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Spring Restaurant Preview

Posted on Apr 6, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

FR.OG (of French Origin) There’s life at Philip Kirsh & chef Didier Virot’s French-bent downtown venture.  Fashionablly located across from Balthazar, this two-level space will play host to 120 guests.  By way of an open kitchen, you can even watch the handsome Virot create French, Lebanese and Moroccan delicacies: sardine tart, canelloni of lamb, roasted lobster with almonds and honey, and duck leg in pastilla.  Having just secured their liquor license, FR.OG has reported that they’re merely waiting on the physical permit receipt from the city.  (For god’s sake, I’ll go pick it up).  An opening date?  Any minute now to a week… 71 Spring St., btwn. Broadway & Lafayette Sts. 212.966.5050 MERCAT After a month-long delay due to gas issues with the city, it seems Mercat will finally open its doors no later than April 16th.  On Noho’s...

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2007’S Peep-Off X and much more…

Posted on Apr 5, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Living in NYC, we think we’ve seen & done it all before.  Apparently not.  Only in Sacramento California can you participate in 2007’s Peep Off X, the tenth annual peep eating contest set to take place on April 14th.  The master of ceremonies himself, Dennis Gross continues to hold onto his 1991 record of 81 peeps.  Even more astounding, Dennis managed to keep all 81 down.  While he didn’t break Dennis’ 1999 record, Doug O’ the Ozark crushed last year’s competition eating an impressive 30 peeps.  Game?  Email the master himself.  Don’t feel like driving across the country?  Watch the documentary, The Power of Peep. 81 peeps.  That must’ve been quite the sugar high.  But how much sugar exactly?  While not listed on the  Just Born’s official site, I happen to have a couple of unwrapped peeps aging nicely...

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One if By Land, Two if By Sea Turns 35!

Posted on Apr 3, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

It ain’t easy to stay afloat in the restaurant business, especially in these NYC parts.  But this carriage house romancer has managed to survive on “seal the deal” dinners alone.  Personally I prefer to receive presents on my birthday, but this Greenwich Village New American has decided to give away $35 gift cards in celebration of its 35th (just email them at!  Perhaps not so coincidentally, One if By Land has also just announced the addition of Sunday brunch, starting in June.  Why are all the good brunch spots in Greenwich Village?  Might the fine restaurateurs of this city spread the wealth around town?  Perhaps throw midtown a bone. 17 Barrow St., btwn. 7th Ave. & 4th St. 212.255.8649 Website Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly...

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Varietal – Bruni Aftershocks

Posted on Mar 29, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

A week later and Varietal is still feeling the aftershocks of Frank Bruni’s rather salty review.  Even before that, Adam Platt had knocked Chelsea’s wine-centric restaurant for being overly fussy and self-conscious.  But it seems Bruni’s New York Times piece was the last straw: pastry chef Jordan Kahn (French Laundry & Alinea), known for his whimsical and often bizarre creations, has decided to depart to pursue other offers.  Most recently, chef Ed Witt (Il Buco) broke by way of Eater that he would also be moving on to open a restaurant in Long Island.   “I think it would be silly to say that [the reviews] didn’t play a part,” Hockenberry later explained to Grub Street. What now?  What will become of Varietal?  Owner Greg Hockenberry seems more enthusiastic than ever about Varietal’s future.  In an interesting turn of events, chef...

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Le Cirque's Lunch Box

Posted on Mar 22, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

It seems New Yorkers no longer have to take out a second mortgage to dine at Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque.  That is, for lunch anyway.  This week Le Cirque’s launching their cafe "Lunch Box", a three-course meal for $25.  To hell with that $8 sandwich from Mangia, which apparently arrives with a complementary grasshopper (see Eater for complete details).  If only mom had packed my Charlie’s Angels lunch box with red snapper and creme brulee.   Of course it doesn’t really come in a box, it’s Le Cirque.  A do-it-yourself menu, guests can choose from an array of savories – veal meatballs, spagetthi chittara and fava bean & pecorino sadly – then cap off the feast with tiramisu.  While not really a bargain, it’s also not such a bad deal for those who’ve never dined Maccioni-style or glimpsed the lionized...

