has also passed.) A female Barnard student who wants to become a man has moved off-campus because her dorm was "just so girly."
Cobble Hill: Looking for a classic cocktail at an old-school price? Sam’s Pizzeria on Court Street in Brooklyn offers "not just the Martini and Manhattan, but the Side Car, Rob Roy, Pink Lady, Black Russian, Stinger, Rusty Nail, and Singapore Sling," for only $6.50 a pop, though keep in mind "if you order one of these, there’s no telling what kind of drink you’ll get." [Lost City]
East Village: Patricio Sandoval has returned from a trip to Oaxaca with a cache of recipes he’s now serving in a $30 prix fixe at Mercadito East and West. (Try the chile pasilla stuffed with pork picadillo.) [Grub Street]
Midtown East: A massive new Pop Burger opened this morning at 11 a.m. [Eater]
Midtown West: The Houses of Pita at 32 West 48th Street and 24 West 46th Street have both closed, though the owner is looking to reopen in new spaces. [Grub Street]
West Village: Could Eric Goode and Sean Macpherson’s new project be a boutique renovation of the Riverview Hotel, and, if so, could downstairs tenant Armin Amiri and his club Socialista be in cahoots with the baller duo? Just a few rumors to whet your hip-hotel appetite. [Down by the Hipster]
The recently unveiled exterior of the soon-to-open midtown Pop Burger takes the prize. Looks good now, but wait till the backlighting! Clearly bubble wrap was the inspiration here, making it a real possibility that someone in the upstairs billiards lounge could try to pop one of those windows with a pool cue. Also slated to hit midtown in December and still in hiding in the IBM building: the first U.S. outpost of Roman mozzarella bar Obika.