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FOOD ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

For Frites’ Sake! Frenchette’s Bistro Boys Shine in Tribeca

For weeks after chef-owners Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson opened Frenchette this spring, getting to the host stand required besting a daunting gauntlet of New York’s well-dressed and well-heeled. Reservations were all but impossible to come by, waits could be taxing, and even early birds hoping to preempt the crowds were met with a queue of fellow hungry hopefuls spilling out from the vestibule entrance onto West Broadway. Though maddening at times, it was pretty nice to see people lining up for crunchy, gelatinous pig’s-foot croquettes and light-as-air fried anchovies.

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Frenchette’s torrential popularity was a foregone conclusion. Nasr and Hanson, who met working at Daniel Boulud’s Upper East Side flagship, spent years delighting the masses in tandem as part of Keith McNally’s empire, opening Balthazar with the prolific restaurateur in 1997 and heading up legendary nocturnal haunts like Pastis, Schiller’s Liquor Bar, and Minetta Tavern. Their reputation precedes them the way lightning does thunder. Frenchette, named for David Johansen’s 1978 song, is their long-awaited stand-alone debut. Auspiciously, it joins a recent surge of nouveau French cooking that runs the gamut from ultra-luxe Le Coucou and La Mercerie to tiny, ambitious MIMI, and safe bets like Lafayette and Augustine. To Nasr and Hanson’s credit, they’ve found a sweet spot that sits comfortably at the nexus of all three styles.

Owners/Chefs Riad Nasr, left, and Lee Hanson. Duck Frites.

Rocking since April, the duo have clearly picked a few things up from their former boss about how to design and run an irresistibly likable restaurant. In fact, under the glow of some very Schiller’s-esque, tubular-in-all-senses-of-the-word light fixtures, dinner here almost approaches the carefree joie de vivre of another Johansen tune: his cover, as Buster Poindexter, of Eighties earworm “Hot Hot Hot.” 

La Mortadella

Marvel at how two groups of would-be diners become comrades in waiting, toasting one another with $16 Armagnac cocktails and $14 spritzes before being ferried to opposite ends of the clubby front lounge’s parade of snug auburn banquettes. Nearby, one of the bartenders stirs two drinks simultaneously while discussing dessert options with the double date that just polished off a $134 côte de boeuf. Join the ranks huddled around the splashy, meandering zinc countertop and she might offer to send sommelier Jorge Riera your way to chat about whether the Slovakian pét-nat you’ve been eyeing goes with your order of sea snails ($14) accompanied by a ramekin of ruddy, saffron-kissed rouille. (It does.) A natural-wine whisperer, Riera previously ran the show at Wildair and Contra, and his deep but approachable list magnanimously includes several bottles in the $40–$50 range.

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Free to flex their creativity and clearly eager to do so, Nasr and Hanson oversee an ambitious, oft-changing menu of cleverly edited bistro fare that rewards risk-takers and traditionalists alike. And it’s not a strictly Gallic affair, either. There are borrowed standards, like the terrific wedges of tortilla española festooned with golden smoked trout roe ($9), as well as purely seasonal gambits such as a fluke tartare buzzing with shiso, salty sea beans, and tiny, coveted tristar strawberries ($18). 

Brouillade (soft scrambled eggs) with snails in parsley and garlic.

A classic guinea hen terrine ($20), here served with toast and celery remoulade, is streaked with so much gamey schmaltz it looks and tastes like bird Wagyu. The duck frites ($35), with its crunchy fries and textbook béarnaise, features equally impressive poultry prowess, the judiciously seared breast rosy throughout and capped with a burnished, crackly skin. For brouillade ($22), eggs are scrambled with an obscene amount of butter for fifteen minutes until they become a lush porridge, to which the kitchen adds a quartet of garlic butter–sloshed escargots raised on Long Island. Nearly as rich is a shareable spit-roasted lobster ($52) splayed down the middle and drenched in curry butter, its heaviness balanced by a salad of raw radishes and fennel.

