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.
John King Wary of ‘Superdelegates,’ Anderson Cooper’s GunsEarlier this afternoon we cornered CNN anchor John King, who’d just finished with a CNN/Time live-panel discussion in the Time Warner Center, and discussed the irony of the Democratic-nomination system, in which delegates in each state primary and caucus are awarded proportionally, instead of a winner-take-all system. “Look, it’s a political party; they have the right to write their own rules,” said King, who used to sit in on DNC meetings as an AP reporter back in the day. “But one of the interesting things about it, if it keeps going on like it is, you could have a group of roughly 800 people — superdelegates — who decide who the nominee is, which you could argue is going [back] to the old smoke-filled back rooms, which is the least democratic way to do it.” This idea confused and saddened us, so we changed the subject to Anderson Cooper’s ostentatious biceps. “I give Anderson an enormous amount of credit, knowing what this business does to you, especially in a crazy year like this,” King said, possibly relieved someone had given him the chance to speak on the subject. “I’m giving myself a C-plus, at best, in getting to the gym and being more healthy, and the fact that Anderson can get an A throughout all this is a tribute to dedication and time-schedule discipline,” he said — quickly adding, “and I curse him for it.” —Dan Amira
‘Journal’ Takes Beef with Mariane Pearl PublicMariane Pearl, the widow of murdered Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, and the Journal are no longer on friendly terms. Naomi Campbell told a crowd at a dinner for the Black Action Retail Group that she was done with throwing cellphones. (Her visit to Hugo Chavez also garnered praise from terrorist groups.) Former Giant Tiki Barber will attend the book party of NFL Network host Rich Eisen tonight at the Time Warner Center. Tyra Banks made out with a “gorgeous model type” at Thor in Hotel Rivington. Hilary Duff gave lap dances to a Joel Madden look-alike at Tenjune. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg ran into her aunt Lee Radziwill at City Center.
in other news
Rupert and Ted Dine À DeuxThis is just embarrassing. With five tabloid gossip columns in this city and countless gossip Websites, and it was L.A. Weekly’s Nikki Finke that spotted arch-rivals Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch out on a lunch date together? Okay, granted, it was at Turner’s restaurant, Ted’s Montana Grill, so probably nobody was really looking, but still. This is what the Finkster has to report:
Sources said to me that the lunch was requested by Turner (est worth $2.3 bil) in an effort to “bury the hatchet” with Murdoch (est worth $8.8 bil). It came just days after a GQ interview was published with the CNN founder blaming the Fox News Channel founder for helping get America into the Iraq mess and labeling it “Rupert’s war” — and FNC in response using air time to belittle and demean Turner as “off his rocker.” Now, Murdoch can use the Wall Street Journal and new Fox Business Channel to belittle and demean Turner as well. “Ted reached out in the hope to make nice to Rupert now that he’s the biggest media mogul in the world,” a Murdoch insider told me. Did it work? “Rupert doesn’t change anything. He still goes after anyone he wants.”
As we all know, Murdoch’s News Corp recently surpassed Time Warner as the globe’s largest media conglomerate. We’re guessing it was a testy lunch — for a brief run through of all the icky background between the two, see Finke’s piece. In the meantime, we are totally going to start lurking around the Olive Garden in Times Square. We just know that’s where Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell have been hanging out.
