Herewith, my hit list of the most puzzling, most distasteful and most overdone dining trends that need to be euthanized, for their own good, hopefully within the next 12 months:
10. Skid marks!
You know what I’m talking about. Those streaks of dark glop wiped across white plates like the work of some abstract expressionist saucier, probably intending to evoke brush strokes. Too often, it looks like shit stains on Hanes. Not appetizing, not even at Adour.
“Oh no!” my dining companion yelps. “I think I just ate one of those ligament thingees, thinking it was slaw.” By the contorted look on his face, you’d think he’d just swallowed a handful of agitated hornets. A minute later, having safely swallowed the distasteful cartilage, he offers a less dramatic review: “Tastes like wax.” We are sitting in a booth at Thunder Burger in Georgetown, picking our way through the advertised weekly special: tender alligator ribs, braised in beer, glazed with a sticky sweet honey chipotle sauce and served with a crunchy cabbage and cranberry slaw. Now, I’ve gnawed on the scaly reptile before—I’ve just never seen alligator meat presented with such panache. Like most diners, I’m much more accustomed to tasting the meat only after it’s been battered, deep-fried, and rendered indistinguishable from the average chicken McNugget…. Continue reading →
With the future of iconic Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green very much in doubt, the missus and I head over for one last meal in the famous Crystal Room. It’s the same spot where the wife was seated nearly 17 years earlier, a doe-eyed teenager from Ohio, dining with her grandparents, on her first trip to New York. The place remained very much the way she remembered it, overwhelmingly ornate and still bustling with wide-eyed youngsters and their wiser elders from out of town. It just looked older. Much older. “It reminds me of Mrs. Havisham in Great Expectations, the grande dame who’s seen better days,” my perceptive spouse said, noting the fraying pink tablecloth covering our sloppily bussed table, which was strewn with stray bread crumbs and specs of black pepper. “It seems a little worn around the edges.”
“How do restaurants survive in this economy? Who knows? I don’t. And nor does anyone who says they do. Ultimately, I think one does what one’s always done. In my case, it’s stabbing people in the back and sleeping with my friends’ wives.”–Restaurateur Keith McNally
On the eve of shutting down his self-described “intellectual dive bar,” Passerby, bartender and author Toby Cecchini reflected on the location’s unique character: “I got a call from a bartender on a Tuesday night, which is a relatively quiet night, and he’s like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to come down here.’ There was water just pouring out of the hallway. Someone had categorically smashed to pieces both toilets in both bathrooms with a ball-peen hammer or something. … I think about this when I see that Audrey Sanders has, like, carved wooden sinks at Pegu Club and whatnot. In my bar, someone would take a chain saw to them in, like, 13 seconds.” Read my full interview with Toby Cecchini, wherein the former Odeon suds-slinger clarifies his claim to the title of “Cosmopolitan” creator. [NYO] Continue reading →
Watch out, Equinox! New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter is partnering with the international 24-Hour Fitness chain to open three new “classy” sports clubs in Manhattan this year. What, you were expecting a Roger Clemens-run juice bar? The first will be a 28,000-square-foot facility on Fifth Avenue, conveniently located just a short guilt-ridden walk from Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Additional locations are planned for SoHo and also in Midtown, a few blocks from the pro slugger’s own $13 million pad in the Trump World Tower. The healthy and wealthy Yankees shortstop recently took a breather to talk with me about the project. Continue reading →