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2018-01-23T13:44:34.620Z
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The food hall is undergoing a revamp just a year after it opened

Those murmuring about the health of the food hall might have a little more to worry about. Four tenants at Gotham Market at the Ashland are closing. Mason Jar, one of its anchor tenants, has already closed, and John Stage’s three concepts — Flip Bird, Apizza Regionale, and Bar Granger — will close by the end of the month.

The closings come barely a year after the bright new food hall opened in the ground floor of The Ashland in Fort Greene, just steps from BAM, Barclay’s Center, and the newly opened Apple store. The market’s other anchor tenant, Boqueria, will remain open, as will its pop-up concept Hey Hey Canteen.

“We started something really good there and everyone worked really hard,” says Christopher Jaskiewicz, COO of Gotham Organization and President of Gotham Properties & Hospitality, which owns and operates the market. “John Stage and Mason Jar are incredibly talented and were great to work with, but we are making changes based on feedback from the community and neighborhood.”

While management of Mason Jar would not comment, it released this statement: “It was a pleasure to work with Gotham to open Gotham Market at The Ashland to create a new neighborhood destination. We’ll continue to operate our New York City location and welcome our Brooklyn-based guests to visit us anytime.”

To replace Mason Jar,...

Whether traditional or not, the Middle Eastern egg dish has never been better

The question isn’t why has shakshuka become so popular in New York City, but rather why did it take so long? The North African dish, in which eggs are poached in a stew of tomatoes, has no single authentic recipe. It’s a typical breakfast in Israel, but it’s become more visible among interesting brunch spots here in town, Middle Eastern or otherwise, likely because it’s health-conscious yet undeniably delicious. Here’s a list of the places across the city doing the best things with the classic.

Note: This list is arranged geographically, north through south from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Critic Robert Sietsema remembers the old JoJo and tries the new one

When it opened in 1991, JoJo became chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant as chef and co-owner, along with Phil Suarez. In fact, “Jo Jo” was the chef’s childhood nickname. Like many bistros of its day, it was situated in the ground and parlor floors of an elegant East Side townhouse. Like an election map, a series of small dining rooms were gerrymandered around the premises. Even though the chef was Alsatian, the décor was pure Parisian, with red banquettes, beveled mirrors, and walls so yellowish they might have been discolored by cigarette smoke.

The menu reflected the Paris of 30 years ago, when French cooking was under the influence of ’60s nouvelle cuisine and ’70s cuisine minceur. Both sought to lighten traditional cooking by multiplying vegetables, while avoiding heavy dairy fats. Certainly, the French habit of cooking vegetables to death disappeared, and these movements influenced our contemporary ideas about fresh, seasonal produce and healthful cooking.

How did these ideas inform JoJo’s menu? In the early ’90s, Times critic Bryan Miller gave it three stars, while praising the goat cheese in a puddle of arugula water and tuna tartare — then an oddity — on a concise menu that ran to only six apps and six entrees. He praised the shrimp in carrot juice laced with Thai chiles, a dish that was a harbinger of his next restaurant,...

The restaurant briefly closed this week due to a landlord issue

Popular Upper West Side Greek restaurant Kefi had a bit of a hiccup this week. A city marshal’s notice appeared on the restaurant at 505 Columbus Ave., between West 84th and West 85th streets, declaring the property had been turned over to the landlord. For a night, the restaurant shuttered, leaving those with reservations stranded.

David Horowitz, managing agent of landlord 505 Columbus LLC, said, “Why do people get evicted? Whatever the issue was I don’t care to discuss, but it was resolved and hopefully it was a one shot deal that won’t happen again.’” A manager at the restaurant said it was a miscommunication. Kefi reopened by Wednesday.

But in the snafu, chef Michael Psilakis distanced himself from the restaurant that he first opened in 2007: “I am no longer a principal at Kefi, a longstanding neighborhood gem on the Upper West Side. While I have no information about the current situation, it is a brand close to my heart, and I’d hate to see the neighborhood lose such a special restaurant.” His website still lists Kefi as one of his restaurants. In response to Psilakis’s statement, a manager for the restaurant responded: “Michael Psilakis is and has always been our executive chef.’’

The prodigy is transitioning from pop-up to permanence

Teen chef Flynn McGarry may finally be opening a permanent restaurant in New York, in the Lower East Side.

