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Best Weekend Food Events: Crawfish, Wine, and Guac Burger Dumplings

by CHLOE and Mimi Cheng’s Guac Burger Dumpling, Mimi Cheng’s, 179 2nd Avenue, Friday through March 31

Veggie burger joint by CHLOE has teamed up with Mimi Cheng’s for one month of guac burger dumplings. Throughout the month of March only, guests can enjoy by Chloe’s burger in dumpling form, which features black beans, quinoa, sweet potato, and corn salsa stuffed inside. The dumpling is topped off with guacamole and tortilla chips, alongside some beet ketchup dipping sauce.

Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason Dinner Menu Debuts, Soho Tiffin Junction, 42 East 8th Street, Friday, 6 p.m.

Chefs Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason lent their talents to create Soho Tiffin Junction’s new dinner menu, which debuts this Friday and will be available all year long. Dufresne advised on the menu and collaborated with the restaurant to create dishes like masala meatballs and fried chicken tenders marinated in curry. For dessert, Sam Mason of OddFellows Ice Cream Co. created a soft-serve version of the traditional kulfi (saffron, cardamon, caramelized milk) with toppings including chocolate sauce and rose syrup. The menu will be available every day of the week, from 6 p.m. until closing.

Wine Riot, 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, Friday through Sunday, 7 p.m.

Sip on 250 wines from across the globe, poured by experts, at this interactive tasting experience. There will be plenty of booths for guests to stop by to get an unpretentious, wine-filled cram session and learn about these worldly vinos. Check out other activities throughout the armory, including a DJ and a photo booth. Finally, don’t forget to download an app that reveals where to buy the wines you’ve sampled at the riot. Tickets are $65.

Kids Food Festival, Celsius Restaurant at Bryant Park, 41 West 40th Street, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Crawfish season is here!
Crawfish season is here!

Join The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holzman, and Seamus Mullen of Tertulia, as they demonstrate fun family recipes geared to get kids cooking in the kitchen. Additional family-focused activities include a balanced plate scavenger hunt, goody bag prizes, and a special appearance by Snoopy. Guests with kids who want to participate in hands-on cooking demos can get $25 tickets here.

Weekend Crawfish Boils, Double Wide Bar & Southern Kitchen, 505 E. 12th Street, Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.

Fresh Louisiana crawfish season is in full force at Double Wide, where chefs prepare a traditional homemade crawfish boil each week. For $30, guests get a bucket filled with three pounds of crawfish, sausage, corn, and potatoes. The bar is also offering $5 Abita beers and rum cocktails. Can’t make it this weekend? Don’t worry, Double Wide will host these every weekend until the end of summer.

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Best Weekend Food Events: Ansel-Dufresne Egg Melt, East Ville des Folies, and a Soup Showdown


wd
~Ansel Egg Melt, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, 137 Seventh Avenue South, Saturday through Monday, 9 a.m. until they run out

Dominique Ansel and Wylie Dufresne are offering a breakfast sandwich for a limited time this weekend. The wd~Ansel Egg Melt, scrambled eggs with a confit egg yolk with homemade cheese, black truffle, bacon, and maple flakes on a smoked English muffin, is available for $20 and is served with hash browns.

JestGreen Pop-Up Brunch, The Hop Shop, 121 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 2 p.m.

Need a healthy or gluten-free option for brunch? JestGreen is hosting a family-style brunch that includes maple-glazed bacon, eggs and greens, and a special boozy brunch cocktail. Tickets are $35 for adults; reserve them here.

East Ville des Folies, Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, Saturday, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Webster Hall is paying tribute to its gangster roots with a throwback party that’s all about craft beer and whiskey. The venue (which legend has it was owned by Al Capone) is offering three hours of drinks from over 150 distilleries and brewers. Themed entertainment includes burlesque, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, and circus acts. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased here.

Brooklyn Soup Takedown, Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, 514 Union Street, Brooklyn, Sunday, 12 p.m.

