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Cantina Laredo

[Translate] Just open in Covent Garden, this spacious, American-born “gourmet Mexican” restaurant is filled with modern wooden tables and black leather banquettes, and boasts an extensive tequila bar, plus tastiness like table-made guac, grilled steak topped w/ bacon-wrapped tiger prawns (themselves...

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St. Anselm

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Brooklyn, Food, New York City | Posted on 31-05-2010

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Joe Carroll’s (Fette Sau, Spuyten Duyvil) Jersey-inspired carnivore haven debuts a limited menu of cheese-, gravy-, and onion-topped sliders and deep-fried dogs in pizza bread.

Fearless diners can look forward to Nasty Bits (marrow poppers, fried gizzard confit) and Monday’s not-to-be-missed hearty Dublin coddle (slow-cooked sausage, bacon, and potato stew).

355 Metropolitan Ave. (at Havemeyer St.) Brooklyn, NY 11211 +1-718-384-5054

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B.E.S.

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 28-05-2010

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The game changer.

It doesn’t come around often, and it’s hard to say exactly what it is.

But you know it when you see it.

And B.E.S. is it.

The name stands for Boutique Eat Shop, which doesn’t begin to describe what’s actually going on inside here. So allow us to paint a scene: you’ll descend on a brightly sunlit art gallery/restaurant/prime investment opportunity, soft-open for brunch this very weekend.

And as soon as you step in, you’ll come face-to-face with a glowing glass bottle chandelier hanging over the bar.

You may think about purchasing this stunning chandelier for yourself.

You may do so. At an auction in the near future.

However, and this is key, you will not take it home. The chandelier stays. Congratulations. You now own part of one of the most interesting new spots to come along in a long while.

The investment model is designed to support artists, like the chandelier maker, who receives half of your money. The other half goes to a nonprofit. And you get the full satisfaction of taking your rightful place amongst the city’s most famous patrons of the arts.

You’ll stop in for a drink on a breezy afternoon, acquire some champagne, stand under your new chandelier and end up deep in conversation about the art of arts funding.

Other fixtures that will be up for auction include a model of the Met surrounding the kitchen. Naturally, you’ll want to check out the model’s interior before you buy, but all you’ll see inside are cooks preparing your P.B. & Bacon Sandwich.

An investment with more immediate returns.

559 W 22nd St. (at 11th Ave), New York, NY 10011 +1-212-414-8700 boutiqueeatshop.com

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Gauthier Soho

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 27-05-2010

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Everyone has their reasons for striking out solo: Robbie Williams was a self-confessed egomaniac, and while some might’ve accused Peter Gabriel of being the same, it was really that he couldn’t take Phil Collins su suss seriously. Striking out simply because it’s time, the man behind Gauthier Soho.

Already did the soft opening, GS is an eponymous showcase for former Roussillon head chef Alexis Gauthier, famed for bringing British regional/seasonal mandates into French cuisine; set inside a four-story Georgian townhouse, the dining rooms present a French summer-home vibe, offset by dark corridors and two private spaces, one a 16-seat “Game” room with vintage Soviet posters, an old penny-op pub slot machine, an ancient, Empire-flaunting British Commonwealth map, and a crazily fractured mirror, which considering the whole losing-the-Empire thing must’ve been broken by Commonwealth Britain. The menu’s divided into five courses, plus a daily changing 12-course taster; “Premier” bites include broad bean & thyme w/ olive oil tart & quail egg, while “Deuxieme” brings lobster & tarragon w/ crunchy lettuce and pink pigeon breast (it is always seasonal to murder pigeons). Thirds have a smoked salted wild seabass w/ white asparagus, melba toast & Cepes mushrooms, Fourths include the deliciously unwieldy “Sweetbread & Morels, Lettuce & Veal Jus”, and amongst the desserts, a gariguette strawberry & spearmint sable w/ “caramelized granite” — cementing Brighton and Blackpool’s reputation as culinary trendsetters.

Unique to the area, there’s also an open wine cellar, stocked with 200+ vinos (a number they aim to double), run by Roussillon’s former sommelier and open to punters to browse “like a library”; it’s also fully licensed, so if you like a bottle/case, you can Take That home.

