Fiamma’s Menu a Fraction of Its Former SelfWe’re told that Fiamma has sprung into action, using all the powers of the B.R. Guest machine, to try to ferret out what went so catastrophically wrong with Nick Paumgarten’s meal. “We are all disappointed in the service. We take this very seriously and have everyone looking into the problems,” B.R. Guest chieftain Steve Hanson tells us. But all the negative attention Fiamma has gotten over the last day or so obscures a larger, thornier question about the restaurant: What has happened to the sprawling, lavish, ambitious menu that Fabio Trabocchi launched his administration with?
Back-to-Back Feasts Will Break the Bank, Blow Your MindAre you enough of a hard-core gastronome to attend Chris Cosentino’s and Seamus Mullen’s back-to-back event dinners? Cosentinois the famous West Coast offal master whom you may remember from his appearances on Iron Chef. Cosentino is doing a signature “Head to Tail” dinner at the Astor Center on Tuesday, March 4, hosted by Michael Ruhlman. Expect lots of tripe, testa, candied cockscombs, and the like. That one will set you back $250. On March 5, Seamus Mullen is doing a Basque “Homage to Euskadi” dinner at Suba, featuring regional specialties like hake tongues; tortilla de bacalao with poached hen’s egg; salt-cod brandade, pimientos de padron; beans and pork belly; and so on, all paired with big Basque wines. That one is $110 and should be a little easier on the old G.I. system as well. But what other city could produce two such feasts back to back? To reserve for the Cosentino dinner, click here; for the Suba dinner, call 212-982-5714.
in other news
Miss Brooklyn Pageant Roiled by ScandalThe Miss Brooklyn Pageant, recently revived after a sixteen-year hiatus, is already enmeshed in scandal, though not of the topless-Facebook-photos variety. At least, not yet. Anyway, as it turns out, this year’s winner, 22-year-old Leigh-Taylor Smith, who was crowned after she charmed the audience at Long Island University’s Kumble Theater last week with her off-key rendition of “Nobody Does It Like Me,” lives in Manhattan. And that’s not all! The Brooklyn Paper did some digging, and now they have revealed that the judges were not only aware of this fact, they chose to turn a blind eye. “We only had a few committed girls from Brooklyn,” Kim Thomas, the executive director of the Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Program, explained to the paper. “We couldn’t have a contest with only three girls.”
Miss Brooklyn is from Manhattan [Brooklyn Paper]
Back of the House
Women Rule the Wine Cellars of New YorkTwo of this season’s most anticipated restaurants — the three-star Dovetail and Ed Brown’s Eighty One — launched with female sommeliers. Former Daniel sommelier and wineshop owner Jean Luc Le Dû recently remarked to Grub Street that only a few years ago, non-white males in the role were considered an anomaly. Today, only three women (and 21 men) in the United States have the coveted “Master of Wine” designation, awarded to 264 sommeliers throughout the world. But in New York, women helm some of the city’s most respected wine programs, including Gramercy Tavern, the Modern, and the entire B.R. Guest group. We interviewed several of these ladies of the cellar for their ideas on the industry, their experiences on the floor, and picks on retail value bottles. Look for them at restaurants near you. —Alexandra Vallis
Slideshow: Women in Wine
the sports section
Clemens Testimony Referred to DOJ for Perjury Investigation, After AllAfter hedging a bit, Congress has decided to refer Roger Clemens to the Department of Justice for a perjury investigation. They are concerned that his testimony over his alleged steroid use directly contradicts that of former trainer Brian McNamee and fellow Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte. You’d think this would be bad news for Clemens and his legal team, as a handful of U.S. leaders just basically called BS on his testimony. But we sort of suspect that his lawyers were a little bit psyched, because they got to deliver this line:
“Now we are done with the circus of public opinion, and we are moving to the courtroom,” Clemens’ lead lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. “Thankfully, we are now about to enter an arena where there are rules and people can be held properly accountable for outrageous statements.”
You can just hear the crack coming through between the words, as Hardin imagines himself hitting a PR homerun. No matter how good he is with words, it’s not going to fix all the damage Roger has done to himself by being bad with them.
Congress Asks DOJ to Investigate Clemens [AP]
Earlier: As Clemens’s Story Weakens, Congress Drafts Perjury Letter
in other news
Publicist Catherine Olim Does Cindy Adams WrongLet’s just say it. Hollywood publicists and particularly PMK-HBH publicists are notorious for being difficult. But today, Nicole Kidman’s flack, Catherine Olim, crossed a line! Yesterday, Cindy Adams reported in her column that pregnant Nicole Kidman enjoyed a nice glass of white wine backstage at the Oscars the other night. Nothing wrong with that, we said to ourselves when we read it. Nicole’s just being European, and anyway our mom drank 40s of malt liquor all through her pregnancy and look how great we turned out. But Ms. Olim, it turned out, was not about to let this slide. “I try to ignore your column, unlike most of the rest of the world, because it is so nasty,” she wrote in a charming e-mail to Perez Hilton, who had picked up the item from Adams. “But I have to tell you that Nicole Kidman most certainly did NOT drink white wine or any other alcoholic beverage backstage. She had water and lemon zinger tea. That’s it. I know, I was there with her.” Then she said the unforgivable. “I cannot remember that last time that Cindy Adams got anything right. She’s an idiot, and you can quote me.”