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December 2007 Archives - Restaurant Girl: Best Food Blog & Restaurant Guide
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Graffiti’s Green Mango Paneer

Posted on Dec 27, 2007 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

by Chef Jehangir Mehta & Owner of Graffiti (Serves 4) Ingredients: 8 oz of cubed paneer 2 green mangos diced (small) 1/3 cup grape seed oil 1⁄2 tsp ground tumeric 1⁄2 tsp chili powder 1 small pinch of asafoetdda Instructions: 1. Fry cubed paneer in 1 inch of grapeseed oil until golden brown, then set aside 2. In a separate pan heat 1/3 cup of grape seed oil on medium heat and add diced green mangos, ground tumeric, chili powder and asafoetdda.  Cook for 1-2 minutes and add salt to taste. 3. Remove from stove and place fried paneer into a container and combine with marinade (green mango, ground tumeric, chili powder, etc) 4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours 5. When ready to enjoy, heat the mixture up on the stove in a pan or microwave...

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Q & A with Matthew Hamilton

Posted on Dec 26, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

The marine corps isn’t the usual path to becoming a chef, but it just may have taught Matthew Hamilton the key to surviving New York’s cutthroat dining scene.  Matthew spent his childhood picking vegetables from the garden for dinner, so it’s no wonder he was a bit ahead of these market-driven times.  Luckily, he fell into a position at San Francisco’s celebrated Zuni Cafe, where he learned how to important it was to make ingredients in house.  He took an eccentric sabbatical in Tuscany on olive farm, returning to work at Noho’s Five Points. After experiencing the hardships of opening (and closing) his own restaurant, Uovo, Hamilton seems content to be back in somoeone else’s kitchen.   At Belcourt, Hamilton not only makes his own boudin blancs (pork sausages,) but also the bread, mustard and sauerkraut that accompany them out...

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Irving Mill

Posted on Dec 21, 2007 in Reviews

Address: 116 E. 16th St., between Union Square East & Irving Place  Phone: (212) 254-1600 Dinner: Fri., 5:30-11 p.m. Sat. 5-11 p.m., Sun. 5-10 p.m. Lunch: Mon-Sun., noon-2:30 p.m. Cuisine: Seasonal American Vibe: Sprawling farmhouse chic Occassion: Group dinner; family affair. Don’t Miss Dish: Cauliflower ravioli; roasted Arctic char. Drink Specialty: Impressive wine by the glass offering. Price: Appetizers, $10-$16; entrees, $24-$30; desserts, $9. Reservations: Recommended Capsule: A diluted brand of seasonal American crops up at Irving Mill. It’s not enough for restaurants to showcase their greenmarket produce on the plate anymore. They are wearing this season’s harvest as if it’s the hottest fashion accessory – a culinary badge of honor. Just follow the trail of fruits and vegetables to your table. A pomegranate-stocked wheelbarrow greets you at the entrance of Union Square’s Irving Mill. There’s a “harvest table”...

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Fabio Trabocchi’s Le Paste con le Sarde

Posted on Dec 20, 2007 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

Le paste con le sarde (Serves 4 as an appetizer) 8 fresh sardines, filleted and pin bones (ask your fish monger to butcher to your specifications)salt and pepper 4 ounces extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced pinch of red pepper flakes ¼ cup golden raisins ¼ cup toasted pine nuts 1 pinch of saffron 1/8 cup dill, chopped coarsely 1/3 cup parsley, chopped ½ pound bucatini, cooked al dente with ½ cup pasta liquid reserved Season the sardines with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.  When hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir constantly until the garlic starts to sizzle. Cook until the garlic is translucent and soft, reducing the heat if necessary so the garlic does not brown at all.  Add...

