A couple of weeks ago the magazine offered a peek into the Mercury Dime, Sasha Petraske's latest venture in the East Village. A year after the community board shot down its bid for a wine-and-beer license (not even the proprietor of ultraquiet Milk and Honey can get a liquor license in this town), the venture is now up and running as a coffee shop — and though we're dismayed to know we won't be able to enjoy a nice cava here anytime soon, some strong gourmet coffee should perk us up. Anyhow, seems time to take a closer look inside.
The city’s newest food-fusion trend is Latin American and Italian cuisines, says the Underground Gourmet in this week’s magazine. Miranda in Williamsburg and Matilda in the East Village are leading the charge, and Rob and Robin alternate between calling it “Mex-Italian” and “Tusc-Mex.” (Our pick: “Mexcellente.”) Outside of our regular reading route, Intel has a dishy item about David Bouley apparently, his Tribeca neighbors aren’t so thrilled about his proposed Brushstrokes restaurant. Back in the food section, it’s a difficult time of year for the Greenmarket, but that doesn’t deter Damon Wise at Craft for offering up this week’s “In Season” recipe: pan-roasted salsify. Gael Greene visits Smokin’ Q on the Upper East Side this week and enjoys the ribs and the thin-cut fries, though she could do without the owner’s jokes. Rob and Robin introduce us to three new restaurants this week, and we can’t wait to visit Terroir, the latest from Marco Canora and Paul Grieco. Also in “Openings”: an East Village coffee bar co-owned by Sasha Petraske and a new burger spot in the financial district. If a recession breeds good $4 burgers, it can’t be that bad. Finally, if you want to reduce bottled-water waste, we found four restaurants with a DIY approach to filtration and carbonation.
After a few weeks of preopening buzz, Weather Up has opened and owner Kathryn Weatherup (as you’ll recall, an original partner in East Side Company) tells us that by the end of the week there will be eleven classic cocktails on the menu (including an old-fashioned, a Brooklyn, a Florida daiquiri, a Presbyterian, a honeysuckle, a Sazerac, an aviator, and a bee's knees) plus a weekly pick from bartenders Eliza Rose (formerly of Veritas) and James Arnold, who were trained by Milk and Honey’s Sasha Petraske. Hours of operation: Tuesday through Sunday, 7 p.m. till 3 a.m. Will this reliquary get mobbed as quickly as the Hotel Delmano did? For anyone planning to go there, we hope not.
Weather Up, 589 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. Dean St., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; no phone yet.Earlier: Prospect Heights Cocktail Den Promises Back Garden, Oysters
Weather Up, the new cocktail bar in Prospect Heights, should open in a couple of weeks, says owner Kathryn Weatherup, an original investor in East Side Company Bar. Weather Up's partner Matthew Maddy, who cut his teeth with a design firm that worked on the Box and Stanton Social, is turning a former storefront church (Google street view, above) into a “jewel box” of sorts by installing an old mahogany bar with a custom-made brass bar top, a tiled vaulted ceiling, stainless-steel and onyx light fixtures, and banquettes of buffalo-skin leather. Add to all that a back garden and you have a drinks temple fit for barkeeps trained by Sasha Petraske. There will be oysters and cheese plates, but obviously the thing that’ll drive people here are the classic cocktails, with the menu changing every couple of months. Soundtrack: jazz, blues, and local cocktailians smacking their lips.
Weather Up, 589 Vanderbilt Ave., nr. Dean St., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; no phone yet.
In what will surely become mixology’s version of Yankees Stadium's Monument Park, Jill DeGroff, wife of “King of Cocktails” Dale, has sketched caricatures of a dozen “cocktailians” and included them in a calendar that’s going for $17.95 (about the price of an overpriced drink!). Some of the local drink-slingers whose recipes and rosy-cheeked mugs are featured: Audrey Saunders from Pegu Club, Julie Rainer from Flatiron Lounge, and Sasha Petraske from Milk and Honey. Our favorite part, though, is the page on which a pants-less John Hodgman gives his preferred synonyms for booze.
