In 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 Spotted Pig and Charlie Bird expansions, to the departure of a revered New York sushi master.
Best of the Rest: The prestigious “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list won’t be announced until next week, but there’s already some buzz about who didn’t make the cut. Surprise additions — or should we say demotions — among the #51-100 rankings include Daniel, which dropped from 40 to 80 this year, as well as Jean-Georges, Marea, and Momofuku Ssam Bar. Which means that Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin and Per Se have seemingly clinched their position as New York’s top bananas.
Big Pig: April Bloomfield and partner Ken Friedman always seem to have something up their sleeve (they recently took over Tosca Café in San Francisco). And they’re back making moves in their home base of NYC, with plans to open a four-story restaurant concept atop a luxury apartment building on Wall Street, featuring a fine dining establishment and a small plates spot. We wonder if they’ll factor this super exclusive perk into prospective tenants rent.
Sushi Sayonara: Sad news for sashimi lovers; the revered Masato Shimizu is leaving his longtime post at the top sushi restaurant, 15 East. He’ll be departing in July, presumably to open another restaurant in Bangkok, leaving his beloved Union Square staple to his protégé, Mitsuru Tamura. Which means you have barely over a month left to sample the master’s pristine creations, such as Firefly Squid with sweet miso, Tartare of Bluefin Tuna, and Yellowtail Three Ways.
Flipping the Bird: Soho’s hip Charlie Bird has been a runaway success from the beginning, so it’s no surprise that the team is readying to open a second restaurant. Slated for Toby’s Public House’s former, cushy corner location on Kenmare Street, the 50-seat restaurant will boast a serious wine program and make terrific use of the site’s numerous wood-burning pizza ovens.
The Return of LT: After splitting from his BLT partner, Jimmy Haber, and losing a fair number of his restaurants in the divorce, Laurent Tourondel’s New York presence has been much diminished in the last few years. But he’s back on the scene with two new projects, the first of which, The Vine (a cocktail lounge with bar bites) is already open in the Eventi Hotel. And his follow-up venture, an Italian restaurant called L’Amico, is expected to launch in the same building within the month.
Lonesome Dove: John Fraser has been devoting much of his attention to Narcissa since it opened in the East Village Standard hotel last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s ignored his original Upper West Side eatery. In fact, he’s recently decided to shutter it starting June 22nd for a complete kitchen and dining room revamp, and reopen later this summer with a prix-fixe menu only concept. We just hope he doesn’t do too much nipping and tucking when it comes to his well liked Meatless Mondays option.