The second edition of the takedown series calls for all soup enthusiasts to bring their best recipes out for an afternoon tasting. Guests can sample as much chowder, chicken noodle, and other varieties as their cold bodies can handle, and they will also have a say in picking the best of the bunch. Prizes will be awarded to the home chefs with the most popular recipes. Those interested in participating can register by emailing Matt@TheTakedowns.com. Guests can reserve a $20 ticket here.

Piano Brunch, élan, 43 East 20th Street, Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Break the weekend routine of dinner and a movie with an afternoon of classical piano and brunch. Pianist Craig Rutenberg will perform the work of composer Virgil Thomson, while chef David Waltuck dishes up a two-course brunch menu with unlimited cocktails for $38 per person. Entrées include pancakes with spiced bourbon maple syrup and smoked-salmon croque-monsieur. Reservations are suggested.

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Funky Barbecues, Vintage Cocktails, and Hot Dog Eating: Epic Ways to Celebrate Fourth of July Weekend


Funk N’ Cue,
Governors Island, 10 South Street, Friday, 5 p.m.

George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic host this holiday eve barbecue, which offers guests the chance to funk-up Governors Island in full view of Lady Liberty. The menu includes summer favorites like pulled pork, barbecue chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and grilled corn, with additional dishes available for purchase. Additional musical guests include several members of the band (not the vegetable) Lettuce and Fonky Kong. A cash bar will also be on hand. Tickets start $35 for general admission and do not include food or drink; reserve them here.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Nathan’s Famous, 1000 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, Saturday, 10 a.m.

The Super Bowl of competitive eating is taking place this Saturday. Though you might eat hot dogs a little differently, this Fourth of July tradition which started in 1916 is a fun for all ages event. Local New Yorkers “Crazy Legs” Conti and Yasir Salem are a few of the participants looking to take the title belt from returning champion Joey Chestnut, while “The Black Widow” Sonya Thomas looks to maintain her championship status.

Fourth of July Clambake Extravaganza, Extra Fancy, 302 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, Saturday, 12 p.m.

Grab a glimpse of the fireworks at Extra Fancy’s backyard patio or head to the nearby Williamsburg waterfront after filling up at this all you can eat clambake. Chef Sean Telo’s version offers guests littleneck clams, Bangs Island mussels, sausage, and shrimp to feast one, with a can of Budweiser thrown in as part of the $40 per person offer. The bar will also have plenty of cocktails on hand including a line up featuring the new Patrón Citrónge mango tequila for fans of seasonal drinks. Tickets will also be available for $45 at the door, though guests can save in advance by purchasing a ticket here.

Mad Men Vintage Cocktail Series, Alder, 157 Second Ave., Saturday and Sunday

Fans of Mad Men can unleash their inner Don Draper thanks to a new cocktail series by Alder’s beverage director Travis Brown. The bar purchased spirits based off those used on AMC’s Mad Men, and is creating special cocktails with them; available nightly for $25. The menu includes a Manhattan made with Four Roses bourbon as well as a martini rosso vermouth, with drinks including the martinez and daiquiri also making an appearance this summer.

Gospel Brunch, Melba’s 125, 163 W 125th St. – 3rd Fl., Sunday, 12 p.m.

If your Fourth of July celebration means a slow start to your Sunday, recuperate with an all-you -an eat gospel brunch. For $19.99, guests can dine on chicken and eggnog waffles, omelettes, and a selection of select Southern-inspired entrees.  Drinks and dessert are available for an additional cost; reservations can be made by contacting hello@silvertint.com or by calling 212-864-7717.

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This Week’s Five Best Food and Drink Events in NYC – 3/2/2015

New month, same weather. So if your plans to join that outdoor kickball league have been put on hold, here are five ways to fill your time with some good food and drink.

The Traveling Chef: Seeking Inspiration and Innovation From Home and Abroad, NYIT Auditorium, 1871 Broadway, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Plan on taking a food tour this year? Sit in on a panel featuring chefs Wylie Dufresne, Ivan Orkin, and Richard Kuo as they share tales of global and domestic cuisine adventures. The trio will also address the evolution of cuisine and where their inspirations may take them next. Tickets start at $30.

