Cars are still submerged on Wall Street, regular subway service may not resume for weeks and huge swaths of Lower Manhattan lie in darkness, but small signs suggest that New Yorkers are more than ready to return to normal—or at least feeling a little stir crazy.
As Hurricane Sandy approaches, New Yorkers have been stocking up on packets of ramen and cans of beans, unhappily contemplating the less than appetizing meals that they’ll be eating over the next few days, meals that will more than likely involve a lot of peanut butter and jelly.
But for those who can’t bear the thought of lunching on crackers and tuna fish, there is hope: the subways might be down, but fine dining doesn’t stop just because there’s a hurricane on the way. A number of the city’s best restaurants are planning to serve as usual on Monday and Tuesday, providing a ravenous public with foie gras, lobster bolognese and miso-glazed salmon.
That is, so long as Sandy doesn’t obliterate Manhattan altogether.
Si Mangia Bene
“Don’t stop eating,” joked Nicolo Maltini, the U.S. Ambassador for Antinori, as we were leaning full bore into an excess of food, wine and family on a regular basis, without trying too hard—the kind you find in Tuscany, Italian households through the city and its suburbs, or Olive Garden.
Quite frankly, we’d like to know how the prestigious winery—now in its twenty-sixth generation, tracing back to 1385—has escaped alcoholism/obesity and the dysfunction that we assume would accompany it.
“Italian culture is to have wine with our food at our home,” explained Allegra Antinori, who deals primarily with the hospitality side of the family business. Through the pop up Cantinetta Antinori at the Mondrian Soho Hotel, “guests can understand better our lifestyle”—which is to say a real booze buffet.
What you’d expect for $160 per head.
Back in June, the New York Observer published a piece by Manhattan restaurateur, blogger and soon-to-be-book-author Eddie Huang about Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson, tied to the release of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef. In it, Huang took a look at the cultural and culinary implications of Red Rooster, one of Harlem’s most critically hyped (and priciest) dining destinations.
Samuelsson did not take kindly to the piece then. And over a month and a half later, he’s still talking about it.
We like to think that because most New Yorkers live above the shop, we are the restaurant capital of the world. Yet even with the heralded arrival of Danny Bowien, it turns out San Francisco kicks our (pork) butt when it comes to restaurants per capita. Even worse, so does Fairfield County in Connecticut and–gulp–Long Island.
Chefs and restaurateurs, rejoice: a rigorous statistical analysis of the three most recent New York Times restaurant critics suggests that current critic Pete Wells is ever-so-slightly more liberal with the stars than predecessors Sam Sifton and Frank Bruni.
Looking at the three critics’ first six months on the job side-by-side, The Daily Meal’s executive editor Arthur Bovino found that Mssrs. Wells, Sifton, and Bruni all reviewed the same number of restaurants. During those heady and caloric early days, Mr. Wells gave out three more stars than Mr. Bruni and fourteen more than Mr. Sifton.
This morning, The Observer published a column by culinary bon vivant, chef, restaurant-owner, and writer Eddie Huang on the matter of Red Rooster, the Harlem fine-dining restaurant serving the nu-soul food of culinary darling Marcus Samuelsson, whose memoir Yes, Chef comes out this week. The reaction has been—to say the least—fiery.
Now, Marcus Samuelsson himself has weighed in.
Does anybody want to run Tavern on the Green anymore?
Once the most profitable (if also mocked) restaurant on the planet, Tavern on the Green cannot seem to get any love anymore. Not even Donald Trump wants anything to do with it, nor do most of the two dozen restaurateurs who first checked in on the space. According to Crain’s, there are six firms vying for control of the once-hallowed haunt, none of whom are especially distinguished.
THE HIPPING POINT
Roberta’s of Bushwick, Brooklyn, has traditionally been the only restaurant that could ever inspire Manhattanites to take a safari out to the young, hip, and tres chic post-apocalyptic, post-Williamsburg neighborhood.
It is a restaurant that does not take reservations for most parties, which on a busy night, will lead to a wait of anywhere from half an hour to 90 minutes (if you arrive in the middle of a dinner rush). Compared to the other restaurants in the neighborhood, it is slightly pricey.
It has a radio station, and their own garden (with its own blog), and they make their own honey, too. It is also fairly well-regarded, and was undoubtedly instrumental in putting the neighborhood on the map for many people who’d otherwise never venture past the Bedford Stop.
Today, erstwhile New York Times food critic Sam Sifton took a break from his gig as the paper’s national editor to report on the existence of Blanca.
Blanca is a restaurant that sits behind Roberta’s.
Blanca is a restaurant with twelve seats.
Blanca is a restaurant in Bushwick with a $180 per person entry fee.
Babbo's Big Boy
Joseph Bastianich isn’t content being a mere Restaurant Man, as he’d have it. Or even a haute grocer.
“Hopefully, we’re going to change the way people consume,” he said, sitting at a table in Eataly, the Flatiron grocery store he opened in August 2010 in a partnership with Mario Batali, his mother, Lidia, and Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti. Before him was a plate of lentils and a glass of red wine. Asked about the rising price of food, he quickly fired off his reply in his distinctly outer-borough-bred baritone: “We’re going to change the balance of the plate. Less proteins, more carbs, more legumes, more rice, more barley. The era of cheap, abundant food is gone.”