“I think we’ve had a little bit difficulty connecting to the Bolivians, so one of our challenges is to get local diners to frequent us as happily and as often as people who come from Australia or Europe or the United States.”
Claus Meyer, a co-owner at Noma, talks with
Eater’s Amy McKeever about the challenges of Gustu, his restaurant in Bolivia where an extended wine-paired tasting menu costs about $130. That’s much less than a $900 dinner at Noma, but a few dollars more than what Bolivians are used to spending (or can afford to spend) on food.
Burrito Ends. That’s right folks. Eater’s Greg Morabito thinks he’s onto the NEXT BIG THING. Move over, cronuts.
“We’ve raised most of the money that we need to renovate a new place and for permits and all those big-ticket items [for which] I’m willing to give up equity for my business. But as a business person and someone that’s put all of my money and two years of my life into City Grit, I wasn’t willing to give up more equity for money that’s going to sit in someone’s bank account for 15 years.”
Sarah Simmons, who’s $100,000 Kickstarter went unfunded, talks with Eater about the difficulties of keeping financial ownership over City Grit, the restaurant and culinary salon she founded.
City Grit hosts a rotating series of pop-up dinners throughout the year, often giving young chefs a chance to try out their ideas in New York before committing to a brick-and-mortar institution. For the culinary community, it is among our most important spaces.
Simmons is currently seeking funding on the City Grit website.
Larry Forgione was one of the original gangstas of New American Cuisine, with its emphasis on seasonal, green market-style preparations. Now we have his son, Mark, giving New York yet another expensive steakhouse serving giant hunks of meat. Will it be good? Probably. Does it seem right? Not quite.
“Listen: No one can sell sparkling Italian wines. Franciacorta? Doesn’t sell. And it’s not because the wines are bad. It’s because people don’t showcase it, or present it in the right way. Everything can be great if you put it in the right perspective and put it in the right position to sell it.”
Chris Cannon drops some wine knowledge
on us. He’s the guy who used to run Alto & Convivio. Now he’s involved with All’Onda, Chris Jaeckle’s soon-to-open Japanese-inflected Italian joint. Nice interview by Eater.
“Zimmern suggests that a restaurateur might turn to Kickstarter because it offers the cash infusion of private investment without the strings. Private investors — who want things like a say in the direction of a restaurant they gave money to — can be “bad for making art.” It just remains to be seen whether customers will keep on giving, even if they are excited about having a new restaurant in their neighborhood and their name on the wall.”
From Eater’s fine piece contemplating how restaurateurs are increasingly turning to Kickstarter funding. The flip side of course is that private restaurant investors are sometimes accomplished hospitality professionals who know how to make businesses work. And such investors have a high incentive to make things work (i.e. they want their money back and a return on their investment in three to five years).
Those who fund Kickstarters don’t really get their money back in traditional ways, but rather in the form of free meals, VIP status, etc. So Kickstarter is definitely a different ballgame in terms of to whom and how the recipients of the funding are accountable.
“For a time fondue parties were compulsory events, handily eclipsing cocktail parties. Nowadays when you go to a street fair or flea market you’re likely to spot fondue sets in mint condition, still unused in their original wrappers. Because nobody really liked fondue parties.”
Robert Sietsema, writing for Eater, reminds us
to keep a level head about things amid the mass hysteria of ramen burgersand other trendy frivolities. He mentions cronuts too but let’s be real cronuts are legit and here to stay. But are cronuts worth getting up at 5am in the morning for? No way Jose.
el Bulli the exhibition, apparently, is not as popular as el Bulli the restaurant.
And the “future of burgers are non-beef burgers.” The Good People at Eater invited me to discuss the importance of burgers in my reviews for Bloomberg News and very real difficulties involved in trying to write a compelling critique about something that we all have very ingrained opinions about.
San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer awarded three out of four stars to Joshua Skenes’ relocated and revamped Saison. He praised the cuisine, but said the $298 per person establishment doesn’t “treat the customer with as much respect as it treats the food.”
I had the good fortune of talking with chef Skenes on Monday during a phone interview for another piece I’m working on. When I asked Skenes about Bauer’s column, the chef kept his comments relatively brief, saying ”With all criticism, there’s something to be learned. We have to take what’s good…and discard the rest for our own sanity. What we’re doing is different. It’s not the norm; it doesn’t fit into a standardized mold for America especially."
He went on: “We cherish our guests, that’s the most important thing I took away from that review. Without our guests we’re nothing, and no restaurant is.”
“t’s really only the press who seem to feel that having a restaurant and a vagina is some kind of bizarre dual ownership situation. Because female chefs get so little press coverage it’s easy for food writers to believe they’re as rare as unicorns, but if they just looked around a little bit they’d find plenty of us out here.”
Eater National’s Amy McKeever
asks: “What is it like being asked what it’s like being a female chef?,” and Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy, as always, has an answer. Click through
for the full, excellent interviews with Cohen, Momofuku’s Christina Tosi, Stir’s Kristen Kish and others.
Here’s a Tale of Two Carbones: If you’re hungry and decide to Google “Carbone NYC,” the first search result to show up is Carbone #1, a Hells Kitchen spot that hasn’t really come up on the radar of New York’s powerful and fickle culinary cognoscenti. Problem is, New York’s powerful and fickle culinary cognoscenti have been oohing and aahing over Carbone #2, a high-end Greenwich Village red sauce joint brought to us by the boys behind the awesome Torrisi Italian Specialties.
Of course, Google doesn’t appear to realize any of this, which is why Gael Greene, one of the archduchesses of food writing, tweeted that she spent 20 minutes at Carbone #1 last night before the manager informed her she might be in the wrong location.
Now it would be easy to criticize Google and claim that this is an example of what happens when faulty algorithms dictate search results instead of contemporary human relevance. But since Carbone #2 is packed every night and Carbone #1 presumably isn’t, you know what? Maybe there’s something cosmically appropriate about all this. If I were the owner of Carbone #1, I’d be doing a helluva job to try to keep people there.
And if New York City can peaceably accommodate Nomad and The NoMad, there’s enough room in this town for two Carbones. I’m sure of it.
We only hope customers get their 20% back if there’s a robbery. Right? Shout out to Eater for bringing this Fox story to our attention.
“Whales like it when you use their name. I like to get it out there right away. “Hey, Mr. Whale, great to see you again!” This plus eye contact is a magic incantation. They used to say that you shouldn’t try to shake the hand of a Whale, but all the best sommeliers these days are big touchers. Handshakes are passé, though. Hugs are more popular. Pascaline Lepeltier, Carla Rzeszewski, Laura Maniec: they give out hugs like busboys give out tap water. Hell, Mike Madrigale can barely talk to you if he can’t hold your left bicep for emphasis. An arm squeeze from him is like an exclamation point. The way it works nowadays, the sommelier presses flesh first, and then pours second.”
Levi Dalton knows a thing or two about pouring wine for rich people
; he used to be the beverage director at Masa, America’s most expensive restaurant. His Eater Essay
on dealing with Whales is a most wonderful read. Check it out.