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Upper West Side

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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.

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.

Vivienne Westwood Gets Political; Marc's Latest Escort Allegation

• In her first London show in ten years, Vivienne Westwood's highly anticipated return to the runway wasn't short on politics. One model walked with a placard protesting for the rights of Guantánamo Bay prisoners and Westwood took her bow in a blouse covered in protest badges. [Telegraph]

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]

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.

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

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]

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]

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]

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.

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]

Abrams Brothers Have Always Loved the UWS; Gay Talese Will Eat BBQ on the UES

Chelsea: The owner of the Cuban restaurant that replaced Havana Chelsea says he’s not trying to copy the former tenant: "It took years of grease to get on those walls and the smell of rotten wood and mice and stale water and dirt. We gutted the entire place, not even a tooth pick was worth saving." [Eat for Victory/VV] Clinton Hill: Greene Grape Provisions has opened with fresh fish and meats, and if you bring a receipt to their nearby wine store, the owners will take 5 percent off your purchase of their recommended pairings. [Clinton Hill Blog] Midtown East: Chocolatier Charbonnel Et Walker on the eighth floor of Saks sells a rich chocolate cupcake drenched in sticky toffee, which is well worth its $6 price tag and still "way cheaper than a pair of Chanel pumps" sold nearby. [NewYorkology] Midtown West: Brasserie Cognac is coming to 55th Street and Broadway. [Grub Street] Tribeca: Dekk seems closed indefinitely. [Grub Street] Union Square: In an unsurprising conclusion, Bruni finds that Indian and Italian restaurants are better equipped to satisfy vegetarians. Dévi is one example where even meat eaters may want to eat those vegetable-based dishes. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Upper East Side: Barbejew Steven Levy hopes his new BBQ joint, Smokin’ Q, which opens this week at 206 East 63rd Street, will succeed where twelve restaurants have failed since 1977. Levy may have an edge against predecessors, however, since writer Gay Talese, who included the doomed space in his memoir, plans to be the writer-in-residence. [NYT] Upper West Side: The Magnolia and Mermaid Inn uptown aren’t the first companies the Abrams brothers have introduced to the nabe; cupcake guru Steve owns "a construction company, high-end residential construction, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous sort of stuff. My clients are Samuel Jackson, Annie Leibovitz, Jeff Gordon." [NYO]

Crosby Connection Will Rise Again; Los Dados the Last Breath of Meatpacking

Meatpacking District: With the wave of recent restaurant and nightlife closings, this area seems doomed, but Los Dados and long-delayed Merkato 55 might be able to salvage the hip destination, at least "on its western perimeter." [Zagat] Midtown East: Midtown Lunch finagled a sneak peak of Sakae Sushi’s conveyor belt and loses his cool: "If you’ve been to an outlet overseas, you may end up disappointed by the first US location which lacks some of the uniqueness or ‘cool’ factor of the locations in Asia. That’s because they felt a more subdued location would be more appealing to the clientele of Midtown.… Even when we get something cool, we get screwed." [Midtown Lunch] Park Slope: Lebanese Laila has closed, which doesn’t seem like a surprise since it was across the street from "the better, cheaper Olive Vine." [TONY] South Slope: The Fourth Avenue soup man has officially given up his spot in preparation for a new fancy condo. [Eat for Victory/VV] Upper West Side: China Fun is getting in on the New Year shill fest: Submit 500 words (or fewer) on why you want to celebrate the Year of the Rat at China Fun (info@chinafun-ny.com), and you could win a banquet for eight. West Village: After losing its lease, Italian sandwich destination Crosby Connection is moving from its hole-in-the-wall to an actual restaurant space a couple of blocks away. [The Gluttoness]

Caviar and Vodka Warming Hearts in Midtown; Danal Not Down for Long in the East Village

Astoria: The guacamole at Luna de Juarez is prepared tableside. [Joey in Astoria] Central Park: Someone may take over the Tavern on the Green someday, but they won't be calling it Tavern on the Green. That name belongs to owner Jennifer LeRoy. [Insatiable Critic] East Village: From a tipster comment on yesterday’s nabe watch: Danal is reopening on January 10 in a new Fifth Avenue space just south of 13th Street. [Grub Street] Lincoln Center: Bruni gives Rosa Mexicano thumbs up for its kid-friendly service and adult-friendly fare. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Lower East Side: Móle might make some of the tastiest tamales in town. [Gothamist] Midtown East: Reservations are required for Gastronomica editor, Russian professor, and cookbook author Darra Goldstein’s sustainable-caviar and vodka tasting next Wednesday in the Williams Club at 24 East 39th Street. [Williams Club] Nolita: Ceci-Cela on Spring Street will bake you a buttery galette des rois with only one day's notice … [Snack] Tribeca: … while Ceci-Cela on Chambers has officially closed after rising rents compelled the bakery to give up its lease. [Grub Street] Upper East Side: Rome expat Enrico Proietti (Baraonda, Per Lei, and Bella Blue) is opening a fourth Italian restaurant, which he’s named Ciaobella in commemoration of his first, long-closed, New York venture. [NYS] Upper West Side: Not only does DB source great charcuterie for Bar Boulud, the chef also knows how to throw a party. [Eater]