21 Romilly Street, London W1D 5AF +44-20-7494-3111

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Fornino Park Slope

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Brooklyn, Food, New York City | Posted on 26-05-2010

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Succeeding in Williamsburg has whet many a restaurateur’s appetite to try their luck down the road in what many consider the most frenzied and competitive culinary proving ground in America — Park Slope! Following that well worn path to gustatory glory, Fornino Park Slope.

Opening a second outpost of their wildy popular ‘burg pie joint, the Fornino crew’s dishing a totally revamped seasonal Italian menu in a 1930s-Brooklyn-themed 165-seat space that boasts large-filament bulb fixtures hand-blown by the chef, tabletops decoupaged with vintage newspapers, B&W borough photos on the wall, and a 40ft bar hand-cut from marble pulled out of a “defunct Wall St building”, which could only have been owned by Lehman…or Bear…or Merrill…we’re gonna live forever!!! Sticking to their stringent ingredient policy (certified flours, D.O.P. tomatoes, etc) but jettisoning the Neopolitan oven for an open-flame grill, the 15+ strong list includes hits like the buffalo mozz/manila clams/parmesan/garlic Vongole, the white truffle oil & taleggio Funghi Misti, and the tomato/buffalo/eggplant/zucchini/pepperoni/broc rabe Ortolana, best when drowned in Armagnac and inhaled in one bite. Other brand new goodness includes over 20 antipasti (tuscan chicken liver crostini, whole artichoke in sauce vert), pastas like spaghetti with pork jowel/chicken broth/poached egg and papardelle with duck/anise/goat cheese, and hot plates of lamb sausage w/ onion & roast peppers and pesto-covered Prince Edward mussels, which unlike Prince Albert mussels aren’t just desperate screams for attention. Or gross.

They’ll also be offering fully cooked heat-and-eat meals like roasted chicken w/seasonal sides for grabbing on the go, meaning Fornino can also inhabit the least frenzied and competitive culinary proving ground in America — your kitchen.

256 Fifth Ave. (btw Garfield & Carroll), Brooklyn, NY 11215 +1-718-399-8600

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Bar Boulud

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 25-05-2010

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In the game of celebrichef Go Fish, we’ve traded one naked chef for one French chef with our friends across the pond.

And from the looks of things, we’ve got the winning hand (sorry, Jamie): Bar Boulud, the first London outpost from NYC phenom Daniel Boulud just opened in Knightsbridge.

The Michelin-starred restaurateur’s new upscale-but-cozy French bistro serves classics like mussels, steak frites and New York-style burgers paired with wines from the Rhone Valley and Burgundy region served by the glass. A charcuterie bar sticks to meats and homemade specialties such as tourte de canard, braised lamb terrine and pulled rabbit with herbs.

We’ll be dining in the wide-open kitchen or meeting for drinks in the lively lounge area (open till 1 a.m.). Red leather seats and deconstructed wine barrel chandeliers lend a rustic luxe feel, and Boulud created the artwork himself: red wine stains on pieces of tablecloth. It’s quite the splash.

Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA +44-20-7201-3899 or barboulud.com

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Rocket Canary Wharf

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 24-05-2010

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California’s Gold Rush inspired hordes of odds-defying lunatics to strike out to enrich themselves, while its “Hotel Rush” inspired hordes of taste-defying lunatics to strike out to enrich The Eagles. In a more welcome development, the Golden State’s inspired a man to expand his resto empire, with Rocket Canary Wharf.

The third space from a bar veteran grown enamored of laid-back Cali pizza/salad joints during a year-long Stateside sabbatical, this boozy, two-story eatery has a light, wide-open feel, with modern-chic steel fittings and wood floors; upstairs has a Millennium-Dome viewing terrace, and a colonnade of National Gallery prints adorning the ceiling, allowing you to gaze at a Bellini even as you gulp one. As with the other Rockets, the huge-portioned menu rests on meaty Cali-style salads (despite toppings like rocket, deep-fried green beans, crispy garlic, and fried chili, the Rare Beef and Chip is described as “a steak with a lettuce leaf on top”) and imaginative pizzas like a brand-new number with smoked black pudding, butterfly king prawns, pancetta and green chilli; unique to this location are a prosciutto/dolcelatte cheese/pear/walnut sandwich, and mains like tahini/lemon’d corn-fed chicken served with a Greek salad, which given the economic climate, should technically be free. Meanwhile, the downstairs bar carries such braincell nurturers as the “Ginger Ninja” (ginger vodka, Cointreau, cranberry), the “Aloha Treacle” (Sailor Jerry, brown sugar, apple juice stirred slowly for 5-8 minutes), and the mojito-like “Optimus Prime”, which ironically will decepticon you into thinking you’re handsome, then run you over like a lorry.