The 19-year-old prodigal chef — who’s said he’s “so done” with pop-ups — wants to run an all-day restaurant at located at 114 Forsyth St., near Broome St. The yet-to-be-named restaurant will occupy the former Cafe Henrie space, according to a liquor license application filed to Community Board 3 by his sister Paris, who’s presumably of legal drinking age. An Eater staffer also spotted him inside the space earlier this week.

After running a series of pop-up events and a 12-seat chef’s table space in West Village, McGarry plans to more permanently serve new American food in the 28-seat space from 8 a.m. to midnight, offering pastries during the day and small plates for dinner, the application notes. If the license is approved, only wine and beer will be available. McGarry was not immediately available for comment on Friday, according to a spokesperson.

The chef, who Vogue dubbed the “Justin Bieber of food,” first started a supper club in his parents’ house when he was 11-years-old. McGarry brought his pop-up Eureka to New York in 2014 with an eight-course tasting menu priced at $150 per person. At the time, he was 15-years-old and had already been featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine’s food issue....

Where to find the city’s best bread, pastry, cake, cookies, and more

One great thing about a city as vibrant as New York is that around every corner, within each neighborhood, there’s a great bakery lurking under a shy awning, behind a dusty facade, smelling of toasted flour and browned butter. But only a few places across the city’s boroughs make an array of great bread, pastries, and sweet cakes. The bakers and pastry chefs behind these shops are true talents in a city where only the very best survive.

For a bakery to be considered for this list, it must serve both yeasted breads and an assortment of breakfast pastries and more intricate sweets, such as cakes, pies, tarts, and cookies. Bakeries that only make a handful of items were excluded, as were strictly wholesale operations or those that only sell their goods at greenmarkets. Ahead, the 15 finalists that are essential to New York City’s bread and sweets scene.

Note: This map is arranged geographically from north to south.

Weekly inspiration for last-minute dining

Welcome to your weekend planner, where Eater editors recommend restaurants, cafes, and bars — whether they’re new and hot or the old standbys. As always, please let us know if you’d like to see something specific.


January 19

For Japanese bar food set to a bluesy beat: Rockmeisha might just be the city’s best izakaya, a place utterly devoid of pretense serving up Japanese, American, and Japanese-American bar food, some with punning names (“pinball gizzard”), along with discounted flagons of beer, sakes sometimes served in small screw top jars, and wines. Yes, it’s primarily a bar with a wrestling motif and some scratchy old blues records on the sound system. The place feels like an abandoned wood shed, but the food is often spectacular, from the mayo potato salad decorated with cod roe, to perfect fried chicken and fried smelts, and a nifty hand roll deal that gets you three for $16 before 7 p.m. 11 Barrow St., between West 4th Street and 7th Avenue South, Greenwich Village — Robert Sietsema, senior critic

For a small French menu with everything one could want: Calling Le French Diner quaint or darling would suffice to convince plenty to pile in for a weekend date night, but there’s really endless reasons worth visiting this restaurant on the quiet side of Orchard Street. Go solo, take a date, take a small group of three or four, and spend...

Plus, pizza that looks like Tide Pods — and more intel

NYC now has at least 30 food halls — and counting

Steve Cuozzo at the Post asks where NYC’s obsession with food halls ends. New York now has them in apartment buildings, office towers, hotels, shopping malls, the subway, train terminals, warehouse spaces, and storefronts. There are the massive spaces like Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City and DeKalb Market Hall at CityPoint in downtown Brooklyn. There’s also the tiny TurnStyle, tucked underground at the Columbus Circle subway station. The Anthony Bourdain-backed Pier 57 food hall plan was killed, but plenty of other food hall plans are in the works. “There are way too many of them,” James Famularo from real estate investment firm Eastern Consolidated told the Post. “Food halls are good for one thing these days — to occupy a space as a placeholder until the landlord finds a higher-paying, more permanent tenant.”

Brooklyn pizzeria rolls out edible Tide pod pizza pockets A...

Critic Robert Sietsema highlights some great affordable dishes around town

Three Great Cheap is a weekly series from critic Robert Sietsema that seeks to find and popularize New York City’s most interesting and inexpensive food in the five boroughs and beyond. Also consult the compact guide and map 60 Cheap Eats Destinations You Should Know About in NYC.


Hello Saigon

Lots of Vietnamese restaurants are springing up in unexpected places, not just on the fringes of Chinatowns as many were in the last century. Hello Saigon is Greenwich Village’s own, a rambling and comfortable place along the strip where NYU students go to party. While the menu has few surprises, it excels at familiar Vietnamese food with prices geared to student budgets.