Blowfish Tails

Robust and edging on custardy, Nasr and Hanson’s wondrously, defiantly summery blood sausage is one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. The paunchy slab of boudin noir ($24) arrived on a pan-fried corn cake surrounded by fresh raspberries and pickled mushrooms, draped with stylish pink chicory leaves and gossamer-thin ribbons of guanciale — a bitter, sour, fruity moshpit of ferric meatiness. You should also cross your fingers for blowfish tails ($16) coated in spiced breadcrumbs and espelette pepper butter, like the buffalo wings of the sea, though a main course of skate wing, similarly prepared, is a fine substitution. Portions can skew excessively generous: The gnocchi parisienne ($12), flecked with chives, is an entrée masquerading among the side dishes. Make sure the toasted cylinders of pate a choux dough, loaded with ham and smothered in melted Comté, find their way to your table.

Paris Brest a la Pistache

Meals end on a high note thanks to pastry chef Michelle Palazzo’s mostly traditional desserts. Peak-season fruit tarts ($14–$16) are especially dependable, made with buckwheat and shortbread crusts and layered respectively with pastry cream and fromage blanc, a fresh, yogurt-like cheese. To really match Frenchette’s party vibe, however, look to shareable sweets like perfectly cakey cherry clafoutis ($16) and a pastry called the Paris-Brest ($16) that’s named for a bicycle race but ends up looking more like the wheel of a monster truck once Palazzo is done piping in twirls of Sicilian-pistachio buttercream.

Frenchette
241 West Broadway
212-334-3883
frenchettenyc.com

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FOOD ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES

Holiday Arts Guide: The Minds of Chefs

There are still people who will try to convince you that no one in New York cooks at home, arguing that the average kitchen simply isn’t big enough. Even if the first part of that statement were true (which it isn’t), one reason fewer people seem to cook may be that the city has too many good restaurants. Even ambitious foodies with deep pockets would be hard-pressed to sample from all the menus on their wish lists before the next class of promising chefs turns up to remake Gotham’s dining scene yet again.

Fortunately for hungry New Yorkers, chefs like to share recipes almost as much as they enjoy inventing them. And this year happens to be a particularly good one when it comes to cookbooks, with offerings now on shelves from some of the city’s most raved-about restaurants. From edgier Brooklyn newcomers like Roberta’s to such Manhattan dining institutions as Gramercy Tavern, top chefs have temporarily swapped stovetops for laptops, committing some of their best recipes to print. Which means that no matter how big your kitchen is, you can now enjoy a meal befitting a name like Daniel Boulud or Andy Ricker without waiting in line or blowing your budget for the week.

Besides the aesthetic appeal of the books themselves, the beauty of these kitchen companions is how faithfully they convey the character and conviction of each chef. By deftly combining memoir, photography, no-nonsense advice, and, on occasion, a dash of cultural anthropology, these books end up as insightful as they are instructive. Spend a few days with any one of them and you’ll feel as if you’ve enrolled in a master class with a culinary luminary.

All of these food experts seem determined to impart their accumulated wisdom to interested readers and aspiring chefs, demystifying the cuisines they specialize in and placing them within reach of home cooks. Sidebars in Michael Anthony’s Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, for example, read like notes from a professor in the margins of a term paper. Anthony answers questions that any eager student might ask of an accomplished professional, including “What Makes a Great Dish?” and “Should I Go to Cooking School?” The four authors of Roberta’s Cookbook supply plenty of tips on sautéing seafood, starting with the correct way to identify fresh fish at the market, pointing out colors, smells, and textures to be attentive to as a shopper. Ricker introduces each of the chapters in Pok Pok with a personal anecdote, often revealing something fundamental about som tam (papaya salads), larb (minced meat salads), or khong yaang (grilled foods). His individual recipes begin with handy comments about the desired flavor profile and a few complementary dishes.

