We’re currently reading Lush Life, novelist Richard Price’s tale of life and death on the LES. The plot centers on Eric Cash, the manager of Café Berkman, a thinly veiled take on Schiller’s Liquor Bar. At least, we think it’s Schiller’s:
On bright quiet mornings like this, when Berkmann’s was empty, delivered from the previous night’s overpacked boozy franticness, the place was an air palace, and there was nowhere better to be in this neighborhood than sitting in a lacquered wicker chair immersed in the serene luxury of a café au lait and the New York Times, sunlight splashing off the glazed ecru tiles, the racks of cryptically stencil-numbered wine bottles, the industrial-grade chicken-wired glass and partially desilvered mirrors, all found in various warehouses in New Jersey, by the owner, Harry Steele: restaurant dressed as theater dressed as nostalgia.
Does this sound like Schiller’s to you? Or is this a composite of other downtown nightspots? Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
The week’s most exciting celebrity sighting was that of beer-sippin’ McLovin at Diner. No other celebs were busted getting their underage drink on, but there were other surprises: Rachael Ray rolled into the Orchard with a posse bigger than Diddy’s, and Jennifer Garner liked the food at Fiamma so much she slipped into the kitchen to beg Fabio Trabocchi for recipes. We figure that makes up for supposedly getting dissed by Padma Lakshmi a couple weeks ago. (And yes, there a Padma sighting this week, too )
Dumbo: Superfine is hosting a Brazilian cocktail and dance party on Sunday night to benefit a “baptism ceremony for new students” of Capoeira Brooklyn. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: Squid guts at Menkui-tei in Cooper Square are not as delicious as they sound. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Fort Greene: A bakery called Krumbs will open in the old Frosted Moon Emporium on Vanderbilt just near Myrtle. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Lower East Side: Schiller’s wants you to know that it’s not a massage parlor. Oh, and delivery is discounted. [Eater]
Midtown East: Crush Wine is taking 20 percent off all white bottles under $55 through this Friday. [Grub Street]
West Village: Scott Bryan expects to have his kitchen at 10 Downing Street up and running by November. [Mouthing Off]
Last November we were the first to predict that the Beatrice would be the hipstaurant of the season. Um, we told you so? Now from Beatrice (and Employees Only) partner Matt Abramcyk comes another contender — this one occupying a former carriage house in the Tribeca nether lands. Smith and Mills is one of the smallest restaurants we’ve ever set foot in, but on this, its opening day, we don’t think it’s too early to say it may just be the next big thing.
As we noted when we toured the restrooms at Morandi, Keith McNally has pissed away a great deal of money to make his restaurant lavatories the gold standard. When Morandi failed to hit the mark, we were truly bummed, so to restore our faith in the master (and to make sure we weren’t remembering his previous works through Clorox-colored glasses), we decided to embark on an epic stall crawl of McNally’s previous loos, from Pravda’s Commie commodes to (pardon our French) the shitters at Schiller’s. Come flush with us.
In her new memoir Easter Everywhere novelist Darcey Steinke recounts her life as a minister’s daughter, traveling the country and picking up tastes for regional dishes like fried okra. “When you get it right,” she says, “It’s like crack.” Though her Prospect Park neighborhood has yet to yield the perfect fix, she’s fond of the jerk chicken, and as a survey of her most recent week of eating reveals, she also knows where to find exceptional sauerbraten, redemptive sticky-toffee pudding, and a classic Waldorf salad with marshmallows — which she enjoyed with an order of nuns.