This week I awarded two stars to Jean-Georges and Cedric Vongerichten’s Perry. St, a restaurant that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Click through for the full review, but here I thought I’d tease out a few facts about the restaurant, which once sported a Michelin star: 
Cost of Sandy-related renovations: $420,000
Cost of Sandy-related staff relocation: $352,000
Estimated loss of business from 4 month closure: $1.12 million.
Cost of pre-Sandy tasting menu: $68
Cost of post-Sandy tasting menu: $78 
Cost of wicked good good fried chicken: $26
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All things considered, Perry St.’s prices are still quite reasonable. If only the restaurant ditched the backless lounge chairs, where I was sat for dinner one night. And if only Jean-Georges invested in a service staff with a bit more passion, training, and love for the hospitality industry. 
Walk into any Danny Meyer restaurant, then walk into Perry St. and you’ll see what I mean. Bartenders, who needed to be flagged down to take orders, who shied away from eye contact, and who on one occasion could not be found behind the bar at all for a few moments, made our meal at that part of this neighborhood restaurant a relatively unwelcoming experience.
I hope Perry St. sets the hospitality (and wine program) right, because the restaurant has such a amazing story to tell, having recovered from the worst storm to ravage our city in a generation. And yet the service I received on the first two visits wouldn’t have passed muster at a corporate airport lounge (props to the fine & friendly service on visit number three). A neighborhood restaurant should be like “Cheers,” a place where everyone knows your name.
The eight-year old Perry St. is not yet that restaurant. 

This week I awarded two stars to Jean-Georges and Cedric Vongerichten’s Perry. St, a restaurant that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Click through for the full review, but here I thought I’d tease out a few facts about the restaurant, which once sported a Michelin star: 

  • Cost of Sandy-related renovations: $420,000
  • Cost of Sandy-related staff relocation: $352,000
  • Estimated loss of business from 4 month closure: $1.12 million.
  • Cost of pre-Sandy tasting menu: $68
  • Cost of post-Sandy tasting menu: $78 
  • Cost of wicked good good fried chicken: $26

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Dear Groupon: I appreciate you trying to get folks to my hometown of Long Beach, which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. But maybe if you did a little fact checking, or heck, if you just looked at any photos of Long Beach, instead of pumping out deals at a mile a minute, you’d have realized that our boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. I realize this is a restaurant deal, and you know what, it’s actually a pretty good deal (50% off sturgeon caviar!!). But to advertise a boardwalk that isn’t there, that’s unfair for the tourists and insulting to the locals. Not cool guys. 
Bad Deal Rule #132: If you can’t afford to fact check your deals, you shouldn’t be offering any deals. 
ZoomInfo
Dear Groupon: I appreciate you trying to get folks to my hometown of Long Beach, which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. But maybe if you did a little fact checking, or heck, if you just looked at any photos of Long Beach, instead of pumping out deals at a mile a minute, you’d have realized that our boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. I realize this is a restaurant deal, and you know what, it’s actually a pretty good deal (50% off sturgeon caviar!!). But to advertise a boardwalk that isn’t there, that’s unfair for the tourists and insulting to the locals. Not cool guys. 
Bad Deal Rule #132: If you can’t afford to fact check your deals, you shouldn’t be offering any deals. 
ZoomInfo

Dear Groupon: I appreciate you trying to get folks to my hometown of Long Beach, which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. But maybe if you did a little fact checking, or heck, if you just looked at any photos of Long Beach, instead of pumping out deals at a mile a minute, you’d have realized that our boardwalk was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. I realize this is a restaurant deal, and you know what, it’s actually a pretty good deal (50% off sturgeon caviar!!). But to advertise a boardwalk that isn’t there, that’s unfair for the tourists and insulting to the locals. Not cool guys. 

Bad Deal Rule #132: If you can’t afford to fact check your deals, you shouldn’t be offering any deals. 

Here's How You Can Benefit Hurricane Sandy Relief by Buying Really Expensive Wines4

Kudos to John Ragan, wine director of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group for organizing this online auction, which will benefit Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. Right now, there’s not a single dollar bid for the 1990 Krug Clos du Mesnil, which was donated by Trestle on Tenth. The retail price for that wine is about $625. The starting bid is just $25.

No, we’re not saying you should use the prospect of getting a good wine on the cheap as your central motivation for participating in a charity auction. But then again, that wouldn’t be the worst thing either. It’s this sense of “greed,” after all, that will likely dictate these prices up sooner than you can say CHAMPAGNE.

Of course, the potential for saving money isn’t the only economic force at work here. It’s been shown in the past that charity buyers, rather than looking for a bargain, occassionally are willing to bid each other up and pay way above retail due to the motivating force of what I call “ostentatious generosity” (which perhaps is just a euphemism for sating your ego). In other words, the so-called value of what you’re going to purchase increases proportionally with the amount of public approbation you think you’ll receive from helping save the world.

And because these items have been donated, they don’t even really need to sell above cost to benefit the charity (though it would be a shame if they didn’t approach retail price). So whether your motivating force be greed or ego, this all appears to be a GOOD DEAL.

"The state of Red Hook is still pretty abysmal." That’s what Red Hook Lobster Pound co-owner Susan Povich tells Eater in this otherwise inspiring video about how the fish shack got back on its fine feet and reopened on Friday, almost five months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the small business. As we reported last week, the Red Hook lobster rolls are still just $16. They are a GOOD DEAL and a STRONG BUY. 

Eater gives us the second installment of its excellent “Sandy Chronicles” series, documenting how the owners of Home/Made, Barbarini Alimentari and Almondine struggle to get back on their feet in the aftermath of the biggest storm to hit New York in a generation.