An evening with Jeremy Oertel and Natasha David, Mulberry Project, 149 Mulberry Street, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

As part of a new guest bartender series, Jeremy Oertel of Donna and Natasha David of Nitecap will sling classic cocktails at Mulberry Project alongside the bar’s beverage director, Aaron Polsky. Additional bartenders will be appearing throughout the month. A $20 ticket includes two cocktails from the daily menu, with plenty of additional drinks — as well as food — available for purchase. There’s also a $55 reservation, which includes three appetizers along with two drinks; both reservations can be secured on the event website.

Monumental Muscadet — Dinner With Winemaker Fred Niger, Fort Defiance, 365 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Winemaker Fred Niger is bringing his renowned arsenal of Muscadet — plus a few other varietals, like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon — to Red Hook this week as part of a five-course dinner hosted by chef Matthew Fleming. Niger’s Muscadet wines — much like those of his mentor Guy Bossard — are made from vines a half-century old and are certified organic and biodynamic. Fleming’s menu includes Long Island duck, oysters, and seared scallops; reservations start at $90.

A Taste of the Old World: Jewish Food and Memory, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Join food writers, purveyors, and restaurant owners as they come together to discuss Jewish cuisine and its ability to transcend generations. The list of participants includes New York Times reporter Julia Moskin and Mile End’sNoah Bernamoff. A full lineup of panelists and tickets can be viewed on the museum’s website.

First Fridays, Tenement Museum, 108 Orchard Street, Friday, 6:30 p.m.

This month’s installment of the Tenement Museum’s First Fridays has guests playing the role of old-school housing investigators. Discover the mysteries inside 97 Orchard Street and find out whether the building is up to code — or if its landlord needs to receive the hammer of justice. Afterwards, enjoy a drink and bites. Tickets are $40 and can be reserved through the museum’s website.

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This Week’s Five Best Food and Drink Events – 1/26/2015

As everyone hunkers down for the blizzard rapidly approaching New York City, we’re plotting our next meal. Here are five events worth braving the snow to attend.

Republic Day, Savoury, 489 Columbus Avenue, Monday, 5 p.m.

Start the week off by celebrating India’s Independence Day at Savoury, which is offering a special $50 three-course prix fixe dinner focusing on Anglo-Indian-inspired dishes. Starters include mulligatawny soup, aloo papri chaat, and onion fritters; there are six entrees to choose from, including chicken tikka masala and mutton curry. The dinner includes a complimentary glass of beer or wine as well as naan and traditional side dishes.

In the Kitchen at Grace’s Marketplace: Winter’s Bounty, Grace’s Marketplace, 1299 Second Avenue, Tuesday, 7 p.m.

This longtime Upper East Side Market, which recently moved in to a new space, is kicking off its new culinary classes by focusing on food that warms our body and soul. With a focus on traditional and modern Italian recipes, classes include a chef-guided tour of the market to talk ingredients, a front-row seat to a cooking demo led by chef Joe Trama, and a freshly prepared meal. Reservations are $55.

Romance and Revenge: Aphrodisiacs and Female Poisoners, Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 8 p.m.

Not all food and drinks are created with the same intent. For this month’s installment of “Masters of Social Gastronomy,” Sarah Loman and Jonathan Soma take on the history of aphrodisiacs in food culture, exploring why chocolate and tiger privates can help set the mood better than a Barry White song. If this Valentine’s Day brings nothing but misery about the life you could have had with Mr. Not Really Right, on the other hand, take solace in the duo’s discussion of Victorian-age poison. The event is free to attend.

Chef Wylie Dufresne at the National Arts Club, National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, Thursday, 8 p.m.

