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Wednesday
Jan152014

A Look Around Grand Central Oyster Bar Brooklyn

Grand Central Oyster Bar opened its first Stateside franchise December 19th. Bruce Fox is in charge of franchising and Jonathan Young, who managed the 101-year-old flagship location in Grand Central, have teamed up to make it happen. The new location, in Park Slope, is in the 5,000-square-foot space that formerly housed Fornino. The Brooklyn location offers 16 to Grand Centrals 32 oyster varieties, but serves most of the same stews and pan roasts, salads, soups, sandwiches, platters and apps. A retail counter (where Fornino's takeout used to be) sells raw and prepared seafood and has ten first-come first-serve bar stools as an homage to the original location. Have a look around..

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Friday
Jan102014

Donde Dinner? - 406 East 9th Street

Donde Dinner? aims to make your next dining experience an adventure. So every Friday we pick a restaurant and post its address for you. The catch is, that's all the information you get. No name, no type of cuisine, and no Googling. But first, here's the last Donde Dinner? address:

536 East 5th Street = Minca

This week's restaurant follows typical Donde Dinner? fashion. Price, quality, and accessibility have all been taken into account. You won't be waiting at the bar for two hours with $16 cocktails and you never have to worry about a dress code. Just hop on the train, or your feet, or your bike, and head to:

406 East 9th Street (map)

Tuesday
Jan072014

Fort Reno Closed: Will Reopen as a Taqueria

dinosaur barbecue is across the street in the backgroundThe city is a funny place. Nowhere else in the world can a handful of restaurants with similar menus remain open within a one or two mile (even few block) radius of one another. Barbecue exploded in New York over the past year and a half to the point that we felt pizza was threatened as New York's food. In the past two years, Brooklyn welcomed Briskettown, Fletcher's, Morgan's, Hometown, Fort Reno, and Dinosaur Barbecue. The last two operated a stone's throw from each other: Fort Reno on the north side of Union between 4th and 5th and Dinosaur on the south side of Union between 3rd and 4th. Quality and price aside, we wondered how long Fort Reno could survive in the shadow of the juggernaut that is Dinosaur Barbecue.

Here's Park Slope revealed over the weekend that Fort Reno's time has come to an end. The restaurant closed for the holidays and will not be reopening. The owners (who also own Palo Santo on Union Street closer to 5th Ave) are keeping the space and turning it into a tortilleria/taqueria, where they'll be making their own masa and $3 tacos. The new project is slated to open by mid-February. We're excited, given the smart, forward-thinking food that's been served at Palo Santo since the restaurant openedin 2006. But it's a funny thing, because Rachel's, Jalapeno, Oaxaca Taqueria, Mezcal's, and Lobo all sell tacos and they're all very close by.

Friday
Dec272013

The 2013 Donde Dinner Roundup

Our first Donde Dinner? post was May 18th, 2012. The goal with the column has always been to make choosing where to eat an easy decision, because in a city that boasts hundreds of restaurants, the chore can stir up anxiety and cause meltdowns. So we do the sweating for you. The restaurants we pick fly a little under the radar without breaking the bank and always serve delicious food.

As 2012 came to an end, we put together a roundup of the half-year run Donde Dinner? had. In lieu of an address this week, and with 2013 nearing it's close, we've compiled a roundup of this year's posts. It ends with Minca, last week's address and one of our favorite spots for ramen.

As always, thanks for reading.

Happy New Year!

