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Gourmet Gossip: August 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 double-your-pleasure oyster debut from the Grand Banks team, to the unveiling of an all-Cheetos (you better believe it) eatery.

Oh Cheetos You Didn’t: It seems any foodstuff can be the focus of a restaurant nowadays, especially if its ostensibly geared towards Instagrammers.  And the upcoming Spotted Cheetah has definitely got that crowd covered; not to mention local tokers with the munchies.  That’s because it’s taken that infamous, electric orange “cheese”-coated corn snack, Cheetos, from the bag to the plate, by incorporating them in Chester Cheetah-branded items like “Purrfectly Fried Green Tomatoes” encrusted in white dust, and Cheetos Sweetos Crusted Cheesecake.  Believe it or not, the aforementioned items weren’t the brainchild of Guy Fieri, but her Food Network compatriot, Anne Burrell, also known for her big personality, pun-centric dishes and evidently, serious affinity for junk food.

Oyster Extravaganza: It may be late in the season, but we’re more than prepared to split the rest of summer between these two, new floating oyster bars from the Grand Banks team.  Appealingly located on a restored 1920’s racing schooner, on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pilot boasts a circular marble raw bar and composed eats from Kerry Heffernan (soft shell crab po boys with seaweed salted fries), while Island Oyster holds court on Governor’s Island, and couples half-shell specialties with mako shark tacos and cocktails like the “Jungle Bird,” with campari, lime, pineapple and blackstrap rum.

Italian Station: Being that NYC is only rivaled by, well, Italy when it comes to our pizza scene, there’s been understandable excitement over the news that Naples’ star pizzaiolo, Gino Sorbillo, is planning a flagship establishment for the Bowery.  Generously sized at 60 seats (plus more at the large, semi-circular bar), Sorbillo will serve as an across-the-pond destination for his doughy, San Marzano tomato-sauced, Neapolitan-style pies, which draw hour long lines in his native city; a concept that New Yorkers are well acquainted with, and primed and ready for.

Pizza Part Deux:  An endless number of restaurant owners seem to want a piece of New York’s pizza pie.  And the Rosemary’s crew in the West Village is the latest group to try their hands at slinging rounds, with Neapolitan specimens from longtime chef Wade Moises, that will serve as edible canvases for ingredients sourced from their very own farm in the Hudson Valley.

Et Tu, Fung Tu?: For all the openings we’ve been happy to celebrate, the past few years have continued to be bloodbaths for seemingly established restos.  And the most recent casualty is Jonathan Wu and Wilson Tang’s Fung Tu, which straddled old school Chinatown and the hip Lower East Side both in location and menu.  Still, with the success of Nom Wah Tea Parlor to buoy all further ventures, Tang has elected to fiddle with the concept instead of jumping ship — which is why the space will relaunch in September as Nom Wah Tu, with more dim sum-inspired offerings like dumplings, noodles and rice.

Great News for Great Jones: Recently, word also spread over the shutter of NoHo stalwart, Great Jones Café, the Cajun-Creole mainstay that’s reliably thrown one of the city’s very best Mardi Gras parties for 34 years.  And while it certainly wouldn’t be the first seminal eatery to close its doors this year, it turns out that it was just a bit of misinformation, disseminated over social media.  Their lease (as was reported) is not, in fact, expired, and the space was only closed temporarily, so the owner could tend to a health issue, and they could slap on a new coat of paint.

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