Every page of these books communicates exuberance for food and its accompanying culture, with lushly photographed dishes and dining rooms and painstaking descriptions of ingredients, substitutions, and methods, right down to specific gestures to master. Early on in his book, Ricker explains how to properly use a mortar and pestle, perhaps the two most elemental tools in Thai cuisine. “Because the particulars of the method are subtle,” he writes, “it also helps to keep in mind what not to do. Do not pound in a straight-up-and-down motion. Do not aim for the center of the mortar.” Ivan Orkin’s recipe for shio, a ramen that combines two different broths for its flavor, stretches across 36 pages of Ivan Ramen, including images. Boulud, in his astoundingly thorough Daniel: My French Cuisine, waxes poetic on truffles, “the true diamonds of the food chain,” and then offers half a dozen ways to use them, including an elegant (and extravagant) topping for scrambled eggs and a refined yet rustic accompaniment to chicken breast, paired with cabbage, onion, carrot, and chestnut.

These cookbooks also offer plenty of simpler fare. Boulud may have 14 restaurants, three James Beard awards, and three Michelin stars, but in the “Daniel at Home” section, he devotes space to the preparation of a classic salad Lyonnaise. Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock carefully walk through the steps involved in making Roberta’s pizza dough, sauce, and fresh mozzarella, although they also reveal the secret to an “awesome in the original sense of the word” cheeseburger: dry-aged ground beef. Anthony tempts readers with a recipe for peanut butter semifreddo with chocolate macarons, hot fudge, caramel sauce, and candied peanuts, only to provide another for chocolate chip-walnut cookies toward the end of his tome. And after going into detail about how to toast the rye flour for his soba-style ramen noodles, Chef Orkin offers basic instructions for steamed rice topped with pulled pork and roasted tomato.

Each cookbook also includes information on sourcing ingredients and tools, with Pok Pok including Austin Bush’s color photos of noodles, produce, herbs, and roots, an immensely helpful guide for shoppers trying to distinguish between Chinese broccoli and Yu choy. Pick up one of these volumes to learn new tricks and techniques, but also to gain a deeper understanding of the food of France, Thailand, and Japan, not to mention the U.S. And you might discover a dish that you’re capable of perfecting in the process.

Daniel: My French Cuisine

Daniel Boulud and Sylvie Bigar

Grand Central Life & Style,416 pp., $60

The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook

Michael Anthony with a history by Danny MeyerClarkson

Potter Publishers, 352 pp., $50

Ivan Ramen: Love, Obsession, and Recipes from Tokyo’s Most Unlikely Noodle Joint

Ivan Orkin with Chris Ying

Ten Speed Press, 224 pp., $29.99

Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand

Andy Ricker with JJ Goode

Ten Speed Press, 304 pp., $35

Roberta’s Cookbook

Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock

Clarkson Potter Publishers, 288 pp., $35

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The Upper East Side Hosts a Conclave of Superlative Sushi Restaurants

With wild bluefin as controversial and rarefied as blood diamonds, good sushi is doomed to be a pursuit of the affluent, and the occasional treat for everyone else. And so it makes sense that the Upper East Side, a zip code with incomes larger than Kanye West’s ego, would play host to the greatest concentration of well-above-average sushi restaurants. In a 20-block radius, there are six sushi destinations, three of which would comfortably place among the top 10 in the city.

A few blocks north of the 59th Street Bridge, Sushi Seki‘s late hours and expedient service attract raw fish zealots, chefs like Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud, and the prep-schooled progeny of the 1 percent, who blow their allowances on toro and the chance to sip illicit alcoholic beverages. Deep into the night, the restaurant’s lamp-lit façade mimics the Ritz Diner’s, its relic neighbor, making Seki look like a greasy spoon for the rich. Chef Seki defected from Sushi of Gari on East 78th Street, a haven for creative, composed nigiri like salmon with roasted tomato and onion sauce, and tuna with soft tofu. These and other pieces from the Gari playbook make appearances on Seki’s menu, but it’s a spicy scallop hand roll that gets top honors. Traditionalists may balk, but the balance achieved between snappy nori, sweet bivalve, spicy mayonnaise, and crunchy tempura flake is undeniable; it’s American excess neatly wrapped in a seaweed casing. But Gari proprietor Masatoshi “Gari” Sugio still has his fair share of tricks, as with a wobbly morsel of seared foie gras. At first glance it seems hackneyed, a too-easy luxury ingredient that has no business sitting on top of seasoned rice. But pairing the fatty offal with daikon and a reduction of balsamic vinegar is surprisingly avant-garde.

