Spring days are here in NYC. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Greetings from chilly-ass NYC (I know, you SF types are seeing 80 degrees tomorrow, so let Donna sing to you)! I thought I was retiring my knee-length puffy jacket this month, but not so fast… Then again, I am flying home next week for a quick visit, and that thing is coming home with me to get banished to my SF closet. All these spring blossoms everywhere are such a tease.
Also a tease: I thought I was going to be writing up the about-to-open Mister Jiu’s and new bars Horsefeather and Wildhawk, but it looks like all that will be in next week’s column, stand by. So instead, today you get to read about my favorite burger in New York right now, and actually one of the best I’ve ever had, period: Salvation Burger. Plus fellow New York residents, I have a few fun food events for you to check out.
Back in SF, big congrats to Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club (who is having quite a year!) and David Barzelay of Lazy Bear for their Best New Chefs wins from Food & Wine! Happy to see two chefs from SF in there—although just one female chef in the lineup, really?
Lastly, if you are planning to head to Outside Lands this year, tickets go on sale on Thursday at 10am and sell out fast, so don’t dillydally, yo. Very happy to see LCD Soundsystem (YAYYYYYY!!!), Air, and Duran Duran on the lineup, sick! I’ll be running some food highlights soon too.
Ciao meow for now! Marcia Gagliardi
Well folks, it’s time to release the burgers. We gave you the full write-up and sneak peek of WESBURGER ‘N’ MORE opening in the Mission, and now you get to get your Wes Burger on and queso tots and Nashville hot fried chicken on and and and…It has been doing some soft opening hours, but the grand opening will be Wednesday April 6th. Hours will be 5pm to 10pm nightly for now. 2240 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-745-WES1.
We broke the news back in December that the Craftsman and Wolves team was going to be opening a grab-and-go café in Bayview next to their commercial kitchen. THE DEN is now softly open. You can get their kouign amann, Rebel Within, Thai scone, famous brownie, and other baked treats, plus sandwiches, and coffee and espresso (from Highwire), and Scoop mentions there will also be vegetarian pizza by the slice, which you can pay forward for people in need to enjoy (i.e., prepay a slice for someone else). Initial hours are Mon-Fri 6:30am-2pm. 1598 Yosemite Ave. at Keith, 415-423-3337.
Looks like there is something going on at SoMa’s RED DOG, which opened just shy of two years ago. Lauren Kiino has temporarily closed the restaurant as of March 29th, but she tells me it’s not officially closed and they are looking at options for moving forward. Stand by for the fate of the famed egg salad, happy hour, Scotch egg, and brunch—I should have an update for you next week or so. (Tip via Chowhound.) 303 2nd St. at Folsom.
Sadly Kiino decided not to renew the lease for IL CANE ROSSO in the Ferry Building Marketplace (it was going to be too expensive to maintain their commitment to using local and sustainable ingredients), so the restaurant has closed as of Sunday April 3rd.
BUT, some good news: Kiino’s FEARLESS remains open, serving coffee, breakfast, sandwiches, and more. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-692-0181.
Was sorry to read MORTY’S DELICATESSEN in the Tenderloin has closed after 10 years—according to Hoodline, there’s a new (and experienced) owner who will be reopening the business after some upgrades. The Reuben and many other favorites on the menu will remain, and look for new additions (like espresso drinks) as well.
Another closure tip via Chowhound: looks like Chinatown’s pocket-sized dim sum restaurant, DOL HO, has been closed by the Health Department since March 8th. No word if the restaurant is going to pull a dramatic makeover à la Tu Lan and reopen or not. 808 Pacific Ave. at Stockton, 415-392-2828.
And after less than two months, Dominique Crenn is no longer involved/advising in the short-lived ANTOINETTE in the Claremont Hotel and Spa. As of tomorrow, April 6th, the restaurant will close for a reconcepting. 41 Tunnel Rd. at Claremont, Berkeley, 510-843-3000.
As soon as I heard that April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, John Dory, Tosca Cafe) was opening her dream burger place with Ken Friedman in New York, I was ready to walk over to the Midtown location right then. SALVATION BURGER is quite the love letter to the burger, featuring a grind from whole sides of beef they butcher in-house. What’s interesting is the mix can change depending on what cuts they are using, but what remains steady is that the patties are grilled over a wood fire, and the beef is from upstate.
The Salvation Burger ($25) is a beauteously thick and strapping and well-formed patty, cooked to a glorious mid-rare, juicy and savory and all the things you want from a burger. But I was bummed the initial topping of caramelized onions and Taleggio had been swapped out for smoked blue cheese and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, which I found too assertive. I would have loved it more just totally plain, to be honest.
Our table’s hands-down favorite was the Classic ($17), a glorious homage to the Big Mac, featuring two well-browned patties, housemade American cheese that melts all over, the ever-necessary “special sauce,” and pickles, on a housemade and glistening bun loaded with sesame seeds and brushed with aged beef tallow. It’s a good thing this burger is a 30-minute crosstown walk from me. It was one of the best burgers I’ve ever sunk my choppers into, that is for damned sure. There’s also fish on a bun, a veggie burger, and a house-smoked hot dog, which I am sure are all great too but I don’t know how I could pass up the Classic Burger ever again—we are soul mates.
The fries come out hot and salty but are an additional $7, ow, and starters like wood-roasted oysters ($13 for three), beef heart ($12), and bone marrow ($12) will all vie for your attention. The buttermilk dressing on the green salad ($11) made it the creamy salad I have been craving, but the toasted poppy seeds in there will be allllll up in your grill.
Our table was way into the butterscotch Scotch boozy milk shake ($14), and don’t miss the bottled Brooklyn cocktail ($22 for 200ml), which comes with a spherical ice cube you can pour your booze over. The wine list full of quality picks you can get by the glass, 500ml carafe, and liter. I know, so metric. And beer lovers, you can get pints and growlers.
The décor has some fun touches, like lampshades featuring illustrations of cuts of beef in different languages, and the booths (which is where you hope your group gets seated) feature a TV screen with a burning log on repeat. On my list for next time: the banana cream pie and boozy grasshopper milk shake.
The kitchen is open 12pm-4:30pm and 5:30pm-midnight, but the bar is open 12pm-2am. 230 E. 51st St. at 3rd Ave., New York, 646-277-2900.
Fellow New York residents: this weekend is a brunch pop-up from Rick Easton, formerly of Pittsburgh’s Bread and Salt at Bruno Pizza (Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th, 11:30am-3pm), featuring pizza, a breakfast sandwich, bombolini, and reportedly some other good stuff.
Roman expert Katie Parla is touring the East Coast promoting her new book, Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors & Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City. Check out her appearances here, which includes a Tasting Rome Cocktail Party at Grand Army Bar in Brooklyn this Wednesday evening (April 6th), which is where I’ll be, enjoying some Roman-inspired cocktails and snacks while checking out her book!
Also: I am excited for my first visit to the James Beard House this Friday April 8th for Nicolas Delaroque of Nico’s dinner, French Flair, who is visiting from SF. The meal will be full of spring ingredients, can’t wait.
Coming up in May is the fifth annual Food Book Fair (May 1st and 2nd) at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, plus a couple of offsite parties and dinners before the event too. There are panels, workshops, cocktail classes, a book fair of food magazines (free!), and a lot more, with a chance to meet and mingle with a bunch of publishers, writers, and other interesting folks in the food media world.
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