The pho is top notch, an unfussy version with a broth that’s dark and flavorful without being overly salty. Don’t miss the giant beef balls that come with some versions and can be added as an option to others. (The place opens at 10:30 a.m., so pho is available for breakfast, as it should be.) Other menu highlights include bun bo Hue, the spicy, beef-based soup from the port city of Hue; the clay pot chicken with quail eggs; and the bun vermicelli with pork...

The celebrity chef accused of sexual misconduct remains financially tied to his restaurants

Looks like Mario Batali will still financially benefit from his popular restaurants for the foreseeable future, even though he’s stepped away from day-to-day operations following sexual misconduct allegations.

In a new Times piece about how restaurant empires are dealing with such allegations, the celebrity chef says that he’s focusing on personal time with his wife and won’t be making business plans for now. Batali’s primary business partner Joe Bastianich — who himself has been accused of fostering a “boys’ club” culture — adds that decisions have not yet been made on whether or not Batali will divest from ownership of about 24 restaurants across the country, such as the Michelin-starred Babbo and Del Posto.

Bastianich tells the Times: “Divorces are never easy. Do we buy out? Do we split restaurants? We may have intentions. He has intentions. Really, the decision is his. He’s going through a process. We’re going through a process. We’ll see.”

In December, Batali stepped away from operations of his restaurants after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct over the span of two decades in an Eater NY investigation. Shortly after, his restaurants started removing mentions of his name, as did Eataly, where he has a stake. Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group also plans to change its name, promoted chefs Nancy Silverton and Lidia Bastianich, and is taking additional...

Plus, East Village gets a new beef noodle shop — and more intel

Acclaimed NYC sushi restaurant to serve sushi made from $323,000 tuna

Earlier in the month, an 890-pound bluefin tuna sold at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market for $323,000, clocking in at nearly $800 per pound. The pricey fish was bought by the Onodera Group, which owns and operates several high-end sushi restaurants around the world, including the two Michelin-starred Sushi Ginza Onodera in Midtown. This week, the NYC outpost will be serving sushi made from the massive tuna as part of its regular omakase for no extra charge.

Video shows Joe Bastianich making racist and sexist comments

Mario Batali recently stepped away from B&B Hospitality Group in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, and the other half of the company, Joe Bastianich, has been accused of fostering the “boys’ club” culture of the restaurant group. Now, a recent episode of MasterChef Italia shows Bastianich making inappropriate sexual comments and spewing racism to two women while getting a manicure and pedicure at a beauty salon in Milan’s Chinatown. As Grub Street reports, Bastianich offered the following apology: “This was a scripted segment shot in a Milan nail salon that I’ve gone to regularly. I know the women, and we were given the questions to discuss in advance. That said, it’s clear that some of what I said was in poor taste and not reflective of my views....

The classic cheap eats destination was dinged with 116 points at most recent DOH inspection

Great N.Y. Noodletown might not doing so great right now. The restaurant — opened in Chinatown in 1981 and one of the most well-known places in the neighborhood — closed this month after a health department inspection found more than 100 violation points. The inspection, conducted on January 12, showed violations such as live roaches and issues with refrigeration.

The restaurant could not be reached for comment on whether the closure would be permanent or when they might reopen. Great N.Y. Noodletown’s official website has a page that acknowledges that the inspection indeed took place on January 12 but offers no further information about its implications.

The sanitary violations marked against Noodletown include evidence of rats or live rats, evidence of mice or live mice, live roaches present, several issues with refrigeration and contamination, and improper storage. A total of 116 points was docked.

The restaurant has long been known as a place for cheap eats and Cantonese classics, including for late-night restaurant visits. Back in 1994, Ruth Reichl gave the restaurant a two-star review, praising the wonton soup and chow fun with beef and yellow chives, and since then, it’s remained a stalwart of Chinatown dining.

The last graded inspection of the restaurant took place in August 2017 and reflected violations adding up to just 25 points, which converts to a...

Two custom-built sound systems make Indoors at Nowadays a destination for audiophiles

New York’s newest bar has a wild hodgepodge of things — offering everything from a space to listen to vinyl records in silence (and in blanket forts) to classes for people who want to nerd out on history.

Popular Ridgewood outdoor venue Nowadays today opened Indoors at Nowadays, a 5,000-square-foot converted warehouse bar that has dance floors, vinyl records for quiet listening, strategy board games, and even a class about Stranger Things taught by someone with a PhD in American history.

