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No Veggie Burgers for Jean-Georges, Mast Brothers Take Down, and More Intel

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Ahmass Fakahany explains his cuckoo rant, plus more restaurant news and gossip from around NYC.

[The bar at Stephen Starr's Upland in Gramercy.]
[The bar at Stephen Starr's Upland in Gramercy.]
Daniel Krieger

Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his chef Neal Harden are not going to serve veggie burgers at their new Flatiron District vegetarian restaurant, ABCV. The menu won't include any mock-meat dishes, either. Jean-Georges tells Steve Cuozzo: "Vegetables themselves, mushrooms, grains, roots, will be the stars." The vegetable dishes at ABC Kitchen are huge sellers, so a vegetarian spinoff makes sense. Vongerichten explains: "We found 75 percent of our customers order salads, beets and roots....Oven-roasted vegetables sell more than any of our chicken and salmon dishes."  ABCV is slated to open early next year.

A Dallas-based food blogger is publishing a multi-part, several thousand-word take down of Brooklyn's own Mast Brothers. The crux of his argument: "The fine chocolate community scorns the Mast Brothers because they are thought to have launched their business with a fundamental fraud: that of pretending to be a bean-to-bar chocolate company." This is the Starr Report of chocolate nerdery. Parts one and two are now online; part three is forthcoming.

Richard Jonson floats the rumor that Aby Rosen was originally looking for six investors to pony up $5 million apiece for the revamp of the Four Seasons, but the plan didn't work out so he switched to a new model with 100 people chipping in $300,000 each. Johnson hears that the original plan projected a first-year revenue of $53 million, which is $33 million higher than what the Four Seasons currently grosses each year.

Altamarea Group CEO Ahmass Fakahany tells Dealbreaker why he wrote that rambling response to Pete Wells's one star review of his restaurant Vaucluse: "It was just another one of what I see as consistently un-objective and merit-less attacks against our people at Altamarea Group...It reached a point where it needed to be addressed." It should, however, be noted that in the past, Wells has written two-star reviews of Fakahany's restaurants Ristorante Morini and Costata.

The Gerber Group has flip-flopped on the subject of whether or not Hotel Indigo's bar, Mr. Purple, is named after recently-deceased Lower East Side environmentalist/community gardener David Wilkie AKA Adam Purple. But the latest word from the group is that yes, the bar is inspired by Wilkie and named after him. Bowery Boogie points out that although Wilkie was a vegetarian, the bar serves a $15 "Mr. Purple Burger" made with Pat LaFrieda beef. The staff apparently does not know very much about the gardener's legacy, either.

City Rib in Jamaica, Queens is now closed. A new 200-seat burger restaurant called Moda is taking its place.

— Next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Angie Mar will serve a special truffle and game meat dinner at The Beatrice Inn. The $227 per-person menu will include venison carpaccio, smoked boar, roasted Guinea hen, and black truffle affogato with foie gras. All the dishes have truffles. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at (917) 566-7400.

— And finally, here's a look at how the pitas are made at Gazala's Place in Hell's Kitchen: