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NEW YORK CORNER: by John Mariani
TROTTER RETURNS TO VEGAS
Restaurant Charlie/Bar Charlie
“Why wouldn’t we be?” is the answer
Charlie Trotter gives me when I ask him if his Las Vegas location is
going to weather the economic storm and stay open. “Business is down in
Chicago and everywhere about 20%,” he continues, “and private parties
have disappeared (people won’t book because they think it’s bad form),
but we’re working harder and trimming labor costs and still think
Restaurant Charlie provides a serious value for the level of cooking
Expect to pay at least $200/person at Bar
Charlie. In the main restaurant, dishes can be ordered à la
carte, and prices range from $20-$32 for appetizers, and $38-$75 for
main courses. The restaurant is open for dinner only.
Since 1995 John A.
Curtas has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and
reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also the
restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past
reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org.
It is almost impossible to cover Italian
restaurants in NYC because the good old ones endure and the new ones
pop up like spring arugula. NYC has plenty of superb, high-end ristoranti like Barbetta, Del
Posto, and Alto, Babbo, San Pietro and others, and scores of lovably
old-fashioned places like Patsy's, Mario's, and Rao's. But increasingly
NYC is getting more and more evocative, often regional trattorias with
owners and chefs wholly committed to serving the same food you'll find
in counterparts in Bari, Pescara, Bologna, and Genoa. Some of
these stellar trattorias I have already written about in this
newsletter, including Il
Otto Nove, Felice,
Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto, Nizza,
and others. Here are two new ones I am very, very happy about.
who continue to snub the Upper East Side about a lack of good
restaurants are the same ones now claiming there are dozens on the West
gripe is even remotely true. Opus is one of
many good restaurants on the UES that rank with the best
trattorias in New York--certainly better than so many newcomers on the
Lower East Side or
NoLita. And Opus is a
trattoria, although those who
recall the enchanting Lentini down the block will find the menus
well, they should, for the Lentini Brothers, Enzo up front, Giuseppe in
the kitchen, ran Lentini for ten years before running out their lease.
Rather than keep the old name, the brothers decided to give a boost to
their charming new eatery by giving it a new name; many of the favorite
old dishes remain intact, along with an admirable appeal to those who
must eat gluten-free, with a whole section devoted to such dishes,
including pastas, here made with cornmeal flour rather than wheat.
Opus is open daily, from 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Antipasti run $8-$15, pizzas $15-$19, pastas (whole portions) $16-$20, and main courses $18-$35.
2888 Broadway (at 112th Street)
West Side, which ignoramuses used to decry as Siberia but who now
contend is lined with good restaurants, may now add to their list of
the latter the year-old Campo
on Morningside Heights, and the
restaurant is going very strong in a neighborhood that has been so
gentrified in the nicest possible way that strolling down Broadway or
eating outside of Campo are two of the most delightful ways to pass an
early summer's evening in NYC.
Campo is open for lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly; Antipasti run $5-$10.90, pizzas $9.90-$14.90, pastas $10.90-$15.90, and main courses $15.90-$19.90.
OPENING OF THE MONTH
* On May 31 in Los Angeles, Corkbar hosts a tasting of 3
Rhône-style (Syrah, Grenache, Mouvèdre) and 3
Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) wines, paired with small plates and
charcuterie. $35 pp. . . On June 4 Corkbar holds an event
to benefit the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York, with host Rosario
Dawson; other celebrities expected. $35 pp. with raffle. Open wine bar
and hors d’oeuvres provided. Visit www.girlsclub.org. . . .
On June 19 Corkbar will welcome Winemaker Ethan Lindquist of Ethan
Wines for a tasting of his limited production, just released vintage
out of the Central Coast. $19 for a flight of 5 wines. Visit
* From May 31– June 8th in Cape May, NJ, the Cape May Restaurant Week will be
held. For full listing of restaurants participating on the
website for the event, visit: www.cmrestaurantweek.com.
