Archives for September 2010 | NYC 2 LONDON

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Kin Shop

[Translate] The sophmore effort from Season One Top Chef champ/Perilla owner Harold Dieterle has a water color vibe thanks to the aqua-marine artwork and Monet-esque banquettes lining the white brick walls, and puts its own spin on traditional Thai fare from braised goat Massaman Curry with toasted...

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Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 30-09-2010


It’s all about finding that sweet spot.

That time between dinner and last call when the lights go down, a little extra buzz explodes in the room and the night takes a turn for the can-you-believe-that-just-happened.

And when metal grates descend over every window, sealing in the party and blocking out the city’s prying eyes.

Okay, so that’s a new one…

Introducing MPD, the first foray into a proper dining establishment from the Brothers Koch (of Day and Night fame), opening for private parties next week and taking reservations at this very moment in (you guessed it) the Meatpacking District.

Arriving at MPD’s corner location where the High Line meets Gansevoort Street, you’ll saunter into the front bar area, ringed by high metal tables and bartenders with Boom Boom credentials, and survey the scene in the intimate-feeling dining room one step below you. It’s here that you’ll make your scene among white brick walls, red chandeliers and mocha velvet banquettes. Or else continue on to MPD’s third area, an open-air sidewalk café complete with a communal red table, where you can give 14 strangers the pleasure of your company for the evening.

After dinner, you might consider lingering until around midnight (the aforementioned sweet spot), when the metal shutters descend, the speakers you’ve noticed ringing the room come to life, and the place swings from a lively Meatpacking dinner spot to metal-encased dance-and-champagne bomb shelter, complete with a late-night menu of truffled tater tots and other gourmet breakfast items.

Remember to wait 20 minutes after eating before diving in…

73 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014 +1-212-541-6991

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Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 29-09-2010


When you have a newborn you want to devote all your time to it, but neglecting your other children might cause them to hate you, sending them down a dark spiral of depression, alcoholism, and becoming the President of the United States. Tending to their baby without shafting their firstborn, the couple behind Morito.

After years spent putting off a second spot for fear they’d lose track of their first, the husband/wife behind Moro have finally opened a sequel right next door, a white-walled rustic tapas room festively pizazzed with a bright orange bar, where they can “come in to cook every day” instead of just hoping the nanny doesn’t shake it till it gets a concussion. Inspired by Spain with a touch of Damascus, the menu kicks off with grilled “plancha” dishes such as a cumin/paprika lamb chop and finely sliced Octopus Salpicon, as well as “montaditos” like the lomo/jamon/green pepper Serrano (montaditos means “open sandwich”, so don’t be surprised if it tells you it wasn’t ready when it lost its virginity). Meanwhile, the fried-mini section stars flavoursome salt cod croquettes (soaked overnight before being poached in milk), while the slow-cooked banner waves over the likes of “chicarones de Cadiz”, a traditional Andalucian dish made from crackling — just like pork scratchings, except you won’t have to kill someone if you don’t get another pint of the wife beater immediately.

Not-meat runs from a mechouia grilled vegetable salad to “patatas mojo”, whose new potatoes are grown on the side of an actual Canary Islands volcano, boiled in seawater, and covered in a garlic/paprika sauce called “mojo” — or brash self-confidence, too much of which can turn a world leader into a real pa-prick.

32 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE

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Gentleman Farmer

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 28-09-2010


This sliver of a mom & pop operation feels like a dinner party at an upscale farm house, with copper detailing, velvet banquettes, and gold-painted wooden chairs housed under an arched, reclaimed plank ceiling; the victuals’re Ameri-Cannes, from wild Burgundy snails floating in a curried garlic sauce, to foie-topped tenderloin, to seared cod w/ root-vegetable puree and asparagus tips, though be warned they know nothing about the stalk market.

40 Rivington Street (between Forsyth and Eldridge St.), New York, NY +1-212-677-2172

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Restaurant i

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 27-09-2010


A glowingly mod, bi-level joint with far-out accents including a color-changing neon ceiling, and a giant rhino head made out of tires, the i’s Spice Market alum chef is pushing twisted Far East fare like hamachi “brulee” w/ scallions and citrus dressing; a yogurt/house pickle/feta lamb burger on a pretzel bun; and carrot-ginger emulsification-sided miso cod w/ steamed rice, who’s just miffed the cod’s not horny.

893 Broadway (between 19th and 20th St.), New York, NY +1-646-398-9663

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City Càphê

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 24-09-2010


Just out of soft open, this family-run Vietnamese nook’s bright yellow walls are adorned with pics of the owner’s mother from her childhood to time spent as a refugee in Thailand, appropriate as it’s her and her own mother’s recipes that inform dishes like beef pho (rice noodle soup) and banh mi — char-grilled-pork baguettes, because France’s occupation was all about “bringing the pain”.

17 Ironmonger Lane, London EC2V 8EY

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Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 23-09-2010


Following your dreams is a fine idea, though it’s best to stop before you actually do end up in your former classroom, naked and unable to do simple algebra. Following theirs of stuffing you with delicious oriental food, the couple behind Mushu.