After working for both Gari and Seki, Steven Wong opened Neo on the Upper West Side in 2002. Eight years later he closed shop, eventually moving Neo to the First Avenue space of Tsuki, the domain of septuagenarian sushi master Kazutoshi Maeda. Wong also engages many of Gari and Seki’s techniques, but his time spent at Nobu undoubtedly influenced a nigiri of salmon topped with caviar and gold leaf. North on East 83rd Street, Donguri, the Ito En beverage corporation’s last remaining restaurant (for a time, they operated a kaiseki restaurant above their Madison Avenue tea emporium), serves superlative Japanese home cooking in a hushed, cramped interior that looks less like a restaurant and more like a friend’s primly curated dining room. There’s no actual sushi, but the sashimi sings, and the dishes featuring raw seafood—such as a special of chilled soba noodles with sea urchin and grated mountain yam—maintain a restrained complexity.

Long before city diners started submitting themselves to hours-long tasting menus at the whim of hyper-focused chefs, the concept of omakase—putting your fate in the chef’s hands—was being perfected in Japan. Like their tasting-menu counterparts, restaurants that adhere to this rigid standard usually live and die by the quality of their food and service alone. The Upper East Side boasts two restaurants employing this ethos, separated by a single city block separates them. Sushi Sasabune, the third outpost of an L.A.-based chain whose origins can be traced back to the legendary Sushi Nozawa, has been the baby of chef-owner Kenji Takahashi since 2006, when the omakase cost $60 (it now hovers around $100). The menu has since expanded into a 20-piece parade of finely tuned flavors, including blue crab–stuffed squid rings with rich, sweetened soy, and sustainable bluefin tuna. Takahashi sends his creations out in pairs and trios, making the sequence feel a bit like a multi-course kaiseki meal. The meal is almost always the same, beginning with a plate of albacore sashimi and ending with a blue crab hand roll. When it’s in season, Sasabune has the softest monkfish liver in town, easily living up to its name as foie gras of the sea. But where Sasabune provides diners with the usual sushi accoutrements, Tanoshi Sushi allows only ginger to cleanse your palate. Now that word has gotten out, the 11-seat bar is booked a month in advance, though cancellations appear as at any restaurant, and they’ll usually try to squeeze in solo diners. The meal is a changing array of 10 different pieces of intricately cut and presented compositions, ranging from soy sauce-preserved zuke sushi to giant futomaki rolls with instructions to “eat it all at once for maximum flavor.” On any given night you’ll find atypical selections such as black throat fish, crab brains, or shad sliced and braided to show off its speckled skin.

The neighborhood gets a lot of flak for its aging, old-money residents and lack of subway access, but for those with a penchant for devouring marine life like Poseidon himself, the isolation is perfect for channeling your inner predator.

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Datebook Events FOOD ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES

Dining and Design, Beyond Bartending, Hog Dinner: What to Do This Week

Rooftop bar? Check. Sidewalk cafe? Check. Boats of various shapes and sizes? Check. We hope you spent your weekend crossing a variety of outdoor dining and drinking activities off your bucket list, because now it’s time to get an education. We’ve rounded up a list of (air-conditioned!) events that’ll help you get started on your quest to become a world renowned restaurateur, bartender, or fine food aficionado, so get your calendar out to pencil in your post-Game of Thrones season finale agenda, and don’t forget to pour one out in memory of the Starks.

