Eating & Drinking: Tuesday Edition

cityfile · 05/12/09 03:04PM

• The restaurant formerly known as Ago will reopen next Tuesday under the name Locanda Verde. Andrew Carmellini is executive chef and a co-owner with Robert De Niro; Ken Friedman consulted on the new design. [NYT]
• Rumor has it Per Se's Jonathan Benno may be going off on his own. [TFB]
• Tasti-D-Lite isn't intimidated by Pinkberry or Red Mango: It plans to open 35 new outlets over the next decade. Related fro-yo news: Pinkberry is opening stores abroad and a chain called Yogurtland is expanding, too. [AMNY, NRN]
• Famed Coney Island pizzeria Totonno's won't be back in biz until July. [LC]
•'s list of the 13 dumbest boomtime cocktails saves special mentions for local spots like The Eldridge, PDT, and World Bar. []

Eating & Drinking: Tuesday Edition

cityfile · 05/05/09 04:54PM

• The New York City outpost of Govind Armstrong's Table 8 opens tomorrow evening inside the Cooper Square Hotel. [Eater, Zagat]
• Now that Todd English is out, The Libertine has hired itself a new chef. [Zagat]
Robert De Niro's universally reviled Ago has officially shuttered. [Eater]
• Some suggestions on where to take your mom for Mother's Day. [Zagat]
• Pinkberry is now making deliveries; a $10 minimum is required. [Crain's]
• Places to go to drink yourself into oblivion in honor of Cinco de Mayo. [GS]

Eating & Drinking: Wednesday Edition

cityfile · 02/04/09 03:56PM

Eric Ripert has signed on to host his own PBS show called Avec Eric. [THR]
Frank Bruni gives the Plaza's Oak Room a single star in today's Times, describing it as more of a "looker" than a "performer." [NYT]
• UES staple Swifty's is opening a Palm Beach outpost. [PBDN]
JGV is bringing back Vong's original menu from 1992. [JGV]
• Forge will officially change its name to Marc Forgione this week. [P6]
• More details about what's happening at Ago in the Greenwich Hotel. [NYT]
• The Flatiron's Fleur de Sel is closing on February 21st. [Eater]
• It's a tough time to be in the restaurant biz, in case you hadn't heard. [NYT]
• Possibly related: Starbucks is thinking of offering "value meals." [AP]

Eating & Drinking: Thursday Edition

cityfile · 01/29/09 04:28PM

• Ago partners Robert De Niro, Richard Born and Ira Drukier have tapped Andrew Carmellini as chef; Ken Friedman is the design consultant. [NYT]
• Is Justin Timberlake opening a Southern Hospitality in Chelsea? [GS]
• Peasant in Nolita finally has menus in English. [Eater]
Martha Stewart went to Momofuku Milk Bar on her show today. [EMD]
• Scores may be gone, but you can still pick up bottles of the former strip club's private-label blanc de blancs. Perhaps you wanted a keepsake? [GS]
• Many places are extending their Restaurant Week menus. Here's a list. [W&D]

Eating & Drinking: Tuesday Edition

cityfile · 01/27/09 03:01PM

• Why isn't your glass of water getting refilled? It might be because the restaurant decided to slash costs by firing all the busboys. [WSJ]
• E.U. in the EV is no more; a trattoria is set to take its place by March. [Eater]
Jean-Georges Vongerichten now says he won't be taking over the Ago space inside Robert De Niro's Greenwich Hotel after all. [DBTH]
• Is Momofuku Milk Bar turning into an actual bar? That's the rumor. [TFB]
Tom Colicchio and Damon Wise are expanding their discount menu. [Eater]
Scott Conant will be the guest judge on tomorrow's Top Chef. [GS]
• Gordon Ramsay hasn't been banned from Mario Batali's restaurants. [GS]
• Chef Gabrielle Hamilton has inked a book deal with Random House. [EMD]

Eating & Drinking: Friday Edition

cityfile · 01/09/09 02:05PM

• Ago, the restaurant inside the Greenwich Hotel, will close at the end of the month when Jean-Georges Vongerichten takes over. He'll change the restaurant's name and chef, but says the menu will remain Italian. [TFB]
• Kefi is reopening tonight after it was shuttered by the Dep't of Health. [Eater]
• Buddha Bar has been forced to change its name after losing a lawsuit. [P6]
• Elad Properties says the closure of the Palm Court is only temporary. [NYT]
• Picholine says it plans to expand its "Menu d'Economie." [W&D]
• A rundown of this week's restaurant closures. [Eater]
• The Observer's top 10 picks for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner. [NYO]

Celebrity-Branded Venues Take a Hit

cityfile · 12/30/08 01:33PM

It's getting ugly out there for celebs who branched out into the hospitality business. Robert De Niro's Ago is on the ropes, Jay-Z's plans to open a hotel in Chelsea have been derailed, and now after 10 years in business, Chris Noth's Cutting Room will be closing in January. The sudden closure probably comes as disappointing news for Noth but he can always drown his sorrows at Noel Ashman's Plumm, where he's an investor and which is still in business, in case you were wondering. [Page Six]

Is Ago Cooked?

cityfile · 11/21/08 03:01PM

♦ Rumor has it Robert De Niro's Ago in Tribeca will be shutting down to make way for a new project by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. [Eater]
♦ John Dory hasn't opened yet, but the restaurant's reservation line has and it's booked through December 4th. [GS]
Eric Ripert's suggestions on where to find the best fish tacos in NYC. [GS]
♦ Brother Jimmy's is being sued by a woman who says she was "engulfed in flames" after a bartender's stunt went wrong. [NYP]
♦ New York waiters report customers have been tipping less since the recession began. [GS]

