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.

Le District to Partially Open This Week

The giant French market, bakery, cafe, and restaurant, also known as the French Eataly, is set to be partially open this week in the Brookfield Place in Battery Park City.  Over the weekend, the Cafe District opened up to the public serving pastries, espresso, and candy.

Much to the delight of Francophiles around the city, this is also the first US location of the Paris-based candy store, La Cure Gourmande, which is now open inside the Cafe District.  Guests will have to wait until Wednesday, however, to get a taste of chef Jordi Valles’ brasserie cooking at Beauborg.  The final portion of the project, a 28-seat tasting menu restaurant called L’Appart will not open until May.

Le District has slowly been releasing details about the project to excite guests.  In case you missed any of the previous reports, here are the highlights:

The space is divided into four districts: cafe, restaurant, garden, and market.  While separate physically, guests will be able to interact with the spaces with some degree of cohesion; for example, guests can purchase a steak at the butcher and have it cooked on the grill before leaving.  Also, the salad bar will switch over to a chocolate mousse bar at 4:00p.m.  Inside the market, there’s a wine bar, rotisserie, fishmonger, bakery, and cheese shop.  In addition to the 30,000 square feet inside, Le District will also have 7,000 square feet of outdoor space, with 250 seats overlooking the Hudson.

To read more about Le District, click here.

Russ and Daughters to Open Café in Jewish Museum on UES

Russ and Daughters, the quintessential appetizing store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, will open a new outpost this spring in the Jewish Museum. The collaboration will bring a second outpost of the Russ and Daughters Café to the Warburg mansion, with 75 seats of sit-down, full-service dining as well as a take-out retail counter in a Solomonoff Architecture Studio-designed space.

The Jewish Museum was founded in 1900 and moved into the Warburg mansion in 1944. The Museum has been an ever-growing and evolving collection of art reflecting global Jewish identity since then. Works of modern and contemporary art are regularly presented in exhibitions that represent an unparalleled window into the Jewish culture for current and future generations to enjoy.

Russ and Daughters, which was established in 1914, will serve its signature selection of cured fish, bagels, knishes, salads, and egg creams in the new space. The appetizing store and brand have been family owned for four generations, and just recently branched out with its café, also located on the LES. This is a great moment in the history of both institutions and the Jewish cultural history in NYC.

To read more, please click here

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