Clinton Hill: There are a few places in the nabe to find gluten-free products, but one celiac sufferer would like to find out about any others. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Lower East Side: Video of a Tailor bartender doing his thing. [Snack]
Midtown East: Former Savoy chef Matt Weingarten's year-long plans to start dinner service at Café St. Bart’s will come to fruition on May 5. [Zagat]
Upper West Side: Bar Boulud may claim the top charcuterie in town (though Mia Dona’s stepping up), but you can also find some tasty stand-ins at Café d’Alsace and elsewhere, including Fort Greene’s Stonehome Wine Bar. [Citysearch]
West Village: Spencer Morgan of the New York Observer supposedly slapped Hud Morgan from Men’s Vogue at the Beatrice Inn on Wednesday night because the latter didn’t respond to the former’s apology e-mail. A true New York noble. [Gawker]
Rest assured the “solids” at Tailor are just the start of the molecular madness. Esteemed French mixologists Fernando Castellon and Richard Lambert are working with Cointreau to bring what they call “caviar” — sort of like tapioca pearls, but with about half an ounce of liquid booze inside — to your next drink. Tomorrow they’ll show a select group of 40 bartenders (from Per Se, wd-50, PDT, and the like) how to prepare the spheres by mixing Cointreau and alginate and then using a syringe to drop the flavor combo into a calcium bath. Castellon tells us a mixologist using an immersion mixer would normally have to wait six hours for air bubbles to disappear, but their kit equips bartenders with a magnetic agitator so they can set up in eight minutes at the beginning of the night and make each drink in 30 seconds. The procedure took a year to research (finding an alginate that gets along with 80-proof liquor ain’t easy), but let's hope it proves worth it when you take your first sip (and bite) of a “Cointreaupolitan.”
Related:Eben Freeman Turns His Cocktails Solid Just for the Hell of ItREAD MORE »
Could it be that our beloved godchild, Tailor, whose gestation we chronicled so patiently last year, is taking its first steady steps? After absorbing the blows of the blogosphere for its first months, it has made adjustments. First, mixologist Eben Freeman’s cocktail program acquired its own identity and made the downstairs bar a destination; then Sam Mason and Fran Derby got the message that nobody wanted to eat food the size of Kit Kats and expanded the portion size; and now, at last, Tailor has thrown in the towel on its pretense of low-key anonymity and put an honest-to-God sign up on the door. What's next? Big-screen TVs? Once the philistines get ahold of you, there's nothing left but prosperity and degradation.
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Cocktail master Eben Freeman of Tailor, having already taught us the secrets of the Hard Shake, has gone back into his cocktail lab and created one of the most compelling forms of liquor we’ve seen in a while: Tailor’s new “solids,” a series of edible cocktails. There are currently three on the restaurant’s menu: a Cuba Libre, consisting of rum and coke gelatinized into a cube (hence the name); a Ramos Gin Fizz Marshmallow (“the drink made properly is all meringue anyway, so why not make it a marshmallow?”); and his crowning achievement, the White Russian Breakfast Cereal. The last amounts to a Rice Krispies treat made by soaking the cereal in Kahlúa, dehydrating it, repeating that process, and then soaking it in vodka, sugar, and half-and-half. “Cocktail geeks are coming in and asking me all these questions,” Freeman complains. “This is just to have fun!” And, he adds, soberly, to “push the boundaries” of mixology. No wonder they’re curious.
