Dear Grub Street,
The Upper West Side is teeming with activity, as is every other area of Manhattan, but I very rarely see anything on the Upper East Side. What have you got against the several hundred thousand people who live there and their restaurants and chefs?
A reader with a valid gripe.
There are four restaurant-related stories in this week’s issue, and they ask you to take a side. Are you a New Yorker who glories in the freshness of newly arrived strawberries and seasonal cooking in general? Or are you an atavistic who prefers to sit in air-conditioned steakhouses, consuming red meat in 90-degree weather? This week, at least, Adam Platt is clearly the latter, dining in the Freon fortress that is Landmarc and finding only the heaviest, most beef- and bacon-laden foods worthy of (faint) praise. Those of us who have fathers like him are enjoined, in one of this week’s Short Lists, to visit various steakhouses with our dads. On the side, there is more cool, natural frozen yogurt than ever to be had, enumerated in another Short List, and this week’s In Season features a recipe for delicate pasta with strawberries from Sfoglia.
According to a revealing new profile by Heat author Bill Buford, Gordon Ramsay isn’t a bad guy, “but he does get angry, helplessly and uncontrollably angry — not an earthly anger but something darker — and has trouble knowing how to stop.” [NYer]
State legislator proposes an A through F system of grading restaurant hygiene, but the Department of Health is against it. [amNY]
A Staten Island pizzeria beats out a field of 65 from six countries to win the 23rd International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. It’s Denino’s, right? Joe and Pat’s? No. It’s Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza. [NYDN]
If the jam-packed Sfoglia up the street is any indication, denizens of Carnegie Hill are desperate for good food and cozy surroundings. The month-old Peri Ela delivers on both accounts, with its snug, wood-paneled, tin-ceilinged space filling up each night with locals lugging their own bottles of wine (until the license arrives) and tucking into platters of Turkish meze and kebabs.
Bruni two-stars Sfoglia, the latest victory in a series for the Nantucket import, including nods from Adam Platt and Gael Greene in our Best of New York issue. The food is simple and rustic (frittatas, simple pastas), but it works for Bruni. Imagination can get you two stars, as the Ssäm Bar review showed last week, but so can execution, even if it isn’t very elaborate. [NYT]
Peter Meehan surveys nearly all the area’s BBQ restaurants, finding a lot to like: the pulled pork at Pies-N-Thighs and the burnt ends at RUB, to name two. Still, no revelations here. [NYT]
Sietsema hits up a Senegalese restaurant in Harlem: “Predictably, the dibi is awesome.” You said it, Bob! Has Sietsema ever met a foreign lamb dish he didn’t like? [VV]
For every high-profile restaurant architect like David Rockwell or AvroKO, there’s an underappreciated artisan like Louise Fili. One of several people whose work is being honored by the Society of Illustrators at an exhibition opening tonight at the Museum of Illustration, Fili creates restaurant logos. Her elegant, Art Nouveau– and Art Deco–inspired designs give the Mermaid Inn, Artisanal, Pigalle, and Sfoglia, whose logo is exceptionally lovely and ornate, their trademark markings. A collection of her work can be viewed here; the museum exhibit runs through the 27th.
"Letter as Image, Image as Letter," Museum of Illustration, 128 E. 63rd St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-838-2560.