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Food Network to Publish Magazine?; Food-Porn Photos for Sale

Hearst Publications is supposedly in talks with the Food Network to publish a new food magazine and has been stealing editors from Every Day With Rachael Ray for months. The only problem? The channel’s big stars don’t seem to be a part of the publication. [Mixed Media/Portfolio] Soto chef Sotohiro Kosugi responds to fears of too much mercury in tuna. “Eat with balance. Balance of meals is the key to a healthy life.” [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Related: Sushi Eaters Face Tuna Fears Neil Ferguson, Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, and others are leading a full-on British culinary invasion on our shores. [Chicago Tribune]

Bloomberg Delivers Cheesecake; McDonald's Takes on Starbucks

Hizzoner showed up to a political summit in Oklahoma with Junior’s cheesecake for all. [NYS] Jennifer LeRoy sees another 30 years of LeRoy ownership at Tavern on the Green, but she isn’t striking a deal with Donald Trump to keep the place. [Insatiable Critic] When world adventurer Anthony Bourdain found out that Food Network would be re-airing episodes of his series A Cook’s Tour, he was sitting by a pool in Hawaii. His reaction? “This was like being unexpectedly groped and publicly slipped the tongue by the ugliest girl at the prom.” [Anthony Bourdain’s Blog/Travel Channel]

Go Around the World Without Leaving New York

This week’s issue, appropriately, spans the globe. The foodie’s guide to traveling tells you where to eat in vacation spots from Taipei to the Berkshires, but really, there’s no need for you to even leave town. Adam Platt is turning Japanese (we really think so) with a double review of Soto and BarFry; Gael Greene stops into Pamplona to run with Alex Ureña’s newly mainstreamed cuisine; and Rob and Robin (in a new feature called "Tools of the Trade") describe in detail the secrets of a new oven brought over from Italy to Una Pizza Napoletana. Meanwhile, grapes and white truffles abound, there are two restaurants on Avenue B, and all is good with the world, or at least our little corner of it in New York.

Bruni Maintains Luger's Middling Reputation; Bar Fry's Tempura More Varied Than You'd Think

Frank Bruni complains about the steak, the service, the sides, and the salad at Peter Luger but caves and hands it two stars. [NYT] Restaurant Girl gives Elio’s two and a half stars, citing its “charming lure of old-world” Italian, code for a menu that has barely changed in 26 years. [NYDN] Alan Richman visits Il Mulino and in crushing it strikes a blow against “this style of oversized, oversauced, overcooked cuisine” with all the force he can muster. [Bloomberg]

Richman Flings Feces at Monkey Bar; Soto Drops the Sushi Ball

Alan Richman gives it to Monkey Bar, and means it to stick. He gets that the place is supposed to be fun, but the bottom line is that the food sucks: “The dishes are incoherent and the food is thuddingly heavy. No focus. No finesse. Lots of salt.” [Bloomberg] Soto seems to have shot itself in the foot, dazzling Frank Bruni with its composed dishes, “vibrantly seasoned and intricately composed works of culinary and visual art,” but disappointing with the sushi, and screwing up the service (proof that lack of anonymity doesn’t matter). Now they have to settle for the same catchall two-star rating as Franny’s. [NYT] Randall Lane seems to have bestowed four (of six) stars on Wakiya more out of a sense of duty than anything else — the restaurant described in his review sounds infuriatingly stuck-up, and the food, by his account, spotty at best. Wakiya is still getting the benefit of the doubt, but it can’t hold up for long. Something tells us that a slam is coming. [TONY] Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street

Cuozzo Likes Wakiya; Bruni, Platt Agree on Rayuela

Steve Cuozzo bucks the early bad buzz on Wakiya, praising the place but cautioning that the chef will only be around one week a month. [NYP] Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street Alan Richman submits a rare rave review for Soto, saying of its hot dishes “not one was less than wonderful. This is cooked food on a par with the most ingenious in New York.” Soto-san has to be pretty happy with that. [Bloomberg] Restaurant Girl’s debut in the Daily News takes the form of a mixed review on Gemma: She liked the branzino and the atmosphere, the other dishes not so much. Nothing in the write-up suggests that they were unduly influenced by knowing who she was. [NYDN] Related: Restaurant Girl Has a Face For Reviewing

Insieme Just Misses; One Big Up and One ‘Eh’ for P*ONG

Insieme’s bid for a third star went about the same way as Anthos’: two stars from Platt, then two stars from Bruni. [NYT] Related: Italian, Old and New [NYM] Randall Lane gives five of Time Out New York’s six stars to P*ONG. It’s the first major review the place has gotten, and more than enough to make up for getting dissed by the Sun. [TONY] Paul Adams, in the Sun, finds Pichet Ong’s creations irritatingly twee and precious, except for the desserts upon which the chef’s reputation is built. Adams puts his finger on the problem: “The same creativity that in the earlier courses gives rise to confusing, unsatisfying combinations is more successful when the unifying power of sugar is involved.” [NYS]

Soto’s Sushi, Straight Outta Atlanta

We don’t yet know what Soto’s menu has in store (they’re keeping it secret until they open), but it’s safe to say this is the biggest sushi opening to hit New York in a while — or so we gather from Rob and Robin’s story of how Sotohiro Kosugi built a national reputation from his original restaurant in an Atlanta strip mall. This week he tests the New York market for his inventive, complex food. If you don’t have the endurance for Kosugi’s fifteen-course, $80 tasting menu, ask about his omakase. Openings: Soto, Grom, Vestry Wines [NYM]

Indulge in the Easy Life in This Week’s Issue

New York’s food coverage this week has an air of decadence and satiety to it. Its mood is one of indulgence. Adam Platt wanders into two gastropubs and wanders out happy with one and very unhappy with the other. Charles Stuart Platkin describes the gastronomic orgy that is a tasting meal at Per Se and explains, scientifically, how insanely fattening it really is. Our three announced openings are likewise all of a starkly sybaritic kind: an expensive new sushi restaurant, a wine store, and a gelato parlor. And, this being Kentucky Derby time, this week’s In Season spotlights that perennial favorite of the idle, the classic mint julep, as prepared by LeNell Smothers, New York’s resident bourbon guru.