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. That’s why we’re keeping you apprised of the industry’s most noteworthy bits and bites — from Dominique Ansel’s new, (Cronut-free!) bakery in the West Village to the Torrisi team’s upcoming, upteenth venture, located right under the High Line.
Just Desserts: Dominique Ansel manages to make the news every time he debuts a new flavor of Cronut, but here’s a truly noteworthy tidbit concerning the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef — he’s finally opening a second bakery in the West Village! Although this time, he’s decided not to offer Cronuts at all, but made-to-order pastries, such as Mille Feuille, fresh-from-the-oven Madeleines, and Chocolate Mousse, as well as nightly dessert tastings at a communal table. Wonder if he’ll have bouncers controlling the crowds for that.
Rockin’ Ramen: If Ivan Ramen was the biggest noodle-related opening of 2014, this year’s honors absolutely go to Ramen Lab, a sleek, 10-seat space in SoHo. Spearheaded by the team behind Sun Noodle (which supplies most of the top ramen-ya’s in New York) and chef Shigetoshi Nakamura, the utterly streamlined menu includes just two soups; Vegetarian Miso flavored with green onions, oolong tea and XO sauce, and Chicken Shoyu, rich with tare, chashu pork and fish cake. There’s also pork gyoza, beer, and sake by the can. Good luck snagging one of those precious few seats now that we’re in the frigid depths of winter.
Torrisi Takeover: Another month, another project from the Major Food Group Team. Hot on the heels of Dirty French, Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone & Jeff Zalaznick have launched a seafood-centric, coastal Italian spot under the High Line. Called Santina, current dishes include lemon leaf-wrapped mozzarella, chickpea pancakes, octopus spiedini, and a dry-aged T-bone; the one red meat item on the menu.
Grand Hotel: Jean-George Vongerichten might have more New York projects in the works than just his Spring-slated vegetarian eatery, ABC Home Grown. Frequent partner Phil Suarez has tapped the word famous, Michelin-starred chef for a possible hotel venture in Nolita, and goodness knows, Vongerichten has experience opening eateries of that sort, having just launched five massive concept restaurants inside of major Miami hotels.
Pizza Plus: It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Donatella Arpaia, who kept a high profile by judging numerous Food Network competitions, joined forces with Michael Psilakis on Anthos and Kefi, and lent her name to numerous projects, such as Mia Dona, Donatella, and davidburke & donatella. But she’s teamed up with powerful partners once again (Sushi Nakazawa’s Maurizio de Rosa, and Pasquale Cozzolino & Rosario Procino of Ribalta), on a luxe pizza parlor called Prova, which opened a few days ago in Chelsea. Think a gold-plated oven, and pies piled with “Michelin quality” ingredients, such as black truffle, quail eggs, and everyone’s favorite high-end shellfish, uni.
Going Greek: Here’s a bit of news out of left field — after closing her eponymous Upper West Side restaurant last summer, Maria Loi has inked a deal to take over Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Frauneder’s Michelin-starred Austrian spot, Seasonal, and transform it into a Greek restaurant, called Loi Estatorio, later this month. Goodbye Wiener Schnitzel and Strudel, hello Grilled Branzino and Baklava.