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Q & A With Anne Burrell

Posted on Dec 19, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

With her spiky blonde hair and signature cowgirl skirt, chef Anne Burrell doesn’t quite fit the part of supporting character.  Yet, until 2007, that’s what she played as Mario Batali’s sous chef on Iron Chef America.  Before that, she trained in Tuscany, then returning to New York, worked under Lidia Bastianich at Felidiaand taught at I.C.E. for three years.But 2007 has been a very good year for Burrell: She not only made an impressive debut at Centro Vinoteca, but also inherited Gusto’s kitchen.  Amidst a new wave of Italian trattorias, Anne distinguished herself with her  “piccolini,” featuring truffled devil eggs, fried cauliflower wedges and eggplant cakes dabbed with ricotta.  She also delivers an excellent fennel pollen-crusted pork chop and rabbit involtino. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Very single What did you want to be when you grew up? Julia Child What was...

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Shorty’s.32

Posted on Dec 18, 2007 in Reviews

Address: 199 Prince St., between MacDougal & Sullivan Sts.  Phone: (212) 375-8275 Dinner: Sun., Tue. & Wed., 6 p.m.-12 a.m., Thu.-Sat., 6 p.m.-3 a.m. Closed Mon. Cuisine: New American Vibe: Quaint neighborhood spot Occasion: Casual date, neighborhood go-to dinner Don’t Miss Dish: Codfish with Gruyere broth, roast chicken Drink Specialty: Stargarita Price: Appetizers, $7-$14; entrees, $18-$25; desserts, $5-$7 Reservations: Not accepted Soho’s best-kept secret harbors a talented chef and a triumphant roast chicken. “I’ll have the chicken,” is a request I’m hearing a lot lately in prominent New York City restaurants. What was historically a predictable dish designated for the unadventurous eater has recently become a first-string player on many esteemed menus. Union Square Cafe has a moist rendition in their back pocket. So does Cafe Boulud. And then there’s the roast chicken at Shorty’s.32. Chef and co-owner Josh...

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The Revival of dona

Posted on Dec 18, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

After investing considerable time and money into transforming Bellini into dona, co-owners Donatella Arpaia and Michael Psilakis lost their midtown lease and were forced to close after only nine months. Though it was a devastating loss, the two have seized the opportunity to reinvent the restaurant as a casual, Greek-inflected Italian with significantly pared-down prices.  While they haven’t officially settled on the name – they’re toying with mia dona and casa dona – its new home will be 206 East 58th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues. “I wanted to stay midtown.  That’s my clientele,” Arpaia tells us.  “The new location feels homey, like a rustic townhouse.  It has a library, living room, and lounge.”  While dona has shed its yellow & white color palette for earth tones, Arpaia has kept the zebra-striped carpet to decorate the floors in...

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Sneak Peek at Padre E Figlio

Posted on Dec 17, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Father and son team Mario and Antonio Cerra are  gearing up for a January opening of their Italian steakhouse, Padre E Figlio (Italian for father and son.)  Having just sold ten-year-old Da Antonio (pictured right,) the two plan to expand upon Da Antonio’s Neapolitan-bent menu with a large selection of high-end Italian meats, including a Piemontese porterhouse and rib eye. Chef Alberto Argudo, who cooked at both Da Antonio as well as Il Mulino, will be running Padre E Figlio’s kitchen.  With no shortage of steakhouses in Manhattan, Argudo will not only be grilling traditional steer, but also exotic meats such as wild boar in a limoncello reduction and filet mignon of ostrich.  There will also be homemade lobster ravioli, pappardelle and gnocchetti Napoletani.  Designer Peter Sibilia has eclectically outfitted the new, 150-seat space with rooster chandeliers, a glass-enclosed...