What’s Wylie been up to besides running Alder? Find out as the chef-scientist dives into molecular gastronomy, the state of modern American cuisine, and what he wants to tackle next. Although the event is free to attend, guests must RSVP in advance by contacting artandtech@thenationalartsclub.org

Whiskey Writer Lew Bryson at Kings County Distillery, Kings County Distillery, 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, Friday, 6 p.m.

Instead of heading to happy hour to drink the same old cheap shot special, consider educating your palate by meeting up with whiskey writer Lew Bryson. The man has traveled the world in search of great whiskey, and he will talk about his experiences as well as answer any questions guests have. The free event includes a tasting led by Bryson as well as a book signing.

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Alder’s Sunday Menu Flips a Modernist Bird at Brunch Haters

Last month, Ryan Henderson replaced longtime Dufresne protege Jon Bignelli as chef de cuisine of Alder (157 Second Avenue, 212-539-1900). This is a promotion for Henderson from sous chef, a role he auditioned for — and snagged — with a dish that eventually made its way (after some tinkering) to the neo-tavern’s opening menu: a Caesar salad “nigiri,” featuring a slab of egg-yolk-sauced, cured mackerel draped over a rib of romaine lettuce. Tinkering happens to every dish at Dufresne’s restaurants, but Henderson emphasizes the communal aspect of working for the progressive pioneer.

“The whole menu at Alder is a team effort,” Henderson tells the Voice. “My sous chef, Sarah, and the cooks will work on dishes, add input, suggest various techniques. Every dish gets tasted by lots of people and goes through a number of iterations before we put it on the menu. Wylie and I will just chat about things we think are fun or we’ve seen or that interest us and then see what we can do. I will always love the pigs in a blanket and the rye pasta, but we’ve been putting on a lot of fun new dishes.” One new addition? Another play on the Caesar salad, now a basket of chicken wings and celery stalks dusted with anchovy-spiked powdered salad dressing.

Earlier this month, Henderson and team introduced a Sunday menu with several tongue-in-cheek odes to brunch: ham and cheese eclairs, a bacon, egg, and cheese riff, and hanger steak and eggs with “tots” made from vadouvan-spiced rice. With wd-50’s impending closure, it’s nice to see Dufresne celebrate past victories, as with the return of a potato, bacon, and goat cheese tart — a dish from the 71 Clinton Fresh Food days.

Those eclairs are a very present triumph, a fun drinking snack that, like the Caesar wings, plays to Alder’s strengths as a place for high-minded grazing and imbibing. Shot through with béarnaise sauce, the choux pastry shell supports a melted flap of gruyere tweezered with twirls of crispy ham. They’re a much better bang for your buck than dinner plates like a “Goatoaber” special of three goat mini-meatballs in pho-style broth for $16, or a teacup saucer of side-plated lamb tartare with black garlic and injera chips that costs roughly $6 per teaspoon.

Henderson’s even counted himself among the brunch haters, saying it’s just “the same pancakes and eggs.” Now he’s breading and frying scrambled eggs Filet-O-Fish style. Served on English muffin halves and topped with slices of pepper jelly mimicking American cheese, this dish would make a killing if the chef turned it into a proper sandwich and wrapped it up to-go.


 

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Why Alder’s Bar Manager Drinks the Suffering Bastard

Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice. 

Today’s call comes by way of Kevin Denton, bar director of Alder (157 Second Avenue; 212-539-1900) and WD-50 (50 Clinton Street; 212-477-2900).

 

What’s your call drink?

The Suffering Bastard.

What is it about this drink that you like so much?

I find that almost any bar has the ingredients to make it. It’s almost always good.

Has it always been your favorite? How long did it take you to find it? What was that process like?

No, I came to it recently. Sometimes Wylie [Dufresne, owner of WD-50 and Alder] asks me to make a big batch of cocktails for the kitchen if a guest drops off booze for them. Usually it’s like, “What do I have to work with here, a bottle of gin and a bottle of whiskey, some ginger beer? Bastards all around!” I first heard about it through Dave Berry’s books. Upon further research I discovered that the popular variations — “Dead Bastard” and “Dying Bastard” — were invented at The Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg, New York. My band used to play that bar in college!

