New York Shines at James Beard Awards

Although this year’s James Beard Awards were held in Chicago, New York was the big winner of the night. The city that never sleeps brought home five awards showing that you can take show out of New York, but the winners are here to stay.  The James Beard Awards, deemed the Oscars of the culinary industry, celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year. Alton Brown hosted this year’s show, which was live streamed for viewers to enjoy at home. Congratulations to all of our New York friends!

  • Best New Restaurant
    • Bâtard, NYCScreen Shot 2015-05-07 at 9.16.23 AM
  • Outstanding Baker 
    •  Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
  •  Outstanding Chef 
    • Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
  •  Outstanding Pastry Chef 
    • Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC
  • Outstanding Restaurant
    • Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

To read the full list of winners, click here

Tea Makes a Stir in New York City

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Christopher Day at EMP

In the past tea has not always been though of as a trendy drink but now the industry is noticing an increase in demand. Loose leaf teas from around the world, tea preparation classes and artisan teaware are now available from a myriad of online purveyors and tea salons. Chain stores are also popping up nationwide as Starbucks purchased Teavana in 2012 and now has expanded to 301 stores across the country. According to the Tea Association of the USA in 2014, Americans consumed over 80 billion servings of tea, or more than 3.60 billion gallons.

These days, tea is also making a stir in New York Restaurants.  New York’s elite are now offering extensive tea lists and some even offer matching tasting notes. Tea programs are now offered at Eleven Madison Park, Atera, Blanca and Betony providing diners a chance to experience some of the world’s best teas. Eleven Madison Park’s tea program currently offers a seasonal menu of 32 types of teas served by the pot. Christopher Day, the man behind Eleven Madison Park’s tea program told Eater “”tea represents more than a beverage meant to be drunk at the end of a meal…We regard it as with wine, spirits, and coffee — as something to be selected and prepared with the same attention to detail and concern for excellence as any aspect of the menu.”

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Iced Matcha Teas at MatchaBar

Fast causal concepts are also appearing across the city offering different variations of the beverage. Flushing’s Fang Gourmet Tea offers 70 teas at $5 to $10. In Williamsburg New Yorkers can enjoy the city’s first speciality matcha cafe at MatchaBar where they offer everything from classic matcha to specialty  seasonal drinks such as Iced Mint Matcha Lemonade.

To read more from the New York Times click here

Maple, the Momofuku-backed Delivery Service, Launches Today

Back in November, we posted about the news that Momofuku emperor David Chang had signed on to develop menus for a new, upscale food delivery app called Maple.  The major difference between Maple and its competitors like Caviar and Seamless is that Maple is going to produce all of the food itself, rather than sourcing from restaurants.

Maple has built a commissay kitchen in Brooklyn, which will, over time, feed into a network of delivery-kitchen hubs across the city.  Think Pret A Manger’s model without retail storefronts being replaced by a delivery application.  Maple has secured $26 million in funding to date–a portion of which has come from David Chang himself.

Today, the app is launching its service below Chambers Street with a mouthwatering menu.  In the kitchen is Soa Davies, a six-year veteran of Le Bernardin.  The operation is starting small with just three options, but plans to expand as the service grows.  Chang notes that America is somewhat behind with this trend, as there are “entire cultures… [that] base their food on deliverable lunches… Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India.  This is relatively new to us.”

To read more, click here.

Rebelle Launches on Lower East Side

The chef of Paris’ revolutionary Spring, Daniel Eddy, has returned to the States to open Rebelle with Pearl & Ash’s uber-successful wine director, Patrick Cappiello.  The duo see the bistronomy trend that bubbled up in the Parisian restaurant scene as the major inspiration for Rebelle–particularly given Eddy’s involvement in Spring, which helped usher in the movement in Paris.

The pair have opened a restaurant that pairs serious food with a casual setting–exploring French classics in a modern way.  For example, beet bourguignonne made with salt-baked beets in place of beef, and leek vinaigrette with soft-boiled egg, Dijon, and leek ash.  Cappiello is running the wine program with gusto; the list has 1,500 French and American labels.  Per Se and Guy Savoy alum Jessica Yang is running the pastry department and churning out grand finales such as rhubard, lemongrass, and vanilla in various textures.