Related: Video: Eben Freeman of Tailor Imparts the Secrets of the ‘Hard Shake’READ MORE »
The story on Irving Mill was written before Frank Bruni delivered the coup de grâce — an ambivalent one-star review that pointed out the restaurant's odd inconsistencies. At this point, a one star was probably a best-case scenario for the place. [NYT]
Speaking of best-case scenarios, we bet that Gordon Ramsay had higher hopes for Bruni's rereview of his big restaurant than the one that runs in Dining Briefs. Bruni finds Gordon Ramsay at the London still excellent but boring, and Peter Meehan isn't too crazy about Bun. [NYT]
We heard that Ilili was a disaster, with bad service and worse food. So did Paul Adams, who was surprised to find that the word on the street was dead wrong. Adams even calls the food was “far, far better than it needs to be.” [NYS]
Eben Freeman of Tailor isn’t just a bartender. He isn’t even a mere mixologist. We’ll go ahead and say it: Eben Freeman is a cocktail guru. Who else could have imported the secret maneuver of the "hard shake" to our shores from its hiding places in Japan and Slovakia? No one. And that’s why we present this video, of how to perform the hard shake, for your viewing pleasure. Click on the photo to watch.
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Mix up your holiday charitable giving by entering a raffle for a coffee date with Per Se’s Thomas Keller or Ferran Adrià of Spain’s El Bulli. [NYT]
Related: Ferran Adrià, Molecular Gastronomist—Who, Me? [NYM]
On his No Reservations holiday special, Anthony Bourdain spoke with a veterinarian who explained that foie gras production is not the demonic act it has been portrayed as by animal-rights groups, so eat up! [Eat for Victory/VV]
If Amy Sacco didn’t convince you of the growing synergy between restaurants and real estate, consider that Centovini has just struck a deal with luxe condo Soho Mews that offers not only delivery to the building but also the option to have executive chef Patti Jackson provide in-home cooking. [NYP]
Astoria: A new wine bar on 35th Avenue at 30th Street called Rest-au-Rant features about 30 wines and beers — from Germany, New Zealand, Hawaii, Belgium, and France. [Joey in Astoria]
Dumbo: Waterstreet Restaurant and Lounge hosts carolers and expects dancing till late tonight as part of a holiday shopping promotion throughout the nabe. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: A photo tour of the magical workshop of "Sun Le, the dumpling master who makes TKettle’s juicy little masterpieces." [Eat for Victory/VV]
Lower East Side: Le Bernardin pastry chef Michael Laiskonis just had a great meal at Tailor and has "always been a fan of Sam Mason’s food." [Restaurant Girl]
West Village: The Bowery Hotel’s Eric Goode and Sean McPherson are rumored to have closed a deal on another boutique hotel, at an unknown location. [Down by the Hipster]
This month’s Food & Wine brings a pretty illuminating profile of Eben Freemen, the resident cocktail genius at Tailor (and the one man who has come through the review process completely unscathed). Freeman talks about his current creations, such as smoked Coke and brown butter rum, not to mention some of his more outré plans, such as alcoholic breath strips and a Coppertone-flavored cocktail (“That would be the ultimate summer drink.”)
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Bruni waited to be the last one to pronounce on Tailor, and his review pretty much recapitulates, albeit in wittier prose and with some much-appreciated Grub Street love, what everyone else has said: erratic brilliance, wee portions, and a killer cocktail program. The result: one star. [NYT]
Allen & Delancey keeps impressing the critics, at least with chef Neil Ferguson's meat mastery. His fish, though, is strictly from hunger, according to Restaurant Girl. [NYDN]
Randall Lane offers one of his most thoughtful and precise reviews of Allen & Delancey, finding fault only in flavor balances and the fact that the place has to close up at midnight. [TONY]
The city’s top dessert chefs, from Johnny Iuzzini on down, delighted deep-pocketed foodies with their signature confections at Sweet on Friday night. Evian and Ferro Rocher flexed their marketing muscle, dispatching well-formed young people in tight clothes to represent their not especially sexy brands. The pastry aristocracy (Goldfarb, Iuzzini, and Stupak) were all present and accounted for, standing proudly behind space-age-looking creations that tasted even better than they looked. (Only Sam Mason wasn’t around, as someone had to man the stoves at Tailor.) At first we were sort of alarmed: There were obviously many more guests than had originally been intended, for the long, narrow, space, but since cake isn’t combustible, it all seemed safe enough. A body can only take so much chocolate ganache, Champagne, and high-powered pastry cooks crammed into one hall.