For the sophisticated Rocketeer there’s vino goodness including a Falasco Super Corvina Cantina Valpantena, a Skillogalee Shiraz, and a J.Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon dubbed “Seven Oaks” — which defies the odds by hailing from California, and not the banks of the M25.

Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5RB RocketRestaurants.co.uk

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Veranda

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 21-05-2010

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 The 3200sqft indoor/outdoor hookah lounge is finally ready to convert its space into a part-time resto, serving up Med-influenced dishes ranging from appetizers of merguez sausage w/ red pepper saute/chermoula vinaigrette and rice/spinach/bell pepper-stuffed grilled baby calamari, to entrees like red pepper pesto Chilean sea bass souvlaki and grilled swordfish with portobello “steak” (give it up, portobello, we’ve known you weren’t meat since the 80s).

130 7th Ave South (corner of w 10th st), New York, NY 10014 +1-212-255-3331

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Bar Paya

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 20-05-2010

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Inspired by Peru’s burgeoning nouveau cuisine scene, the team behind next-door Winebar’s set up a modernly clean, high top-heavy space with polished wood and dimly glowing beaker-like glass fixtures, which backdrop a mostly small plates menu with sections for Causas (dumplings w/ fillings like yellow potato/bbq duck & potato/spicy crab), Ceviches (tuna/aji amarillo/peanuts/pineapple tiger’s milk), and Playas — flatbreads topped with BBQ shrimp, lobster, and even Peruvian meatballs, which sit not on Old Smokey, but on Mount Macchu Eatchu.

65 2nd Ave. (btw 3rd and 4th St), New York, NY 10003 +1-212-777-6965

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Sushino Sushi & Robata Bar

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 19-05-2010

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Now open in Sushino’s downstairs, this brick-walled, stained-wood drinking & dining den serves up Brazilian/Japanese fusion tapas such as a hand-dived scallop ceviche/tomato essence/lime roll and fresh-off-the-grill new caledonian prawns w/ mango habanero sauce, plus cocktail goodness like the “Sushinho Sakeirinha”: house Honjozo Akashi-tai sake with pink grapefruit and passion fruit — sub in Passion of the Fruit, and you can claim your late-night ramblings are actually Aramaic.

312-314 The Kings Road, London SW3 5UH; +44-20-7349-7496

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Diablo Royale Este

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 18-05-2010

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You’ve sweet-talked bouncers, descended dark staircases and squeezed past smoky kitchens, all in the name of entering secretive lairs of tacos and tequila.

But once in a while, you just want to gracefully waltz through the front door and order a michelada.

Welcome to Diablo Royale Este, a massive, ornately crafted, down-and-dirty Mexican saloon opening tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo and other late nights of tequila-soaked rock-and-roll revelry.

Like its older, smaller cousin in the West Village, any hint of pretense is lost under the glare of hundreds of Mexican church candles reflecting off red chandeliers made of deer antlers. This is where you’ll come for margarita/beer hybrids, Gaucho BBQ platters of sliced rib eye for 10 served on the back patio and puzzling over not one, but two staircases that lead nowhere at all.

It’s just the kind of Mexican saloon you’d expect to find a demon Salma Hayek in, wrestling a python and preparing to devour a room full of lowlifes—just with fewer lowlifes, about the same amount of tequila and bites of fried oyster tacos.

And if you simply can’t enjoy tequila without first descending a hidden staircase, Diablo Royale Este delivers with an underground “bordello” of blood red walls, mirrored ceilings, a rotating projection of classic rock videos and a billiard table hidden under a dining room table.

We won’t tell you what’s hidden beneath the billiard table.

167 Avenue A (at 11th St), New York, NY 10009 +1-212-388-9673

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