Sadly, we already know the Barbarini people have decided to leave their home on South Street seaport, as Eater reported in December. The restaurant’s GoFundMe campaign is still active and has raised nearly $16,000 toward its $50,000 goal. 

City Grit Is on Tumblr, Y'all. 4

DEAREST BAD DEALERS! This is a public service announcement to remind you that Sarah Simmons’ CITY GRIT, a permanent NYC pop-up that hosts a rotating series of visiting chefs, is on Tumblr. 

City Grit, which reported about $30,000 in losses from Superstorm Sandy, famously hosted a $300 per person “Do It Your Part” dinner series in December with Bon Appetit to aid in the relief effort. 

Of course, other City Grit events are less expensive; tickets to next weekend’s meals with Peter Dale (The Nation, F&W Best New Chef) are $75 apiece. For updates on upcoming dinners and to purchase tickets, you can follow the good people of City Grit right here. And please do let us at The Price Hike & The Bad Deal know about your City Grit experiences, we’d love to hear. 

citygritnyc:

The Good People at Eater continue with their outstanding coverage of restaurants recovering (or not) from Hurricane Sandy, the most devastating storm to hit New York in a generation. 

As such, here’s the first installment Eater’s Sandy Chronicles, a video series documenting the road forward (if there is one) for Almondine in DUMBO, Home/Made in Red Hook, and Barbarini Alimentari on the South Street Seaport. Watch it.  

Red Hook in South Brooklyn was devastated by the floodwaters of Superstorm Sandy. So the people behind Dry Dock Wine & Spirits, Fort Defiance, The Good Fork and others have teamed up to publish this e-cookbook, as the NYT’s Pete Wells first reported. All proceeds will go to Restore Red Hook, a relief group that gives aid to local businesses hurt by Sandy. 
We at The Bad Deal have always used our bully pulpit to promote the cause of digital cookbooks, which don’t cost our world more trees and which don’t weigh eighty pounds. And we’ve tried to promote the cause of hospitality-industry related Sandy relief. So with that logic in mind it’s all pretty simple; we have ourselves a GOOD DEAL. The book is $15. We just bought our copy. 

Red Hook in South Brooklyn was devastated by the floodwaters of Superstorm Sandy. So the people behind Dry Dock Wine & Spirits, Fort Defiance, The Good Fork and others have teamed up to publish this e-cookbook, as the NYT’s Pete Wells first reported. All proceeds will go to Restore Red Hook, a relief group that gives aid to local businesses hurt by Sandy. 

We at The Bad Deal have always used our bully pulpit to promote the cause of digital cookbooks, which don’t cost our world more trees and which don’t weigh eighty pounds. And we’ve tried to promote the cause of hospitality-industry related Sandy relief. So with that logic in mind it’s all pretty simple; we have ourselves a GOOD DEAL. The book is $15. We just bought our copy. 

Sandy be damned. Our best new Manhattan restaurants are downtown restaurants.4

The Bad Deal’s Ryan Sutton (that’s me) publishes his “best new restaurants of 2012.” And guess what? Even after Sandy struck, there’s never been a better time to eat out in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn or Jersey City. We’ll deal with some of NYC’s most disappointing new venues tomorrow, but for now, this is where we should be eating. Not a single one of these Sutton Selections lies above 28th St. 

The Importance of Hearth

Generosity, philanthropy, community and love all affect flavor. This why our mother’s roast beef tastes better. That’s why we you wait on absurd lines during free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s. That’s why we can stomach bad food at good weddings.*

And that’s why, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which left scores without heat, hot water and electricity, I like to think we’re rightly being drawn toward restaurants that don’t simply serve good food (of which there’s a surfeit), but rather toward restaurants that are linchpins of our society, that give back to those who are down on their luck.

Or let me put it this way, I like to think (and hope) that restaurants that make philanthropy a regular part of their business model will have an edge in our post-Sandy world. I don’t mean that cynically, I mean that honestly and earnestly. These are places that make us feel better.

So it goes that the excellent and extra-charitable Hearth is the subject of my three star Bloomberg News review today, a restaurant that makes me feel better when I eat there. Marco Canora and Paul Grieco’s East Village restaurant, which shuttered for six days in the wake of Sandy, raised $12,500 for New York Food Flood on Monday, a grassroots organization that helps feed hungry New Yorkers in the wake of the worst storm to hit our city in a generation. Tertulia’s Seamus Mullen, The Dutch’s Andrew Carmellini and Aldea’s George Mendes are all founding members of this fine group.

Now, as I explain in my review, it was actually an ALS benefit in September that first brought me back to Hearth for the first time in a long time. I don’t typically attend those events, but it’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart (the father of one of my close friends was recently diagnosed). It was a moving night, in honor of Gerry Hayden, who runs North Fork Table & Inn, as well as Kevin Swan, a former Hearth server, both of whom suffer from the incurable disease.

It was that benefit that prompted me to start going back to Hearth as a patron, which I eventually did after Sandy. Or if I can flip that statement on its head: If it weren’t for that benefit, I probably wouldn’t have started eating at Hearth again, if for no other reason than it simply wasn’t on my radar, either as a critic or as guy who eats out a lot. So I’m glad I went. I’m glad I was reacquainted with a restaurant that serves food worthy of a Michelin star (even though it incorrectly lacks one). And I’m glad that Hearth is a vital and thriving member of our community. The place is packed. Rightly so.

*Note: Out of honestly, I should point out that I refuse to eat bad food at any wedding, and have been known to shun certain underperforming dishes at family dinners.