Dining + Design: A Conversation with Chef David Chang and Designer Anwar Mekhayech, New School, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th street, Monday, 6 p.m.

You know all about his fried chicken, but have you ever wondered what goes into David Chang’s recipe for a superbly designed dining room? This series, presented by The Food Studies Program of the New School for Public Engagement along with the James Beard Foundation, takes an in-depth look at architecture and its role within a restaurant. Do high ceilings equal high tabs? And how much elbow space is needed for full noodle optimization? Andrew Salmon, president and co-owner of Momofuku, will also appear as a guest speaker. Tickets are $10.

Beyond Bartending 101: Techniques & Tips for the Creative Process, Astor Center, 399 Lafayette Street, Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

You’ve got the mustache, the vest, and the red bow tie is en route from the warehouse in Kentucky. But can you make a delicious drink to match that snazzy outfit? Stop by the Astor Center and let bartending maestra April Wachtel, formerly of Lani Kai, guide you through the custom cocktail-making process. The class will expand upon the basics of how to pour a stiff drink and provide feedback for your affectionately named libations. Tickets are $79; ironic cocktail attire not included or required.

Whole Hog Dinner, DBGB, 299 Bowery, Wednesday, 7 to 10 p.m.

Classes just aren’t your thing? Absorb pairing knowledge without the classroom setting at Daniel Boulud’s whole hog dinner series. At this month’s installation, Orange County-based brew gurus Chris and Patrick Rue from The Bruery tap selective kegs to go along with menu options like a whole roasted suckling pig. Reserve your spot at the family-style dinner complete with matched beers for $80 per person.

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Where Should I Go for Restaurant Week? Here Are 10 Suggestions

Don’t miss the lobster Bolognese at Telepan

New York Restaurant Week has been underway for two days. It will extend this year all the way to February 8, so you have plenty of time to dig for the choicest reservations. The guaranteed price on the core deal — not including tax, tip, or beverages — is $25 for lunch and $38 for dinner. We’ve found lunch is usually the best deal, and it’s often served in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Sustainable sardines at Esca

There will be 317 Manhattan restaurants participating this year. In making your choice, pick a place that is out of your regular price range, maybe one you’ve yearned to eat at. The place should be relatively expensive – there are establishments on the city’s list where the discounted price is actually more than a meal normally would cost there. Let the diner beware!

But most places want to encourage your future patronage by offering generous servings and signature dishes. Below are 10 restaurants that are among our favorites, where even a discounted meal is likely to leave you full and happy.

1. A Voce – Missy Robbins helms the kitchen at this attractive Italian just off of Madison Square, and the olive oil flows freely. The Restaurant Week menu features lamb sausage, sea bream, and, for dessert, zuppa inglese.41 Madison Avenue, 212-545-8555

2. Bar Boulud – Homemade charcuterie galore at this Daniel Boulud stunner near Lincoln Center, and it runs from a wonderful pastrami sandwich with a French twist to coarse-grained pates, then on to heavier entities like duck breast, roast chicken, and expertly cooked fish. 1900 Broadway, 212-595-0303

3. Brasserie Ruhlmann – There is an undefinable excitement that still lingers around Rockefeller Center, and this place has it in abundance, and distinguished architecture, too with a menu featuring rich Parisian fare with an American flair. 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-974-3711

4. EN Japanese Brasserie – A profusion of small dishes are offered in a haunted landscape of trees and polished stones. Don’t miss the garlic rice, truffle chawan mushi, or Japanese-style fried chicken, and bone up on your sake skills before you go. 435 Hudson Street, 212-647-9196

5. Esca – Chef David Pasternack comes from a Long Island fishing family, and it shows in the reverent commingling of seafood and Italian culinary traditions. Don’t miss the raw fish crudo, which the chef popularized when the place first opened. 402 West 43rd Street, 212-564-7272

