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Gourmet Gossip: December 2014

20120806-mission-chinese-food-02In 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 the impending relaunch of Mission Chinese Food on the Lower East Side to the surprise (and hopefully temporary) shutter of Maharlika in the East Village.

On a Mission: What was Manhattan’s loss became Brooklyn’s gain, when Danny Bowien abandoned his original, mouse-infested Mission Chinese Food location on Orchard Street, and began staging pop-ups in Carroll Gardens.  But the DOH recently awarded him with an “A” grade at his spiffy new spot on East Broadway, which means that Mission Chinese could very well be slinging Chongqing Chicken Wings and Broccoli Beef Brisket on the Lower East Side again by the end of the year.

unnamed__16_.0.0Tijuana Touchdown: After a number of stops and starts, Tijuana Picnic (a sexy Mexican cantina from the ACME team) finally opened on Essex Street this week. Former Kittichai chef Alex Lopez will draw on flavors from his native Mexico City, in order to create dishes, like Grilled Corn with Cricket Aioli and Coffee-Chipotle Powder, as well as Tuna Belly Tacos with Papolo Salad.  And respected NoMad and Mayahuel vet, Jim Kearns, will oversee the bar program, focusing on creative cocktails made with tequila and mezcal.

Maharlika Goes Missing: Filipino food couldn’t be hotter right now, which is why the sudden closure of Maharlika — one of the most popular proponents of the cuisine — comes as such a shocker.  The windows have been papered over and a sign indicates that they’ve been shut down by the Department of Health, although the team insists that it’s due to “building complications” (we’re sure Danny Bowien can relate).  Hopefully, this is only a brief stumbling block for Maharlika, and they can continue preaching the gospel of Lumpia and Lamb Adobo before long.

Brodo-1Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Marco Canora certainly has been receiving a serious amount of buzz for his brand new takeaway window, Brodo, and now it looks like he’s going to have a bit more opportunity to concentrate on his healing, long-simmered broths. He and longtime partner, Paul Grieco, have seemingly split, which means that Canora will retain control of Hearth (and Brodo), while Grieco assumes sole possession of Terroir.  “Divorce” is never easy, but the duo managed to successfully stick it out for over 10 years, for which is more than can be said of most modern-day marriages.

Back on the Scene: The team behind Keith McNally’s greatest hits — including Pastis, Minetta Tavern and Balthazar — have reappeared on the New York dining scene after a long period of hibernation.  It was recently confirmed that chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr will be taking over the food and beverage operations at Hotel Chelsea, home of the 84-year-old El Quijote restaurant.  We’ll House-Exterior-Home_Lsee if the pair can work a little McNally golden-era magic on the blast-from-the-past Spanish eatery.

Tom Out at Topping Rose House: Tom Colicchio has decided to pack his knives and go from the Topping Rose House; an opulent, country-style inn and farm-to-table eatery in the Hamptons.  The departure will officially take place after the New Year, but the historic hotel plans to soldier on, with or without the Craft Restaurant Group guru.


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