Colicchio & Sons to Close

19COLICCHIOS-WEB-master768.jpgColicchio & Sons, the eponymous Chelsea restaurant from Tom Colicchio, recently announced they would close their doors after a final dinner service on September 4th The restaurant has been open for 6 years, during which it earned 3 stars from the New York Times for it’s sophisticated techniques and devotion to craft.

Tom Colicchio announced the closing on August 18th, but did not give specific reasons. A likely possibility is that he is moving to focus on more casual concepts for financial reasons, as the market grows less friendly towards fine dining. Mr. Colicchio also plans to open a new concept, called Fowler & Wells, in the Beekman Thompson Hotel in the financial district.

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Ikinari Steak Comes to New York from Japan, with Prime Rib and No Chairs

The popular Japanese steakhouse Ikinari steak, known for it’s unusual ordering style and standing-room-only dining room, will soon come to the East Village. Ikinari currently has more than 50 locations in Japan, and in areas with a large office population some Ikinari outposts feed as many as 500 office workers a day.

The fast-casual concept allows guests to order the exact number of grams of steak they’d like, which are then eaten at standing tables with a precisely calibrated height. Chef and Restaurateur Kunio Ichinose explains that such tables discourage diners from putting their forks and knives down between bites, allowing the restaurant to move guests through as quickly as possible. That throughput allows Ikinari to target workers with lower incomes than many steakhouses; a 7-ounce steak comes to about $16, a particularly good deal in Japan.

If such a fast paced setting doesn’t seem like your ideal way to eat steak, there may be some hope. Ikinari’s LES application for a liquor license indicates they may tweak the concept slightly for the New York market, encouraging guests to stay a moment longer and possibly even giving them a place to sit. After all, it’s hard to hold a fork, knife, and a beer through a full 7 ounces.

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Whole Foods Denied “World’s Healthiest” Moniker

whole-foods1.jpgIn 2010, Whole Foods successfully took on the name “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store,” trademarking the slogan on the basis of existing consumer sentiment. But they recently submitted an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to call themselves  “The World’s Healthiest Grocery Store” – a significant jump in status which could indicate plans for more aggressive expansion overseas.

Unfortunately the Patent office rejected the application, on the basis that such a slogan makes a “laudatory” and unverifiable claim. Papa John’s slogan “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza” was originally denied for the same reason. One reason the switch from “America’s” to “The World’s” might have struck officials as puffery is that Whole Foods currently has a presence in only Canada, Britain and the U.S. – hardly the whole world. They’ve also struggled historically to push into these overseas markets, where existing chains often have a hold on loyal clientele.

Whole Foods now has 6 months to update and refile the case for reconsideration.

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Salvage Supperclub is a Pop-Up in a Dumpster

29-salvages-supper-club.w710.h473.2x.jpgSalvage Supperclub is the latest outcome of an increased public awareness about food waste: a traveling pop-up dinner made entirely from wasted food and served (appropriately) in a converted dumpster. The chef behind the club, Pesha Perlsweig, believes that they can change diners’ outlooks with each meal. “It makes me happy to hear that a former guest made carrot top pesto or was inspired by a dish of mine,” she says.

Salvage Supperclub has already hosted dinners in Berkeley, San Francisco and their native New York. And while the list of ingredients at one dinner (including bruised plums, vegetable pulp, garbanzo bean water, sweet potato skins and overripe, peel-on bananas) might force some guests to stifle a gag, the NPR reviewer present described almost everything as “finger-licking good.”

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Spiking Coffee Gives New York Bars a Fresh Buzz

Coffee shops, restaurants and bars around New York City are now spiking coffee drinks.  Customers are happy with the new concoctions and barista-bartenders are becoming inventive.

Kobrick Coffee Company is a coffee bean roaster that operates a retail shop in the Meatpacking District.  Besides the usual coffee drinks, the café serves “coffee cocktails” which are alcoholic drinks mixed with caffeine.  The Mexican Jumping Bean is a top-seller, and is made of espresso, tequila and liqueur.

SushiSamba, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant in the West Village, serves an espresso martini made with Bacardi Black rum, spiced maple syrup and dark chocolate liquor.

Fair Weather Bushwick, a bistro in Brooklyn offers a Shochu Latte during brunch that’s made with shochu (a Japanese distilled beverage), espresso and hazelnut syrup.

Mother’s Ruin, a popular bar in NoLIta, serves a Coffee Cordial Boozy Slushy which is served frozen and made up of coffee, white rum, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Sweetleaf Coffee, a café located in Long Island City and Williamsburg, makes a Java Flip from Jamaican rum, bourbon, egg yolk, cream and coffee liqueur.  Cold brew coffee is condensed and raw sugar is added.

Sweetleaf’s coffee and cocktail service don’t overlap, with cocktails starting at 5PM.  Mr. Vincent Vee, an experienced beverage manager is quoted as saying “They’re both high-profit businesses, but they’re only high profit for a short period of the day.  So when you have them both behind the same doors, it can make a lot financial sense.”

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Bloomfield’s Planned FiDi Opening Called Off

April Bloomfield, the chef behind NY staples Salvation Burger, The Breslin, and The Spotted Pig, has officially called off plans to open a complex of restaurants and bars at the top of 70 Pine Street in the Financial District. Bloomfield had originally planned to open the project with business partner Ken Friedman and developer Adam Rose, who is converting the the former AIG building into apartments. But by mutual agreement the plan has been called off, supposedly due to the complexity of the concept and logistics necessary. According to Rose, “we need a simple bar with basic (but nice) food to make it work 66 stories up in the air on top of a landmark.”

Rose is now working on securing another chef or operator, but has not announced any possible partners yet. He says that a future collaboration with Bloomfield and Friedman is still “highly likely.”

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Angel’s Share Alums Open New Cocktail and Ramen Bar

11-rokc-009.w710.h473.2x.jpgShigefumi Kabashima and Tetsuo Hasegawa, both formerly of the popular speakeasy-esque bar Angel’s Share, have just unveiled the full cocktail menu at their new spot in Hamilton Heights. The bar is called ROKC (short for Ramen, Oysters, Kitchen and Cocktails), and the menu is a playful American twist on the high quality Japanese drinks at Angel’s Share. Examples include a Thai tea spiked with absinthe and cachaça, a matcha latte with Japanese whiskey, and a fruity cocktail called “Flower” with shochu, lavender, elderflower, and cranberry, served in a lightbulb and presented over ice in a trapezoidal pot.

These cocktails are all newly unveiled, but the ramen and limited raw bar have been available for a few weeks during he restaurant’s soft-open. Ex–Maison Premiere sous-chef Jeff Srole has been heading the seafood menu, and Isao Yoneda (formerly of Totto and Hide-Chan) is responsible for the three types of ramen bowls.

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