Bed-Stuy Gains a Mediterranean Wine Bar Serving Lesser-Seen Wines in NYC

“An ambitious wine bar is now open in Bed-Stuy with a list that covers Mediterranean territory lesser explored by New York City’s wine programs.

Five Italian friends opened Speakvino at 1063 Bedford Ave., between Greene and Lexington avenues, focusing on wines from Bosnia, Macedonia, Croatia, Morocco, Albania, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. There are more ubiquitous offerings too, like wines from Italy, France, and Spain.

As for food, the cuisine skews Italian with touches of Spanish and other Mediterranean cuisines. Most of the menu is comprised of preserved foods served in jars, like anchovies ($9), baby artichokes ($8), and mixed Italian mushrooms ($8). There are some small plates, too, including burrata ($14), a little gem salad with avocado and Castelvetrano olives ($11), and octopus served with gigante beans, peperoncino, and celery leaves ($13). On the more substantial side, there is a simple potato gnocchi with sage, cheese, and butter ($12), as well as a thinly sliced pan-roasted strip loin with yuzu koshu and lime ($18).”

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One of West Africa’s Most Accomplished Chefs Opens an NYC Restaurant Soon

“Former Le Grand Dakar chef Pierre Thiam — who strives to be an ambassador of Africa’s culinary history — will open a Pan-African restaurant in Harlem’s Africa Center next month, where he’ll showcase his native cuisine in fast-casual format.

Teranga, which translates roughly to “hospitality” in Wolof, a language spoken in Senegal, will focus on Senegalese cuisine, as well as foods from Nigeria, Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Guinea in bowl-like formats.

The menu is molded by West African ingredients like sorghum and millet paired with dried fruits for breakfast, as well as fonio, a grain that’ll be served within salads and bowls during lunch and dinner, Thiam told the Times in August.

Vegetable and protein bowls like grilled chicken and caramelized onions over Liberian red rice will also be available, plus other vegetarian options like a sweet potato and black-eyed pea stew. Drinks range from hot and cold African coffees, teas, and juices. The menu is gluten-free; see it in full below.

The location of Thiam’s new restaurant within the cultural center makes sense, as he is a vocal advocate for Africa’s culinary history and even appeared in a 2016 episode of the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown in his native Senegal. The restaurant will take up a 2,000-square-foot space in the center, overlooking Central Park.”

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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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Restaurant Boasting New York City Flair Coming to the Castro

“When it opens this spring, Gramercy Park will serve Californian cuisine in the evenings, New York City-style sandwiches in the afternoons, and all-American brunch on the weekends. Owner Mark White hopes to open the restaurant by mid-April at 216 Church Street, formerly Crepevine in the Castro.

White is fairly secretive about his background. He says he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America 20 years ago, and went on to own four restaurants in New York. But he sold off his stakes in those restaurants — which he did not name — and now has his eyes on San Francisco. He’s starting a new restaurant group, Madison Avenue Hospitality Group, and plans to open five restaurants within five years here. Gramercy Park is the first.”

“Gramercy Park will also occupy a smaller, 480-square-foot space next door — dubbed Gramercy Park To-Go — to serve commuters in the morning with coffee and grab-and-go items. It’ll also provide a streamlined area for delivery services like Caviar and Postmates to pick up orders without clogging up the main dining room. Between the two spaces, White hopes Gramercy Park will be the sort of neighborhood spot folks visit multiple times a month.”

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The Best Restaurant Meals of 2018

Roasted eggplant with Calabrian chile

Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy Senior Food & Drinks Editor and Food & Wine Contributor: Eating out is often tough for me because I have so many dietary restrictions, so the vegetable courses at Misi were an absolute godsend. I texted a friend on the way home freaking out about how each of them was excellent in a violently different way, and that I could partake of just about everything with glee. Also, I must mention the hospitality at Temple Court. Even during an overwhelmed Restaurant Week, every single person was gracious, informed, efficient, and warm. I know I’m an easily identifiable food world professional, but I also take care to look around and see how other tables are being treated. All smiles. It was a joy.”

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Pearl Found In Restaurant Oyster For Second Time In Month

Pearl Found In Restaurant Oyster For Second Time In Month: Report

“The latest treasure was discovered at the Williamsburg eatery Maison Premiere on Bedford Ave., the New York Post reported. Kristin Pulaski, 29, told the newspaper she felt something hard in an oyster that she bit into on Dec. 15.

Earlier this month, Rick Antosh, 66, chewed an oyster in the Grand Central Oyster Bar and bit down on a pearl thought to be worth $4,000.

An appraiser told Pulaski her the pearl was lumpy and wouldn’t be worth a fortune, but she intends to have some statement jewelry made out of it, she told the Post. The restaurant’s owner told the paper this was the first pearl he knew of that had been found there in eight years.”

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Will you be any time soon at the West location?

This sleek seafood destination on Staten Island, with waterfront views that take in the sweep of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is the latest from the restaurateur Victor Rallo. It’s directly across the street from his restaurant Surf, which, despite its name, is more about turf, and has a sibling for barbecue in Rumson, N.J. Mr. Rallo’s partner in the new venture is Dave Pasternack, the executive chef and an owner of Esca, the long-running Italian seafood magnet in Manhattan. So it comes as no surprise that Mr. Rallo’s executive chef is Katie O’Donnell, who was a chef de cuisine at Esca several years ago. Offerings like a crudo tasting, spicy spaghetti with lobster, and Sicilian-style fish stew with sea urchin and crab meat echo some of Esca’s specialties.

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