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Upper West Side

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Robert Irvine’s Career Officially Over; Chodorow Plans Hot New Rooftop Lounge

We’re surprised it took this long to happen, but “celebrity chef” Robert Irvine, known of late for his lies about his background, has announced that he will not proceed with the opening of two planned restaurants in St. Petersburg. [This Just In/St. Petersburg Times] Related: Surprise, Surprise: Robert Irvine Gets the Boot From the Food Network The best way to taste the dishes on Top Chef is to head to the toques’ post-Bravo places of employment in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco. [Zagat Buzz] Frank Bruni muses on the tourist-tipping problem, noting that he’s not a fan of automatic gratuity charges since they prevent diners from communicating their pleasure or irritation with the service. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

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Sleek Rooftop Bar Coming to the UWS; Easter Supper Served in Flatiron

East Village: Nomad on Second Avenue at 4th Street will spotlight Algerian wines and meze pairings for a month starting March 20, in honor of the restaurants third anniversary. [Grub Street] Flatiron: Lunetta will serve a prix fixe Easter supper that offers roasted-beet salad with fennel and orange, and braised rabbit with Robiola agnolotti. [Grub Street] Hell’s Kitchen: If the prices of your Broadway tickets get you down, a delicious, cheap meal at the new wine bar Gallo Nero is a good follow-up to a show. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: A new Persian restaurant called Shalizar is opening at 1420 Third Avenue between 80th and 81st streets. [Upper East Side Informer] Upper West Side: The Empire Hotel plans to unveil a China Grill Management–renovated rooftop bar by this May. [Zagat Buzz]

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Psilakis Hopes to Move Kefi by July; Collective Sausage in Soho

Clinton Hill: Some people like Sushi Okdol on Myrtle Avenue, others find it "meh," but the place will host children’s birthday parties. [Clinton Hill Blog] Midtown East: The owners of Burger Kings at 485 Fifth Avenue and 129 East 47th Street refused to sell $1 value meals because they say they were losing money on the company’s specials. The locations have been shuttered, but they’re suing BK for the right to charge more in Manhattan. [NYDN] Soho: Always wanted to make a "collective memory sausage"? You can on April 8, when the Umami Food and Art Festival kicks off at Roulette, 20 Greene Street. [Strong Buzz] Upper West Side: Michael Psilakis plans to move Kefi around July to open his fourth restaurant. [Gothamist] West Village: Anito Lo expects to have her barbecue spot, Q, around April. [Eater] Something’s happening to Minetta Tavern, but it might not be Keith McNally's doing. [Eater]

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Cheap Food Still Available in Astoria; Bronx Pizza Will Get Better

Astoria: Wow, cheap-eats prices may be going up in elsewhere, but at Omonia (the café that baked the elaborate wedding cake for My Big Fat Greek Wedding), you can get a $12 brunch that includes an entrée, dessert, a morning cocktail, and coffee, tea, or juice. (And it’s good.) [Foodista] Bronx: Peter Meehan found someone to drive him to Trattoria Zero Otto Nove on Arthur Avenue to try the margherita that’s been getting blog buzz as "the best Neapolitan pizza in New York City.” It’s good, he says, but needs work (and less sweet sauce). [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Slice’s Adam Kuban, Ed Levine’s, and DJ Bubbles also tried Zero Otto Nove and found potential not perfection. The grilled pizza from Coals at 1888 Eastchester Road was also dubbed "surprisingly good" during the same trip. [Slice] Lower East Side: Chubo has closed, and it looks like it’s going to be turned into a Japanese cooking school that will sell its pastries out of a flagship café by this summer. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: Chef Michael Vernon has left Geisha to consult on new Serafina restaurants. [Strong Buzz] Midtown East: The owner of now-closed Portofino Grille will open a steakhouse called Creston’s Bar & Grill in the same space come May. [Zagat Buzz] Upper West Side: Spigolo chef Scott Fratangelo loves Land Thai restaurant. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Williamsburg: The state of neighborhood pizza here is weak overall, evidence being leftover slices you don’t even want to eat. [A Brooklyn Life]

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Shake Shack Coming to Upper West Side, Plus More Shake Shack News

"Page Six" drops a bombshell on us today, with the news that a new Shake Shack is coming to the Upper West Side: "Danny Meyer just signed a lease to open its first branch at 366 Columbus Ave. (at 77th Street), which formerly housed Cajun eatery Jacques-Imo's NYC." The new venue is enclosed, so you can wait in line in relative comfort. Meanwhile, also on the Shake Shack front, we hear that there will be not just one (as we reported previously) but two Shake Shacks at Citi Field. And not only those outposts, but also a more formal, Union Square Cafe–style restaurant. Danny Meyer hinted at at least one Citi Field location recently, but this is enticing news indeed. West Side Shake [NYP] Earlier: Danny Meyer Finds Manhattan Prohibitive, But a Shake Shack in a Sports Stadium? That He Could See

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Catty Males Shake Beatrice; Charcuterie Mania

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]

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Don't Skip the Bread at Commerce; Oh, Yoko, Save Café La Fortuna!