Ted and Rupert Break Bread Together [Deadline Hollywood Daily]
Porta-Café Touching Down in Columbus Circle; La Marmite Back in HarlemAstoria: Sorriso’s Italian Salumeriaa at 44-16 30th Avenue makes a serious Rosino Panino. “It may look like chicken, but those thick white slabs in the middle of the sandwich are actually house-made slices of fresh mozzarella (made three times a day) piled atop a generous helping of prosciutto cotto.” [Serious Eats]
Chelsea: P.S. 11’s fall festival this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. features a ten-piece salsa band, free food, and a bake sale, plus it’s open to the public. [Blog Chelsea]
East Village: Back Forty from Savoy chef Peter Hoffman is opening October 17. [Grub Street]
Harlem: La Marmite restaurant has finally opened in its new location. [Uptown Flavor]
Lower East Side: Now’s your chance to be the next Sam Mason: Thor is looking for its own rock-star pastry chef. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Tribeca: The new home for Steak Frites will be the same space that was temporarily the doomed Charolais. [Eater]
Upper West Side: From November 28 to December 29, Illy coffee will maintain a “Push Button House” in the Time Warner Center; the installation is basically a large shipping crate that opens to reveal a full-service café that premiered at the 52nd Venice Biennale. [NotCot]
Revenge of the Flip-Flops!Finally, footwear vindication! Though we were embarrassed by our feet in the meatpacking district the other night, last night we could wear our flip-flops proudly: It was the 45th anniversary party for Havaiana flip-flops. We were in our Havaianas, standing in the roped-in party space on the second floor of the Time Warner Center, attempting to sip white wine and look moderately sophisticated while weary-eyed tourists in Borders stared at us through the glass wall as if they were watching monkeys pick bugs off each other at the Bronx Zoo. There were three giant flip-flops filled with foliage decorating the space (one had grass, one well-manicured daisies, and one overrun with orchids and jungle plants) and a helpful sign detailing the history of flip-flops: Apparently two out of three Brazilians own a pair of Havaianas! Sadly, though, among the perhaps 150 sets of feet last night, we counted only eight pairs of Havaianas and seven pairs of non-Havaiana flip-flops. Still, much better than that night in the meatpacking. —Jada Yuan
Earlier: In Which a Party Reporter Is Embarrassed by Her Footwear
The Other Critics
Richman Lambastes Landmarc; Has Sietsema Lost His Mind?Robert Sietsema reviews what might be the most un-Sietsema-like place imaginable, a twee Williamsburg bistro called Juliette. “The snails in anise butter are fab, and so is the whole steamed artichoke flaunting a festive champagne vinaigrette.” Okay, call the FBI. The real Robert Sietsema has obviously been kidnapped. [VV]
“Think too much and you’ll find the place hard to like”: Alan Richman sees the new Landmarc for what it is – a stark, expensive, underachieving restaurant with few niceties of service or cooking – but still manages to find something nice to say about the steaks. [Bloomberg]
Related: Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors? [Grub Street]
Frank Bruni had a high old time at Resto, so much so that he gave the place a shocking two stars. Expect all future reviews to react to this hyperbole by taking pains to note the place’s shortcomings.[NYT]
Related: Brussels Sprout [NYM]
In the Magazine
New York’s Restaurant Jungle Grows a Little Lusher
When spring comes, branches and leaves appear in the most unexpected places. This week’s food coverage is like that: There are no huge openings, analogous to maples or firs springing up overnight, but rather a rich carpet of new sprouts and saplings. Rob and Robin glory in the pig-out that is Resto, the new Belgian restaurant on Park Avenue South; Gael Greene stops in to enjoy the immense, spanking-new Landmarc in the Time Warner Center; David Chang knows just what to do with the long-awaited, precious ramps in In Season; and other unexpected treats, from a waterside barbecue in one of the Short Lists to a slew of spring Openings fill out the foliage.
Vendors at Red Hook Ball Fields Postpone OpeningBrooklyn Heights: Brooklyn Pigfest, a major outdoor barbecue event at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, is slated for May 12. [The Food Section]
Financial District: Front Street sees the soft opening of New Zealand gastropub Nelson Blue. [Eater]
Midtown West: Haven’t made it to Insieme? Jason Perlow’s photo-essay chronicles, in loving and lingering detail, every course at Marco Canora’s new restaurant. [Off the Broiler] Landmarc at the Time Warner Center makes a mean-looking burger. [Gothamist]
Red Hook: A new stoplight at the intersection of Van Brunt and Sullivan streets should help ease traffic caused by Fairway. [The Brooklyn Paper] Opening day for the ball fields’ food stands has been postponed, for one more week! [Gowanus Lounge]
Flatiron: Eleven Madison Park declines to keep their trial pastry chef, Richard Bies; until they hire a permanent replacement for Nicole Kaplan, Daniel Humm himself is handling the dessert program. [Grub Street]
Related: Nicole Kaplan Ditching Eleven Madison Park
Yep, 66 Going Soba; Trans Fats on the Run in Long Island66 will become Matsu Gen in “late spring” and specialize in soba noodles. [NYT]
Related: Vongerichten May Deep-Six 66, Serve Sushi and Soba Instead [Grub Street]
Landmarc, in the Time Warner Center, is wildly inexpensive relative to its location and the restaurants around it, and Steve Cuozzo is predicting boffo business. [NYP]
Related: Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors? [Grub Street]
Think you’ll get your lard fix in Long Island? Not so fast: Nassau County is planning a trans-fat ban. [Newsday]
Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors?
