Astoria: Leng Thai’s brown rice is delicious; they mix in red grains. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: A new bakery is supposed to open around June on Fulton near the Met. Baker: "When I was young, we’d go to the bakery every Sunday after church for a fresh loaf of French bread, soft and still warm from the oven. I’d love to re-create that here.” Blogger: "OMGYAY!" [Clinton Hill Blog]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: A former Sapa chef will head the kitchen at a new Pan-Asian restaurant called Prana, set to open in June in the old Scopa space. [Zagat]
Soho: Fabio Trabocchi has written a personal note to Bruni and has worked with B.R. Guest to lower prices across the board at Fiamma (including dropping the price of the seven-course menu from $138 to $125). Sorry to those who ate at Fiamma last week. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Williamsburg: Zak Pelaccio’s project with Robbie Richter might be called Fatty ‘Cue. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]
Related: Breaking: Zak Pelaccio and Robbie Richter to Collaborate on Asian Barbecue in WilliamsburgWest Village: If you want to celebrate the Irish all next week, August will be "toasting the Irish" through March 21 by serving Guinness Extra Stout and specials like house-made corned beef and cabbage. [Strong Buzz]
Bushwick: The area is not so gentrified that you may not still experience the thrill of rats going through your trash or taking a dump on your bed. But at least you can get organic milk in the bodegas now. [BushwichBK]
Clinton Hill: It looks like the stakeout for Spitzer's hooker bookers has moved here, with TV crews sniffing around for Tameka Lewis, a.k.a. "Rachelle." [Nervous Acid]
Fort Greene: Perhaps remorseful that he demolished the area's only supermarket to make room for a massive 600-unit condo project, John Catsimatidis promised it'd have a grocery. But nearby project dwellers worry they won't be able to afford it if it's one of his Gristedes. [NYDN]
As we type, the block of Greene Street between Broome and Grand is closed off by fire trucks. There is a fire, now partially contained, on the second and third floors of the three-story structure (the former Particular Iron Works building). Nobody is still inside the building and no one was hurt, but if you're in Soho and wondering what all the hullabaloo is, there's your explanation. You may go back to trying to choose between Diesel stores now. —Randi Eichenbaum
The much-maligned Trump Soho can’t seem to get it right. Just two months after a construction worker died after a catastrophic on-site fall, which grounded the condo project for weeks, work was again stopped by the city over the weekend after yet another accident. Glass panels came crashing down the condo-hotel on Saturday, “knocked loose by a chain attached to construction equipment on the 26th floor,” according to the New York Sun. Unsurprisingly, critics of the project are quick to pounce on this recent snafu. “It seems like no matter what happens, [the project] at most just gets a temporary delay. But the city just lets them continue ahead. You'd think in light of the recent fatal accident, the developers and construction company would be extra safe and extra careful,” says Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which is challenging Trump Soho on the grounds that the permits to build it shouldn’t have been issued by the city in the first place. “This project never should have been allowed in the first place, and if they cannot run their construction site safely, it should be shut down.” In response to the incident, Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to tighten construction safety and oversight on developers, but until all construction on Trump Soho stops for good, its vehement opponents are unlikely to be satisfied. — S. Jhoanna RobledoNew accident stops work at Trump SoHo tower as wind wreaks havoc [NYDN]
Earlier:Building Collapse at Trump Soho
Well, we guess there won't be a BLT restaurant in Trump Soho after all. Such is the gist of a press release that just went out from BLT's representative, Bullfrog & Baum, which includes this telling quote: “BLT Restaurants are recognized for a particular style of food and service which ended up not being what the Trump Organization was interested in,” says Jimmy Haber, managing partner of BLT Restaurant Group. Did Trump want something cheaper or more casual than what BLT was ready to do? Or does this perhaps have to do with the rumor we've been hearing about a hip, young downtown chef being looked at for the space? Perhaps there was more to the rumor than we thought.