Just opened, Mushu’s the longtime ambition of husband-and-wife former office workers who escaped the grind to launch this brightly minimalist open-kitchen diner serving up fast-casual Taiwanese — Chinese and Japanese slightly transformed by local traditions, because nothing adds spice like kind of declaring independence. Sino-origin staples include pan-fried potstickers & pork/beef/kimchi water dumplings, hefty slow-cooked “Lion’s Head” pork balls, and Spicy Ja Jiang noodles topped with “minted sauce” and “carrots for a crunch”, though as we’ve learned from this crunch, being minted is slightly more helpful. Japanese belly-fillers see daily-changing sushi, plus seared tuna Tataki, crispy panko-coated chicken katsu curry, and prawn, chicken, or veg stir-fried noodle “Yaki Soba”, though Yaki’s propensity to speak in the 3rd person is even more hilarious when “Yaki Wasted”.

53 Warren Street, London W1T 5NL

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Manzo Ristorante

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 22-09-2010


Having abundant natural resources nearby is a huge advantage, from the Saudis getting mad rich off their oil, to the Yankees using their farm system to grow money trees. For a restaurant leveraging its own resources, hit up Manzo Ristorante.

The only white tablecloth option in the new Italianate shrine, Manzo’s scooping the choicest ingredients from the market’s horn-of-plenty and delivering it to the Batali protege helming the kitchen; the marble topped bar and modestly sized, red pillared dining area’re separated from the bustle by a giant mural of the Italian countryside, now playing the backdrop to your own spaghetti western. The vast menu covers its bases with antipasti (vitello tonnato, five preparations of Piemontese beef), mid-course servings of Tortellini di Robiola (w/ chanterelles & pancetta) and tripe-studded fettuccine, and mains from hay-smoked veal chops to fried quail w/ stuffed peppers, which definitely isn’t what the Bears paid $91.5 million for. There’re also two regionally-inspired tasting menus: the three-course Parmigiano Reggiano, including pappardelle w/ sausage & radicchio, and lardo-topped carpaccio; and the four-course Liguria, busting with walnut-sauced sea bream and a rabbit saddle stuffed with olives & farro, so delicious, when you look up your credit card statement, there’s no risk of feeling e-gypped.

As manzo means beef, there’s even a six-course run of the stuff repping calf’s brain mezzalune w/ oxtail ragu, grilled beef heart and tongue skewers, and a Dickson’s Farmstand “Lifter Steak” w/ bone marrow marmalade and trumpet royales, though considering their farm grows players for other teams, they shouldn’t be tooting their own horns.

200 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 21-09-2010


The end of September is a good time of the year, for bringing you big news.

And by big we mean Las Vegas big. As in, 6,000 square feet of Italian dining upstairs, and an equally massive nightclub downstairs—your newest pleasure emporium from the nocturnal overlords behind Avenue, Stanton Social, Surf Lodge and Gold Bar.

It’s called Lavo, and it is open in Midtown.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because you may recall hazy memories of a club by the same name in Vegas, a debauched sprawl of 40 bottle-service tables and models cavorting in bathtubs. (Cleanliness is next to godliness…)

Well, those hazy memories may come into focus as you embark on an Italian dining experience of epic proportions—quite literally. Lavo’s ground-floor dining bistro is an exposed brick and white-tiled ode to family-style largesse. Think one-pound meatballs, lobster pizzas or a tri-level platter of oysters, clams and lobsters known affectionately as the Seafood Plateau.

And after you’ve reached the upper limits of indulgence (you win this time, one-pound meatball), it will be time to head downstairs into the kind of mega-club that helped coin the phrase “What happens in Vegas…”

We’re talking disco balls spinning over a sunken dance floor, ringed by elevated velvet-ensconced VIP banquettes and more flaming sparklers on any given night than the entire Meatpacking District combined.

Ah, subtlety.

39 E 58th Street (near Madison Ave.), New York, NY 10022 +1-212-750-5588

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Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, New York City | Posted on 20-09-2010


This Belgian newcomer’s rocking tapas-sized Flemish faves like Videe (chicken ragout/meatballs/mushrooms) and Stoofvlees (braised beef with…grimbergen dubbel?) plus weekly rotating, pronounceable modern fare (e.g., mint & pine nut tuna tartare), all standing up to Belgian beers both common (Kwak, Delirium Tremens…) and rare, like an exclusive, ceramic bottled brew called the Yeast Hoist. Yum!

66 Madison Avenue (between 27th and 28th St.), New York, NY +1-646-476-3812

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Tiny Robot

Posted by Burak Ipekci | Posted in Food, London | Posted on 17-09-2010


Just opened , the brick-walled smaller cousin of Farringdon’s Giant Robot achieves a similar Harlem soul food vibe, with New York Jazz Age images setting the scene for timeless comfort-gluttony like ribs w/ “giant” chips and the eggs/bacon/sausage “Brooklyn breakfast”, plus booziness like the Martini Bianco/ Plymouth sloe/ Cynar/ Limonata “Piazza Limonata”, and the Wyborowa/ pineapple/ lime/ Aperol/ passion-fruit syrup “East 8 Hold Up”, as opposed to an “East 17 Hold Up” — to which the boys have now resorted in order to afford all those pills.

78 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RT +44 (0) 20 7065 6814

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