Charcuterie Continues to Wow on the UWS; Beer, Cheese, and Chocolate Go Together in the East Village

Chelsea: Cain’s Website is already “pimping” a London opening. [Down by the Hipster] East Village: Jimmy’s No. 43 is hosting a cheese, beer, and chocolate pairing on January 22. Luckily, cheese before beer, you're in the clear. [Gridskipper] Danal on 10th Street has given up the ghost. [Zagat] Hell’s Kitchen: Tasting World is hosting its first Wine Essentials course of 2008 on January 17. [Tasting World] Midwood: The Amateur Gourmet’s "Best Place I Should’ve Been To Already and Where I Should’ve Already Gone Back To" for 2007: Di Fara Pizza. There are surely too many out there who can relate. Upper West Side: Ed Levine is as wowed by Sylvain Gasdon’s charcuterie at Bar Boulud as we were. [Ed Levine’s New York Eats via Eater] West Village: David Page and Barbara Shinn have left Home to focus on their North Fork winery and have taken the wine-sensitive heart of the restaurant with them. [Eater]

Flatbush Is Even Noisier Than Your Hood

East Village: Do a piercing salon, tattoo parlor, and bong shop qualify as the "community facilities" a developer said he'd rent to in return for being allowed to build bigger than code here on St. Marks? Discuss. [Neither More Nor Less] Elmhurst: A skater boy rescued a newborn baby, umbilical cord intact, from a freezing Dumpster. Troubled young moms, New York law says it's okay to abandon babies … as long as you leave them somewhere safe and warm where they can be found! [Newsday] Flatbush: Locals here called in more noise complaints in the second half of 2007 than in any other Brooklyn hood. So does that make Flatbush the borough's noisiest hood or just full of its noisiest kvetchers? [Ditmas Park Blog via NYDN]

Newfangled Toilets Make Us Wonder What They'll Look Like When They're Oldfangled

Bushwick: All the 'swhik kids are chipping in to help Steve Trimboli, who runs local indie-rock mecca Goodbye Blue Monday, pay his mountain of post-cancer bills. That's nice. [VV]
Carroll Gardens: Who is trying to destroy the hood's "Democracy Wall," where locals post anti-development propaganda? Could it be … Councilmember Bill DeBlasio? [Gowanus Lounge]
Flatiron: The new Cemusa toilet's going up in Madison Square Park! Weird to think that something so sleek will soon be crawling with germs. (Or are these things self-cleaning?) [Curbed, Promediacorp]

Gusto Now Going to Look and Taste Like Centro Vinoteca

Chelsea: It doesn’t look good for those who are just getting used to the belly; pig’s ears are the latest trend, and even the version at stellar tapas spot Tía Pol was described by Peter Meehan as "crunchy and sticky with a funky pigskin flavor." [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine] Financial District: Don’t forget, the trial run for the proposed year-round seasonal market at South Street Seaport starts on December 16 (and Molto Mario will be there). [Grub Street] Park Slope: Tempo Presto is closing this Friday because the restaurant can’t keep up with the pricey rent. [Gowanus Lounge] Upper West Side: Dovetail‘s opening next week. [Zagat] West Village: Sasha Muniak must feel really good about the Centro Vinoteca formula; after tapping chef Anne Burrell to take over for Amanda Freitag, he plans to redesign the Gusto space by next year with help from Centro Vinoteca and Jean Georges designer Thomas Juul-Hansen. [Restaurant Girl] Andrea Strong unveils renderings of Jason Neroni’s new gig, 10 Downing. [Strong Buzz via Eater] Magnolia Bakery will be open regular hours every day this holiday season except for Christmas, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 24, kids can pick up a cupcake that comes with a note to Santa. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Williamsburg: A benefit party at Supreme Trading tomorrow night promises an open Bass Ale Beer bar from 7 to 8 p.m. and "one of the most difficult cuisines to find in New York City: Rwandan." [Cakehead]

Bruni Hot for Small Baguettes on the Upper West Side

East Village: Anita Lo thinks Degustation isn’t getting enough attention. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Bao 111 will now be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. [Eater] Hell’s Kitchen: Kyotofu will be holding a seven-course dinner plus dessert paired with "six different types of specialty and esoteric sake" at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 17. [Grub Street] Richmond Hill: RIP 80-year-old Jahn’s Ice Cream. [Lost City] Upper West Side: Frank Bruni reveals he’s "hot for" small baguettes with butter and raspberry jam from Levain Bakery: "I demolish it in four or five bites, squeezing it so tight the jam drips from the edges, and I sometimes have to change my shirt afterward because of the jam stains." [Refinery 29]

Should Stuyvesant Heights Secede?

Bushwick: This blogger hates on gritty Bed-Stuy, claiming that it's nothing compared to its slicker, 'shwick-er neighbor. That's harsh, but maybe he's right to suggest that pretty Stuy Heights secede from the rest of the hood. [BushwickBK] Chelsea: Even before 100 Eleventh Avenue developers could obscure Knox Martin's landmark mural next door, they've covered his signature with their ad. It's a proto-dis! [Chelsea Blog] Coney Island: An ice-skating rink at the base of the Wonder Wheel? That's bigger than Wollman? That's a summertime sailing pond? Yes, yes and yes! [NY1 via Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]