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Friday
Dec202013

Donde Dinner? - 536 East 5th Street

Donde Dinner? aims to make your next dining experience an adventure. So every Friday we pick a restaurant and post its address for you. The catch is, that's all the information you get. No name, no type of cuisine, and no Googling. But first, here's last week's address:

184 Dekalb Avenue = Martha

This week's restaurant follows typical Donde Dinner? fashion. Price, quality, and accessibility have all been taken into account. You won't be waiting at the bar for two hours with $16 cocktails and you never have to worry about a dress code. Just hop on the train, or your feet, or your bike, and head to:

536 East 5th Street (map)

Tuesday
Dec172013

Gowanus Whole Foods is Open

Whole Foods Market bought the plot of land on Third and 3rd in Gowanus eight years ago. Construction began in early March this year and, nine months later, the store has opened its doors. Two hundred and fifty thousand reclaimed bricks, 400 employees, 20 checkout lines, and dozens of rows of sustainable food fill the 50,000-square-foot space. So too does a an impressive butcher counter, a variety of fresh fish, multitudes of local products, a bulk section, prepared foods, a coffee stand and separate roaster, and the almighty vast selection of craft beer. We braved the winter weather with hundreds of other enthusiastic shoppers on opening day today. Here's a look around.

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Friday
Dec132013

Donde Dinner? - 184 Dekalb Avenue

Donde Dinner? aims to make your next dining experience an adventure. So every Friday we pick a restaurant and post its address for you. The catch is, that's all the information you get. No name, no type of cuisine, and no Googling. But first, here's last week's address:

195 Morgan Avenue = Fiztcarraldo

This week's restaurant follows typical Donde Dinner? fashion. Price, quality, and accessibility have all been taken into account. You won't be waiting at the bar for two hours with $16 cocktails and you never have to worry about a dress code. Just hop on the train, or your feet, or your bike, and head to:

184 Dekalb Avenue (map)

Wednesday
Dec112013

Sushi Nakazawa is a Welcomed, New Breed of Four Star Restaurant

[daniel krieger for the ny times] daisuke nakazawaPete Wells reviewed Le Bernardin in May this year and gave the restaurant four stars. It was the first time in his two year tenure the critic doled out such an accolade. Not surprising, considering the city only had six restaurants of this caliber at the time. The others being Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Del Posto, Jean-Georges, and Daniel. But Wells took away Daniel's fourth star in July this year. With today's review though, a shining four star number of Sushi Nakazawa in the West Village, the number is back up to six.

Daisuke Nakazawa, the chef, worked for eleven years at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the restaurant that got it's own documentary in 2011 that everyone still (rightfully so) talks about. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is about a 10-seat sushi counter buried in a Tokyo train station that has drawn people from all over the world. A meal there costs about $300/person and lasts less than an hour, but the strict pursuit of perfection and immaculate execution there is priceless (it seems, we haven't eaten there. Yet...)

Sushi Nakazawa opened on Commerce Street in the West Village in August, months after Alessandro Borgognone, the restaurants owner, found Daisuke Nakazawa on Facebook and invited him to open a restaurant in New York City.

"The moment-to-moment joys of eating one mouthful of sushi after another can merge into a blur of fish bliss," Wells writes. "But almost everything Mr. Nakazawa cups in his hands and places in front of you is an event on its own. A piece of his sushi grabs control of your senses, and when it’s gone, you wish you could have it again." Wells also writes about Nakazawa's approach, "Everything is gently pressed over rice, in the two-century-old Edo style of sushi that Mr. Nakazawa respects and refines. Sashimi is not served, and there are no hot dishes from the kitchen."

Sushi Nakazawa is the city's first four star restaurant that's not a juggarnaut in terms of size and space. That means rent, among other costs, is significantly lower. The city's other restaurants of a shared caliber are 100+ seaters with tremendous rents and other variables that result in a high price for the consumer. You can eat at Sushi Nakazawa for $120 if you don't want to sit at the counter. If you do sit there and watch Nakazawa in action it's only $30 more. Either way, the meal is about 20 courses. The menu is different than the ones at the city's other four star restaurants, which might be the biggest factor in cost, but it's also much cheaper. A meal at Eleven Madison Park is $225. Jean-Georges, $198. Per Se, $295. Consider other restaurants that serve similar fare, (Brooklyn Fare charges $255, Neta $225), and the price is one on a long list of reasons to eat at Sushi Nakazawa. [NYTimes]

Sukiyabashi Jiro
Sukiyabashi Jiro

Sukiyabashi Jiro