Could you name a few places around town that make your favorite drink?

Any cocktail bar will know how to make this. I like drinking on Avenue C, so I’d recommend The Wayland or Evelyn.

What’s the recipe for those that want to make it at home?

Easy: equal parts gin, bourbon, and lime with a dash of Angostura and topped with ginger beer. If you come to Alder, you can get a clarified and carbonated version, ‘Suffering Fools.’

7. What’s your second favorite drink?

Like every other bartender in the world, I love daiquiris. I fell in love with Flor de Cana rum in Nicaragua. Two ounces of that to three-quarters ounce of lime and a half ounce cane syrup. Shake it as hard as you can.


 

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This Week’s Review in Pictures: Wylie Dufresne’s Alder

This week’s review is of Alder, Wylie Dufresne’s new restaurant in the East Village, where I found the platonic ideal of clam chowder — lean but incredibly silky, full of flavor — with a particularly delicious trick up its sleeve.

Photographer Dominic Perri took so many excellent photos at the restaurant, it seemed a shame to show you only one. See the rest after the jump.

Banoffee pie is one of three desserts
Banoffee pie is one of three desserts
Pigs in a blanket deliver the comforting sweetness of Chinese delivery
Pigs in a blanket deliver the comforting sweetness of Chinese delivery
Pastrami and rye pasta looks familiar, but it tastes of another time and place
Pastrami and rye pasta looks familiar, but it tastes of another time and place
Roughly chopped chicken liver on cornbread toast, with wings of crisp chicken skin
Roughly chopped chicken liver on cornbread toast, with wings of crisp chicken skin
Smooth, purple-hued pub cheese with thick crisps made from Martin's potato rolls
Smooth, purple-hued pub cheese with thick crisps made from Martin’s potato rolls
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Wylie Dufresne’s Casual East Village Outpost

Here is a bowl of New England clam chowder ($15), the stock, thickened with potato, a silky conduit for the flavors of clams, bacon, and bay leaf, served with a bowl of “oyster crackers.” You know this dish, but there are those silly quotation marks, relics of menu-writing, reminding you that things aren’t always what they seem. Culinary tricks can be gimmicky and exhausting, and eaters can’t be blamed for approaching them with a healthy amount of skepticism. But at Alder, the quotes can also be a clue: You are about to witness a delightful and delicious sleight of hand.

See, the cracker impostors are chewy, crisp puffs of fried oyster meat, their briny flavors deep and concentrated, their texture even more exciting when they’ve swum around for a bit in that soup and begun to soften. This reconstituted-oyster magic might not be part of the chowders you’ve known, but it makes the platonic ideal of New England clam chowder, elevated and sharpened by chef Wylie Dufresne. It is clam chowder, squared.

Dufresne, the chef/owner of decade-old wd-50 on the Lower East Side, finally won the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef NYC award after several years of nominations; he opened Alder in March in the East Village. His right-hand man, the talented John Bignelli, has come along to run the kitchen, and their collaborative work is far more easygoing (and a bit more affordable) than wd-50. The à la carte menu, strapped to a heavy block of wood, can be a bit hard to figure out—some dishes are set up perfectly for sharing, while others (like the poached egg in broth) are not.

But think of it this way: Since there are no tasting menus, it’s a lovely place to pop in without a reservation for a drink and a few bites—like the sausage rolls ($11) with sharp mustard, which deliver the comforting sweetness of Chinese takeout. Or the coarse, musky chicken liver on cornbread ($17), which gets interesting with shards of crisp chicken skin and smears of grapefruit marmalade, and the delightfully sloppy canapés of pumpernickel toast ($11) with kale and wet beads of smoky trout roe, both of which are particularly well-suited for cocktail hour. But you can also make a real meal at Alder out of the larger dishes, like the rye pasta ($18)—a lump of hot pastrami hiding under a pile of fresh, wide noodles, with more smoked beef shaved on top. The dish hits like a fond, hazy memory of pastrami on rye, immediately evoking the neighborhood’s glory days of Jewish delis and appetizing stores.

