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Janet Maslin Unfriends Ben Mezrich

"'The Accidental Billionaires' is so obviously dramatized, and so clearly unreliable, that there’s no mistaking it for a serious document."

By Lane Brown

Concord Grapes Ripen, Summer Corn Lingers On

Thanks to the cool weather, the produce at Union Square looks perky this morning, as hardier lettuces and winter squash replace their delicate summer counterparts. Even late-afternoon visitors will find the stands looking fresh. What to Look For Purple-black Concord grapes are a flavor-packed fall phenomenon. Their sweet-tart intensity is easiest to appreciate once the seeds have been separated from the aromatic flesh. Try them in sorbets and gelées, or make them into Concord-grape ketchup (recipe) ($5 per quart at Cheerful Cherry Farm, available Friday and Saturday).

This Week, Your Cup Runneth Over

Say what you want about the Smith & Wollensky Group — that their restaurants (Smith & Wollensky, Quality Meats, the Post House, et al) are sometimes hard to tell apart, or that their steaks are less than life-changing. But no one claims that the company doesn't deliver the goods when it comes to nicely priced wine. The $69 prix-fixe dinner at Cité, for example, comes with a bottomless glass of four different types. And this week, Rob and Robin tell us, all the Wollensky restaurants are offering $10 tastings of ten good wines at lunch. The selections change each day, so the committed oenophile can end up trying 50 different wines over the course of the week. [100 Bottles of Wine on the Wall]

Executive Chef Assaulted at Chinatown Brasserie

We've heard of people having it out with management, but this is ridiculous. Around midnight on Wednesday, an exchange of words between three men who had just had an hours-long dinner at Chinatown Brasserie and maître d' Robert Banat devolved into the trio yelling at Banat and shoving him. Executive chef Tyson Wong Ophaso tells us that when he stepped in to separate the men from his maître d', the biggest and youngest of the three threw Ophaso on his back. (Ophaso is five foot, six inches, 130 pounds.) Cursing loudly, the man then dragged the hapless chef by his feet onto the sidewalk and proceeded to beat him up, despite the best efforts of Brasserie staff — but no other onlookers — to protect him. The men fled before police arrived, but one of them left behind his credit-card information, and all three were captured on the restaurant's cameras. They've all been identified, and Ophaso is pressing charges. Meanwhile, what kind of town is this that a chef is beaten by three goons, and no strangers come to his aid? Any man that cooks orange beef like Ophaso deserves the utmost protection against bruisers.