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World Water Day

Posted on Mar 20, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

3.22.07 Celebrate World Water Day on Thursday at one of 290 participating restaurants by paying just $1 for a glass of tap water (refills included).  All proceeds go to Unicef’s Tap Project, which provides safe water supplies to over 90 countries worldwide.  Besides, NYC’s tap water tastes far better than designer water...

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Craftsteak Exclusive

Posted on Mar 13, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

85 Tenth Ave., at 15th St. (212)400-6699 In an interesting turn of events, it seems that Shane McBride has curiously emerged from the kitchen at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen.  Chef de cuisine Chris Albrecht has left the building (a month ago).  After opening the original Vegas Crafsteak, Chris Albrecht brought the king-size steakhouse concept to New York City’s Meatpacking District. Even with the recent onslaught of couture cuts available to mostly expense account clientele, few designer steakhouses could boast a steak sommelier and a menu that changes daily.  Still, Craftsteak has suffered a string of disappointing reviews, the cessation of lunch service, and even acquired a new stove in hopes of turning their luck around.  After suffering loss himself with the sudden closing of 7Square due to financial woes, Chef Shane McBride was a chef...

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Posted on Mar 12, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

45 Bond St., btwn. Lafayette & Broadway 212-529-8600 DELAYED OPENING (Opens March 21st) Who better to open a Spanish tapas joint than a native Barcelonian?  Owner Jaime Reixach has set out to do just that in a sleek Noho space on Bond Street, serving spanish small plates with a Catalan-bent (pasta, cod & fish stew).  With the not so shabby resumes of chefs David Seigal (Bouley) & Ryan Lowder (Jean Georges), Mercat has the potential to make waves in the vogue pursuit of tapas.  Don’t get me wrong: Mercat’s serious about its patatas bravas, hams, tortilla espanola, all-Spanish wine list and homemade sangrias. But while Mercat’s teasingly deemed open by many a media outlet, it remains closed due to a gas issue with the city.  Alas, we’ll just have to wait until March 21st to sample their wares. Until...

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Posted on Mar 4, 2007 in Sneak Peek

52nd Street, btwn. 5th & 6th Aves.212-582-6900 TYPE: New GreekVIBE: Sleek midtownerOCCASION: A serious date, business lunch or family gatheringDON’T MISS DISH: Trio of tuna, scallop & yellowtail crudoDRINK SPECIALTY: Eclectic wine listPRICE: $65 & upHOURS: Dinner, Mon – Thu, 5-10:30 pm, Friday & Saturday, 5-11 pm; Lunch, Mon – Fri, 12 – 2:45 pm.  RESERVATIONS: Reservations recommended, especially on weekends.RESTAURANT GIRL RATES: N/A for preview It had all the makings of a Greek tragedy: A gifted young chef, having just received pivotal acclaim for his Italian-Greek fusion at Dona, prematurely brought down by a greedy real estate developer.  So chef Michael Psilakis returned to his Upper West Side roots where he aptly reconceived his Modern Greek (Onera) into more rustic home-cooking with Kefi.       Less than two months since the closing of Dona, Psilakis has re-emerged with...

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Candela, Candela – The Restaurant formerly Known as Poetessa

Posted on Mar 1, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

92 Second Ave., btwn. 5th & 6th Sts. No phone number listed yet OPEN FOR BUSINESS Poetessa – back from the dead?  Well, not exactly but this East Village Italian has been reconceived as a Cuban/Italian fusion joint. While the signage reads “Cucina & Mojito Bar”, the technical name given to this new spot is Candela, Candela (named after a song in Buena Vista Social Club).  A strange brew, but owner Laura Germak assures us it’s an organic fit.  Croquetas jamon & tropical salads appear curiously adjacent to gnocchi & ravioli on the menu.  Now all they need is a guy who rolls cigar and pasta. Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly...

