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Gourmet Gossip New York – July 2013

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.

22lieb-600That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites, from Ippudo’s brand new Midtown outpost and Aldea’s hyper regional Portuguese tasting menus to the impending debut of The Elm, Paul Liebrandt’s majorly buzzed about restaurant in Williamsburg!

The Elm to Finally Open in Brooklyn: The notoriously fastidious Paul Liebrandt was once quoted in a New York Times article as saying “I couldn’t be more far from being Brooklyn.”  And yet, his hotly anticipated new restaurant, The Elm, is set to open at the King and Grove Hotel in the next week or so, firmly implanting the high-class chef amongst the casual hipster hordes of Williamsburg.  It sounds like he plans to let his hair down just a tad by allowing music in the dining room (the atmosphere at his previous restaurant, Corton, was unflaggingly hushed)  and demonstrating a lighter hand with gently retooled European classics like Chicken Kiev, Steak Frites and even Quiche.

boatphotohomepageSmoke on the Water: Who doesn’t love eating along the waterfront in the summer?  Well, what about dining on an actual boat?  That’s about as good as it gets, though admittedly pretty hard to come by in New York City, which is why we’re pumped that The Water Table has just sailed into its port in North Brooklyn.  Owner and licensed captain Kelli Farwell is currently restoring the historic 62 foot long Yard Patrol liner and working on a liquor license.  Hopefully, sunbaked residents will be feasting on New England-inspired specialties like Clam Chowder, Lobster Rolls and Maine Blueberry Cake before summer’s end.

ippudo_akamaru_modern_ramenIppudo Ramen Rocks the Westside: Now you can wait in line for noodles at not just one, but two locations of the wildly popular Ippudo.  Widely considered to make one of the best bowls of ramen in the city, the East Village-based Japanese joint just opened their second — already packed — and thankfully bigger location in Midtown along West 51st Street.  This outpost boasts an 11-seat ramen room, a lounge area, and a 20-foot ramen bar, perfect for slurping down favorites like milky pork bone Tonkotsu, fragrant Miso, and salty Shoyu.  And good news for restricted diners… there’s even a special gluten-free Shonjin Ramen on the new Westside menu.

aldeaA Taste of Portugal at Aldea: Chef George Mendes has always used his Portuguese heritage as his culinary muse at Aldea.  dishes like Croquetas de Bacalhau, Arroz with Duck Confit and Chorizo, and Sardines en Escabeche.  But he’s just debuted a Brazilian tasting menu at his Flatiron restaurant, the first in a series that will highlight culinary traditions of former Portuguese colonies around the world.  Look for Latin-inspired dishes, like Brazilian Lobster Stew with Coconut and Cilantro and Hominy Pudding with Guava and Passionfruit, to grace the menu for the next month or so, followed by edible explorations of places as disparate as Goa, Mozambique, and Southeast Asia.

Greenpoint Lucks Out with Luksus: Opened a few months ago by legendary gypsy brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, Torst has already drawn hordes of dedicated beer enthusiasts to Greenpoint.  But the bar will become a haven for clamorous foodies as well when chef Daniel Burns unveils Luksus on July 16th, an adjunct tasting menu restaurant.  An alum of Noma, the Fat Duck and Momofuku, Burns will offer elevated beer-pairing fare, like Vinegar Powder-dusted Ham Chips, Raw Razor Clams with Bone Marrow, and a Rhubarb-Beet dessert with Woodruff Meringue and Pea and Anise Hyssop Sorbet.

Sushi Yasuda’s New “No Tipping” Policy: No one would ever classify the pristine raw fish temple, Sushi Yasuda, as budget dining.  But have you noticed the price hike of an omakase sushi meal nowadays?  That’s just because the restaurant has raised menu prices to accommodate a newly installed no tipping policy.  That’s right.  All receipts now read: “Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary.  Therefore gratuities are not accepted.  Thank you.”

What’s even more exciting is the sudden debate it’s sparked in the community with restaurateurs, like Danny Meyer publicly questioning the institution.  Who knows? Maybe someday, no tipping will be the norm instead of the exception.

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