The cradle of liberty wasn’t always known for its cuisine, but that’s changed significantly in recent years. The Wall Street Journal sends former Bostonian Raymond Sokolov back to explore two of the city’s standouts, L’Espalier and o ya, and both stand up to his discerning palate.
Much-loved (and oft-maligned) restaurant critic Frank Bruni is leaving the New York Times this fall, and hearts are breaking all over the world. The twitterverse was, well, atwitter about his imminent departure, and food bloggers are already speculating about possible replacements. His memoir, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater, is being released in August and while he’ll likely be busy promoting it for a few months, some people (yours truly included) are wondering why anyone would willingly walk away from one of the world’s most-coveted jobs.
We may never learn exactly why he’s stepping down, but I do know I’ll miss Mr. Bruni’s witty reviews and thoughtful blog posts very much. As for whom I’d nominate for a replacement, with the fate of the San Francisco Chronicle up in the air, perhaps it’s time for Michael Bauer to set his sights on the New York dining scene.
Is the recession keeping you out of restaurants? The New York Post details 10 ways a weakened economy is actually a boon to hungry diners, highlighting deals at Fishtail by David Burke, David Burke Townhouse, Chanterelle, Per Se, and more. Other trends include bar areas that are — wait for it! — for drinking rather than dining and burgers showing up on some very upscale menus (Sorry, no Per Se sliders!). Similarly, restaurants in your neighborhood that may have been out of your reach may be well within it. So, stop denying yourself and start dining out!
Renowned restaurant critic (and one of the first folks to coin the term “foodie”) Gael Greene is, obviously, a fan of dining out and an ardent supporter of the restaurant industry. Acknowledging the recently more-limited budgets of her New York cohorts, she gives diners 12 cheeky reasons to reserve a table at the city’s pricier temples of gastronomy. With all due respect, I’ll add one of my own: 13. It’s fun!
A San Francisco restaurant is charging diners for water (a buck per bottomless glass) and Michael Bauer investigates on his “Between Meals” blog. While the restaurant’s reasons are legitimate (the water they offer is filtered, available at room temperature or chilled, still or sparkling) and the dollar-per-diner charge helps offset the loss in sales of bottled water (a result of the City by the Bay’s Take Back the Tap campaign), most of Mr. Bauer’s faithful readers are outraged.
Confessional moment: I was a bottled-water consumer in restaurants until very recently. I like sparkling water, and when I ordered it, I was much more likely to stay hydrated during a meal. My inner tree-hugger forced me to abandon the bottled bubbly stuff, but if I could get an endless supply of environmentally friendly, sparkling water for a dollar, I’d consider it a deal. However, I do know that if a New York restaurant refused to serve a diner a gratis glass of our city’s tasty tap water, it would ignite a firestorm of controversy.
This probably isn’t the first time economical issues have collided with environmental concerns in the dining arena, and it certainly won’t be the last.
The New York Times checks in on some former “Top Chef” contestants cooking in Manhattan, including recent contender Leah Cohen, now head chef at Centro Vinoteca, Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle, head chef and co-owner of Perilla, and Season 3 winner Hung Huynh, who currently cooks at Solo. Bottom line: It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, but, apparently, it’s an even longer way if you want to be a standout chef in the Big Apple.
To show your support for your former faves, book a table the next time you’re in the city that never sleeps — and enjoy the chance to channel your inner Gail, Padma or Tom.
Do you want to give your mother a gift that keeps on giving? The LA Times recommends loading the OpenTable mobile app on her iPhone. The price is right (actually, it’s free, but we won’t tell if you don’t), she’ll always be able to find a table on the fly, and, after years of feeding you, you can make sure Mom never goes hungry again.
The 2009 James Beard Foundation Award winners have been announced. OpenTable congratulates all the honorees, including:
Outstanding Restaurant: Jean Georges
Rising Star Chef of the Year: Nate Appleman, A16
Outstanding Wine Service Award: Le Bernardin
Outstanding Service Award: Daniel
Best Chefs in America, Great Lakes: Michael Symon, Lola
Best Chefs in America, Mid-Atlantic: Jose Garces, Amada
Best Chefs in America, Midwest: Tim McKee, La Belle Vie
Best Chefs in America, New York City: Gabriel Kreuther, The Modern
Best Chefs in America, Northwest: Maria Hines, Tilth
Best Chefs in America, Southeast: Mike Lata, FIG
Best Chefs in America, Pacific: Douglas Keane, Cyrus
Outstanding Restaurant Design: The Publican
Outstanding Restaurant Graphics: The Corner Office
Curious as to why these chefs and restaurateurs have been honored? Reserve a table and find out for yourself.