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Gourmet Gossip NY – August 2013

Nieporent and Liebrandt in Happier DaysIn this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting new restaurant opening, devastating closing, a shocking chef shuffle, or a must-try dish.

That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of this week’s most noteworthy bits and bites, including Marc Forgione’s new Laotian eatery  in Tribeca, Drew Nieporent’s chef search at Corton, and the food industry’s fond farewell to a true Brooklyn pioneer.

Liebrandt Bows Out at Corton: It comes as little surprise that — one week after opening his impossibly hot, new Brooklyn restaurant, The Elm — Paul Liebrandt has officially announced his departure from the posh French restaurant, Corton.  Owner Drew Nieporent is already finalizing negotiations with a new chef, and if a recent interview with Gael Greene is any indication, he’s not exactly crying into his wine glasses over the loss of Liebrandt.  “I want to get back to delicious food,” he says.  “And I’m not going to play around with prima donnas.  I don’t want reinvention.”

Don't try this at home.

Don’t try this at home.

An Umami Tsumani: Although NY isn’t exactly lacking for excellent, fast food-style patties, the new outpost of the West Coast-based Umami Burger has certainly made waves here.  Anxious eaters are currently lining up around the block in order to get their hands on the Five Spice Duck, Truffle, and signature Umami Burgers, topped with shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, and parmesan crisps.  While a First We Feast blogger is actually trending on Twitter for tucking hers inside of a Blackberry Cronut… we’d just as soon stick with the standard brioche bun.

Upper West Side Sweets: Homey Rice Krispie treats may not have the same gourmet cache as the unstoppable phenomenon that is the Cronut, but that hasn’t kept a pair of local bakers from building a business entirely around them.  Chris and Jennifer Russell will debut Treat House in the next couple of weeks, NYC’s first brick-and-mortar Rice Krispie Treats store.  Look for Bubble Gum, Caramel Sea Salt and Blueberry Pie-flavored sweets, featuring marshmallows made with raw cane sugar.  And like Cronut creator Dominique Ansel, the Russells’ even plan on donating proceeds to the Food Bank of NYC… 10 cents from the sale of each square.

Spare Ribs and Sticky Rice at Khe-Yo.

Spare Ribs and Sticky Rice at Khe-Yo.

Forgione’s New Asian Sensation: “Iron Chef” Marc Forgione is generally associated with New American cuisine; signature dishes at his eponymous Tribeca spot include Chicken Under a Brick, Tomahawk Ribeye, and Chili Lobster with Texas Toast.  But he’s taking a Southeast Asian turn with his newest eatery, Khe-Yo, a collaboration with his longtime executive chef, Soulayphet Schwader.  Laotion-inspired dishes will make up the bulk of the menu, including Spicy Duck Laap, Sticky Rice with Kaffir Lime Sausage, and Berkshire Spare Ribs with Lemongrass.

Pok Pok Part Two: What could be more exciting than Andy Ricker having brought Pok Pok to Brooklyn’s Columbia Street last summer?  How about his upcoming branch of Whiskey Soda Lounge, projected to open just down the street within the month?  Buddhist monks recently stopped by to bless the place (yes, really), although it might be hard for customers to achieve similar Zen while waiting endlessly on line for Tamarind Whiskey Sours and Vietnamese Fish Sauce-slathered Chicken Wings.

Pork Slope Surf and Turf: From Cheeseburgers and loaded Nachos to Brisket Sandwiches and Po’ Boys, this Park Slope roadhouse specializes in messy, hands-free fare.  And you’ll want to horde an extra share of wet naps if you attend one of their Crab Boils, now being held every Wednesday through the summer.  $28 gets you six Blue Crabs plus Corn, Potatoes and plenty of Sausage (this is Pork Slope after all).   Instead of that can of Pork Slap Pale Ale, keep the crustacean theme going with a pint of Anchor Porter or Full Sail IPA.

Remembering Dressler's Colin Devlin.

Remembering Dressler’s Colin Devlin.

In Memorium: It was surprising enough when the trailblazing restaurant Dressler closed suddenly in June, one of only five Brooklyn eateries to have earned a Michelin star.  But this week brought even sadder news, when owner Colin Devlin was found dead in Pennsylvania of an apparent suicide.  Websites like Eater have been flooded with condolences from industry colleagues, including Pete Wells, Ryan Sutton, and friends from the Brooklyn Brewery as well as the Meat Hook.   Our thoughts and prayers go out to Devlin’s family. He’ll forever be remembered for helping shape Brooklyn’s dining scene.

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