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SOBE 2007 Le Bernardin Tribute Dinner

Posted on Feb 26, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

South Beach’s Tribute Dinner was an homage to NYC’s seafood temple, Le Bernardin.  Mistress of ceremonies Gael Greene did the honors of introducing the power team behind this four-star institution: Eric Ripert and Maguy LeCoze.  Daniel Boulud, Laurent Gras and Tony Esnault were among the chefs who took on the intimidating feat of preparing a feast fit for not only one of the world’s top chefs, but also 600 hungry gourmands. As par for the course at such whopping affairs, the hors d’oeuvres – caviar atop creme fraiche, a very avant-garde lobster sushi and ceviche – trumped the six-course dinner.  I was particularly stumped by Daniel Boulud’s duck ballotine, which mirrored a dart board and tasted like nothing at all.  There was the now obligatory foie gras ravioli (courtesy of Tony Esnault) and a curiously named dish – “Sorta”...

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SOBE 2007 Exclusive

Posted on Feb 25, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

The Oscars weren’t the only Awards Show in town this weekend.  While Hollywood’s biggest stars were busy starving themselves to fit into figure-hugging couture, food’s power players were feasting as they accepted awards of their own.  Food fanatics from all over the country flocked to South Beach to catch a glimpse of their favorite Food Network stars in action.  South Beach Wine & Food Festival stormed the beaches, setting up shop oceanside as the foodie masses crowded into colossal white tents for the Grand Tasting, a frenzied sampling of all things food and wine.  There was nothing subtle about this theatrical four-day affair as culinary rock stars, like Emeril Lagasse, Giada DeLaurentiis and Bobby Flay mingled and even fed gastronomic groupies. The hottest (and priciest) tickets at this four-day food free for all sold out quickly, sending diehards scalping. ...

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Bondi Road Winner

Posted on Feb 22, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Andrea Uva has won a FREE DINNER for two at the Lower East Side’s hippest Australian seafood shack, Bondi Road!  Owner and chef Heathe St. Clair dazzles with killer cocktails and wildly fresh fish delights!  Stay tuned for next week’s dinner giveaway, announced on the site, Wednesday, February 28th… Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly...

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The Crooked Knife & Poor Poetessa

Posted on Feb 16, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

The Crooked Knife 30th St., btwn. Madison & Park Aves. 212-696-2593 Opening Night – February 22 (Thursday) Seating on a walk-in basis only for now The owners of Arlene’s Grocery, pioneers who brought music to the Lower East Side, are expanding their horizons into the restaurant realm.  Come next week, they open The Crooked Knife, a New American spot with a decidedly British bent.  I smell a gastropub effect in the Big Apple.  Australian-born chef Kelly Quinn will head up the kitchen at this homey haunt with generous seating. Poetessa 92 Second Ave., btwn. 5th & 6th Sts. 212-387-0065 CLOSED It seems this East Village Italian has closed its doors for good. Formerly East Post, Poetessa seemed an attractive neighborhood go-to for predictable tomato-studded staples.  While the fare was just “good enough”, the candlelight and poetry-laden walls had a...

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Bondi Road

Posted on Feb 16, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

As always, Restaurant Girl Membership has its privileges, so I’m giving away a FREE DINNER for two at the Lower East Side’s hippest Australian seafood shack, Bondi Road! Owner and chef Heathe St. Clair dazzles with killer cocktails and wildly fresh fish delights! In order to win, simply enter your email in the SUBSCRIBE box at the right of the site, then forward to three of your friends, (including, and enlist them to subscribe!  That way even if you don’t win, you can guilt your friend into taking you to dinner at Bondi Road.  All entries are due by Wednesday, February 21st.  The winner will be announced Thursday, February 22nd on the site! Until we eat again, Restaurant Girl...

