These are high times we’re living in. Every stratum of society has something going for it. On the tippy top, the wine-swilling swells who frequent Adour can enjoy what, in Adam Platt’s view, is three-star cuisine. And their fellow plutocrats will enjoy South Gate’s posh but lively room and Gael Greene–approved food (well, except for the clams). But for the rest of us, Rob and Robin have a panoply of awarding options: There are the spring-inspired rhubarb hamantaschen made by Emily Isaac at Trois Pommes Patisserie; an interview the Robs did with Momofuku man Joaquin Baca, who now is doing the menu for world-class dive bar the Rusty Knot; and, adding to this embarrassment of riches, takeout sweets from Pichet Ong’s Batch, and a very appealing-sounding little Tuscan restaurant on Bleecker Street. On top of everything else, crackling is the latest snack trend. Good times, friends. Good times.
Presidents’ Day is a holiday for Grub Street, but, thankfully, there’s enough in this week’s magazine to read till we return tomorrow. Daniel Boulud, whom Adam Platt respects as the Last Great French Chef, falls down in his new restaurant and gets only one star. In this week's "Openings," Rob and Robin introduce us to Olana (American with Italian influences) and marvel at Akhtar Nawab and Noel Cruz for putting a restaurant where Jimi Hendrix used to (reportedly) play. At Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Rob and Robin find the mind-bending “Frankensteak”: hanger steak that is literally glued to world-class rib-eye deckle. The Insatiable Critic falls for Fiore, a funky, rustic Italian place in Williamsburg; for those at risk of scurvy, pickled lemon is in "In Season" this week. But if you want a drink, you’ll find a guide to the city’s top boutique wineshops by the Gastropoda herself, Regina Schrambling.
Though it may be New York's 40th anniversary, 1968 was a rough year: the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Tet Offensive, riots in Newark and Detroit. But one area no one could complain about was food in New York, as this week’s anniversary issue attests. Gael Greene, who was then as now a potent force in the city’s restaurant culture, conjures up one of the era’s most vivid restaurant scenes at Orsini's, complete with a cast ranging from Yul Brynner to Porfirio Rubirosa, the era’s greatest playboy. Rob and Robin, scoping out the city’s treats circa 1968, find everything from Japanese raw-fish sandwiches called “sushi” to quenelles at La Côte Basque. And, in a fitting tribute to an era when “fine dining” meant French food, a recipe for “ze Soufflé” at La Grenouille.
Well, here’s some news the food world will find welcome: Adam Platt is so won over by the Upper West Side’s Dovetail that he has gone and awarded the place three stars. And in further good news, Merkato 55, Marcus Samuelsson’s much-awaited African restaurant, finally opens its doors in the meatpacking district, as Rob and Robin report in this week’s Openings. On the other side of the trendiness spectrum, the 2nd Avenue Deli comes under the gaze of Gael Greene, and the Insatiable Critic likes what she sees. Add in a fine sangria recipe, and you have plenty to chew on in this week’s magazine.