* On June 1 in NYC, the Murphy-Goode Winery has a “Really
Goode Job” for the right person. The Sonoma County winery is looking
for an outgoing, web-savvy, articulate communicator to tell the story
of the great mountain vines and artisan winemakers of California, by
meeting with Murphy-Goode winemaker David Ready, Jr., at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C.
in Grand Central Terminal. A videographer will be on premise to
tape 60-second application videos for those who stop by to submit. “A
Really Goode Job” will pay $10,000 a month for a 6-month contrac, incl.
that housing in Healdsburg, CA. Visit www.areallygoodejob.com. Call
* On June 2 in NYC, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St
will be hosting Olivier Zind-Humbrecht from the Alsacian estate Domaine
Zind-Humbrecht, with a selection of their renowned single-vineyard
white wines, paired with Chef Joël's seasonal creations. $315 pp.
* On June 2 in NYC at City Winery, Wine & Spirits Magazine holds
its "Top of the List tasting" of 100 wineries, based
on the Restaurant Poll Issue, to
benefit NY / NJ Baykeeper. An opening panel discussion led
by Joe Bastianich, Bernard Sun, and publisher Joshua Greene will cover
two decades in the restaurant business. Some events only open to trade
and media. Oyster Bar, Convivio, Milos and River Café will
serve food; live show by the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout band. Live
Show for General Admission; Hirsch and Flowers Vineyards tasting;
Dominus Estate, with Christian Moueix; Veuve Clicquot, with winemaker
Cyril Brun. For infoand tickets,
* In Chicago
MK restaurant holds
"Wine on Wednesdays" from 6-9pm in the lounge, at $25 pp.
Call 312-482-9179; www.mkchicago.com.
* On June 5 in Santa Barbara, CA, Miró restaurant at Bacara
Resort & Spa showcases Santa Maria’s celebrated Ambullneo Vineyards
and Special Guest Chef Ed Brown from the restaurant eighty one in NYC for a 5-course
dinner at $125 per person; $100 per person for Bacara guests. A special
$199 room rate is available to guests attending the dinner. Call
* On June
5 in Dallas, Nana hosts its monthly wine and food
flight trio, "Friday Night Flights," at $20 pp. for 3 wines paired with
3 dishes created by Executive Chef Anthony Bombaci. Call
214-761-7470. Visit www.nanarestaurant.com.
* In Tarrytown,
NY, Bistro Z at the new
Doubletree Hotel is taking part in “Entrée to Hope,”
with The Food Bank for Westchester; Grace Church Community Center; and
Literacy Volunteers of Westchester.
From now through the end of June, these agencies are joining together
with Bistro Z and other Westchester restaurants to raise money to
provide food, shelter and education to the county’s neediest residents.
Diners will receive a check presenter at the end of their meal
encouraging them to donate $1 per entrée. Call 914- 631-5700.
June 7 in NYC, the
first annual Paella Parade
will take place outdoors at the new South Street Seaport location of
New York Water Taxi Beach. Spanish chefs and restaurateurs from the
tri-state area will unite to showcase their Paella making skills,
accompanied by wines from leading Spanish winery El Coto de Rioja. $25
pp. Proceeds will go to Action Against Hunger and the Wine Course
at the Department of Hospitality Management at New York City College of
Technology. Visit watertaxibeach.com.
* On June 8, 2009, Mélisse in Santa Monica, CA, will be
offering a 4-course menu featuring Krug champagnes, incl. Krug
Grand Cuvée, 1998, 1985, and 1982. Owner Olivier Krug,
will be present at the dinner to speak about
each wine. $150 pp.
Call 310-395-0881 or visit www.melisse.com.
* On June 8 in NYC, Convivio offers a 5-course artisanal beer dinner, with Southern Italian food by Chef Michael White. Italian brewmasters Leonardo diVincenzo of Birra del Borgo and Teo Musso of Birrificio Le Baladin will discuss their beers, pairing beer with food and their latest projects. $110 pp. Call 212-599-5045; www.convivionyc.com.
* On June 8 The Art Institute of Chicago and Mon Ami Gabi in Oak Brook, ILL, continue their season of French Master’s Dinner series featuring Cezanne with a wine reception, slide presentation by an Art Institute of Chicago lecturer and multi-course dinner prepared by Chef Bruce Williams with wine pairings. $75 pp. Call 630-472-1900; visit www.monamigabi.com/oakbrook. . . . Also, on June 15 Mon Ami Gabi features a "25 for $25 Wine Tasting" from several different regions of France.
* On June 8 & 9 The Texas Wine and Grape Growers
Association hosts the 26th annual Lone Star International Wine
Competition at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, TX, with 500+
wines from around the world and judged in 30+ categories. by a
panel of restaurant owners, sommeliers and other wine experts from
Texas. Visit www.txwines.org or call 817-404-0570.
