Chickens are simple birds—yard birds and cheap birds. Gallus gallus domesticus is the animal God created just before He took a nap. When a chicken dies, no one cries, and an immediate urge is often to fry it, plunging its body into a vat of hot oil. Another common act of mourning is to dismember the deceased bird, to tear its limbs asunder and to disseminate the constituent parts: to sports bars go the wings; to stock, the bones; and to shrink-wrapped freezer eternity, the breasts and thighs.
We were all young somewhere once, and my place was Schiller’s Liquor Bar. It was 2003 when Keith McNally’s proto bobo faux-brasserie opened in a former pharmacy on the Lower East Side. I was barely 21, full of piss and vinegar, high on cocaine and shot through with piercings. Already a few years deep in New York, I had bought into the promise of the late-night ticker-tape self-parade but hadn’t yet realized by morning it would all be litter. In the honeysuckle glow of a Schiller’s booth, anything was possible. Read More
A movie star owns much of Tribeca, and many movie stars live there in tastefully decorated lofts of immense grandeur and capaciousness. They live alongside successful artists who bought early and financiers who arrived late. Aesthetically, it’s a well-off neighborhood. Financially, it’s in even better shape: 10013 is the most expensive zip code in Manhattan. Read More
I was working at a luxury lifestyle magazine when the Red Rooster opened in January 2011 on Lenox and 125th. Soon after, the magazine’s editor, a small orange jabberwocky besotted with wealth, burst into my cubicle in a state of extreme excitement. “I’m obsessed. Completely obsessed,” he said in a marble-mouthed grumble. “Finally, a reason to go to Harlem. I love it!” Read More
Cajoler of contrast, summoner of intergalactic flavor commentary, banker of the long shot, Canada ditcher—there are many ways to describe Daniel Burns, the fair-haired chef and co-owner of Luksus, a 26-seat tasting-menu-only restaurant in the backroom of a beer bar in Greenpoint. The most germane and exciting way, however, is as a new thinker. Mr. Burns is a thinker of new thoughts, a taster of new tastes. And his vision? It is the new vision. He is the new seer. Read More
Till Dessert Do Us Part: Both On and Off the Menu, Diners Will Find a Happy Marriage at Shalom Japan
Far-out fusion—like the kind found at new Williamsburg restaurant Shalom Japan—seems either a product of link-baiting or insanity. Much as you might imagine, Shalom Japan marries Japanese and Jewish cuisines, a Venn diagram of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern suns that seem hemispheres apart. It’s outrageous and audacious. It seems so random. But is it Read More
By all accounts, Charlie Bird, the new hotsy-totsy restaurant in the West Village by chef Ryan Hardy and the wine consultant Robert Bohr, should be great. Mr. Hardy has cooked at some wonderful kitchens in the past, like San Francisco’s Rubicon, and The Little Nell in Aspen, where he served as executive chef for nearly six years and garnered four James Beard Award nominations.
Mr. Bohr, meanwhile, is fantastically talented and, having worked at Cru, Babbo and Daniel, something of a wine jedi. Another partner, Jordan Salcito, is Mr. Bohr’s wife and the head of beverage operations of Momofuku. So the crew is legit. Read More
An Elm Grows in Brooklyn: Paul Liebrandt Brings His Weirdo Genius to Williamsburg—but Does the Neighborhood Deserve Him?
For centuries, the Williamsburg waterfront was flatland. North into Greenpoint, first there was a forest of firs and Lenapes, then low-slung brick buildings filled with lumber and grunts. Now it’s less flat. Glass-curtain-walled condos rise quickly toward the heavens. Jacks spill from their two-bedroom beanstalks with their rhinoplasty Janes, wearing Toms, taking water taxis to Read More
Any follower of recent restaurant palace intrigue will remember Ignacio Mattos, the Uruguayan chef and co-owner of the new restaurant Estela, from IsaGate 2012. A recap: in 2011, Freeman’s handsome ogre Taavo Somer opened Isa, the woodsy Williamsburg restaurant, with Mr. Mattos in the kitchen.
Mr. Mattos’s very strange food drew widespread accolades—the menu reminded Read More
The way certain very special uptown Manhattan people talk and the way some of them walk, for instance, makes them homefolks. — Albert Murray, South to a Very Old Place
If the rat race has a center, it’s Midtown Manhattan. Midtown, slightly tattered, getting taller; not Wall Street, getting slicker, always fatter. Midtown Read More