Owners Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin open the super extra bar on Thursday as a year-round way to continue Nowadays’ casual hangout, never-leave vibes. It’s located at 56-06 Cooper Avenue in Ridgewood, right next to the outdoor venue.

The outdoor Nowadays became popular in part for hosting electronic dance parties Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday, and here, the duo will be targeting audiophiles even more explicitly: The space features two meticulously-designed sound systems written up extensively in Vogue.

One for the dance floor was built by Craig Bernabeu, who learned the craft by running sound systems built by famed Richard Long, the sound system design master behind big 1980s LGBT scene discotheque Paradise Garage. Here, Bernabeu uses wood in hopes of absorbing sound.

The other sound system custom-built for Indoors at Nowadays pays tribute to the Japanese listening bars of Tokyo. This vintage tube-amp system...

Eater critic Ryan Sutton issues a BUY rating on the spendy soup

One of the longstanding ironies of the New York gastronomic world is while that a bowl of ramen rarely exceeds $15, a plate of pasta can easily command double that. In spite of the popularity of noodle soup and the skilled labor necessary to produce it, chefs who serve it have experienced difficulties charging what their American or European peers have for spaghetti or pappardelle.

I remember chatting with Momofuku Noodle Bar’s David Chang well over half a decade ago; he argued that he should’ve been pricing his ramen in the $20 range. And while the cost of dining at Noodle Bar has risen over the years, the ramen still tops out at $18. With one notable exception: Noodle Bar serves a black truffle ramen for $49. It’s tempting to dismiss it as stunt food, but a minute of reflection prompts the thought: How different is it from a classic truffled broth or truffled fettuccine?

Ryan Sutton

What is different, however, is the setting in which it’s served: a stripped-down space with a busy open kitchen. And the result is that folks who prefer to dine at these lean counters (rather than more traditional sit-down restaurants) are now getting...

From luxe omakases to quality-driven neighborhood gems

New York's sushi scene has come a long way over the last two decades — so much so that good sashimi and nigiri in can be found in most neighborhoods. While the city has long been home to dependable local places slinging both tame and exotic rolls, more recently Manhattan has experienced an influx of high-end omakase bars that floss wagyu nigiri and caviar hand rolls like diamond rings. Today, at better sushi bars, fresh wasabi is standard, not special, and chefs compete for the best Santa Barbara and Kyushu uni, proudly piling the urchin atop carefully pressed mounds of seasoned warm rice. And while the spendy sushi trend doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon, the good news is that all this stellar seafood is inspiring heathy competition among local chefs, yielding a new slew of restaurants — like Uogashi and Sushi Katsuei — which strive to serve great fish at an accessible price.

Below, this guide spans the gamut from top-tier Masa, one of America’s most expensive restaurants, to the quality-driven neighborhood gem that still might cook chicken teriyaki. With that in mind, here is a list of NYC's sushi houses that are a cut above the rest.

Note: Restaurants arranged geographically from north to south. This is an updated map originally published in 2016.

A visiting “birthday girl” wants to celebrate with wings

Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater New York where the site’s editors, reporters, and critics answer specific or baffling restaurant requests from readers and friends. A new question and answer will run every Thursday. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.


Hi Eater,

I’m traveling to NYC for my birthday and want the best ever chicken wings, but also somewhere nice for a birthday dinner. We’re not shy to pay for quality but equally don’t like to walk out hungry and need to go McDonald’s after — basically: quality food, good presentation, but not big plate/small meal syndrome please. Thanks in advance from this upcoming birthday girl.

Wing-Loving Birthday Girl

Hey WLBG,

Yes, chicken wings are in fact a fantastic food to eat on your birthday, or really, any day. New York City is full of top notch options, and by far the best chicken wing I’ve had in my life came from Bar Goto, a small but sexy Japanese cocktail bar on LES.

I have had many wings over time, and the miso ones here are truly phenomenal. They’re small but powerful. The wings are crunchy without being greasy, saucy and flavorful...

A weekly updated roundup of shutters throughout New York City

January 18

— The Brazilian, Peruvian, and Japanese sushi bar Sushisamba has closed its iconic West Village location, made popular on the show Sex And The City. The clubby sushi spot lived on Seventh Avenue for 17 years and became more of a tourist destination after its initial SATC glamour. While locations remain open in London, Miami Beach, Las Vegas, and Amsterdam, there are no longer any Sushisambas left in New York, as the original Gramercy location closed in 2014.