BLT Restaurant Group and Trump SoHo Hotel Condominium New York Amicably Part Ways [PDF]
Earlier: Laurent Tourondel to Do All-New Trump Soho Restaurant
Dumbo: Last night was the first night that passersby could see Adriana Varella's giant Applied Kinetics projection installation at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. There are no pictures yet, so go tonight and see it yourself. [DumboNYC]
East Village: A funny guerilla-marketing tactic for a Black Lips show has finally made our favorite advertising blogger smile! With black lips! [Copyranter]
Park Slope: After a kind of annoying string of posts on a couple of real-estate blogs about what neighborhoods are the "Park Slope"s of other cities, this blog just gets right down to business: What is the Park Slope of Iraq? [Gowanus Lounge]
Fiamma got a fair amount of heat last week, from Grub Street and other food sites, about a reduced menu. But B.R. Guest which did not respond to Grub Street’s requests for comments on the menu until yesterday vehemently disagrees. “No one had updated the Website,” says owner Steve Hanson. “They just got lazy.” We’d hate to be in their shoes now! Fiamma chef Fabio Trabocchi, meanwhile, explains that the confusion also lay in the fact that the Website wasn’t showing his daily specials or updating the tasting menu. “If you came in and ordered here, it’s the same amount of selections; you can choose from any part of the menu. It’s the same amount of dishes, just listed in a different way,” Trabocchi says. And those luxe ingredients we thought were missing from the menu? Not so, says Trabocchi. “We are using foie gras, truffles, Wagyu beef, ossabaw pig, and Grimaud Farm duck.” (The langoustines, which we also mentioned as having gone missing, are out of season, Trabocchi explains.) Unfortunately for Fiamma, even a full menu can't sate complaining diners like Nick Paumgarten of The New Yorker.
Earlier: Fiamma’s Menu a Fraction of Its Former Self
Sometimes you read an interview and immediately you wish you were friends with the subject. Such is the case with Metromix’s sit-down with Ron Ciavolino, the head of wine studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, and a man who speaks his mind. Our favorite quotes:
• On modern bartenders: “Most bartenders feel like they’re giving away something for nothing if they’re charming. I want schmaltz. There’s no schmaltz.”
• On the downtown wine scene: “You go to those wine bars in Soho, they’re more bowling alleys — there’s no romance. Everybody’s 12 years old.”
• What happens when a bartender allows ice to melt in a shaker: “You hemorrhage through all of your apertures.”
Days of Wine and Poses [Metromix NY]
Sarah Jessica Parker is not confident that her unreleased movie, Spinning Into Butter, will ever see the light of day. Barack Obama and his wife are slated to attend the opening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Oprah on Thursday. Cosmetics heir Olivia Chantecaille got engaged to banker boyfriend Ren Grady. Gossip Girl's Blake Lively took a bunch of friends shopping to Armani Exchange on Fifth Avenue. Shake Shack is opening a location on the Upper West Side! Sting, Diddy, and Josh Hartnett all hung out at Half Nelson producer Charlie Corwin's birthday at Socialista, which is now back open after the hepatitis scare. Michael Musto will appear on the cover of The Village Voice spoofing this magazine's Lindsay Lohan shoot.
Astoria: Sweet shop Oleput is now offering a lot more savories in the form of small plates and panini. [Joey in Astoria]
Clinton Hill: Rustik Tavern has a warm interior, but the menu doesn’t sound too rustic: chili, wings, nachos, though for the last one the blogger liked "that it’s cheese sauce rather than real cheese." [Clinton Hill Blog]
Dumbo: Food writers including Kara Zuaro (I Like Food, Food Tastes Good), Phoebe Damrosch (Service Included) and David Wondrich (Imbibe) and Edible Brooklyn’s Gabrielle Langholtz will talk about — what else? — eating, at Powerhouse Arena next Tuesday. [A Brooklyn Life]
East Village: Belgian Room has been closed for letting minors booze on Lambic. [Down by the Hipster]
Soho: Vosges bacon chocolate now comes in the shape of flying pigs. But they can’t escape. [Snack]
Upper East Side: Park Avenue Winter will turn into spring on March 26, just in time for Easter. [Zagat]
We’re told that Fiamma has sprung into action, using all the powers of the B.R. Guest machine, to try to ferret out what went so catastrophically wrong with Nick Paumgarten’s meal. “We are all disappointed in the service. We take this very seriously and have everyone looking into the problems,” B.R. Guest chieftain Steve Hanson tells us. But all the negative attention Fiamma has gotten over the last day or so obscures a larger, thornier question about the restaurant: What has happened to the sprawling, lavish, ambitious menu that Fabio Trabocchi launched his administration with?
Bushwick: This Shwick blogger thinks the "Bushwick Initiative is just the City putting a sad little band-aid on the giant ax wound it created in New York’s housing situation." But these rehabbed buildings do look nicer [BushwickBK]
Hoboken: Duders, the St. Patrick's Day parade is this Saturday! That's early, even for Hoboken! [East Village Idiot]
New Springville: Staten Island cops are searching for a man who snatched a woman from a bus stop here and sexually assaulted her last night. He was 18–20 years old and 5'5", so keep your eyes peeled. [NY1]
The New Yorker’s “Tables for Two” reviews have generally been mordant little affairs, short on criticism and long on wry descriptions of restaurant culture. Not this week. Nick Paumgarten comes down hard on Fiamma, describing “FEMA-like” service, cold food, a martini made without vermouth, and, in general, the very picture of a major ripoff operation, subsisting on “a strong euro and the proximity of the Soho Grand hotel.” It’s a wild departure from the usual “Tables for Two” mold, and though it may or may not be reflective of Fiamma (practically all of the reviews have been very positive, including Adam Platt’s two-star job), it’s certainly a lot more fun to read. Something tells us Paumgarten had a lot of fun writing it.