Showdown at Ago, Alain Ducasse Gets Defensive

cityfile · 11/18/08 02:14PM

♦ Mirco del Vecchio, the executive chef of Ago, says he'll sue Robert De Niro for breach of contract if he's replaced at the restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. [Page Six]
♦ Why is Alain Ducasse's Benoit earning such bad reviews? Ducasse blames American journalists who "don't quite understand French bistro." [RG]
Ruth Reichl paid an early visit to David Bouley's recently-relocated Bouley and describes it as New York's "loveliest restaurant." [Gourmet]
♦ The reservation line is officially open for John Dory, the Brit-themed restaurant by April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich that is scheduled to open on November 24th. [Eater]

Robert De Niro, Neglectful Hotelier

cityfile · 10/17/08 12:01PM

Yes, Bobby, we're talking to you. When are you going to get things straightened out at the Greenwich Hotel already? Fine, it's a new place and it takes some time to work out the kinks. But it's been more than six months since you opened, and it's been four months since Frank Bruni ripped Ago to shreds. Plenty of time to figure out how get the food to the table on time, especially when you're asking people to pay $57 for a breakfast of juice, coffee, cereal and fruit. Oh, also: When a reporter from a major newspaper shows up to look around, we'd recommend that your general manager not scold her for taking a photo of the lobby with her digital camera. Especially when he explains that the hotel doesn't permit photography on the premises and there happens to be a photo shoot taking place on the other end of said lobby. [WSJ]

New York City Wine & Food Festival: A Recap

cityfile · 10/13/08 01:47PM

♦ The NYC Wine & Food Festival came to town this past weekend and just about every chef, foodie, and critic was on hand. Among the highlights: Rachael Ray hosted a Burger Bash on Friday (Katie Lee Joel took first prize); Tom Colicchio broke out his guitar and later chatted with Eater about his upcoming plans; Ferran Adria took the stage with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Asimov; Gordon Ramsay vented; Rocco DiSpirito showed off his dancing skills; Bobby Flay mentioned his plans to re-open Bolo; Scott Conant talked about his upcoming eatery in Miami; Marco Maccioni gave details on the restaurant he has planned for the Beekman Hotel; and everyone in attendance generally ate and drank way too much. More here and here.

A Guide to NYC's Celebrity-Owned Bars and Restaurants

cityfile · 08/05/08 01:01PM

There's probably been a time or two when you've been tempted to check out a restaurant or bar simply because some celebrity supposedly "owns" it. Maybe I'll see Justin Timberlake devouring a plate of ribs at Southern Hospitality! Or I'll spot Robert De Niro slurping on some pasta at Ago! Restaurateurs know this, too, of course, which is why they're all so eager to attach a celebrity name—any one will do!—to their ill-conceived bistro, brasserie, speakeasy, lounge, or barbecue shack. We don't want to be the ones to crush your dreams and tell you that there's no chance you'll see these famous faces at these venues. Just in case you're the more optimistic type—or just curious who has a stake in what—we happily introduce the Cityfile celebrity-owned restaurant/bar map!

Bar Milano, Brasserie 44, Rusty Knot

cityfile · 07/02/08 06:57AM
  • It's thanks to dishes like the "superb" rabbit terrine that the Times' Frank Bruni awards two stars to Bar Milano, even though the Murray Hill northern Italian restaurant "bungles its pasta dishes," has "awful acoustics," and is "slickness incarnate." [NYT]

Gottino, Terroir, Scarpetta, Bar Q, Ago

cityfile · 06/25/08 01:01PM
  • Taking on restaurant-y wine bars, the Times' Frank Bruni gives a star apiece to Jody Williams' Gottino and Marco Canora's Terroir, where he deems the pork blade steak the best dish he's had in months. [NYT]

Revolt at Central Park Boathouse, Matsugen Bows!

cityfile · 06/13/08 02:42PM
  • High drama at Central Park Boathouse yesterday: two employees were abruptly canned and 14 others briefly stormed out in protest before management caved. And yet by day's end it was the most boring restaurant in the city again. [NY Post]

How Not To Charm A Restaurant Critic

Hamilton Nolan · 06/11/08 02:51PM

Frank Bruni is pissed! The New York Times' omnipotent restaurant critic (pictured) today reviews a new Tribeca restaurant named Ago, which is owned in part by actor Robert De Niro. And Bruni's experience there is proof for the entire restaurant business that no matter how popular, expensive, or exclusive your place is, it is still quite possible to receive a terrible review if you act like an idiot. Please: Learn some lessons from Ago's fiasco. Here is what not to do when your restaurant is being reviewed:

De Niro's Ago: Bruni's Dinner from Hell

cityfile · 06/11/08 09:25AM

Note to restaurateurs: spilling wine on Frank Bruni's dining companions is not the fastest way to his heart. That's what we learn from the Bruni's hilariously abusive zero-star review of Ago, Robert De Niro's Italian restaurant in the Greenwich Hotel. Said downpour of sauvignon kicked off his train-wreck of a meal. But this wasn't any old spill—"I'm talking about the "Poseidon Adventure" of wine spills. Shelley Winters could have done the backstroke in it." And this happened before Bruni was even seated. Somehow, some way, everything went downhill from there. Other amusingly terrible aspects of his dinner: