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Gourmet Gossip – April 2014

0c45542c90283f0f265a784fb0f8a5d4In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting new restaurant opening, a devastating closing, a shocking chef shuffle, or a groundbreaking, must-try dish.  That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — from Bar Bolonat’s welcome launch on Hudson Street and Gavin Kaysen’s surprising departure from Café Boulud to a centuries-old macaron recipe shipped from France currently making waves in Greenwich Village.

On Point: We were seriously saddened when Brooklyn’s Arthur on Smith unexpectedly shuttered a few months ago, but thrilled that chef Joe Isidori is back in a big way on the New York dining scene.  This time, he’s teamed up with Matt Levine at the hyper-local Chalk Point Kitchen in SoHo (literally, almost every ingredient is sourced on the East Coast), serving uber local, farm-to-table dishes, like Satur Farm Beet Salad with Hudson Valley Bleu Cheese and Long Island-caught Rainbow Trout with Pickled Vegetables and Market Greens.

Raising the Bar: Admired Israeli chef, Einat Admony (of Taim and Balaboosta), has just opened her third, highly anticipated Middle Eastern restaurant, Bar Bolonat, in the West Village.  The menu is divided into three sections, starting with small plates (a crunchy Jerusalem Bagel meant for dipping in olive oil and sprinkling with housemade za’atar seasoning), followed by medium-sized bites, like teardrop-shaped Kibbeh and a Beef Cheek Tagine, and homey entrees, best of which is a Whole Poussin, served over crispy rice, studded with potatoes, walnuts and pomegranate all delivered in a cast iron crock.  We spy another contender for New York’s ever-growing list of noteworthy roast chicken dishes!

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Honoring Hazan: In response to the recent passing of Marcella Hazan (considered “the mother of Italian cuisine”), restaurants throughout New York will offer one of her most famous dishes, Busara-style Pasta, throughout the month of April. Proceeds will go to the International Culinary Center’s Marcella Hazan Scholarship Fund, so chow down on tomato and lobster-topped noodles for a good cause at SD26, Salumeria Rosi, Boulud Sud, Manzo, Giovanni Rana Pastificio and more.

5c37a3f383ecc40a8197551a6d8b4063Magnifique Macarons: Will the real macaron please stand up?  New Yorkers have already been duly educated on the differences between chewy, coconut macaroons and the airy, ganache-filled French concoctions known as macarons.  But the recently opened Lena bakery in Greenwich Village is bringing yet another macaron to the fore; rustic, Basque-style sweets thought to predate the pretty pastel sandwiches by at least three centuries.  Shipped exclusively from Maison Adam in France’s Saint-Jean-de-Luz, they’re made with almond flour, egg whites and sugar, and baked into simple rounds; a recipe that hearkens back to the 1660 royal wedding of Louis XIV and Maria Theresa of Spain.  Now that’s some serious cookie cred.

Gavin Says Goodbye: After seven years, one of Daniel Boulud’s top toques — former Bocuse d’Or representative Gavin Kaysen — is stepping down from his executive chef post at Café Boulud.  He’s leaving at the end of the summer to open his own restaurant in (quelle surprise!) Minneapolis, and current chef de cuisine, Aaron Bludorn, is being groomed to take over the coveted position at the elegant, Upper East Side eatery.

Go Fish: Great news for Max Fish aficionados, which was forced to give up its original, Lower East Side location after 24 years.  The beloved dive bar has signed a new lease on a two story space on Orchard Street, where in addition to serving cheap bottles and hosting live performances for about 250 people, will also, for the first time in its history, offer food.  Granted, their planned snacks of choice currently include $5 bowls of chili, $1 hard boiled eggs and $1.50 rounds of Chaeschuechli (swiss cheese tartlets), but we’d expect no less (or make that more?) from the old school LES relic.

pies-and-thighsLower East Side Pies: One of our favorite plates of fried chicken (not to mention some of our favorite slices of pie), can be found at Williamsburg staple Pies n’ Thighs.  But in another lucky piece of news for Lower East Siders, they’ll soon be able to amble down to Canal Street instead of crossing the bridge for a taste of Carolyn Bane’s delicious, deep-fried birds.  Slated to open by summer, the Manhattan menu will include all of the original Brooklyn dishes, plus a bulked-up roster of grab-and-go sandwiches. We suggest getting the Chicken Biscuit after a long night of throwing back beers at Max Fish.

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