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This week’s issue carries a lot of freight, and there isn’t much room for consideration of the gluttonous arts. So the food content is slim — but potent! Adam Platt reviews two of the most anticipated debuts in recent years, those of genius dessert chef Sam Mason’s Tailor and Beard Award–winning chef Fabio Trabocchi’s New York debut at Fiamma. But that’s not all: There’s an In Season recipe for turkey-salad sandwiches, excuse us, tramezzini di tacchino, courtesy of ’inoteca’s Eric Kleinman; a guide to four very excellent Thanksgiving alternatives courtesy of Rob and Robin; and four new hotel restaurants likewise. We figured that with all the eating and cooking that’s going on this week, that should be plenty of food writing to get you by.
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Frank Bruni pens one of his best zero-star reviews ever in putting down Harry Cipriani, hard: “The crime that comes to mind first when I think of the Ciprianis is highway robbery. Based on my recent experience, that’s what happens almost any time Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue serves lunch or dinner.” Brillo-like potatoes? $23 for asparagus? Bruni makes 'em pay. [NYT]
Market Table gets two and a half stars from Restaurant Girl, who praises the solid American cooking and buys into the overall concept. We wondered if MT wouldn't be the restaurant that absorbed the Haute Barnyard backlash, but it seems to have dodged it so far. [NYDN]
Paul Adams hits Tailor and delivers the most intelligently rendered version of what seems to be the verdict on the place: The food is brilliant but spotty, and the drinks are great. [NYS]
John McCormick, the designer behind the loveliness that is Smith and Mills and Tailor, has another project in the works, and it sounds like it’ll be every bit as quirky as his own restaurant Moto. He says that Jud Longell, a bartender at DuMont, and a silent partner have acquired Theresa’s Beauty Salon at 18 Bedford Avenue at Lorimer Street (right off McCarren Park) and are transforming it into what will eventually be a bistro of sorts. McCormick says he has in mind “a nautical design, but very subtle. I wanted to make the place look like it was a sunken transport ferry — there’d be a lot of distressing and rust and metal work.” The owners, meanwhile, have toyed with the idea of an “English-butcher-shop aesthetic.” No doubt that they'll all meet at some magical halfway point that will be far cooler than anything we can conjure up. Whatever the final look, it's safe to say that empty bar seats will be rare, especially after those McCarren Pool shows.
Danyelle Freeman hits Tailor and finds its tiny menu and weird food ill-fitting the talents involved. “Mason glimpses at genius…” Restaurant Girl says, but “[y]ou leave Tailor still craving dessert.” Ouch! [NYDN]
Moira Hodgson likes Tailor a little, giving the place two stars and only bemoaning the fact that there wasn't more of the food. “But the tastes were so tantalizing I came back another night to try everything again,” she says. [NYO]
And then there's Randall Lane, who gives Tailor a four-star review. (Of course, that's out of six.) Still, it's a lot, but it seems to be mostly for Eben Freeman's cocktails. Lane found the food, especially the “sweet” half of the menu, to be a pretty mixed bag. [TONY]
Jeffrey Chodorow is devising a new megarestaurant for a 15,000-square-foot double-decker space in the Empire Hotel at Broadway and 63rd Street. In other news, Frank Bruni has already given it zero stars. [NYP]
Our pal Aaron Sanchez barely avoided being cut on the Next Iron Chef since according to Bourdain, Alton “Knowlton seems not to have disclosed a prior schoolyard incident with a young Aaron ‘El Guapo’ Sanchez — in which Sanchez (it would appear) bullied him mercilessly. He seemed unnaturally eager to send him packing.” [Ruhlman]
Williamsburg’s Hasidic community has its own street-food truck, but you too can buy the kosher grub. [Eat for Victory/VV]