Joaquin Baca’s Teo and Günter Seeger NY Both Close After Short Runs

“(…) Short-lived restaurants don’t get the same treatment, for obvious reasons, but it’s still unfortunate when ambitious places from established players fizzle out fast. There are all kinds of reasons why these closings happen. But it’s still a bummer to hear that Bushwick’s Teo has closed after just five months of serving cast-iron-skillet okonomiyakis.

The closing came out of nowhere, given what the restaurant had going for it. It wasn’t a rookie chef’s project. The owner was Joaquin Baca, who was David Chang’s first employee at Momofuku Noodle Bar and helped right the ship at Ssäm Bar after a rocky start. Baca helped shape Momofuku in its earliest years before going on to open Williamsburg’s the Brooklyn Star, which closed in May after nine years in Williamsburg. He’s a talented chef who was cooking food people want to eat; short rib over kimchee fried rice, oysters coated in cornmeal and then fried, a confit duck-leg ramen. The news was announced on the restaurant’s Instagram and website, but no reason was given.

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East Village’s Jiang Diner Is a Magnetic New Entry Into NYC’s Chinese Dining Scene

Lamb stuffed shumai dumplings

“(…) Jiang Diner also refers to its purse-shaped manti dumplings as shumai, even though they are not the sort of fragile little dumplings one finds in a Cantonese or Japanese restaurants. They are nevertheless quite good, bulging with a wet lamb or beef filling. The dumpling skins are way more delicate than the doughy ones found in, say, a Uzbekistan restaurant like Nargis Cafe.

The greatest strength of Jiang Diner lies in its introduction of dishes we hadn’t really seen before in New York. Most brilliant of all, but also on the expensive side, is its plate of lamb ribs ($26), either steamed or roasted, and presented with dipping reservoirs of powdered Asian cumin and thick chile paste. Those who eschew fat should avoid these, but there is no more flavorful lamb in town, except perhaps some local versions of Mexican barbacoa. Another dish that shouldn’t be missed is the steamed eggplant with fresh garlic paste ($8), which will feel somewhat familiar to anyone who frequents local Sichuan restaurants. This one also features potatoes, while red bell peppers add sweetness. I liked it so much that I tried it twice, and the time it was served to me warm, it was transcendent.”

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Bento Boxes Are Trending In Fast Casual

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We’ve rounded up several examples of the emerging bento box trend in fast-casual restaurants, from a bento-only delivery concept to an already-emerging chain undergoing a major expansion.

“The bentos are appealing because you’re not eating a huge plate of pad Thai, and then falling asleep at your desk the next moment,” Kelley said. “I lived in Japan for over a year and was always taken by the bento delivery system there … they deliver bento boxes and then pick them up in the afternoon. We are doing the same thing in Colorado, and we are essentially zero-waste.”

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China’s Fastest Growing Hotpot Chain Just Minted Two Billionaires

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“China’s insatiable demand for spicy hotpot is placing the founders of a restaurant chain atop one of the world’s fastest-growing fortunes, allowing them to outpace many of the wealthiest families globally.

As of Monday, Zhang Yong, chairman of Haidilao International Holding Ltd., and his wife Shu Ping, had grown $6 billion richer in 2019, a 79 percent jump in just over three months.

That pace is the fastest in Asia and globally only topped by Australian mining baron Andrew Forrest, who has doubled his fortune this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

Haidilao went public in September, and it’s been a lucrative time for China’s largest hotpot chain, popular for the spicy broths in which diners cook their meats and vegetables. The company is pushing to make its restaurants more efficient by creating automated kitchens. Perks like the free manicures it offers waiting customers have kept families coming in. And the brand is expanding overseas with new locations planned in New York and London.

Last year, revenue surged 60 percent to 17 billion yuan ($2.6 billion), and that’s helping to push the stock up more than 75 percent this year. At about $21 billion, the company’s market value is now higher than Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.”

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Michelin-Starred Kyo Ya’s Longtime Chef Is Leaving to Open His Own Restaurant

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“Kyo Ya has been open since 2007, one of the first kaisekis in the city before the influx of Japanese restaurants — serving an eight-course seasonal menu for $150 with ingredients from all over Japan, including raw fish like whelk, sea eel, and abalone. Times critic Pete Wells gave the restaurant a three-star review in 2012, praising Sono’s mastery of seasonal ingredients, and it’s been awarded a Michelin star for many years.

Despite its critical acclaim, the restaurant has remained a bit of a hidden gem, bearing no signage for its lowkey subterranean space. In 2015, it also spurred a French-Japanese spinoff called Autre Kyo Ya, which has since closed. Eater has reached out to the restaurant’s ownership for details on what’s next for Kyo Ya.”

“Chikara Sono — the executive chef who led acclaimed East Village Japanese restaurant Kyo Ya to a Michelin star — is leaving the restaurant after 12 years of cooking up a multi-course kaiseki menu of raw and hot small plates. The star chef plans to open his own restaurant. Sono tells Eater that he’s leaving on March 31 in order to open a restaurant of his own; he has already started scouting spaces. In the meantime, Sono will do catering and consulting.”

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World’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant opens second NYC location

“Tim Ho Wan has received a bunch of international hype throughout the years as it was dubbed the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world a year after it opened in 2009 and subsequently earned one star. The first NYC location launched in the East Village in 2016 to very long lines, serving its signature baked BBQ pork buns, steamed shrimp dumplings and pan-fried turnip cakes, all priced in the single digits.”

“The new location will serve these specials from head chef Yinghui Zhou, in a space inspired by 17th-century French salons, with Chinese accents like an embedded bamboo steamer and the Tim How Wan dragon logo.”

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Chinese Noodles From a Chile-Haunted Region

“The rise of Sichuan food in New York has made the past decade or two a glorious era for prowlers of Chinese restaurants. Chongqing chicken and mung-bean jelly proliferated as skilled chefs flocked to the city. But while the miles of dan dan noodles and mountains of Sichuan peppercorns have been exhilarating, they have tended to overshadow the cuisine of another great chile-haunted region, Hunan.”

“When people in Hunan get hungry for a bowl of noodles, what they have in mind are mifen: long, white strands made from pounded rice, so smooth they may slither right out of the chopsticks of inexperienced slurpers. Chances for New Yorkers to practice their antiskid chopstick techniques have been limited, generally speaking, to the rice noodles of other parts of Asia. When you could find Hunanese noodles around town, they tended to be tucked away on larger menus with so many other Hunanese opportunities that they were rarely given a chance to slither.”

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