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Gourmet Gossip NY-September 2013

Hill Country's heading  Downtown.

Hill Country’s heading Downtown.

In this great dining city of ours, barely a day passes without news of an exciting new restaurant opening, a devastating closing, 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 start of New York’s Oyster Week to Hill Country’s Brooklyn expansion and Dan Barber’s acidophilus experiments at Blue Hill!

Brooklyn BBQ News: Here’s great news for Brooklyn’s brisket lovers.  Manhattan’s favorite smoked meat spot, Hill Country, is expanding to the borough come late fall.  Owner Marc Glosserman and Chef Elizabeth Karmel are hard at work on the new space, located directly across from Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack on Adams Street.  Considering how notorious a food desert this downtown neighborhood is, Hill Country is bound to be embraced by anyone called to jury duty at the nearby courthouse.

Interior1Toro! Toro! Toro! Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette’s beloved Toro — their Boston-based Spanish tapas spot — has finally debuted its brand new branch in Chelsea after months of postponements.  The 120-seat dining room features large, arched windows, ivy-lined walls, exposed steel columns and a row of hanging dried hams, as well as an extensive menu of 62 different small plates.  (They’re not messing around.)  Look for Sea Urchin Bocadillos (pressed sandwiches), Serrano-wrapped Rabbit Pate with Mostarda, Smoked Duck Drumettes with Quince Glaze, Grilled Blowfish Tails with Moroccan Spices, and a classic Seafood Paella dotted with shrimp, mussels and clams.

All Hail Oyster Week: Don’t really love beer and bratwurst?  Well, there’s more to Fall than Oktoberfest, you know. Take Oyster Week, which runs through September 29th this year.  Celebrate the briny bivalve (and it’s historical significance in New York) at a variety of events, festivals and feasts around the city.  For a taste: The Grand Central Oyster Frenzy on Sunday, featuring shucking and eating competitions and samples of over 16 oysters, as well as special dishes at restaurants like Oceana, which is currently serving Oysters on the Half Shell with citrus, cucumber, and toasted spices, and Crave Fishbar, offering Broiled Blue Island Oysters with creamed dinosaur kale and pickled shallot.

yogurt-tomato__Out of the Blue: What do we generally expect from Dan Barber’s renowned West Village restaurant, Blue Hill, or the upstate version, Blue Hill at Stone Barns?  Impeccable, sustainably sourced food, of course, that truly personifies the farm-to-table ethos (most of it is grown at his own Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture upstate).  But we didn’t see yogurt coming.   That’s right.  Blue Hill has just launched a yogurt brand, to be sold exclusively at Whole Foods markets in the Northeast.   Crafted in the Blue Hill kitchens, the all-natural yogurt is made with milk from their 100% grass-fed cows.  And don’t expect strawberry, blueberry or vanilla.  These uniquely savory dairy treats come in unexpected flavors, like Tomato (can be used as a salad dressing), Beet (as a topping for baked potatoes), and even Butternut Squash (try a dollop on spicy curries)!

Dumpling Rebound: After unexpectedly being shuttered by the city on Friday for “operating illegally” (their outside tables were on public property), the Williamsburg branch of Vanessa’s Dumpling House is back in business and not a moment too soon.  Because where else are we supposed to fill up on four-for-a-dollar Dumplings and 50-cent Sesame Pancakes while waiting on line for the $1 Happy Hour Oysters at nearby Maison Premiere?  Enough said.

IMG_9650Top Dogs: You can order almost anything off of a food truck nowadays, from Organic Vegan Donuts to Spicy Pork Belly Chinese Tamales.  But the new mobile eatery, Katz n’ Dogz (which has no relation to Katz’s Delicatessan), is hoping to woo New Yorkers with their cheeky take on classic Jewish deli fare.  Although instead of being strictly Kosher, the menu advertises Kosher-style eats. Think Pastrami-topped Hamburgers, homemade Sweet Potato Knishes, and overstuffed sandwiches like the “Reuben Orgasm,” slathered with Russian Dressing, Sauerkraut and Cheese.  I don’t know about you, but we’ll be chasing down this truck this fall.


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