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When Brunch Goes Bad

Enid's
Meet Lynnea Scalora, a waiter-bartender (and bassist-artist) treading the fine line between the "dolled-up" LES cool and the "messy" Greenpoint cool: She slings booze at the Annex, where "people are very concerned about their image" but prefers waiting tables at the laid-back Enid's. How laid-back? Well, they toss Polish locals out for talking to customers. And scoff at the rubes who order dirty martinis, or coffee-and-dessert, or decaf, or Splenda ("these things aren't what happens at Enid's"). And snicker at bickering couples. Otherwise, it's an oasis of tolerance! There's more Lynnea at Grub Street. Lynnea Scalora of Enid’s and the Annex Can Tell Her Hipsters Apart [Grub Street]

Not the Nosh!

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When they came for John's Pizzeria, we did not stand up, because we do not frequent John's Pizzeria. But who's left to stand up now? Everyone loves the Inhouse Nosh Café, the, well, in-house noshery in the lobby of New York HQ, 444 Madison Avenue. Or, at least, everyone does with the notable exception of city's Health Department, which in its ongoing, rats-video-fueled crackdown yesterday closed the place, claiming 110 violation points. (Twenty-eight or more points necessitates a reinspection.) Grub Street is crushed, and, in this rare case, we've got to say we agree. Poor Nosh. Health Department Rampage Hits Grub Street Close to Home [Grub Street]

God Save the King Burger

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Ever feel like a big, juicy, greasy hamburger doesn't pack quite big enough of a fat-and-cholesterol punch for you? The line cooks at BLT Burger to the rescue, then. Killing time at the end of a shift one night, the kitchen crew at Laurent Tourondel's Sixth Avenue outpost threw a burger in the deep fryer to see what would happen. The magnificent result was the King Burger, a five-ounce hunk of ground beef coated, fried, and served on a soft bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion. There's more to it, and it's this week's Sandwich of the Week. Sandwich of the Week: BLT’s King Burger, in All Its Deep-Fried Glory [Grub Street]

Sam Mason Always Has Room for Dessert

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Last time Grub Street checked in with Sam Mason, the former wd-50 pastry chef who's slowly working toward opening his own spot, Tailor, he was worried about the floor. Would the hardwood acclimate to the humidity? Would he have to have grout in his kitchen? This week, it's on to the ceiling and the stairs — who knew there are specific "staircase architects"? — and to that little manner of the menu. But first, it's time to get dessert with members of the Experimental Cuisine Collective. What's that? Find out at Grub Street. Sam Mason Joins a Molecular Secret Society [Grub Street]

Born to Be Wild Salmon

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Over-the-top restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow — the man behind the near-universally reviled Kobe Club, which has caused him to revile, in turn, critics like our Adam Platt and the Times' Frank Bruni — opens his latest offering, Wild Salmon, today. Grub Street got a look inside the place yesterday, and a look at the menu, and based on that — and not, mind you, on actually eating anything there — pronounces it "the best hand he’s dealt himself in a while." Why? Find out at Grub Street. Wild Salmon Swims Into View. Yes, 'Pun Intended' [Grub Street]

Sam Mason Waits for His Wood

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It's time for another Grub Street check-in with Sam Mason, the former wd-50 pastry chef who's working (and working and working) to open his own Soho spot, Tailor. Today we learn of yet another hiccup. Who knew you have to wait three days before laying hardwood floors? But there's an upside to that delay: It gave Sam time to go shopping for sexy Japanese knives. Everything you ever wanted to know about humidity, grout, and Japanese carbon steel awaits in The Launch at Grub Street. Sam Mason on the Sexiness of Japanese Steel [Grub Street]

Mom Always Said Not to Play Ball in the Fancy French Restaurant

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You think it's easy being a waiter at a high-end French restaurant? Hardly. Chanterelle server Ian Tomaschik has to serve and clear a six-course tasting menu while also replenishing bread and silverware and making drinks and coffees. "In the beginning," he told Grub Street, "I didn't think I could pull it off." But he has, for six years, and it's worth it: "Once I saw the name Barry Williams on the reservation list. I was like, I can’t believe I’m waiting on Greg Brady." Tomaschik is this week's Ask a Waiter. Ian Tomaschik of Chanterelle Will Serve You Fake Wine If Your Secretary Asks [Grub Street]

UWS Asian-Food Crisis Spreads as Labor Problems Hit Ollie's, Too

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The great Asian-Food Apocalypse of 2007 continues, with the protests that have been plaguing Saigon Grill spreading today to the Ollie's Noodle Shop chain on the Upper West Side, where staffers — deliverymen, waiters, others — filed suit for a string of labor violations. While print reporters took notes and TV cameras rolled, a group of Chinese immigrants — most from Fujian province and claiming they were paid only $1.40 an hour — gathered at the Lincoln Center location to announce the legal action. David Colodny, a lawyer with the Urban Justice Center, filed the federal suit on behalf of 44 workers at three of the five Ollie's locations — Lincoln Center, Times Square, and West 84th Street — for violating minimum-wage and other employment laws.

