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Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Weekly Roundup: Food Trends For 2016, Sneak Peek At Penn Plaza New Food Hall and Rafele Ronca Wins Chopped

  • Eleven Madison Park Switches to Fewer Courses, More Choices: For 2016, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara switched to a gratuity-included system — dinner is now $295 per person (versus $225 last year, without gratuity included). But that's not the only big change-up that the EMP team has in store. Later this month, Humm and Guidara will introduce a brand new style of service inspired partially by classic East Harlem Italian restaurant Rao's.
  • What a Difference Daytime Makes at Sadelle’s in SoHo: Yet the kitschy daytime clamor works, while Sadelle’s stab at evening elegance hasn’t come together yet. Open since September, Sadelle’s is the first restaurant from the Major Food Group that doesn’t feel completely worked out.
    • AT SADELLE'S, AN ENGINEER MAKES THE BAGELS: When a major player in the bagel world gets into the game, New Yorkers take notice. And when Major Food Group — the guys behind Carbone, Parm, and Dirty French — open Sadelle's, a bakery-turned-brasserie featuring egg sandwiches, caviar, and house-made bagels on the menu, you’d better believe the head of their pastry and bread program works with the precision of a chemical engineer.
  • Sneak Peek: The Pennsy, a Gourmet Food Hall Opening in Penn Plaza.  A new gourmet food court called The Pennsy, opening on January 11, will shake up the dining desert that is Herald Square by offering fast-casual, chef-driven fare. Situated atop a bustling train terminal and beside Madison Square Garden, the casual 8,000-sq.-ft. space will bring the best and brightest of New York's culinary scene to commuters, happy hour goers and sports fans.
  • THE TEN BEST NEW YORK BEERS OF 2015: As of 2015, the Tri-State area is brimming with micro-breweries, dozens of which released ales and lagers worthy of inclusion here. If you are currently drawing breath within the five boroughs, congratulations: There’s never been a better time to be a craft beer fanatic than right now.
  • How Maple Plans to Become Every New Yorker’s Go-to Delivery Option: Co-founders Caleb Merkl and Akshay Navle launched Maple in April, with the help of one important backer: Momofuku's David Chang, who says he signed on because "no one’s ever taken the time to really do delivery food well." And the clearest reason for Maple's rapid success is that the food tastes really good.

  • Trader Joe’s Accused of Ripping Off Customers: A miffed group of Trader Joe's shoppers has filed a class-action lawsuit against the popular grocery chain, claiming it's under-filling tuna cans by an amount that violates federal standards. The two allegedly bum cans — Albacore Tuna in Water Half Salt and Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil Salt Added — are technically five ounces in size, but the government only requires about three ounces of fish to be in them.
  • Winemakers Are Distorting the Alcohol Content in Their Wines: A mega study of more than 127,000 bottles discovered a troubling little secret about that ABV label on the side — chances of it being wrong are crazy high. The reasons vary, the study's authors tell the Washington Post, but what's pretty constant is that this industry-wide snow job seems to have been going on for at least two decades.
  • Sad Kentucky Officials Say Recovered Pappy Van Winkle Must Be Destroyed: The Kentucky officials who heroically recovered a whole heap of stolen Pappy Van Winkle have a problem: Now there's all this grade-A whiskey lying around that people really, really want. Ever since announcing in April that they'd made several arrests and seized back 20 cases of the beloved Pappy, Franklin County sheriff Pat Melton has insisted that the prized booze be enjoyed so that "some good" could come of this mess.
  • In the Birthplace of Pizza, Pollution Rules for Ovens Spur Outrage: If there is one label that Antonio Falcone, a doctor turned civic leader, does not want to be known by, it is “the anti-pizza mayor.”  Yet that is how notoriety caught up with the mayor of this small town in the Neapolitan hinterland in late December when, in an effort to lower air pollution, Mr. Falcone issued an ordinance banning the use of wood-fired stoves not equipped with filters that reduce toxic air pollutants.


  • Au Cheval Restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff Eyes Charles Street for First NYC Project: Looks like prolific Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, who's best known for the nationally renowned burger at Au Cheval, is making moves in NYC. A Manhattan Community Board 2 agenda for the month says that Sodikoff is applying for a liquor license at 4 Charles St. in the West Village, while his restaurant group Hogsalt is requesting a transfer at the same address. 
  • ‘Chopped’ chefs experience ‘Knife Strife’ on Food Network: The winner of the $10,000, and the "Chopped" champion was Raffaele Ronca who will donate his winnings to St. Elizabeth Seton Children’s Foundation for children born with birth defects. What a wonderful thing to do, congratulations Raffaele.

  • Gabe Stulman Is Moving Perla to West 4th Street: Gabe Stulman's four-year-old Italian restaurant Perla is getting a new home closer to its siblings Fedora, Bar Sardine, Joseph Leonard, and Jeffrey's Grocery.  Later this winter, Stulman will close his critically acclaimed Minetta Lane restaurant and move it to the space on the corner of West 4th and West 10th streets that previously housed The Windsor and Charles.

  • Food for the Future: Trends of 2016: Just as noteworthy is how poke has started to spread to non-Hawaiian places: Seamore’s, the acclaimed seafood restaurant in Nolita that opened this past summer, says its poke with ponzu sauce, peanuts and avocado has become its most popular dish.

  • Just in Time for Winter, Three New Ramen-Yas Appear Downtown:  It was inevitable that ramen parlors run by Chinese proprietors would begin opening in Chinatown. After all, ramen was inspired by la mian, and it’s natural that its originators should want to seize the noodle back and transform it yet again, turning it back upon itself like a farinaceous serpent. There have been several already, but Gen Ramen House, just down the street from Vanessa’s Dumplings, is the latest. 

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