Veselka, which has great borscht, terrible bread and this one older lady waitress who is so sad and seemingly fragile that it seems that only her cake makeup is holding up her features, had already opened an outpost in a hut in the park at 1st Avenue and 1st Street. Now, as Grub Street reports, a second larger and sit-downy Veselka place is opening up in the East Village. Where? Right around the corner, in the Avalon Bowery, that slick glass box of a building opposite Whole Foods. It's like when Yaroslov I the Wise conquered Red Rus from the Poles in 1030! Except also nothing like that.
Times restaurant critic (and the man I'd fourth most like to have lunch with before I go to London) Frank Bruni (first, Baryshnikov; second, my boss Choire; third, my own father) likes himself some Ssam Bar as best restaurant of 2007 (though as Eater mentions, it is really a 2006 affair. Allen & Delancey, Soto, Anthos and Insieme made the cut. FR.OG was among the worst. Ditto Wakiya. [NYT]
Balthazar has this seasonal bread thing called Stollen, a Dresden specialty. It has fruit and nuts and is coated entirely in sugar. It might be the most delicious thing to emerge from Balthazar's kitchen since the first banana nut donut burst forth years ago and certainly the best thing to happen to Dresden ever. It costs $12. Go. Update: I just finished the 2kg loaf in around 10 minutes and now feel really really sick. Related: Nigel Slater has an exceptional recipe for Stollen in the Guardian from the other week! Make it yourself and see!
Today the loose consortium of cells and wrinkles that form the body and mind of Daily News Restaurant Girl Danyelle Freeman reviewed seasonal-ingredient inspired restaurant Irving Mill. "Grilled octopus with pepper caponata neither sparked delight nor outright displeasure. While the octopus was sufficiently tender, the caponata lent the dish little in the way of tang or punch. Other than a crusty exterior, a dull cod fell into neutral territory—a veritable Switzerland of plates." Oh, it's like when I went to Veselka and the salty strength of the schnitzel overrode the poor defenses of the Svičková, annexing the delicate flavors with a lightning speed. It was like a veritable Germany circa 1939 on my plate!
Airlines have figured out that we don't generally like eating the trail-mix crap they try to skewer us out of $3 for, so they've started charging for "better quality food" on long flights, such as "chilled black olive spaghetti salad ($8 on Delta)." The real kicker comes from the general manager of one of the companies that sells prepared foods for flights: "That's our biggest challenge: matching the supply to the demand." Why? Because they "discard any meals that do not sell after a round-trip flight."That's right! They. Throw. It. Out. Let us eat cake? [NYT]
Anthony Martignetti, proprietor of the Douchebag Restaurant Hall of Fame contender Bar Martignetti, is contemplating opening another restaurant. He tells New York "I had a breakfast meeting at Pastis with a real-estate broker. We're looking at a couple of spots downtown [for a new restaurant] — I can't really say until we sign the lease. Pastis is very close to one of them we're looking at." BLAARG!!!
Kim Severson writes in the Times today that the entree—that big thing you eat at dinner—is dead. It has been replaced by crudi, tapas, side dishes, salads and other non-entree things. Bald bear chef Tom Collichio agrees, saying, "Eating an entree is too many bites of one thing, and it's boring." Big ol' cook Mario Batali signs on too! "As a diner, the idea of me chewing 17 bites of one thing and another 17 bites of another is absolutely boring, and not how I want to eat." Which all means in the words of Ms. Severson, "The entree is Walter Cronkite." Blech! That means I fucking ate Walter Cronkite last night with some homemade applesauce and roast fingerling potatoes! You know what though; that dude is delicious! Interesting game: Substitute literary terms for culinary ones, and you have a regurgitation of the old media/new media debate. Wasn't it just months ago Pilates-loving Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said, "Reading a paper is too many bites of one thing, and it's boring"?