Sam Mason's Floor Won't Weather Itself

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Former wd-50 pastry chef Sam Mason may have run into some speed bumps on the road to opening his Tailor, on Broome Street, but he's still chugging along, and he's still chronicling said chugging for Grub Street. In the latest installment, Mason sees his restaurant taking shape — literally: They're framing the kitchen and laying floors — and wonders how he'll make those floors look as weathered as he wants them to be. Stiletto-heeled dancing, anyone? Sam Mason Needs Fifteen Women in Stilettos to Complete Construction [Grub Street]

Union Square Rehab: No Year-Round Restaurant

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It is, finally, just the sort of weather that makes a vigorous young New Yorker want to frolic — or at least eat and drink — in the great outdoors. Like, for example, at that bar-and-restaurant place inside Union Square. (It's technically called Luna Park.) But wasn't the city planning to do some renovation at the north end of the park, something with that restaurant? Indeed, and yesterday Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe caught us up on the planning. In 2004, he announced plans to complete the Square's beautification by joining the park's two playgrounds and creating a year-round eatery where that weird fortresslike structure now stands, near 17th Street. But after local sputtering, Benepe confirmed to us, Parks has ditched the controversial year-round part.

Duck!

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We haven't yet been to Morandi, Keith McNally's new Italian spot in the West Village, but as lunchtime approaches — and as we learn about chef Jody Williams's duck sandwich — we must say we're tempted to head over. It's Muscovy duck breast on Balthazar Bakery bread, plus lots of other things. We'll let Williams explain, in this week's Annotated Dish at Grub Street. Morandi's Deceptively Simple Duck Sandwich [Grub Street]

Everybody's Friends at Nolita Thai Joint Lovely Day

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Eve Dunlop has been a waitress at Nolita's neighborhood Thai joint, Lovely Day, for two years, and she tries to give the place a "hangout" kind of vibe. "We're trying to make a friendly environment," she says. "Anyone's welcome to join in our conversation." So might the locals who come by to hang out and converse — some of whom have been known to get naked ("we're all friends here," Dunlop says) — be the sort you'd call hipsters? Not at all, she says. "They're neighborhood people, young working professionals who are into music and art." Of course. Totally different. Eve's got much more to say at Grub Street; she's this week's Ask a Waiter. Eve Dunlop of Lovely Day Insists Her Customers Aren't Hipsters [Grub Street]

No Potatoes Dauphinoise for You!

Famed midtown French restaurant Brasserie LCB was shuttered by the Health Department after the chef got into a spat with inspectors. Lindsay Lohan performed a stripper routine at the Box, and the crowd went wild. She also rebuffed a karaoke come-on from former flame Wilmer Valderrama. Richard Johnson and wife Sessa von Richthofen gave birth to a baby girl. Tom Brady and Gisele dined at the Spotted Pig on Saint Patrick's Day. Hillary supporters with $2,300 to burn can go biking with Bill Clinton on the Upper West Side as part of a fund-raising effort.

Cops Plead, Naomi Cleans

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• The three cops indicted in the 50-shot shooting of Sean Bell pleaded not guilty yesterday. They have quite a bit to deny, too: The charges could get two of them 25 years in prison. [NYT] • Yesterday's antiwar rally in the financial district brought a whopping 44 arrests for disorderly conduct. Considering the event involved a total of 70 people — in organizers' estimation! — that's quite a percentage. [amNY] • Naomi Campbell started her community-service sentence yesterday, in a ritual that, once we've seen Boy George wield a broom, has become a kind of routine (if bizarre) photo op. The News lists the details of her work attire for the curious. [NYDN] • Coming soon to NYU: the treasure trove of the Communist Party of America. Marvel at Joe Hill's rhyming will, Lenin buttons, and "smuggled directives from Moscow"! [NYT] • And the Health Department is still on its rat-fueled, restaurant-shuttering rampage; the latest victim of the new zeal is Brasserie LCB on 55th Street, where the French owner says the inspectors "acted like the Gestapo." So he didn't mind closing, then? [NYP]

Manhattan's Bargain Is Brooklyn's Splurge

Los Pollitos II
Moroccan in Bay Ridge? Turkish in Gravesend? Sign us up. Grub Street has prepared a quick, opinionated guide to the more offbeat pleasures of Brooklyn Restaurant Week. At some places, the three-courses-for-$21.12 model actually sounds like a markup (how much chicken do you need to put away at Los Pollitos II to even hit that total?), but hell, that's part of the charm. Take the Cab to Deepest Brooklyn for Restaurant Week [Grub Street]

Good Grief

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• Hundreds of people, not all of them Muslims, attended the Islamic funeral ceremony for the nine children and a mother who perished in the last week's fire. Mayor Bloomberg quoted the Koran; strangers offered to rebuild the house and pay for the funerals. [NYT] • The newly berserk Health Department shut down Union Square's Coffee Shop after finding 120 violation points. The department's management, meanwhile, denies a concerted crackdown, saying inspectors are told to "adhere to current policies." That's a crackdown. [WNBC] • The indefatigable Clipper Equity, whose $1.3 billion Starrett City bid was killed to the applause of every authority imaginable, is back with a new offer: same price plus ironclad "proof" it won't raise rents. How will it make money, then? Why, build more housing on the property. [NYP] • Here's a good moral-compass exercise: Try to work up some compassion for Jeannie Kraph, who says she's being muscled out of her Williamsburg rental. Kraph has been paying $150 a month in rent for the last 50 years. [amNY] • And Al Sharpton does nothing to disprove his supposed jealousy of Barack Obama (cited in the Post) by fuming to the usually Al-friendlier Daily News about senator's "nerve." "I want to know his position on police brutality!" He loves it, Rev. [NYDN]

Rats Ruin It for Everyone

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Grub Street brings us the worrisome news that the New York City Department of Health is going all vigilante on area restaurants following last week's embarrassing rat infestations. This weekend's victims? West Village stalwart John's Pizzeria and neighboring Risotteria. Operators of both restaurants were furious, as were thwarted customers. Grub Street has all the dirt (which may or may not be in the restaurants themselves). Customers Rush to Pizzeria's Defense [Grub Street]

Introducing GONYC, Which We Proclaim the Best Thing Ever

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So nymag.com is launching this new service, and, although we know it's our job to say so, we'd say it anyway: It's pretty amazingly cool. It's called GONYC, and it lets you access the listings info we've got on the site from the comfort and privacy of your cell phone. How's that? It's a text-back service. Send a text message to GONYC — that's 46692, for those of you more numerically inclined — saying, for example, "name planet rose" (we never remember if it's on First or A), and it nearly immediately returns the bar's location, phone number, and whether it's a Critic's Pick. (Avenue A, as it turns out.) You can look up a restaurant or bar by name (type "name" then the name: "name wxou"), bars by location (type "bar" then a Zip Code, borough, or neighborhood), or restaurants by cuisine and location ("food" then cuisine then neighborhood: "food chinese west village"). We've been playing with it all morning, and we're loving it. It's explained with pretty pictures at nymag.com/mobile. Go.

Purple, Annotated

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Varietal pastry chef Jordan Kahn is, we're told, the pastry chef in New York right now. And what does the pastry chef want his desserts to taste like? Purple, apparently. In this week's Annotated Dish, he deconstructs his "Meditation in Purple," explaining all its luscious ingredients. Check it out at Grub Street. Varietal's 'Meditation in Purple': Need We Say More? [Grub Street]

Poor Joe Bruno

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• We've heard some incriminating things about Joe Bruno, Albany's top Republican, lately; he's been enmeshed in some fishy investments and nepotistic dealings, and the FBI is all over him. Now comes the most shocking revelation: All this hustle and the dude isn't even rich. [NYT] • The Health Department on the shuttered KFC–Taco Bell that became one of West Village's main attractions this past weekend for its scampering rats: "It doesn't look like the inspection that was done … met our standards." What do you mean? There's not a drop of trans fat on these babies! [WNBC] • Apparently state senators were serious about protesting the $1.3 billion sale of Brooklyn's subsidized enclave Starrett City to an -private equity group. After the obligatory photo ops glad-handing the residents, they're actually trying to pass a bill that will block the deal. [NYP] • More grief for JetBlue: Last night's relatively light dusting of snow caused the now-extra-cautious carrier to cancel a whopping 68 of today's flights. Yeah, we'd be unloading that stock right about now, if we had any. [AP via CBS News] • And how can you tell someone's got a touch of Oscar envy? James "King of the World" Cameron will hold a press conference in New York today — to declare that he has found Jesus's grave. [amNY]