Good Friday morning. Here in DC, a lot of folks (your author included) are still recovering from Wednesday night’s Chefs for Equality party. It was an absolute blast, and underscored for the millionth time just how generous the restaurant industry is to the many communities it serves. Thanks to all you chefs and restaurateurs out there who donate your time, money, and energy to great causes around the country!
Now let’s get to it…
Chicago’s Turn – We’re talking Michelin, not baseball. Stars are set to be awarded Wednesday, but the Bib Gourmands are out. Newcomers The Bristol(which I think was actually on before, just not last year), Dos Urbana Cantina, and San Soo Gab San joined the list, and while nine restaurants were knocked off, I won’t speculate on what omission means until we see the full book next week…
Meanwhile in Brexit-land – The Michelin “Pub Guide” has been finalized, and according to the Sun: “A BOOZER serving devilled mussels on toast, skate with shrimps and turnip tops, and pheasant and trotter pie has been named Michelin Pub of the Year.” (FYI: by “A BOOZER” they mean The Marksman in East London.)
At Zagat, 5.0 is the new 30 – Story in the NYT: “After more than 37 years, the original format for rating restaurants, based on a scale of 1 to 30… is gone. In its place are rankings that go from 1.0 to 5.0, with decimals. The change was made, said a spokeswoman for the survey, now owned by Google, because the Zagat audience preferred a simpler system. In the 2017 guide, Le Bernardin, which has received the top rating for food every year since 2010 (that’s what is not news), gets a 4.9 out of 5.0 instead of a 29 out of a possible 30. Le Bernardin also came in tops for service. Best for décor was Asiate.”
Fowler & Wells – Tom Colicchio’s Beekman Hotel project is finally in soft open. We are all very excited for him, and I am especially happy for purveyors of tiny lampshades, who are clearly having a moment. Pics and menu here. (Not open yet, but coming soon to the same hotel, Kieth McNally’s bistro Augustine has some pics out today too).
Baby Bibendum – Apparently when Michelin called Lazy Bear chef David Barzelay to let him know he’d moved up to two star status on Tuesday, he was in the car en route to the hospital to have his second child (third, counting Lazy Bear).
Young Gun Troubles – Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s Shaw Bijou in DC has lost a key chef before the restaurant even opens. Michael Ellish (a NOLA product of the John Besh school) tells CityPaper’s Laura Hayes his departure was “more personal than business” but then adds fighting words: “Anything you’ll get at Shaw Bijou you can get [at Barrel] for a third of the price… We’re not waving magic wands and making crazy food. We take a base dish and tweak it a little bit. Super easy.” At $962 for a date night, Shaw Bijou does not want guests to leave with “super easy” on their minds, but Onwuachi is taking the gracious approach, telling Hayes, “It was a pleasure working with chef Ellish. We wish him all the best with his new venture and really look forward to trying his food.”
This Family Meal invites you to Cruise the Caribbean with Celebrity Chefs — Curated by The List Are You On It‘s very own Nycci Nellis, Celebrity Cruises’ first ever D.C. Chefs Cruise includes renowned chefs Mike Isabella, Marjorie Meek-Bradley, and David Guas paired perfectly with bartender Derek Brown. The cruise embarks January 28, 2017 from Miami for a week of culinary collaborations with cooking demos, meal pairings, cocktail receptions, private dining, and serious poolside relaxation. Stops in Cozumel for an exclusive private beach BBQ prepared by the celebrity chefs, the Grand Caymans, Jamaica, and Hispaniola punctuate a never-to-be-forgotten, all-inclusive, top-notch premium cruise that only Celebrity Cruises and Nycci could cook up. All-inclusive pricing starts at around $1700 per person; it only requires a $320 per person deposit to reserve your room. NEW Through October 2, pay one cruise fare, get a second cruise fare half off. Lower cost, all the same perks! Don’t be left standing on the dock! (dcchefscruise.com)
Trump doesn’t drink, but look: Trump drinks! – At Barrel, where Elish is taking over, there’s a hilarious new Trump themed “secret” cocktail bar with an oversized menu to make your hands feel less than bigly…
The math on NYC restaurants – The NYT has a full breakdown on East Coast (read: NYC) vs. West Coast (SF and LA) costs, and finds some brutal differences, ending on this note: “None of it matters unless the basic numbers work. [Richard Coraine of Union Square Hospitality Group] says that in New York, they don’t. He believes the city has already forfeited its culinary supremacy, a casualty of costs. ‘People are leaving to find their dreams elsewhere,’ he said. When ambitious young chefs come to him for advice, his answer is terse: ‘Los Angeles,’ is what he tells them. ‘And I’m not kidding.’”
Thomas Keller hit with pregnancy discrimination suit – A Per Se server looking to transfer to The French Laundry apparently tried to make the move while pregnant and says she was shut out of a promised job because of it. According to the Napa Valley Register, “Scott-Allen is seeking an estimated $5 million in damages for allegations that include fraud and deceit, sex discrimination, violation of pregnancy disability leave law, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied contract, wrongful termination and failure to prevent discrimination, as well as violations of labor codes and the California Family Rights Act.” Damn.
You literally can’t go HOME again – because the NYT says “HOME, one of the first farm-to-table restaurants and a fixture in Greenwich Village for 23 years… is now gone.”
But David Chang will finally let you get comfy at his house – The chef is on something of an apology tour of New York, adding seatbacks to Saam Bar, and admitting mistakes at Nishi. Turns out making diners uncomfortable was bad for business. Who knew?
Digestif: I didn’t know I liked reading old restaurant reviews until an internet rabbit-hole took me back to Ruth Reichl’s review of 90’s LA hotspot Monkey Bar: “Mickey Rourke slinks into the restaurant. Still no stir. At the next table, the waiter valiantly tries to speak French with a Parisian customer upset to find herb-and-olive-spiked oil on the table instead of butter. ‘Pourquoi pas du beurre?’ she asks as Rourke slips past. ‘Pourquoi pas indeed?’ the waiter replies, running off to get butter.” – Pic of a certain 90210 couple at Monkey Bar (a mid-way point down the rabbit hole) here.
And that’s it for Friday. Have a fantastic Halloween weekend, everybody! If you’re working, make lots of money. If you’re not, eat good food and tip well!