The Plywood Report investigates restaurants and bars that are in that phase somewhere between concept and soft open. Your sightings to email@example.com, svp.
1) Upper West Side: Delayed past its initial projection of a "mid-fall 2007" open, chef Ed Brown (ex-Sea Grill et al)'s new restaurant Eighty One is getting close to ready. Emails a tipster, "Ed Brown's new restaurant is probably opening early next week for their soft opening. Waiting on one more permit." A call to the restaurant—described on the official website as "a menu of modern American items... much more than just fish"—finds that they're expecting to open to the public the second week of February. [POST-PLYWOOD]
2) West Village: While Magnolia Bakery preps their new Upper West Side spot for opening tomorrow, there's competition brewing a little ways south. Per Crain's, "This spring will bring a new cupcake bar called Sweet Revenge to 62 Carmine St., between Bedford Street and Seventh Avenue South, in the West Village." (The space previously held defunct record store Vinyl Mania.) Bonus feelgood quote from the owner: "I want to create a fun, fabulous place where life is grand. This is a town that loves its cupcakes, and there's an opportunity to make cupcakes a little more sexy and hip.'" Um, yeah. [PLYWOOD]
3) Long Island City: Finally, courtesy of the excellent newish neighborhood blog LIQCity, word of two new joints coming to the LIC. Above left, on 50th Ave between Vernon and Jackson, comes Ihawan, serving sushi and Asian grill goodies. LIQCity: "Any relation to the Ihawan in Woodside? Seems likely." Above right, also at Vernon-Jackson (but on Jackson), an Asian newcomer that's leaning Japanese called BANY. [PLYWOOD 2X]