6. Hospoda – This restaurant represents Czech food’s coming of age, a merging of Eastern European elements with Greenmarket sensibilities via Prague ham, hearty lentil soup, and such unexpected pairings as scallops and pork shank. 321 East 73rd Street, 212-861-1038

7. Kin Shop – Harold Dieterle won the first season of Top Chef, but that was no indication of how good his restaurants would be. Lucky for us, he’s established a small empire of places in the West Village, each with contrasting menus, and the one here skews reverently Thai, with some surprising innovations. 469 Sixth Avenue, 212-675-4295

8. MarkJoseph Steakhouse – This place founded by former Luger employees is as good as steak gets on this side of the river, and the secluded Seaport location is an added plus. 261 Water Street, 212-277-0020

9. Rosa Mexicano at Union Square – Things have been much more exciting at Rosa Mexicano ever since Jonathan Waxman revamped the menu with all sorts of arcane regional dishes. 9 East 18th Street, 212-533-3350

10. Telepan – Bill Telepan was one of the city’s earliest advocates of local and sustainable sourcing, and his bright, muraled Upper West Side restaurant still hoists the banner high, as a recent revisit demonstrated. 72 West 69th Street, 212-580-4300

Jonathan Waxman’s enchiladas at Rosa Mexicano

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5 Great Gifts for the Celebrity Chef Fanatic

Some friends are obsessed with the celebrity chef du jour. They ask you, “How can I get Danny Bowien’s hair? What about Anthony Bourdain’s humor?” Sadly, those are probably unattainable. But some chef-themed gifts are easy to get… and local. Like sauces from Momofuku, or t-shirts from Crif Dogs. This holiday season, make a wannabe celebrity chef’s dream come true.

Momofuku Cooking Sauces, $16.95-$33.90
Why wait on the monster lines at one of David Chang’s restaurants when you can try your hand at making a Momofuku dish at home? Impress your friends with Asian Braising Sauce or Clay Pot Cooking Sauce, both of which pair nicely with meats and tofu.

Signed Copy of Dirt Candy Cookbook, $19
Amanda Cohen translates her rock star vegetarian East Village restaurant into a part comic book part cook book, with drawings from Ryan Dunlavey. She includes recipes and answers questions like, “Why is my salad $14?”

Elizabeth Karmel’s If You Can Stand It Habanero Hot Sauce, $8
The woman behind Hill Country Barbecue sells bottles of her outrageous hot sauce at a reasonable price. Tell your gift recipient to dunk their meat in this stuff, and to never look back.

Crif Dogs T-Shirts, $25
It’s hard to forget your first bacon-wrapped hot dog from Brian Shebairo and Chris Antista’s dive on St. Marks. Celebrate the decadent late night hot spot with t-shirts sporting Crif Dogs puns or PDT logos.

Daniel Boulud’s Letters to a Young Chef Basket, $149
This pricey gift basket has all the Boulud essentials: an autographed copy of “Letters to a Young Child,” Daniel Boulud selection mixed peppercorns, Martin Pouret white wine vinegar, an Epicerie Boulud apron, and more. For the gourmet foodie who can’t get enough of Daniel or DBGB, this will make them feel like a pro.

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JUST KIDS

Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, long before Whole Foods and chef Daniel Boulud infiltrated the Bowery, the strip that stretches from the East Village to the Brooklyn Bridge was an artist refugee camp. Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969–1989 pays tribute to the artists that lived and worked in the gritty and neglected area during those years. The exhibition will include original artwork, ephemera, and performance documentation by more than 15 artists, including Keith Haring, Arleen Schloss, John Holmstrom, Eve Sonneman, Billy Sullivan, Martin Wong, and, of course, two of the Ramones (Dee Dee and Joey).

Mondays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: Nov. 6. Continues through Jan. 6, 2012

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Parisian Pastrami?

Bar Boulud’s pastrami sandwich with “gaufrette chips” — hmmm, looks like potato chips to us.