* On June 11 in Beachwood, OH, Moxie will hold a "A Pairing of
Duckhorn Vineyards Wines with a Daring Five-Course Food Presentation, "
at $99 pp. Call 216-831-5599.
* On June 12 in Boston, the twelfth annual
Chefs in Shorts©
event brings together a group of the area’s leading chefs who will fire
up the grills and create their favorite dishes during this outdoor,
summer-in-the-city barbecue, incl.Toby Hill, 606
Congress, Rachel Klein, Aura Restaurant/Tamo Bar,
Rodney Murillo, Avila Modern Mediterranean, Dante de Magistris, dante
and il Casale, Harjit Singh, Kashmir, et al. at Seaport Boston.
$60 pp. to benefit The Greater Boston Food Bank. Visit
On June 12 in NYC at the
Astor Ctr., the Southern Foodways
Alliance and the State of
Mississippi celebrate the life and work of Craig Claiborne,
with panelists David Kamp, author, The
United States of Arugula; Jacques
Pepin, author of more than twenty cookbooks; Pete Wells, dining editor,
the New York Times; food by
Ann Cashion, Johnny's Half Shell, D.C.; John Currence, City
Grocery, Oxford, MI; Taylor Bowen Ricketts, Delta Bistro,
A complimentary event, "Craig Claiborne and the Invention
of Food Journalism," will be held June 11,
at the New School and will feature, among others, Betty Fussell and
Molly O'Neill. For details: firstname.lastname@example.org. Admission free;
From June 13-14 in NYC,
the Seventh Annual Snapple Big Apple
Barbecue Block Party returns to Madison Square Park,
bringing together the country’s top pitmasters to cook up their
award-winning food for over a hundred thousand barbecue enthusiasts.
Admission to the event is free, with live music, seminars and
cooking demos. BBQ available at $8 per plate. Proceeds
support the Madison Square Park Conservancy. During the festivities, on
June 13, Wyatt McSpadden, author/photographer of Texas BBQ will share the stage with
author Calvin Trillin on a panel titled, “Texas: The Barbecue Empire.”
Author Lolis Eric Elie will moderate.
* On June 13 in Cleveland,
Wolfgang Puck is returning for the 2009 Five Star Sensation that
will benefit the Ireland Cancer Center of University Hospitals Case
Medical Center, to be held at the site of the future University
Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center at Chagrin Highlands in Beachwood, OH,
serving food by 35 chefs from around the nation and 40+ vintners from
premier wineries from around the world. Visit www.uhhospitals.org.
* On June 14 The Wine Media Guild of New York, an association of over 40 professional wine writers, will hold its annual dinner at Del Posto restaurant in NYC, when members and guests bring amazing bottles of wine from their cellars. This year the Guild is opening the 4-course dinner to a limited number of non-members to readers of John Mariani's Virtual Gourmet (John is a member of the Guild) to attend at the Member price of $95 pp and may bring one guest. Deadline: Reserve by June 5. To reserve go to Brown Paper Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/60740.
* From June 15-21 chef Sandro Fioriti of Sandro’s will celebrate his 25th anniversary in NYC with $25 three-course special anniversary menus highlighting signature dishes such as carciofi alla romana (artichokes with mint and wine), carciofi giudea (fried artichokes), puntarelle, spaghetti cacio e pepe (with pecorino romano and pepper), spaghetti carbonara, bucatini all’amatriciana, torta di mele (apple tart) and torta di ricotta (cheesecake). Sandro’s also offers its Dow Jones Pasta Index special with pastas priced at the first three digits of the day’s closing of the Dow Jones Index’s while the Dow is below 10,000. Call 212-288-7374.
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." To go to his blog click on the logo below: THIS WEEK:
Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org. Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK: A Report on The Four Seasons Jackson Hole. Click on the logo below to go to the site.
Family Travel Forum (FTF), whose motto is "Have Kids, Still Travel!",
is dedicated to the ideals, promotion and support of travel with
children. Founded by business professionals John Manton and Kyle
McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and global family
travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF will provide
its members with honest, unbiased information, informed advice and
practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding, healthy,
safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and children
who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new worlds of
adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.
All You Need to Know Before You Go
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
Any of John Mariani's books below
may be ordered from amazon.com by clicking on the cover image.