Most of the focus at Sobe is on the big celebrity-driven events (and, of course, the parties that follow them), but the event also functions as an immense trade show by the sea. But since it’s Sobe, it has to be slick. The American Lamb Board the trade group for America’s lamb farmers is spreading its message via a dozen unnaturally busty, scantily clad lambassadors; a booming sound system playing old hip-hop and R&B; and Lonesome Dove chef Tim Love cooking up lamb sirloins on a big stage. Add four cocktail stations and vaguely sexualized slogans (again, about lamb) like “More Than a Nice Rack,” and you’ll find yourself at one of the festival’s most popular tents.
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With the recent news that the celebrated Charlie Trotter might be opening up an outpost here in New York, our thoughts turned to the whole phenomenon of out-of-town chefs and their usually disastrous forays to New York. We thought to contact our dour friend Adam Platt to see what kind of world-weary wisdom he might dispense on the subject. As expected, the big man had deep thoughts at the ready, and we transcribed our exchange for posterity, in case Charlie Trotter wants something to put on his refrigerator.
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Now that the Mets seem to have a lock on New York’s most coveted hamburger business, we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop: What will be the Yankee response? Clearly, it won’t do for the Bronx Bombers to let their National League rival upstage them like this. We fully expect the Yankees to open the vault in hopes of attracting a major free-agent restaurateur. But who?
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The Restaurant Responsibility Act, just introduced in City Council, would keep eateries from abusing the help by tying operating permits to labor laws. [Gotham Gazette]
Fatty Crab owner writes in to say that Eater has it all wrong about an Upper West Side location. [Eater]
It’s salmon season in Alaska’s Copper River, and some of the city’s top fish cooks are spawning original dishes to take advantage. [NYDN]
In this week's reviews, Cuozzo draws his six-shooter on Tim Love and Ted Turner, Ryan Sutton drinks the $12 bottled water at Gilt, Andrea Strong's blood boils over the pricey wines at Devin Tavern, and more.
Cuozzo to Tim Love and Ted Turner: "Welcome to New York: Now leave!" [NYP]
Ryan Sutton takes the temperature at Gilt now that the foam has cleared and finds that "if Liebrandt's cuisine was hyperactive, [new chef Christopher] Lee's is hyper-restrained." Though the grub's a bit cheaper, there's still a $12 "you just got fleeced'' fee on bottled water. [Bloomberg]
Julia Moskin visits the Morgan's dining room, the latest in arty eateries, and finds the nicest restaurant salad she's had in years. Of the beef Wellington: "Some dishes, like musicals, should never be revived." [NYT]
Paul Adams contemplates the sublime porkiness of Momofuku Ssäm Bar [NYS]
At Palo Santo, a Pan-Latin joint on a Slope side street, $25-and-Under (not the super-stingy Meehan we've been loving) unearths off-the-menu items like beef-cheek asopado. [NYT]
Reeling from "Spain's 10," Augie taps the tapas at Boqueria and finds they rock almost as hard as Jane's Addiction doing "Ripple." [Augieland]
Taking up the good fight alongside Meehan, Andrea Strong visits Devin Tavern and her blood boils over the $40-plus wine list: "This is not very tavern like. Come on." [Strong Buzz]
Ignoring the Gobbler's advice on how not to get made, the Amateur Gourmet is exposed at Country. [Amateur Gourmet]
Katie Julian weighs in on the Tasting Room and agrees with everyone else: Some dishes work (porcini topped with a fried egg and crispy pork skin), and others don't (raw matsutake-mushroom slices drizzled with "cheese-pumpkin juice"). [NYer]
BlackBook delves into Haute Barnyard at Flatbush Farm. [BlackBook]
Who in his right mind believes that there's a food writer out there who looks "similar to Harrison Ford but more muscular and tan"? Tim Love, apparently. We already got some good mileage out of the same Forth Worth Star Telegramarticle on Tim Love opening his new restaurant, but Gastropoda pointed out something from it that we missed: There's a "fat notebook" Love and his wife kept on the food media, tracking the aforementioned Ford look-alike as well as a "better, younger-looking Woody Allen." If you ask us, half of the food-writing corps (Meehan, Peter; Asimov, Eric; Lee, Ted; et al.) resemble "nerdier Elvis Costellos." But there are exceptions. As a gift to Mr. Love and his colleagues, we offer the following quiz.
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The other day we wrote about what seemed like the biggest swindle since the sale of Manhattan — Texas chef Tim Love's paying, according to a newspaper report, over $1 million a year in rent for his new medium-size restaurant on West 21st Street, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. Mr. Love himself wrote in and told us that we'd been sold a bill of goods: "I was kinda surprised by that figure in the Star Telegram too … There seems to be an extra zero added in there, because that would definitely be a Texas-sized price. I plan on cooking here for a long time, and if my rent were that high, that might make things a little difficult. Oh and by the way, I think my space looks pretty nice! I appreciate your concern!"
Maybe you can't believe everything you read.
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Is Tim Love getting screwed? According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegramprofile (registration required), the cowboy-hatted celebrity chef, who recently moved from Texas to New York, signed a ten-year, $10.2 million lease on the space for his new Lonesome Dove Western Bistro on West 21st Street. The reviews aren't in yet on the food (though Rob and Robin did publish a glossary of his exotically named dishes), but we'll vouch that the room is nothing to write home to Fort Worth about: It's fairly narrow, not much to look at, and facing a Flatiron side street without a precedent for restaurant success or even much pedestrian traffic. We asked Picken Real Estate founder Alexander Picken, who specializes in nightlife and restaurant realty, to tell us what he thought: "Based on what I saw, that figure is outrageous — at least three to four times what he should be paying." We dearly hope Love succeeds, but it sounds like he would have done better playing three-card monte in Times Square than signing that lease.
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