A while back we did the unspeakable by releasing Milk and Honey’s number to the masses (sort of). Yesterday a reader wrote in to let us know that the number had been disconnected. Seems the bar is closed while it turns its basement (where it makes its precious ice) into the offices of Cuff and Buttons, the catering service run by former bartenders Christy Pope and Chad Solomon. The good news: A new number is being released today (even more exciting than a new edition of Harry Potter!), and the bar should reopen sometime next week.
Little Branch and Milk & Honey owner Sasha Petraske may have moved into his East Village bachelor pad a week ago, but last night the community board’s SLA committee said not-so-fast to his plan to turn the two floors below it (formerly Jack’s Luxury Oyster) into a wine and Belgian beer bar called the Mighty Ocelot. (That name, previously reported here, may now change since cat-loving Sasha discovered the bar next door is called Leopard Lounge). Not even Petraske’s two adorable character witnesses — his mother and the mother of his cheese guy, T.J. Segal of Artisanal and Picholine — could save him from the wrath of block association members armed with a petition signed by over 140 noise-fearing neighbors.
Sasha Petraske of Milk and Honey recently put his stamp on the drinks menu at the Carlyle Hotel’s Bemelmans Bar, but let’s face it, the place still isn’t what it was when it was helmed by legends Dale DeGroff and, later, Audrey Saunders. Brian Van Flandern, former head mixologist at Per Se, hopes to change that. Within six weeks, the star stirrer, known for making his own ginger beer and tonic water at Per Se’s stand-up bar, will unveil a revamped menu. Along with holdovers like DeGroff’s Whiskey Smash and Saunders’s Gin Gin Mule, it will include cocktails like a variation of his Flaming Dutchman a concoction of cognac, sherry, gin, lemon juice, and bitters (finished off with a spectacular shower of lemon juice over an open flame). It's the same drink that prompted a Dutch company to rank him the No. 2 bartender in the world. And rest assured, the murals by Ludwig Bemelmans aren’t going anywhere, nor are the bartenders who’ve been there for years some of the drinks may actually be named after them. Daniel Maurer
A reliable industry source tells us that the long-vacant Grange Hall–Blue Mill space, which our Daniel Maurer reports was recently considered by Milk and Honey owner Sasha Petraske for his new restaurant, has been snapped up by former March chef de cuisine Harold Moore, a Montrachet veteran who has cooked under both Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The lease hasn't been signed yet, and there is no word on when Moore, who has the backing of several partners, intends on opening it or what the food will be. But given his track record, it should be pretty good.
Earlier we reported that Sasha Petraske has his eye on the vacant Blue Mill space, which is begging for a Waverly Inn–style revival. Turns out he’s not the only one: We noticed, in the agenda for tonight’s Community Board 4 meeting, that Geoffrey Zakarian of Town and Country has applied for a liquor license at 50 Commerce Street. Zakarian concedes that he and some unnamed partners are looking at several spaces in the West Village and Lower East Side with a small bistro in mind, but he hasn’t signed a lease and needs to crunch more numbers before he’s ready for the community board. “I spoke to the landlord and evidently there’s someone else she’s interested in,” he tells us. The plot thickens … Daniel MaurerEarlier: Sasha Petraske to Take on Fine Dining, Too
Earlier we reported the Milk and Honey owner-mixologist Sasha Petraske was going into the beer, wine, and cheese business. He's not stopping there: Petraske is also eyeing the still-vacant Grange Hall and Blue Mill space, a venue he's loved since he had his eighth-grade graduation party there (he grew up a couple of blocks away). Why hasn't he snatched it up? The restaurant-world newcomer has yet to click with a chef who shares his vision of serving cocktails before and after dinner rather than simply during. "I'm trying to find some partners who'll let me do my thing in the front of the space; someone who's doing something of serious quality." If anyone fits the bill, you can reach Sasha at the secret number divulged here, though it may change soon. Daniel MaurerEarlier: Milk and Honey Owner to Do Beer and Wine — and Queens!Zagat Fails to Number-Close Milk and Honey