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Joey Campanaro’s Spinach Gnocchi

Posted on Dec 13, 2007 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

Spinach Gnocchi Pancetta Beurre-Noisette Chanterelles, sage, capers and Parmesan Prep Time:   1 hour Servings: 8 portions Cooking Time:  2 minutes Ingredients: 2 Idaho potatoes 3 cups all purpose flour 1 bunch of picked, cleaned spinach 2 cups of flour 3 tbsp pancetta 2 tbsp chanterelle mushrooms ¼ cup Brandy 2 tbsp salted butter 3 leeks 3 lemons 3 Roma Tomatoes 1 cup reduced chicken stock 1 bunch fresh sage ½ cup capers 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Preparation: Peel and boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until just tender and falling apart. Cool them and then rice them onto a clean tabletop. Blanch and puree the spinach with a little bit of water. Pour the puree on top of the riced potatoes. Add the flour on top and carefully kneed the mixture until a soft ball...

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Q & A with Jimmy Bradley

Posted on Dec 12, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

With a number of thriving eateries, restaurateur/chef Jimmy Bradley has a keen understanding of the NYC dining scene.  Both The Red Cat and The Harrison have succeeded at maintaining their destination status as well as their strong neighborhood followings.  “It’s simple.  Stand there and do good work,” Bradley asserts in a telephone interview.   Before venturing off to open their own respective kitchens, chefs Joey Campanaro, Mike Price and Harold Dieterle have each worked in Bradley’s kitchens and inherited his gimmick-free philosophy. Bradley doesn’t follow trends, he sets them.   He ventured into Chelsea with The Red Cat before it became a prominent art and restaurant scene.  “Underpromise and overdeliver.  That’s the key to The Red Cat’s success,” he continues.   Originally named The Red Cat Food Hall, Bradley opened the spot with the deliberate intentions that diners would have no preconceived...

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New Year’s Eve – Dining Out

Posted on Dec 9, 2007 in Best Of

Though it’s universally understood that New Year’s Eve will always be one of the more overrated holidays, it’s nonetheless a lovely excuse to celebrate at some of NYC’s newest and finest restaurants… Brasserie 44 – Usher in 2008 in the dining quarters of this newly renovated hotel (pictured right).  Restaurateur John McDonald seems to have a knack for pleasing the hip set, so expect a properly festive evening. Chef Scott Ekstrom (Oceana) will be cooking a $135 prix fixe dinner, featuring sunchoke soup and a duo of ribeye and short ribs. Phone:(212)944-8444 Address: 44 West 44th St., nr. Sixth Ave.   Del Posto –  For a decadent night out, dine at this elegant Italian in the Meatpacking District.  Chef Mark Ladner will be preparing a $250 seven-course meal with lobster, caviar, and truffles.  It’s an old world dinner party,...

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Pichet Ong’s Polenta & Corn Pudding with Shitake Mushrooms, Chives & Marscapone

Posted on Dec 7, 2007 in Chef Q&A Recipes, Recipes

Polenta & Corn Pudding with Shitake Mushrooms, Chives, and Marscapone  (Serves 8) This is a hearty dish that is a pastry chef’s take on polenta and mushrooms.  I sometimes make a meal out of it alone and like to add crab meat to the mix but like the mushrooms, be sure to add them right before they go in the oven as you don’t want to get the mix watery from sitting for too long.  The batter, once refrigerated, can be stored up to 3 days before it starts to deflate. Mushrooms 220 g mushrooms, rinsed and let dry 2 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove of garlic, minced fine 1 shallot, minced fine 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoon dry white wine Polenta pudding 350 g buttermilk 30 g butter 50 g polenta 2 ears of corn,...

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Athens Tavern

Posted on Dec 6, 2007 in Reviews

Cuisine:  Contemporary Greek Vibe: Unassuming neighborhood spot Occasion: Family dinner Don’t-Miss Dish: Baked whole fish; rabbit with bergamot Drink Specialty: Greek wines Price: Appetizers, $5-$12.95; entrees, $17-$27; desserts, $6.50-$8.50 Reservations Accepted, but not necessary. Address: 23-01 31 St., at the corner of 23rd Ave. (Astoria, NY) Phone: (718)267-0800 Capsule: This earnest Greek restaurant delivers a terrific baked whole fish. You don’t dine at Athens Tavern for its decorative nods to the Mediterranean coast. It’s a humble Astoria eatery on a street with a healthy scattering of Greek restaurants. There is no vaulted ceiling or breezy white drapery. It’s a simple space with white paper-covered tables, windows facing the street and terra-cotta walls and kitschy canvases of men performing a traditional Greek dance. You go to Athens Tavern for the whole baked fish stuffed with wild greens. On some nights,...

