Astor Place: The building that houses Starbucks has such interesting history (saw a bloody theater riot in 1849 at what was once the Astor Place Opera House; held a barber shop where mobster Albert Anastasia got slaughtered while sitting in his chair) that Lost City has decided to target "kudzu-like chains" around town and attempt to uncover their past incarnations. [Lost City]
Chinatown: Dumpling House has reopened and the renovations include tables and chairs! [Eater]
East Village: Bar Veloce is returning to the space it once occupied before transforming into now deceased Room 4 Dessert. [Eater]
Tribeca: Harrison Tavern has already closed after a July opening. Clearly, offering ranch-chicken pizza did not bring in herds. [Grub Street]
Upper East Side: Café Carlyle has added a D.J.-hosted soirée Thursday through Saturday from midnight to 3 a.m. to its cabaret-night repertoire, and a new cocktail menu comes from the mixologist at Bemelmans Bar. [Zagat]
West Village: Pichet Ong is renaming his dessert bar P*ong & Batch at the end of the month when he’ll be expanding the space to include a retail bakery. [Zagat]
Williamsburg: Breakfast mecca egg (it's too cool to have a capital letter) deigns to open for dinner. [TONY]
East Village: Between securing a liquor license and finishing construction on what will be Sakaya sake store, the owners are blogging. [Down by the Hipster]
Flatiron: A BBQ tasting at Hill Country is the next stop for 4-Foodies; the event includes meeting the chefs and leaving with swag. [4-Foodies]
Harlem: “A few seemed comatose, their heads lolling, but most were lively” at La Granja live-poultry market on Amsterdam Avenue at 126th Street. The roasted results are so much better than supermarket chickens. [NYS]
Lower East Side: Months of Craigslist ads must have done some good, Tailor has scored Room 4 Dessert veteran Pam Yung as the fifth member of its kitchen team. [NYS]
Meatpacking District: Paradou’s next dirty bingo night is September 18: kinky prizes furnished by Kiki De Montparnasse.
Midtown East: Condolences to those who like a good frisking before lunch, the afternoon buffet in the U.N. Delegates Dining Room will be closed to the public from September 25 – October 5 while the General Assembly convenes. [NewYorkology]
The Cipriani family may lose the lease on its Fifth Avenue property because of their criminal case. [NYP]
Just like the Moondance Diner, Jade Mountain’s iconic neon sign looks like it’s headed out of town. [Lost City]
Will Goldfarb better get to work on that glyph, because apparently his new restaurant won’t be called Room 4 Dessert for legal reasons. [Eater]
Related: Room 4 Dessert Is Dead, Long Live Room 4 Dessert
In what might be the least surprising news of the summer, Will Goldfarb has told Grub Street that Room 4 Dessert, at least in its current location, is kaput. (The place has been closed for months, but Goldfarb has been promising it would reopen.) “We’re officially pulling the plug on 17 Cleveland Place,” the cake whiz tells us. “But we’re going to reopen, bigger and better, six months from today.” Goldfarb, theatrical as ever, refuses to disclose the location of the new place, except to say that it’s downtown “in another high-profile restaurant row.”
Times Magazine food editor Amanda Hesser runs afoul (again) of the paper’s strict conflict-of-interest policy, this time by reviewing a book by someone who had blurbed one of hers. [Gawker]
Room 4 Dessert, currently closed, will be reopening in a week. [Eater]
The DeMarco family has a special message to the public about Di Fara’s imminent reopening. [Gothamist]
The last time we checked in, Will Goldfarb, the Room 4 Dessert chef, had just begun convincing restaurants around town to outsource their dessert program to him. Now the ultracaffeinated cake whiz has colonized Battery Park, beating out some major rivals to develop and operate two lunch kiosks there. The stands won’t be open until late summer, but Goldfarb has typically high-concept plans for both. Former Thor chef Kevin Pomplun will run the kitchen, producing high-end sandwiches (a sous-vide chicken club; an oil-packed Sardinian tuna with tarragon mayo on ciabatta) and Goldfarbian desserts (pistachio panna cotta, hot chocolate mousse).