Bay Ridge: One of the city’s greenest cake shops, Little Cupcake Bake Shop, actually makes awesome cupcakes, too. [NewYorkology] Carroll Gardens: Frankies’ third location is sizable, but still at least a few months from being completed. [Eater] Upper West Side: Blossom at 466 Columbus Avenue is a candlelit vegan restaurant with a fireplace. [Gridskipper] Former John Lennon and Yoko Ono favorite Café La Fortuna is closing this Sunday. [Lost City] West Village: At newly opened Commerce, Andrea Strong "had the bread basket of the century," which included "about a half-dozen types of bread, all fresh baked in house that morning. There was a buttery mini brioche, an sourdough olive roll the shape of a fat bullet, a ciabatta and a sesame roll, and my favorite, and one that I think they should turn into a bar snack with mustards and cheese—the soft malt pretzel." Sounds like a good start. [The Strong Buzz]

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Sharks on Coney Island! And Expensive Ones, at That

Bowery: No sooner had this lovable bum moved out of the street box he lived in and into a proper $300-a-month room than his troubles began. [NYT] Bushwick: Behold the new 'swhick-specific haiku trend: "Dude with the corn rows/Stop selling crack, you scumbag/Sell good pot instead." [BushwickBK] Coney Island: The fancy exterior redo for the New York Aquarium may have to be, uh, scaled back due to a planned $64 million exhibition on sharks. [Coney Island via Curbed]

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Bubbles in Your Vodka a Good Thing on the Upper East Side; House-Made Charcuterie Hits Cobble Hill

Chinatown: A stellar Chinese dessert discovery: “[F]laky green pastries that resembled caterpillars” flavored with durian fruit “came to the table piping hot filled with a bright yellow pudding.” Find them at Chatham Square (6 Chatham Square). [Gothamist] Clinton Hill: The food at Restaurant New Orleans is good, but the entire operation seems completely haphazard. [Clinton Hill Blog] Cobble Hill: The Red Deli at 264 Clinton Street near Verandah Place opens this week with “house-made charcuterie along with grab-and-go items like fried chicken.” [TONY] Dumbo: The D Space offering an Indian buffet is actually called Marrakesh Express, and the food is worth a try. [Dumbo NYC] Nolita: This list of spots to drink up free or cheap wine includes Le Jardin Bistro, where on Monday and Tuesday nights $12 adds all-you-can drink Bordeaux to your dinner. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: A new sparkling vodka called Camitz is for sale at Sherry-Lehmann, Astor Wines, and, in the near future, at Morrell’s, but you can try it in a cocktail at Park Avenue Winter among a few other restaurants around town. [Strong Buzz]

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Dovetail's Deconstructed Muffuletta Is a Trojan Horse for Lamb's Tongue

Dovetail, John Fraser’s new Upper West Side restaurant, is enjoying a critical reception not seen in some time. Adam Platt’s three-star review highlighted the deconstructed muffuletta sandwich with fried lamb’s tongue. Fraser says the dish came to him in a dream but also has a more practical explanation: “Lamb’s tongue is not the easiest thing to sell, so you have to pair it with something really interesting.” As always, mouse over the different elements to hear them described in the chef’s own words.

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Breaking: Aix to Close, and Soon

We’re told by a source close to the restaurant that Aix Brasserie, Philip Kirsch's Upper West Side French restaurant, is closing after service on Sunday. Apparently, the costs and complexities of running the place have become too much for Kirsch to bear, particularly as he struggles to maintain FR.OG. The staff is to be told today.

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Pies-N-Thighs Will Survive in Williamsburg; Pastrami Queen Extends Reign to Chelsea

Astoria: Last-minute Valentine’s Day options from Joey. [Joey in Astoria] The Foodista's include JJ’s Asian Fusion and Sushi Bar, which isn't trying to do anything special for the holiday. [Foodista] Brooklyn Heights: The bartender at Jack the Horse Tavern, Maxwell Britten, created a timely cocktail called Love Lane, which combines Prosecco, harvest syrup, house-made brandy, poached cherries, and rose water. Ladies on the town tomorrow take note: It's a sexy drink, and he’s pretty cute. [Vittles Vamp via Brooklyn Heights Blog] Chelsea: The owners of Pastrami Queen have opened a delicatessen in Chelsea Market called Friedman’s. [NYT] Clinton Hill: June reopens tonight after dealing with multiple break-ins. [Clinton Hill Blog] Little Italy: Gimme! Coffee has opened its first Manhattan outlet at 228 Mott Street between Prince and Spring streets. [NYS] Upper West Side: Ruby Foo’s new lunch plan includes free wi-fi. [Zagat] Williamsburg: Pies-N-Thighs seems to have already found a new home at 166 South 4th Street. [Eater]

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The Last Days of Café Gray?

Café Gray’s days at the Time Warner Center may be numbered, sources tell us. It’s not clear whether the move, if it comes, stems from the building’s sky-high rent (which doomed Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s V Steakhouse) or because the chef has something else planned. Kunz, for his part, denies that he is going anywhere. "This rumor is completely unfounded," he says, "and business has been brisk." So if Café Gray does vacate, who can handle the tower? We hear a prominent Italian restaurant will fill the Café Gray space. You'll know more when we do.