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Breaking News – Russian Tea Room

Posted on Feb 9, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Are you sitting?  Seriously.  This just in…Chef Gary Robins has left The Russian Tea Room.  It seems the legendary haunt has suffered yet another setback.  No, it’s not another less than sparkling restaurant review though I might remind you that I rather enjoyed my supper under the red Christmas bulb-clad chandelier.  Alas, Gary Robins will sadly no longer be dishing out savory nibbles of foie gras pelmeni. Gary Robins resigned on Monday.  Robins laments, “I was disheartened at leaving and hope the RTR is successful.  Also one of my sous chefs who had been with me for three  years was wrongly dismissed.”  He continues, “After seeing sales dropped, I was too expensive to keep on the payroll.” A Russian Tea Room bartender (who wishes to remain anonymous) reports to Restaurant Girl: “Gary did not storm out of the kitchen...

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Restaurant Girl Exclusive: SOBE’S 2008 Honorees Are…

Posted on Feb 9, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

On the heels of the Super Bowl, 2007’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival is just about to kick off their festivities, flooding South Beach with foodies from around the world.  These folks may not know a Colt from a Bear, but the odds are they could roast both in a mean cabernet reduction sauce. The Food Network’s usual cast of characters will be out in full force: Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Nigella Lawson, Emeril Lagasse & Giada de Laurentis.  Hell, even Catherine Zeta-Jones & Aaron Eckhart, starring in the upcoming food-focused flick, “No Reservations”, will be presenters at the first annual Food Network Awards. As we all know, this year’s Tribute Dinner will honor Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze, the power team behind New York City’s celestial seafood shrine, Le Bernadin.  Martha Stewart also gets a respectful...

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Sam DeMarco Emerges at Fireside

Posted on Feb 6, 2007 in Sneak Peek

Chef Sam DeMarco, formerly of First and District, has marked his re-entry into the New York dining scene with a $3 million venture midtown at the Omni Berkshire Hotel.  Fireside is technically situated within the hotel’s domain, but this spot has managed to take on an identity and entrance of its own.  A surprisingly alluring midtown refuge on a frigid winter’s night, the fireplace accoutrements, checkered table tops and dark woods, all lend themselves to a cozy, library-like atmosphere.  But perhaps the most charming of all, are the damask-draped nooks, where customers can dine in seclusion or adjourn for post-dinner cocktails.    Fireside has jumped on the admirable seasonal cocktail wagon, serving up inspired riffs on classics: cider martini, hibiscus sidecar & huckleberry mojito.  Though the huckleberry mojito was an ambrosial cocktail with fresh huckleberries & a tall sprig...

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Russian Tea Room

Posted on Feb 5, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Jeff Bergman has won a FREE VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER for two at famed institution, The Russian Tea Room.  He’ll dine in a cozy booth on the newly re-opened, second floor dining room and enjoy a divinely sumptuous five-course tasting menu with champagne pairings. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly Newsletter in order to win next week’s dinner giveaway! Until we eat again, Restaurant...

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Quality Meats Dinner

Posted on Feb 4, 2007 in Gourmet Gossip

Monica Joshi has won a FREE DINNER for two at Quality Meats, a chic New American spot with sumptuous steaks in midtown. But there’s still a five-course Valentine’s dinner at The Russian Tea Room for the taking.  In order to win, simply enter your email in the SUBSCRIBE box at the right of the site, then forward to three of your friends, (including, and enlist them to subscribe!  That way even if you don’t win, you can guilt your friend into taking you to dinner at The Russian Tea Room.  All entries are due by Wednesday, February 7th.  The winner will be announced Thursday, February 8th on! **Don’t forget to subscribe for Restaurant Girl’s Weekly Newsletter** Until we eat again, Restaurant...

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