Dear Grub Street, My cousin is coming in next week from Indiana and wants to see the "hottest" NYC restaurants that he has read about on your Weblog and in New York Magazine. Where do you think I should take him? He likes “edgy” places and doesn't have a lot of money to spend (nor do I). Should we go to the Spotted Pig or Casa Mono?Momofuku Ssäm Bar? Where? Any advice would be great. Gloria
Five established chefs take center stage in this week’s issue – or six, if you count Kurt Gutenbrunner, who, per In Season, has a way with white asparagus. The others? Michael Anthony, the Blue Hill Haute Barnyard prodigy who stepped into Tom Colicchio’s shoes at Gramercy Tavern; Christopher Lee, a major rising talent who filled big shoes at Gilt; Kerry Simon, a Las Vegas–based Vongerichten lieutenant who is now doing the food for a giant karaoke bar; and finally Marco Canora and Asian dessert master Pichet Ong, whose long-awaited debuts, Insieme and P*Ong, respectively, open this week. All this star power, along with two short lists that couldn’t be more different, awaits in this week’s magazine.
Welcome to the latest installment of the Launch, where Sam Mason, former pastry chef at wd-50, relates the ups and downs of preparing to open Tailor, the swanky restaurant and lounge coming together at 525 Broome Street.
Good news for Jeffrey Chodorow: A restaurant owner in Ireland has successfully sued a critic's publication for giving him a bad review. [BBC]
A Texas pizzeria riled anti-immigration types with a pesos-for-pizza stunt. This subsequent essay is part marketing communications, part sociology. [NYT]
Fun interview with Drew Nieporent. Question: Is his favorite low-end restaurant really the random Benito’s II in Little Italy? [NYT]
Will Goldfarb, whose high-concept creations have made Room 4 Dessert a big hit with city gourmands, is now taking over the dessert program at Zak Pelaccio’s meatpacking mecca 5 Ninth. Although Goldfarb is the first of the rock-star pastry chefs to provide outsourcing, it could be the wave of the future. “I just can't do it," Pelaccio says of having in-house desserts. “We don't have the space, and it’s not economically sound, anyway. We can’t afford to pay a full-time pastry chef sixty or seventy thousand dollars a year.” (The new treats include a hot-chocolate martini with Calvados gelato, topped with saffron crumbs and Ligurian olive oil; a coconut parfait with lime sorbet and smoked-tea meringue; and Nutella over kabocha-squash cake, served with whole-milk ice cream.) Outside the world of composed sweets, the trend is already in full swing: Il Labatorio del Gelato owner Jon Snyder estimates that around one in five New York restaurants that serve gelato is getting it directly from his company. “We just did a sake kasu gelato for EN Japanese Brasserie,” he tells us. As far as Goldfarb is concerned, 5 Ninth is just the start; he has deals under way with two other restaurants and preliminary plans to service several more. “Fire your pastry chef,” the cake whiz says. “We’re your Bangladesh.”
Pastry chefs like Sam Mason (the man who’s sharing the experience of opening a new restaurant with us) are often on the cutting edge of New York cooking these days. The three chefs whose desserts we’re highlighting today all have major reputations. So if you go to wd-50 or Chanterelle tonight, make sure you leave some room. (Presumably that won’t be a problem at Room 4 Dessert.)
The usual New Year's Eve drill, of course, is to get hammered at a party while noshing away at whatever happens to be put out. This year, why not preface the evening with a real meal, sending out the old with one last act of gluttony? In one of this week's Short Lists —
"Out With a Bang" — Rob and Robin suggest the most extravagant NYE dinner options. For those of us who have made resolutions to spend something less than $650 on holiday meals, there are some other possibilities more likely to fall within your credit limit.
Making weird restaurant dishes at home is a dicey business, especially when you're talking about avant-garde trademarks like Room 4 Dessert's "Ice Ice Café." (Ingredients: white coffee sabayon, espresso fluid gel, basil-seeds caviar, and passion-fruit sponge cake.) Still, ambitious suckers now have a glimmer of hope: Will Goldfarb, Room 4 Dessert's chef, doesn't mind giving away a few secrets, if it means another revenue stream. Through a service he's calling "Willpowder," Goldfarb's selling the obscure (in the supermarket, at least) constituents he uses to make his dishes — and offering live advice over the phone to supplement the recipes on his Website. "The idea is to be able to reproduce anything you had in our restaurant," Goldfarb tells us. You want it, he's got it: methylcellulose (a stabilizer: "it makes ingredients hold together so you can aerate them"), lecithin (an emulsifying agent: "hot chocolate mousse that doesn't fall or break"), and flavor agents like tandoori masala. But isn't Goldfarb worried about every nut in town calling and interrupting him and his people in the kitchen? "Nah. Every nut in town calls me up already."