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First Look: Crave on 42nd

Posted on Dec 5, 2007 in Sneak Peek

Top Chef alum Dave Martin (pictured right) opened the doors to his first restaurant, Crave on 42nd.  Upon dispatching a regular correspondent to the opening event, we’ve learned that Martin himself has personally painted the brightly colored squares that adorn the walls.  The specials are cutely written, as if with lipstick, on a large mirror facing the entrance.  Not to be confused with the east side ceviche bar Crave, Martin will be serving "upscale American comfort food."  On the kitchen agenda: Dave’s black truffle mac n’ cheese and the hanging tenderloin martini- steak with carrot puree served cocktail style in a martini glass. Though Martin did not reign victorious on Top Chef, there are new aspirations that diners and fans will be making the trek to the western wilderness of 12th Avenue.  Time will certainly tell… Crave on 42ndAddress:...

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Q & A with Le Bernardin’s Michael Laiskonis

Posted on Dec 5, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Michael Laiskonis, James Beard Award winner for “Outstanding Pastry Chef of 2007,” began his pastry arts career scooping ice cream at a local Detroit shop at the age of 15.  In fact, Laiskonis never intended on becoming a pastry chef,  graduating college with a degree in fine arts.  During college he inadvertently spent time working at a bakery where he became interested in baking bread.  From there, he moved to Tribute restaurant in Michigan where he was quickly named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Arts & Design.  Eric Ripert brought him to New York to work at the prestigious Le Bernardin.  At Le Bernardin, Laiskonis receives praise for his ability to fashion skillfully layered desserts with exquisite flavors, including vanilla yogurt mousse with blood orange gelee, and a soft chocolate ganache with sweet...

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Gusto Updates

Posted on Dec 4, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Chef Amanda Freitag has officially served her last meal at West Village Italian, Gusto (pictured right).  After representing Gusto at Monday evening’s traditional “Feast of the Seven Fishes” dinner at James Beard House, Freitag has left to gear up for her new position as the executive chef at The Harrison. Chef Anne Burrell will divide her time between Centro Vinoteca and Gusto.  In a game of musical chefs, Larry Baldwin will man Centro’s kitchen as the Chef de Cuisine while Burrell pulls double duty at both spots.  Gusto’s menu will remain intact through the New Year and will serve its traditions “Feast of Seven Fishes” dinner on December 24th. In early 2008, expect both a menu and extensive decor overhaul as owner Sasha Muniak plans to unveil a new interior, working with Centro Vinoteca and Jean Georges designer Thomas...

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Christmas Dining Out

Posted on Dec 2, 2007 in Best Of, Winter Eats

A New York City Christmas not only guarantees festive hordes of shoppers and tourists, but also chestnuts and hearty holiday feasts.  For those who can’t possibly squeeze everyone into their pint-sized apartments, restaurants kindly open their doors and kitchens on Christmas Eve and Day. Whether you celebrate with suckling pig or Chinese, there’s a charming cornucopia of options. Chinatown Brasserie – Chinese restaurants have been keeping the “open on Christmas day” policy long before it was fashionable.  Try tweaking this year’s tradition and head to this sleek Noho Chinese.  Authentic dim sum is prepared with a greenmarket-fresh outlook – chop suey this is not. 380 Lafayette Street, (212) 533-7000 Bouley – A lavish holiday spread of modern French cuisine awaits at this bastion of fine dining.  Indulge in a $130 six-course menu and have your way with their unmatched...

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