Wealthy unicorn-loving rainbow-surfer Jeffrey Chodorow is closing his fishtastic venture WIld Salmon at the end of the month. Why? Well, it was swimming upstream from the start. (Zing!) Though the fish actually wasn't all that bad, the concept was fatally flawed. Like Chodorow, the restaurant was oversized, lacked nuance and ultimately was unpalatable. [Eater]
Those few of you watching the commercials during Desperate Housewives last night might have been buoyed to spot Williamsburg hipster feeding trough Marlow and Sons, the home of the world's worst hipster date conversation ever. It was in a commercial for an SUV called Edge. So now it is confirmed that Marlow & Sons is where all the hipsters with $30K to drop on a SUV go for oysters and artisanal American cheese. Related: We hear that the creative director for J. Walter Thomspon, the ad firm that produced the spot, quit today!
Jeffrey Chodorow, the insane Tevye of the New York restaurant scene, is opening another of his overwrought hyperbolic restaurants. Chodorow is close to signing a lease in the Empire Hotel (up at Broadway and 63rd) for his newest restaurant. We already have half-assed ninja shtick at Kobe Club, golden sperm gestalt at Wild Salmon and the nostalgic outer boroughs idyll of Borough. What odd theme will Chodorow tap next? We bet it has to do with unicorns but it's really up to you.
"The yet-to-actually-happen Supper Club New York (an exclusive group of posh partiers, not a place), has successfully seduced some 300 media and socialite types into becoming founding members." Noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker! Men's Vogue uber-prep Hud Morgan! Oh whenever will I get an invite to this, I'm just not going to be able to sleep until I too belong! [NYO]
Last night at new Franklin Street neighborhood institution Brooklyn Label, a lot of messy-haired people got in touch with their Midwestern roots by eating concoctions with names like "Texas Casserole Massacre" and "Practically Perfect Pairing." Organizer Emily Farris, whose casserole cookbook comes out next Fall, was in high spirits. "I am running around like a crazy lady!" she said, doing just that. "I have to get some waters for my judges!" The water-needing judges included Adam Roberts, author of "The Amateur Gourmet," and a lady who is a sous-chef for the Food Network. Not a judge: Jordana Rothman, who writes about food for Time Out New York. "I'm not bitter or anything," she explained. "But I decided not to enter a casserole, either. Hmmph!" Also not bitter: The casseroles!
Times restaurant boy Frank Bruni has a knack for straddling the line between needlessly erotic and erotically needless turns of phrase. "Anytime Anne Burrell gets near hot oil, I want to be around," he writes of Centro's chef in today's one-star review. The last time Bruni was in the company of potentially oil-slathered women though he couldn't resist quoting Diana Ross and checking his Blackberry. [NYT]
"There are few social situations more awkward than the failed dinner party. The novelist at the table blathers on about his latest opus, to the adoration of the editorial assistant seated at his left and the eye-rolling of everyone else; the beef tenderloin is tough; someone repeatedly leaves to "take a call." That's Doree Shafrir in today's Observer. See the thing about blogging is we're all just too awkward to even attempt a dinner party (they aren't on Facebook) or even sentences with two semicolons! [NYO]
Eater predicts that in 18 months Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, as well as Jack Lamb's sushi spot Jewel Bako and his stab at French cuisine, Degustation, will all be dead and gone. Are these the waning days of East Village's restaurateur boy-king Jack Lamb's empire? If so, bring on the dormice and vomitoria! It's time to party.
The West Village restaurant Market Table occupies the old home of the legendary Shopsin's. Shopsin's and its mercurial owner Kenny Shopsin have since moved to a smaller place in the Lower East Side's Essex Street Market. Now, Market Table is the child of Little Owl's Joey Campanaro and Gabriel Stulman and ex-Mermaid Inn chef Mikey Price. Aesthetically it follows the low key luxury of Little Owl, while the menu reflects Price's fixation on seafood. The place is a lot like the West Village without Shopsin's: rich, unoffensive, restrained.