Whichever way you go, get a drink or three. Kevin Denton’s cocktails are great with food (with the exception of the Love Oolong Time, which is too syrupy for most of the savory dishes). When it comes to desserts, a dry, prim banoffee tart ($8) passes, but it lacks the deeper, more generous buttery flavors of a great one. Root beer pudding ($8) is a far better option, extremely soft and contained in a glass, with a smoky, crunchy crumble on top.

But some tricks, like the disappearance of a marble up someone’s nose, can be more curious than delightful. And after a few visits to Alder, I wondered if some of the surprises were weighing a few of the dishes down instead of lifting them to new heights. The pastries on those otherwise delicious pigs in a blanket have an unwelcome edge of toughness, without the feathery, fatty softness of a laminated dough. That’s because the casing is made from dehydrated hot dog rolls—an edible play on words that doesn’t taste quite as good as it sounds.

A similar technique is applied to the crisp component in the pub cheese plate, where Martin’s potato rolls are dried into sheets of chips. Potato “chips” sure sound neat, but the process transforms the rolls into something thicker and drier than a stack of baked Pringles. It’s a shame, because the sweet, smooth, purple-hued pub cheese stuck with shards of sweet pistachio brittle (a misnomer; it’s chewy) deserves better—something strong enough to scoop it up, but delicate enough to break.

Another small mystery: That little bowl of finely chopped giardiniera, or Italian-style pickled vegetables, that arrives with a cheerful instruction to “spice up the food.” It tastes very good, but it pairs with so few of the dishes, and I noticed many tables left theirs mostly untouched. So what’s it doing here, exactly? Hard to say. At Alder, you get the sense the kitchen is having a lot of fun sending out dishes that the cooks truly love. When your tastes do line up with theirs, it can be magic.

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Wylie Dufresne at the Rubin Museum and a Whole New World of Beef

Monday, April 15
French Roast Downtown’s 20th Anniversary
Celebrate French Roast Downtown’s 20th anniversary with a three-course menu priced at $19.93, the year it opened. Peter Hudson serves a classic French menu from April 15 to 18 that includes escargots, roasted bone marrow, and moules frites. 78 W. 11th Street; 212-533-2233

Tuesday, April 16
Third Annual Tasting Brooklyn
Over two dozen of Brooklyn’s best food and drink spots offer their goods at tasting booths at the Green Building in Carroll Gardens. Participants include Allswell, Brooklyn Gin, Fletcher’s BBQ, Robicelli’s, and Sixpoint. The event runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at BrooklynExposed.com. All proceeds will benefit the Brooklyn Recovery Fund. 450 Union Street, Brooklyn; 718-522-3363

Gentlemen’s Evening at Tavern 29
Sit back and get a straight-edge shave from Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers while enjoying Manhattan’s from Tavern 29. Guests will be able to taste Auchentoshan scotch, and a special menu. E-mail clare@tavern29.com to make a reservation for $60. 47 E. 29th Street; 212-685-4422

Wednesday, April 17
Old World Butchers Meet the New World of Beef
Butchers from the East Village Meat Market, the last surviving Eastern European butcher shop in the East Village, lead butchery demonstrations of grass-fed beef (guests can buy cuts after class). Complimentary tastes of locally made kielbasa, hams, and other meats from the East Village Meat Market, and craft beers and ciders from Jimmy’s No. 43, will also be available. Tickets cost between $35 and $45 and can be purchased at OldWorldButcher.com. 139 Second Avenue; 212-228-5590

Wylie Dufresne at the Rubin Museum
Wylie Dufresne, fresh from the debut of his East Village restaurant Alder, hosts one of the Brainwave series at the Rubin Museum, discussing the psychology of smell and the science behind food. Tickets are $20. 150 W. 17th Street; 212-620-5000