Benno, Proudly Out of Step With the Age

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“Dated was the word one friend used after going to Benno, and if you’ve eaten there, too, you’ll know why. It’s as if the past 15 years in food never happened. The menu seems to be stuck in some time between 1994, when Thomas Keller bought the French Laundry, and 2004, when he opened Per Se with a young Jonathan Benno leading the kitchen.

The restaurant will probably be a tough sell to those diners who expect all restaurants to fall on a continuum between Noma and the Salt Bae place. But I prefer it to any number of newer, self-consciously modern restaurants, some of which are so determined to be of the moment that they might as well have a time stamp. Benno is not trying to be contemporary. It’s trying to be delicious. And it is, from start to finish, almost without exception.”

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Why Did NYC Lose 15 Kosher Restaurants In 2018?

Why Did NYC Lose 15 Kosher Restaurants In 2018? by the Forward

“Everyone knows opening a restaurant is a tricky business. Only 21% of restaurant start-ups survive past 15 years, the average restaurant lifetime is 4.5 years, and 17% of restaurants fail within their first year of business. In the kosher community, all of those percentages are a whole lot higher.

2018 was a particularly terrible year, with 15 kosher restaurants closing up shop. Veteran Manhattan kosher restaurants — midtown’s Cafe K, the Upper East Side’s Italian restaurant Va Bene, and Amsterdam Burger on the West Side — shuttered their doors this year. The gourmet kosher supermarket, Seasons, on the West Sider; Basta, an Israeli artisanal pizza spot in midtown east; Maoz, a vegetarian falafel chain throughout Manhattan — all closed.”

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The NYC Restaurants Ordered Closed Last Week

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“Filth flies, roaches, mice and unwashed hands — restaurants across the city have dirty secrets they’d rather you didn’t know about. Fortunately for the diner’s well-being, New York City’s Health Department is watching.

Every year, inspectors go unannounced into more than 24,000 restaurants in the city. Of them, the majority are fine, but some fall disgustingly short of the city’s cleanliness requirements.

The most common violations, according to the city, are food stored at wrong temperatures, vermin, “plumbing” issues (the mind boggles) and basic food safety protocols not being followed.”

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The Red Cat, a Pioneering Chelsea Restaurant, Will Close

“The Red Cat, an unpretentious neighborhood restaurant in Chelsea that became a destination, will close at the end of December after nearly 20 years in business. The reason is none of the usual suspects: a big rent hike, slumping traffic or the need for a costly renovation, said the chef, Jimmy Bradley. He has simply decided to quit.”

“(…) “My goal was to have my own business by the time I was 30,” Mr. Bradley said. He was 31 when he became the chef and an owner of the Red Cat, on 10th Avenue.
Chelsea was a much different place back then, with no High Line, art-gallery scene or sleek high-rise condominiums. London Terrace had elegant apartments; nearby there were, and still are, public housing projects. Gentrification has not had a huge impact on the Red Cat’s business Mr. Bradley said. The condos often have absentee owners who don’t come in for a bowl of lentil soup or a plate of local skate, and tourists plying the High Line are not particularly tuned in to the restaurant’s presence.

“It’s difficult for small businesses in New York now,” Mr. Bradley said. “My staff can’t afford to live nearby like me. They get home at 2 a.m. and have to be back at work at 9.”

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New York restaurant La Sirena to close

New York restaurant La Sirena to close

“B&B Hospitality Group’s New York City restaurant La Sirena is scheduled to close after the end of the year, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

“We are very proud of our hard-working, dedicated professionals who deliver great dining experiences to our guests every day. Our guests know just how special La Sirena is, and we’re grateful for their patronage,” the statement said.

Batali, who co-founded the company with partners Joe and Lidia Bastianich, opened La Sirena in 2016. According to Eater, the restaurant began struggling even before Batali was accused of sexual misconduct. Batali is the subject of both civil and criminal investigations.

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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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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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