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Cesare Casella the Latest Chef Onboard the UWS Bandwagon

The Upper West Side — flush with Dovetail's success; the boffo business at Kefi , Cesca , and Ouest ; and with Fatty Crab II on the way — seems to be — of all places — the hot restaurant neighborhood du jour. And the next chef heading northwest? Tuscan toque Cesare Casella, who has a lease on a 1000-square-foot space on West 73rd Street. The Maremma chef, who leads the Italian program at the French Culinary Institute, is also seeking to acquire an adjacent storefront. “If we can do that, we will have an Italian restaurant, but not a Tuscan cowboy one,” Casella says. “I have to represent all of Italy, the way I teach at FCI. If we stay with the small space, it will be Bean Bar or something like it.” Bean Bar is the Tuscan takeout bean operation Casella has wanted to open at Grand Central since last May. His new space won't be ready till fall or next winter at the earliest. Related: Cesare Casella Jumps to Launch Bean Bar in Grand Central

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Bedford-Stuyvesant Not So Sold on the ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ Parts of This Election

Bedford-Stuyvesant: Some folks are skeptical that anything will change here, no matter who's elected in November. And they're employing their mailboxes to say so. [Newyorkshitty] Greenwich Village: After renovations of Washington Square Park found human remains there, folks will protest there tonight, saying the city should merely "repair" the park and not upset buried bones with a full-scale redo. [Metro] Jackson Heights: This is the home of the largest of 47 rent-stabilized apartment buildings throughout Queens just purchased for $300 million by Vantage Properties. Housing advocates fear the new owner will systematically push out low-rent-paying tenants in the nearly 2,000 units. [The Real Deal]

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Beware Midtown Fortune-Tellers! (As If You Weren't Wary Before)

Chelsea: All the fabulous old Chelsea freaks and bohos partied at Cindy Gallop's wacky loft in the old YMCA building, but this time, sadly, the waiters kept their pants on. [Living with Legends] Midtown: It's funny/sad that a fortune-teller here duped an entrepreneur out of nearly half a million by telling him he was cursed, but it's just plain funny that the Post said the guy was from "tony Wilson, Wyoming." Bitchy! [NYP] Red Hook Guess which "degentrifying" hood had the distinct honor of producing confetti for today's Super Bowl–victory parade? Local hearts were "aflutter" with pride…get it? [The Real Deal]

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Every Day Would Be Better With a Seal in It

A Seal

This picture was taken today near West 79th Street. Okay, a seal on the Upper West Side? Adorable. Look at his little face! Look at that fuzzy-wuzzy wittle face. OMG, he's rolling around! Hello there. Hello. Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? What could be a cuter, more uplifting surprise on a cold, rainy winter day? Mmmm. Maybe a seal rolling around in something other than decades' worth of goose poop. A Seal Pays a Visit to The Upper West Side [City Room/NYT]

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Bar Boulud's Wine-Tasting Table, Chop Suey's Dining Room Both Half-Full

Spot Check
The first time we dropped in on a batch of new restaurants to take head counts, we hit the East Side. Then we threw it over to the West Side. Last Friday we took it uptown to see what’s doing above 42nd Street. It wasn’t easy hitting half a dozen spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., but luckily we were navigating familiar territory — Mermaid Inn? Magnolia Bakery? Blue Ribbon Sushi? Zak Pelaccio’s new spot? It’s like we never left downtown.

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Condos Eating Up Ethnic Restaurants; Eleven Madison Park Chef Bringing Some Bling to the UWS

Astoria: The café Oleput at 31-13 Ditmars has reopened, and they might have a liquor license. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Krumbs (or whatever the bakery will soon be called) is now open at 154 Vanderbilt between Willoughby and Myrtle, and mini–carrot cakes seem like a hit. [Clinton Hill Blog] Flushing: The legendary Chinese food court at J & L mall may be closed for good after a brief shutter this summer. The condo curse strikes again. [Eat for Victory/VV] Hell's Kitchen: Kyotofu’s hosting a winter sake pairing Monday with the theme "An Evening at an Izakaya, a traditional Japanese Pub.” It includes real food like miso-grilled ten-grain yaki-onigiri rice balls and shiitake-and-pork-yuba dumplings. [Grub Street] Park Slope: A new reason to join the CSA: Find a tiny frog in your lettuce and get a hilarious feature in the Daily News. [Gothamist] Upper East Side: A San Francisco restaurant critic goes to Park Avenue Winter and other top-billed New York restaurants and admits being "struck by a trend that seems to be taking root [here]: Market-driven menus. Of course, this is common to the Bay Area." [Between Meals/San Francisco Chronicle] Upper West Side: Eleven Madison Park chef Kerry Heffernan has outfitted the old Cafe Botanica with mirrors and glass to prepare for the opening of South Gate, his new restaurant slated for a mid-February opening. [Restaurant Girl]

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