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Gourmet Gossip: November 2014

06-theharrison.w529.h352.2xIn this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting new restaurant opening, a devastating closing, a surprising 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, including the end of an era for The Harrison, a second act cut short for Bill Telepan, and an unprecedented slew of A-list eateries slated for — believe it or not — Newark Airport.

End of an Era: Ridiculous rent increases have claimed yet another dining institution, and this time it’s The Harrison — Jimmy Bradley’s beloved New American spot in Tribeca, which opened just after 911.  Somehow remaining consistently packed for 13 years, despite a lack of consistent media buzz that keeps most eateries afloat nowadays, the shutter is a real blow to the restaurant community.  Not to mention the lucky locals, who were able to stop in regularly for Bradley’s rustic Skillet Roasted Chicken with braised greens and garlic confit, Lamb Neck Osso Bucco with barley risotto, and Pumpkin Bread Pudding with poached egg and pecorino.

Telepan-Local-630x420Bill Bails: Bill Telepan, one of the progenitors of the farm-to-table movement, has never been about slapping his name on a million flashy new projects or spreading himself too thin.  In fact, he’d concentrated all of his efforts (and yes, that includes cooking in the kitchen!) at his eponymous Upper West Side eatery for almost 10 straight years.  That’s why it came as a bit of a surprise when he finally opened a second spot last year (Telepan Local), but why it’s less of a surprise that he’s decided to abruptly close it, after lukewarm reviews and a concept that never quite came together.  Because if you can’t do something right, it’s probably better to just not do it at all.  Stay classy, Bill.

Hot Jams: The recent opening of Upland has already made a compelling case for California cuisine, and now it looks like one of its original proponents is back in action.  Barbuto’s Jonathan Waxman (who began his career at Chez Panisse) is resurrecting his 1980’s era, West Coast-inspired Jams in 1 Hotel Central Park.  Slated to open next year, Waxman will offer a modern interpretation of many of his restaurant’s classic dishes, like JW Chicken with salsa verde and caramelized gnocchi.  Sounds totally righteous, dude!

As you can see, Newark's pre and post-flight fare is getting a serious upgrade.

As you can see, Newark’s pre and post-flight fare is getting a serious upgrade.

Fly the Friendly Skies: We guess an airport is as appropriate a place as any for stargazing, and Newark is readying to pack in as many A-list chefs as a James Beard Award ceremony.  More than 55 restaurants and bars are slated for Terminal C, and many of them are fronted by some of the biggest names in the business.  How’s this for a roll call?  Alain Ducasse, Dan Kluger, Paul Liebrandt, Marc Forgione, Alex Stupak, Alex Guarnaschelli, Mario Carbone, Jose Garces, Amanda Freitag, Amanda Cohen and Josh Capon are just some of the toques that have signed up for spaces.  Forget about Manhattan being the epicenter of fine dining — it looks like we’ll all be clamoring for dinner reservations at a New Jersey airport (never would’ve thought!).

Michael Moves On: Bad news for Gabe Stulman’s Happy Cooking restaurant group; one of its main players, Michael Toscano (the executive chef at Perla, Montmartre and Jeffrey’s Grocery) is fleeing Manhattan with his family for the gentler climes of Charleston, South Carolina.  He’s not the first big name chef to bail on NYC either (Gavin Kaysen, hello), and we doubt he’ll be the last.  It’s enough to make us want to book a flight out of dodge ourselves — but only if we can travel through Newark airport.

© 2013 Brent Herrig PhotographySuddenly Sue: Before we bum you out completely, we’ve got more to talk about than just super sad shutters and chef defections.  Ok, so Giulio Adriani was recently forced to close his Bowery spot, Forcella, too (due to a falling out with his partners), but he’s managed to retain the space, and his new collaborator is none other than Sue Torres of Suenos (which, yes, dissolved in March as well).  The new duo plans to open a Spanish restaurant in December called Espoleta, with Torres overseeing specials and making regular appearances in the kitchen.  See, we promised that we had a bit of good news to get you through the week.



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