At first glance Luksus– an extension of the bar’s overly-lit, Nordic minimalist setting– inspired a lot of gaggy, knee-jerk, and not so glowing reactions. But like frowny Nordic people themselves and, say, Ikea furniture, the restaurant grew on critics and customers, who seemed to get used to the stiff, hardened outer layer. That is, until chef Daniel Burns peaced out and Luksus abruptly closed, Michelin star and all. But, as of this week, Tørst is back in the restaurant biz, and a new chef seems to have taken notice of the initial criticism.
With the opening of Gotham Market in Fort Greene this weekend, Brooklyn gained yet another fancy food market, adding to our city’s ever-growing assortment of what are essentially upscale mall food courts catering toward fresh-obsessed gastrodorks, stoner-bro cooks, hipster foodies with mad money to blow on artisanal popsicles, and vulnerable hangover zombies. Gotham Market, for example, swaps out Sbarro for Apizza Regionale, serving brick oven pizza, “locally-sourced Italian fare,” and charcuterie. For once, this isn’t just another outpost for the Smorgasburg empire– actually, as the ground-floor tenant at The Ashland, one of the new luxury high-rise buildings sprouting all over the “Brooklyn Cultural District,” it is something else entirely.
On Wednesday night, two police officers stood outside the Chinatown gallery Sargent’s Daughters. Only, there was no law-breaking or so-called “suspicious activity” to be investigated. Rather, they wanted to know what all the hubbub was about. Particularly, why everyone seemed to be munching cookies from a large, bright orange pair of pants. And no ordinary pair of pants. These were a rendition of the lower half of Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit in motion. Keep Reading »
What better way to spend your Sunday than spicin’ it up at Kimchipalooza 6? While this might sound like the latest edition of a concept-heavy music festival or B-movie, the truth is much tastier. It’s a kimchi festival happening for the 6th year in a row, celebrating jars full of the uber-healthy, probiotic, sometimes buried-underground, stinking-rotten cabbage native to Korean cuisine but that in the last several years has grown in popularity, transcending borders and spreading joy and a spicier, more complex approach to the blander sauerkraut more familiar to American tongues. They’re offering BBQ kimchi creations, live music, DJs, dranks, even a make-your-own kimchi station, and— brace yourself —a “super spicy” kimchi eating contest.
Yesterday a dozen restaurants along Grand Street in East Williamsburg kicked off their second-annual Grand Street Restaurant Week, the area’s very own location-specific version of the mammoth that is New York Restaurant Week, complete with prix-fixe lunch and dinner specials. Depending on your view, you might interpret the event as either an odd/scary fit for the neighborhood or a harbinger of good things to come.
It bears reminding that, usually in order to participate in Restaurant Week, you first need to feel financially able (or reckless enough) to drop $30 to $40 on a single meal. Regular NY Restaurant Week, also happening right now through August 19, offers $29 lunches and $42 dinners, and understands multiple courses as inherent to both meals. So it seems that, more than likely, people patronizing Grand Street Restaurant Week would fall squarely into the “gentrifier” category, the type of folk who want to prance around in luxury-dorm/playground buildings that are masquerading as apartments or pre-fab “artist communities” but are actually closer to cruise ships (the first-class decks, obviously).
Glorified food courts keep sprouting up, from the new Gansevoort Market to the one at the forthcoming Whole Foods Williamsburg. The latest, from real estate developer Scott Marano, opened in Noho earlier today. The Bowery Market features stalls from several local vendors and restaurants, including Soho Italian sandwich spot Alidoro, “veggie slaughterhouse” The Butcher’s Daughter, taco joint Pulqueria, and upscale Brooklyn cafe Champion Coffee.
Book Launch: In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
June 22 at 7 p.m. at The Powerhouse Arena. 37 Main Street (DUMBO)
Is identity something you choose, or is it actually the very thing you can’t escape? This is the question Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi poses in her most personal work yet, In the Darkroom. In 2004 Faludi went in search of her estranged 76-year-old father, a man who had been an elusive and sometimes violent presence in her childhood and then all but disappeared from her life. When Faludi discovered he had undergone sex reassignment surgery and was now living in Hungary, her whole frame of reference was shaken to the core. Her book is an effort to unpack her father’s transition and her own questions of identity, while traveling through a country in the midst of its own dangerous project of refashioning its nationhood.
It was kind of ironic when the sold-out, sneak-peek screening of Weiner sputtered out, turning into a glitchy, hallucinatory version of itself at Rooftop Films’ Industry City screening last week. While everyone else seemed to be weathering the drizzle just fine, the projector wasn’t so resilient.
Plenty of upscale diners have hit the food scene as of late– for one, there’s Juno, the Bushwick restaurant that John Barclay (founding dude at Bossa Nova Civic Club) recently pulled out of– and there was even a short-lived spot called Amancay’s Diner that was, well, a bit more of a downscale kind of place, with a spin-the-bottle setup and an owner who was better known for throwing jello-wrestling parties than his food.
But Hail Mary– a new Greenpoint restaurant that opened on Wednesday night in the former home of 68 and then subsequently (briefly too) Hook & Cleaver which was run by Chopped chef Diane DiMeo– is pushing the diner concept even further with their avant-garde take on the American everyman classic.
This morning, real-estate brokerage firm Eastern Consolidated announced that the retail condo at 17 Orchard Street– otherwise known as homebase of The Fat Radish– was sold. The 2,500 square-foot space was snatched up for $2.5 million by Elijah Equities (a real-estate company that recently made headlines for leasing their 5th avenue storefront to a Chinese burger chain, Uncle Sam Fast Food).
The idea of a Tim Burton theme bar opening in the East Village is so weird on so many levels that I started to drive myself bonkers unpacking the implications of this so-called Beetle House. Would this be an ironic ode to Tumblr culture and fan fiction? A comment on how themed consumer culture has reached bizarre peaks? As it turns out, Beetle House is actually just a completely earnest theme bar and restaurant dedicated to the beloved, oh-so-spooky-creepy films of Tim Burton. Which hasn’t stopped it from getting smacked with a cease-and-desist from the director’s minders.
“I was like, ‘Why don’t we open a bar?'” co-owner Zach Neil recalls telling Brian Link, his business partner and BFF who was suffering from “massive depression” last year. “Bars are fun, it’s like having a birthday party every night. People come in, they hang out, you drink, hang out, everything’s good.”
If there was any question as to whether Williamsburg has reached its peak as a major Destination-with-a-capital-D, this new video about a foodie tour of the increasingly tony nabe’s “gourmet food scene” settles it.