— Daniel Humm — the chef and co-proprietor of Eleven Madison Park and The Nomad — thinks that " chefs are the stars" of the dining world right now, but we collectively need to "break down the wall between the front and the back of house." In Esquire, Humm writes:
A cook never knows if the dish he perfected for hours was described properly or if a guest even liked his food. It's hard to spend hours perfecting a dish only to relinquish control. But chefs need to put aside their egos and trust the people serving the food. They need to find a balance between the food and the hospitality and break down the wall between the front and the back of house. If we don't create incentives for people to pursue lives in service, then ours will be the generation in which great service dies.
— The former Dean's space at 349 Greenwich St. will soon be home to a new location of ESquared's seafood restaurant The Wayfarer — not Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern, as originally rumored.
— Former Merril Lynch executive Ahmass Fakahany and chef Michael White are the sole owners of the 16-restaurant Altamarea Group, which is expanding this week with the opening of Vaucluse. They run a tight ship: According to Business Insider, staff members are given performance bonuses and "reports are turned in to Wells Fargo — the group's sole bank — clean and on time." The group's annual revenue has grown from $3 million to more than $50 million over the last seven years.
— The storefront at 189 East Third Street now has signage for a new restaurant/lounge called Tut. The space previously held short-lived restaurants Casablanca and Lumiere. No word yet on what type of food this new place will serve or when it will open.
— Prosperity Dumpling racked up 65 violation points during its DOH inspection last week, including "critical violations" for evidence of roaches and filth flies. The inspection results do not, however, mention anything about rats or preparing food outside. As you may recall, the restaurant was shut down one day after Gothamist posted a photo of the restaurant's back-alley prep kitchen.
— Chinatown critical darling Fung Tu has been operating without gas for seven weeks now. Proprietor Wilson Tang tells Bowery Boogie: "There isn’t much to say...It’s in the hands of landlord and contractor." The restaurant is currently serving a "no gas" menu.
— Post critic Steve Cuozzo weighs in on the closing of the original location of The Palm, and the white-washing of its cartoon murals: "[E]nough whining over the loss of another dining 'institution.' I’ll take one truly great cut of beef over 300 goofy caricatures — and the joint’s steak lost its sizzle long ago." Cuozzo also notes: "The original Palm’s images connected us with the city’s brooding past. So did the clientele."
— During its first weekend in Prospect Park, Smorgasburg caused a traffic jam. In a statement, the organizers and the Prospect Park Alliance explain: "We understand there were congestion issues on Ocean Avenue, and this is something we will work to address for future Smorgasburg events."
— David Waltuck's élan is now offering a $45 three-course prix fixe in addition to its regular menu, with entree options like crispy ricotta gnocchi and seared tea-smoked salmon.
— Starbucks is planning to open two locations in Rego Park, Queens, one of which will be the first drive-thru location in the borough.
— A sign in the window of Church Street Tavern in Tribeca explains that the restaurant will return from its summer break on September 8.
— And finally, here's how to make guacamole and salsa with Empellon's Alex Stupak: