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Eater Dish: McDonald On the Outs, Korean All About

The Dish, surfing the curve like a Hawaiian wave, for the week of August 8, 2005:

2005_08_yao.jpg1) Of all Manhattan restaurateurs, Eater can't think of one we'd rather settle in for a drink with than John McDonald. Last we saw him, he was clad in jeans, racing past our table at Lure, bound, perhaps, for MercBar or (hey, midtown's not that far) Lever House. But turns out one place McDonald will not be heading is the Gramercy Park Hotel. Intelligencer reports that his year-long plan for a "great American bistro" at Ian Schrager's revamped hotel/condo was scotched, seemingly by Schrager himself. In the void of his own creation, Ian has turned to Alan Yau (above), of London's famed Hakkasan (and other Chinese eateries). Boasts Schrager, "This is a real coup. You can?t get in to any of Alan Yau?s restaurants in London, and everyone in this country has been trying to bring him here." No opening date, natch, but here's some intel on "the man who made Dim Sum a fashion plate."

2) Because all who toil at the Mecca eventually must, another new steak house from former employees of Luger's. This week: Ben & Jack's Steakhouse opens its doors in Midtown East's steakhouse corridor. For kicks, Patronite and Raisfeld run down the current crop of Luger offspring. [219 East 44th St. @ Third Ave., 212-682-5678]

3) Regarding those Smith Street eateries shuttered by the Department of Buildings, mostly for noise violations stemming from outdoor gardens, the Post reports that the restaurateurs are not happy campers. Go figure.

4) Has the Korean food moment finally arrived? Rather than point out that it's sort of always been here, let's join the NYT City Section in its joyous exultation of the cuisine du moment. Random statistic: "There are 51 Korean restaurants in Manhattan, an increase of more than 50 percent from just five years ago." And a Chowhound critique: "The article only served to convince me to avoid most of the places mentioned in it, including Temple."