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Gourmet Gossip: February 2015

dsc_5578In 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.  That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — from Dan Barber’s upcoming, eco-conscious pop-up at Blue Hill to a star-studded food hall slated for Times Square.

Waste Not Want Not: Always one to put his money where his mouth is, farm-to-table guru Dan Barber will transform his West Village restaurant, Blue Hill, into a pop-up called wastED during the last two weeks in March.  The menu will feature small plates designed by Barber, as well as a rotating roster of celebrity chefs (think Mario Batali, Dominique Crenn, Alain Ducasse and Daniel Humm), that utilize regularly cast-off ingredients, such as vegetable tops, fish bones and offal.  The goal is to explore inefficiencies in the food chain, and, according to Barber, hopefully “broadcast a message about how restaurants can bring about a cultural shift, in how we think about producing enough food to feed a growing population.”

17-chef-ronny-emborg-2.w529.h352.2xEmborg in at Atera: Matthew Lightner recently announced that he’s leaving Atera at the end of March to open his own high-end comfort food restaurant somewhere in New York.  But there will still be plenty of reason to visit the inventive, Tribeca tasting room, since Ronny Emborg — a vet of El Bulli, Copenhagen’s Restaurant AOC, and former private chef to the Queen of Denmark — was tapped to take over. Selected specifically because he and Lightner share “culinary DNA,” Emborg also authored a cookbook called The Wizard, which introduces the concept of a “sensory kitchen,” where guests must fully rely on their eyes, ears, nose and mouth during the course of a meal.

To Market, to Market: Times Square is the latest major Manhattan hub to get a big deal food hall, in the form of City Kitchen — a 4,000 square market in the Row NYC hotel.  Expected to launch by March 5th, a number of top, local vendors will be opening up outposts, such as Luke’s Lobster, Dough, the Lebanese ilili Box and most exciting of all, a fast-casual branch of Ippudo, offering three pork and chicken-based ramens and a small selection of beer.  Hopefully, the dining mecca will finally woo tourists away from Olive Garden, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, Virgil’s BBQ, and Bubba Gump Shrimp.

1601195_10152230171886792_5108156929431886192_nFine Dining Do Over: In another effort to keep his fine dining Picholine afloat, Terrance Brennan is upping the ante on his menu, doing away with the three-course, $105 prix fixe, and offering a five-course meal for $125 instead, or 12-course tasting for a lofty $210.  Expect dishes such as Uni Panna Cotta, Hand-Harvested Sea Scallops Rossini, Wild Scottish Game (watch out for bird shot!), and of course, a gorgeous cheese selection, sourced from Brennan’s own dairy haven, Artisanal.

Hot Job Alert: The Cronut King is officially looking for a pastry prince (or princess), to oversee operations at his upcoming Dominique Ansel Kitchen. Committed to remaining present at his original Soho bakery, Ansel has put out an ad for an executive pastry chef, who’ll be tasked with producing all dessert items, managing staff, helping develop menus and designing packaging (experience with laminated dough a must).  Wonder if a free, daily Cronut is part of the benefits package?

244106Arrivederci, Caffe Dante: It’s been a rough couple of years for New York institutions (Café Edison was the most recent casualty), and sadly, it seems the 100-year-old Caffe Dante in Greenwich Village will soon follow suit, forced out due to drastically rising rents.  Expected to shutter in less than two weeks, the Italian pastry shop was bought out by Australian investors, who’ll likely keep the name due to licensing reasons but (needless to say) not the concept, and definitely not the old-world vibe.



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