TFOR, an Italian trattoria that focused on raw foods, has shuttered in Greenwich Village.

— San Francisco import Sushirrito has closed its Flatiron location. “We could have easily switched to cheaper fish and ingredients, but we would rather close than sacrifice our quality since we exist for a deeper purpose other than solely to generate profits. Unfortunately, because of the lack of sufficient traction in this area, combined with the high rents, we are holding true to our values and are therefore closing this store,” a statement from management posted in the window of the space reads.

West Side Rag reports that tapas restaurant Barcibo Mediterraneo has closed.

— Fifty-year-old Upper West Side diner Broadway Restaurant has been closed ever since a fire earlier in the year.

— East Village cheesesteak restaurant The Joint closed, and the space is now for rent.

New York Sushi Ko...

Chef-owner Richard Ho opens the tiny East Village Ho Foods today

Taiwanese comfort food has a new home in the East Village starting today. Ho Foods is a new restaurant from chef-owner Richard Ho, who opened a series of Ho Foods pop-ups in 2015 and 2016. It specializes in beef noodle soup, presenting a modernized take on homestyle Taiwanese food.

The 10-seat restaurant is located at 110 E 7th St., between Avenue A and First Avenue, in the space that used to house sandwich shop Porchetta. Ho previously worked front of house in the Blue Ribbon Sushi locations in Brooklyn and Columbus Circle.

Taiwanese restaurants are increasingly carving out space in the New York dining scene. As Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema writes in his guide to great Taiwanese restaurants in NYC, a decade ago there were only a few Taiwanese restaurants in town. Now there are dozens. Ho’s food, which he tells Grub Street reflects his mother’s cooking with his own modifications, is part of the movement toward a more modernized Taiwanese cuisine.

Ho’s signature beef noodle soup is made with rock sugar, the fermented bean paste called doubanjiang, and a variety of spices including licorice, clove, cinnamon, and red Sichuan peppercorns. He uses beef shank and a 24-hour broth made from bones, beef feet, and marrow. Diners can then choose either thick or wide wheat noodles and have the option of adding tendon or making the soup extra...

The small chain sells a platter of three skewers plus bread and rice for $10

As a certain strain of monotony continues to overtake much of the New York dining world, Hell’s Kitchen has seen almost precisely the opposite. Over the past two years the neighborhood has gained a new Cuban lunch spot (Sophie’s), a Venezuelan stall (Arepa Factory), a Taiwanese takeout joint (Zai Lai), a stunning Italian bakery (Corner Slice), an ambitious Mexican canteen (Tacuba), a small plates seafood spot (Gloria), and a South American salteña spot (Bolivian Llama Party).

Add all of these to a corner of the city that already has some of the best mid-range Japanese spots, then ask yourself why you’re not hanging out in HK more often. Perhaps you’ve been holding out for a Uyghur spot? Well, we have one of those now too.

Kebab Empire, a counter service halal spot that opened this month, claims to be the “first Uyghur kebab chain” — there’s also a location in Flushing — and that its founder, Kudret Yakup, was the “first Uyghur graduate of Harvard College.”

I cannot independently verify those assertions, but what I can tell you is that Yakup, a financier from Urumqi, Xinjiang — an autonomous province in Western China — has given Manhattan a damn good place to eat.

Ryan...

Angie Mar is being sued for allegedly not paying full minimum wage

Rising star chef Angie Mar and her meat-fueled West Village hotspot The Beatrice Inn are being sued for not properly paying staff.

The lawsuit, as first reported by the Post, was ironically filed the same day that the Times published a lengthy profile on Mar with an emphasis on her attempt to change kitchen culture and quotes saying that staff “loved her.”

According to the complaint filed on Tuesday afternoon, a former bartender named Dmitry Gurvitis — who worked at the restaurant for about four months last year — claims that he earned the lower, tipped minimum wage even though more than 20 percent of his work duties included tasks that did not lead to tips. He names work like ironing tablecloths, folding napkins, cutting lemons, and stocking the bar with supplies like straws and juices. Gurvitis also accuses Mar of distributing tips to people who do not qualify for them, such as bar managers, and of not paying overtime wages.

He is attempting to make it a class action lawsuit covering at least 50 people and is suing for an unspecified amount of money. See the full complaint below.

In a statement to Eater, Mar denied the allegations. “We have always done everything by the book,” she said. “I look forward to defending my position.”

Mar took over The Beatrice Inn from previous owner Graydon Carter...