Gourmet Gossip: April 2017
In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting 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 a stylish “Spanish” bar from an Ai Fiori chef to a sad adieu to Semilla.
Spanish Fly: Michael White’s longtime right hand man, chef PJ Calapa, is branching out with a new, unusual project called The Spaniard. A partnership with the owners of the Penrose, Sweet Afton and Bua, the West Village bar is both an homage to Irish public houses, and a nod to iconic New York taverns like Keens and P.J. Clarke’s, featuring a collection of 100 scotch whiskies, to complement eats like Oysters Rockefeller, Patty Melts, and 12-ounce Ribeye Steaks.
So Long Semilla: The departure of Pam Yung (bread and pastry chef extraordinaire) this past October already left Semilla — Williamsburg’s wildly innovative vegetable-forward tasting counter — on shaky ground. So it’s not entirely surprising — though no less frustrating — that Jose Ramirez Ruiz (her former business and life partner) has thrown in the towel, too; citing personal (rather than escalating rent or food cost) reasons for shuttering last week.
Bye Bye By: The ever-growing By Chloe franchise may have shot chef Chloe Coscarelli to stardom, but she’s officially parting ways with the chic, vegan chain. Now under total control of her partners, the ESquared hospitality group (who also had a notable falling out with previous collaborator, Laurent Tourondel), the proliferating collection of Detox Kale Salad and Matcha Kelp Noodle-serving cafes will likely operate under an entirely different name.
Veg Out: What a terrible week for vegans — as the East Village’s 40-year-old favorite, Angelika Kitchen, is closing as well. They signaled their slow demise back in 2014; when they put out a call for customers to increase their patronage in order to keep the doors open, in the midst of a changing neighborhood and increasingly predatory real estate market. Unfortunately, there simply wasn’t enough scratch to be made on Three Bean Chili, Mixed Sprout Salad and Maple Tofu Whip, even with the relatively recent addition of a beer and wine menu.
Three Ring Circus: Not only has the venerable Le Cirque filed for bankruptcy (in order to protect their leases, due to up to a million dollars owed), they lost recently commissioned star chef, Tom Valenti — famously of Ouest — in the process. We guess counting Donald Trump as a regular doesn’t have the cache that it used to.