Tables for Two: Fiamma [NYer]
Supima Cotton is opening up a pop-up store in Soho on March 14, featuring pieces by fifteen contemporary designers like AG Adriano Goldschmied, Three Dots, Gilded Age, and Zooey. And what's a store opening, really, without a crazy promotional campaign? Before the store flings open its doors they plan to promote it with — we shit you not — a cotton field on the corner of Broadway and Houston.
The ever-expanding BLT empire is going to have a new addition and one that is a departure from previous generations. The Trump Soho, on which construction has recently resumed, is to have a big, new BLT restaurant, but chef-owner Laurent Tourondel says it won’t be a BLT Steak, Burger, Prime, Fish, or Market. “It’s going to be a new concept, something I’ve never done before,” he says. Tourondel also shot down a rumor we’d heard that a hot, young downtown chef was being recruited to do another big restaurant in the building. “I’m in charge of all the food and beverage there, so I would know,” he asserts. Unless he just isn’t telling.
Bay Ridge: Richard Martin, the "crazy super" who posts homicidally threatening signs about trash disposal, says of his tenants "They're Arab; they don't give a f*ck"; has a cute Pekinese named Pretty Girl; and worships Jeanine Pirro. Feast on his cranky, strangely lovable weirdness. [NYP]
Chelsea: Facing lawsuits from folks who say it's too loud and polluting to be there, the 30th St. pier heliport floats a plan to move itself onto two barges offshore. And Curbed is right... this homespun sketch of the plan indeed features the quaintest, gentlest West Side Highway we've ever seen. [Villager via Curbed]
Ditmas Park: Folks in these gentrifying, pretty parts know that the hatred currently directed at Park Slope will soon be visited upon them. And they're probably right. [Ditmas Park Blog]
Construction workers have returned to Trump Soho, a little over a month after DiFama Concrete worker Yurly Vanschytskyy fell 40 stories to his death off the building, after a wooden mold in which he was tamping down concrete collapsed. According to Newsday, the Department of Buildings is allowing Bovis, the contractor overseeing the project, to work on the first 23 floors, provided Bovis employ a full-time safety manager, train their workers better, and swaddle the upper floors of the building in scaffolding and netting. Donald Trump has never made a statement regarding the accident.
Work resumes on lower floors of Trump SoHo condo after fatal fall [Newsday]
Related: Intel's coverage of the accident at Trump SoHo
Bay Ridge: Gotta love this "crazy super," whose psychotic signs routinely threaten to kill tenants who don't take out their trash properly. [Right in Bay Ridge]
Bedford-Stuyvesant: Elation erupts upon news of an imminent Duane Reade: "No longer will we have to drink Tropical Fantasy ginger ale. We'll be able to step it up a notch with the effervescence of Schweppes." [Bed-Stuy Blog]
Greenpoint: A colony of feral cats will have to be displaced as part of plans for a concrete waterfront park here, which will include a twelve-foot view-blocking fence. [Newyorkshitty]
Cobble Hill: Whether that house on Kane Street where the old lady lives is infested with rats or squirrels is now a moot point — the city's ordered her to vacate, and trusty NY1 is on the story! [Lost NYC]
Greenwich Village: The Department of Buildings is bitter because the developer of the units that went up over landmark Circle in the Square theater lied and said they'd be used for dorms. They're not, meaning no zoning breaks. Meaning pare down those hideous balconies! [Villager]
Lower Manhattan: Also bitter are Seaport locals, who laughed in the face of moguls last night who offered them community use of the Fulton Market floor where the "Bodies" exhibit is in exchange for development. Looks like they want waaaay more public space than that. [Downtown Express]
Ah, the humanity! Zeppelin may have exploded at its West 9th Street moorings, but the spinoff bar and restaurant from the Employees Only guys has been patched up and is floating west and south, down to an area below Houston Street on the West Side. Owner Jason Kosmas wouldn't give the exact location for fear of jinxing the lease. “The Zeppelin project has lots of new life and new enthusiasm,” he says. “We gave back the keys on 9th Street, and the feeling was somewhat bad at the end, but now we’re looking at two spaces in that Village-border area, and we feel really good about them.” Any speculation about the possible new home of Zeppelin can and should be filed in the comments department. Broad hints are especially welcome.
Related: Employees Only Team Looks for a New Place to Park Zeppelin