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Fall Tracking: One Year Later, 10 Downing, Co. Back on the Fall Previews

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Every year there are certain holdout restaurants, places so delayed, so troubled they make the fall previews two years in a row. Last year, the award went to the now buzzing Buffa's replacement Delicatessen. This year, we have two projects up for the dubious honor: 10 Downing and Co. Pizzeria. 10 Downing, set to open last November, was plagued with problems, including permit issues with the city and a chef shuffle, and the opening date got pushed back throughout the year. Meanwhile, Co. simply sat dormant.

Here's the good news: the Times is putting a 10 Downing opening on next Wednesday, a good projection given the place looks ready to go and is already on OpenTable. Co., however, is set at "end of October" which could mean we're looking at an opening anytime between Halloween and Valentine's Day. Let's compare the 2007 vs. 2008 write ups:

1) Here's the vague blurb the Times had for 10 Downing last September:

"This will be an American-Mediterranean bistro owned by Joel Michel and Vincent Seufert, the owners of 5 Ninth, with Stephane Dorian, who owned Le Zoo: 10 Downing Street (Avenue of the Americas), no phone yet. November."
The lack of any significant details was a major hint then. But now, we get a bit more in depth, a good sign:
"After an 18-month slog through a labyrinth of construction and permit problems, which helped cause the chef Scott Bryan to back out, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Jason Neroni will be the executive chef and Katy Sparks the consultant on a Mediterranean-American menu with what the Greenmarket has to offer: scallops with summer vegetable pistou, baked sheep cheese with mint and peppers. The airy, tailored cafe has an impressive display of graphic works by Alex Katz and others. Outdoor seating is coming, as is a wine room in an adjacent space, a former dry cleaner: 10 Downing Street (Avenue of the Americas), (212) 929-9460. Next Wednesday."
That sounds more like it. Real menu items, a phone number, and an opening date.

2) Co., on the other hand, had a more promising blurb back in '07:

"The abbreviated name, said Jim Lahey, the owner of this newcomer and of Sullivan Street Bakery, can be pronounced either 'koh' or 'company,' a word based on the Latin for 'together' and 'bread.' Mr. Lahey has long made a simple, wonderful, pizza bianca; now he will elaborate in this casual, rustic place with brick-oven pizzas, bruschettas, cheeses and cured meats to enjoy with beer and wine: 230 Ninth Avenue (24th Street), no phone yet. December."
This time around the paper of record gives Lahey an entire article all to himself where he describes the possible menu (five pizzas year round, three seasonal), the olive oil (from Chile), the wine list (cork screw only), and on and on. That said, not much work seems to have been done on the place, we're still missing a phone number, and Lahey admits he has no idea what he's doing. The one thing giving us faith that this place will open before 2009: the backing of one heavy-weaght, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
· Even the Chefs Have to Wait for a Table [NYT]
· This Pizza-Maker Is Obsessed With Ingredients [NYT]
· From New York to the Horizon [NYT]

10 Downing Food and Wine

10 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014 212-255-0300