Brooklyn-based hOmE, which is responsible for many of the austere, beautiful dining rooms around town such as Mast Brothers, Black Seed, and Telepan Local, designed the space with an emphasis on marble, custom textiles, and simplicity.  The dining room features a chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen, and a bar with a separate snack menu and cocktails from master mixologist, Eben Klemm.

Rebelle is now open.  To read more, click here.

Retail Spotlight: Brigadeiro Bakery

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Across the city, more and more foodservice shops are opening to serve a singular product type. This isn’t a new idea, but it has certainly become the trend among bootstrapping entrepreneurs looking to get started in this competitive and pricy city.

It isn’t always successful, but when it’s done right, it can be great! This month, we are taking a close look at Brigadeiro, a small shop in the north west corner of SoHo serving sweet Brazilian specialties.

Brigadeiro is both the name of the shop and the name of the sweet, condensed-milk confection that the store specializes in. The shop, which seats fewer than 12, is simply and attractively decorated with tile, blonde wood, and splashes of color in the packaging and product display. The narrow space with minimal distraction draws you right in; you know immediately what the place is about. The display case sits center in the service counter showing off the namesake treats:

Chocolate. Pistachio. Chocolate+Vanilla. Banana Cinnamon. Oreo Cookie. The store has a rotating selection of brigadeiro that range from the modest and traditional to modern and approachable. At its core, the same product, but dressed differently to great effect. This is the way to do a single-product shop. Everything we tried was delicious, and the packaging was as much a feast for the eyes as the candy was for our sweet tooth.

The confections were definitely great. However, from the business standpoint, there is a lesson just as worthwhile to learn from the Brigadeiro shop: high-value and creative alternatives to traditional items of expense. Brigadeiro is turning butter, sugar, and condensed milk into $2.33-per-piece, high-margin products. Instead of sinking capital in static, expensive branded packaging, Brigadeiro uses attractive printed paper to wrap boxes and seal with a branded sticker—an inexpensive, dynamic approach. And ultimately, instead of trying to start an enterprise that demands a bigger space, a broader concept, and a larger staff, Brigadeiro is staying small and staying focused on making the best Brazilian candy in the city.

Brigadeiro Bakery is located on Sullivan Street at the corner of West Houston.  To read more, click here.

James Beard Award Chef and Restaurant Finalists Announced

After months of deliberation, the James Beard Foundation has finally honed in on the selection of finalists for this years’ Chef and Restaurant awards.  The awards will be held May 4 in Chicago–the first time outside NYC in 24 years! Here is a quick review of the local talent that made the cut:

  • Batard, nominated for Best New Restaurant
  • Jim Lahey, nominated for Outstanding Baker
  • Maison Premiere, nominated for Outstanding Bar Program
  • Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, nominated for Outstanding Chef
  • Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Christina Tosi, Momofuku, nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar, Per Se, and The Spotted Pig nominated for Outstanding Restaurant
  • Marea, nominated for for Outstanding Service

To see the complete list, click here.

Per Se Alums Open Fine-Casual Hawaiian

Chef Chung Chow, Jin Ahn, and Gerald San Jose all met while working for Thomas Keller at the New York City fine dining institution, Per Se.  However, they’re no longer dabbling in French or American classics.  The trio has moved on to open a Noreetuh: a 42-seat, upscale-casual restaurant in the Eat Village focused on Japanese, Korean, and Filipino cuisines and where those three meet–Hawaiian.

Jin Ahn has assembled an impressive wine list with an emphasis on Burgundy and Bordeaux, but has kept the selection largely under $150.  Chow’s cooking reflects his upbringing in Hawaii and Japan with such dishes as pork croquettes, garlic shrimp over sticky rice, and crispy mochi waffles.  The menu is priced between $5 and $22, reinforcing the current trend of the return of casual dining, albeit with a fine-dining tweak.

To read more about Noreetuh, click here.

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