This was fun to do last week so I thought I’d do it again. As you all know, Wednesday is food day in the nation’s papers. For your convenience, I will wade through everything (including food blogs too) to find the best for you to read today. Why? Because I like you!
(1) The Lee Bros. write about meatballs in today’s New York Times. Having attempted long-cooked sugo and meatballs (and having not been too thrilled with the results), I definitely have an appreciation for a quality restaurant meatball. Those A Voce meatballs were pretty spectacular when I had them:
As were these sliders at The Little Owl:
It seems the formula for successful restaurant fare, these days, is to choose something deeply comforting and then to innovate it just enough to be new. Today meatballs, tomorrow–peanut butter and jelly?
(2) Frank Bruni three stars the Gramercy Tavern. Sayeth Bruni, “There are restaurants with more shimmer, and there are certainly restaurants with more spark. There are restaurants that take bigger chances and stake bolder claims to your attention. But is there a restaurant in this city more beloved than Gramercy Tavern?” Hmmmm. Well I’ve eaten there once before, and though I didn’t belove it, I see what he means. I’d argue it’s another Danny Meyer restaurant that’s the most beloved (though it’s not really a restaurant): Shake Shack. Craig and I were there last night and I made the observation, “Boy, this city really loves this place.” And it’s just a tiny bit cheaper than the Gramercy Tavern.
(3) Ed Levine sparked controversy on Serious Eats when he asked: “Is imitation always the highest form of flatter?” He was talking, of course, about one of the most peculiar phenomenons of New York’s restaurant scene: the copy-catting of Rebecca Charles’s Pearl Oyster Bar. You may recall the video I made where Ms. Charles taught me how to make her lobster roll over the phone. Since then, I’ve spoken to her many times at Pearl and she’s an impressive, intelligent, and inspiring woman. You can see why so many young chefs and wannabes are drawn to her. What you can’t see is how they can so blatantly copy her. I happen to live across the street from Brooklyn Fish Camp and I go there quite frequently because it’s so convenient. I may regret saying this, but it pales in comparison to Pearl. The Caesar (which they just put on the summer menu) is limp and has nowhere near as much impact as Pearl’s garlic and anchovy assault. I once had a conch chowder at BFC that was so under-seasoned, I didn’t eat it. Pearl, on the other hand, never misses. It’s a New York institution and no matter who tries to steal its thunder, it will always crack the loudest. I may even be heading there now!
(4) Say it ain’t so, SliceNY! Adam Kuban reports that Di Fara is closed indefinitely. As you may recall, my experience there a few months ago was a religious one. May the gods smile on Di Fara once more and inspire Dominic to wear gloves to keep the Feds off his back.
(5) Marion Burros says only eat asparagus when it’s in season. And now is the season. So eat it!
(6) Alan Sytsma makes a compelling argument against soft-shell crabs on the Gourmet blog. Sayeth Alan, “They’re juicy, they have that distinctive sweet briney crab flavor, and–and it’s time somebody said this–they just aren’t that good.”
(7) I’m loving Dorie Greenspan’s new blog. The masthead is adorable and the writing is really down to earth and fun. It makes me want to go buy all of her books, which I guess is the point!
And that, my friends, is today’s Wednesday wade-through. Have a great day.