Fork in the Road is always excited when new forms of pastrami — the Crown Prince of cured meats — spring up. We were thrilled a couple of years back at the appearance of the meat’s more rustic Canadian cousin, smoked meat, and ran over to sample it when a delicate homemade version of pastrami debuted at Kutsher’s. We even showed some enthusiasm for dumping pastrami into ramen soup at Dassara — though we have yet to decide if we really like the idea.

So when we brunched with some Australian friends at Bar Boulud this past weekend and our eye fell upon the pastrami sandwich, which was generally lumped with French charcuterie, we had to have it.

Things that might make you scratch your head about this product, presumably invented by Boulud charcutier Gilles Verot, perhaps the city’s only celebrity charcutier:

1. The pastrami is served at room temperature.
2. The sandwich is garnished with watercress.
3. The usual dill pickle is replaced with pickle chips, placed within the sandwich.
4. The spread is more mayo than mustard
5. The bread reads as pumpernickel, even though the menu calls it “sauerkraut bread.”

If you can get entirely beyond these points — and you are a veritable Saint James or Saint Julia if you can — the sandwich is actually rather delicious. The meat is smokier than our own pastrami, even smokier than smoked meat. In fact, if you slapped some on white bread and served it at Hill Country as barbecue, only one diner in 10 would recognize the forgery.

And the homemade waffle potato chips ain’t bad, either.

Bar Boulud
1900 Broadway
212-595-0303

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Is This New York’s Most Expensive [Normal] Hot Dog?

Get this baby at Epicerie Boulud.

Google “New York’s Most Expensive Hot Dog,” and you will get hits for all sorts of absurdities: franks topped with truffles, gold flakes, caviar, and all sorts of luxe ingredients that nobody would want to waste on a dog, topping out at $1501. Even the $69 dog at Serendipity 3 is loaded down with truffle butter, truffle oil, foie gras, and heirloom tomato ketchup. Ridiculous! No, what Fork in the Road was looking for was the most expensive hot dog that still reads and tastes like a hot dog. We found it at Daniel Boulud’s Epicerie Boulud up near Lincoln Center.

Why would the city’s most famous French chef bother with a street snack? Well, it must have been something of a challenge, since his Epicerie Boulud specializes in charcuterie as a walk-in offshoot of adjacent Bar Boulud, a bistro famous for its cured meats.

And there at a counter of the open-air space is one of those contraptions you used to see in movie theaters, with sausages rolling between gleaming metal cylinders. And one of those is an outsize hot dog, which sells for $7.50 plus tax. Pricey, right? Especially since you could get from three to seven street dogs at the same price.

The thing comes on a bun of great character slicked with DBGB sauce (a species of flavored mayo), 299 Relish (pickled vegetables, some sweet, some sour), and sauteed onions. The volume of of the weenie is approximately twice what you get in a normal frank, and the taste is spectacular. Moreover, eat one and you’ll feel like you’ve had an entire meal. So, maybe Dog Boulud is worth it.

Epicerie Boulud
1900 Broadway
212-595-9606

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Anthony Bourdain Attacks Paula Deen Again; Daniel Boulud Sues Buffalo Restaurant

Anthony Bourdain was fine form this week — back to attacking his favorite target, Paula Deen. On Tuesday, he appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and went at Deen again, calling her decision to cook fattening food while hiding her diabetes “in excruciatingly bad taste, unconscionable, and cynical.” That same day, Eater published an interview with the food personality, in which Bourdain said that he’s “pissed” about Frank Bruni criticizing his comments about Deen in a Times op-ed piece. (Bruni called them “ill-timed elitism.”) Well, Bourdain might be mad, but he’s clearly not sorry.

Daniel Boulud is suing the owners of Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar in Buffalo, New York, over the use of the name DBGB. [NY Daily News]

Contestants from Top Chef will be cooking in malls, farmers’ markets, and food festivals throughout the U.S. as part of a nationwide tour. [Zagat Buzz]