The restaurants at the Time-Warner Center were conceived as a kind of dining Valhalla: a food court of the Gods, with prices to match. But now Per Se, Masa, Café Gray, and Porter House New York are getting a downscale casual neighbor with Landmarc, which opens today. Of course, it isn’t quite accurate to cast Landmarc’s arrival as a snobs-vs.-slobs sitcom; Landmarc is both well-liked and well-respected for chef Marc Murphy’s eclectic, hearty, well-executed American dishes. And both the wine and dessert programs were always a big hit downtown. Will that translate to filling the 300 seats of the new place? Hard to say. But it won’t be for lack of accessibility: the new Landmarc will be open from 7 am to 2 am every day, and will be delivering as well. We’d like to see you get that from Per Se.
Restaurant High Trains Chefs of the Future; Les Halles Takes a BeatingWelcome to Food and Finance High, which trains New York’s future chefs and restaurateurs. They diligently study the work of Dave Thomas, the origins of pizza, and read Fast Food Nation in preparation for the job market. [NYT]
Les Halles is taking a beating: They’ve got a Department of Health closure uptown and construction troubles downtown . [NYP]
The Red Hook ball fields, home to one of the city’s greatest gatherings of Central and South American food vendors, may finally see the trucks roll in this Sunday. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Café Gray Loses Its LunchHow do you usually spend your lunches? If you’re anything like us, it’s hunched over your desk, scarfing down scrapple you brought from home in a Tupperware tub. Gone, in other words, are the glory days of the leisurely workweek lunch. And so this slow change has claimed another victim: Café Gray. After March 5, you’ll no longer be able to flex your expense account during the midday hours at what Platt calls “probably the most fun” of the “self-important” food-court establishments at Time Warner Center.
Tom Brady Does Not Love New York, or Bridget MoynahanTom Brady put his New York pad up for sale as soon as he found out ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan was pregnant. Speaking of officially pregnant: Naomi Watts. Speaking of maybe pregnant: Christina Aguilera. Hillary Clinton, or someone from her office, got mad at David Geffen for throwing a party last night for Barack Obama. Former As Four designer Kai Kuhne flipped out after his credit card was denied at Sway. A Chelsea nightclub doesn’t want handicapped customers upstairs.
$72,000 Monthly Rent for Time Warner Bistro
So how expensive is it to open a restaurant in the Time Warner Center? According to rumors Grub Streeter Josh Ozersky is hearing, rent alone can set you back $72,000 a month. Grub’s sources say that’s what Marc Murphy will pay to open a new branch of his Tribeca bistro Landmarc in the upscale mall at Columbus Circle. If Jean-Georges Vongerichten couldn’t make a go of it there, can things work out for the far more modest Landmarc? Josh considers the question at Grub Street.
Landmarc in the Time Warner Center May Already Be Doomed [Grub Street]
Back of the House
Landmarc in the Time Warner Center May Already Be DoomedIs it really possible that Marc Murphy’s new Landmarc restaurant in the Time Warner Center will have to support a rent of $72,000 per month? (That’s a figure we were given by a well-place member of the food media, although he says he also heard, through less dependable sources, figures as low as $65,000 and as high as $80,000.) “It’s a special space,” Realtor Alex Picken told us, referring to the Center. “$82 a foot isn’t even the highest [rent] in town.” Okay. But can another modest Landmarc really pull down the kind of income that Time Warner wealth magnets Per Se and Masa see?
Time Warner Center Jacks Up Apartment CostsYears after Time Warner Center put an expensive sheen on Columbus Circle, properties nearby are still basking in its reflected glory. Many apartments on the open-house list below reference the project as a not-so-subtle reminder to buyers that the area deserves as much asking-price respect as its neighbors, the increasingly posh Upper West Side and the trendy but unpolished Hell’s Kitchen. Still, deals exist in pockets, especially in no-frills walk-ups, though glitzy condos marble baths, concierge service, you name it can be had here, too. In fact, a few of them are going up within the shadow of the billion-dollar Time Warner Center itself. S. Jhoanna Robledo