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The Best Bartenders Apparently Don’t Drink — And More Intel

Plus, an update on Einat Admony’s couscous restaurant

[Daniel Krieger]

Esther & Carol Bistro looks ready to open on Bowery, a three-in-one restaurant from from Peter Poulakakos, behind The Dead Rabbit and Harry's Italian. The space formerly housed Bacchanal for two years. Today, the liquor license has transferred and the new place is on track to be a “health-conscious take on a traditional American bistro … paired with a 1970s recording studio-inspired downstairs lounge and fast-casual menu offered through a separate take-out window.”

— Speaking of The Dead Rabbit, partner Jack McGarry is the subject of a piece in the NY Post on why the best bartenders don’t drink. “‘I create great experiences for other people and bars are still a huge part of my life, but partaking does not work for me,’ says McGarry, who likens being a sober bartender to being a male who owns a fantastic lingerie company.” Same goes for now-sober Jim Kearns, of Slowly Shirley and Happiest Hour. “I decided that I like my wife and bars and being alive. Drinking became a conflict with all of that.”

Motel Morris has opened at 132 7th Avenue from the team behind The Commons Chelsea (Brett Nidel, Matt Mogil, Sam Nidel, Tamara McCarthy), with Bill McDaniel running the kitchen. McDaniel was executive chef of The Mermaid Inn and, before that, The Red Cat for 14 years. The focal point of the 60-seat restaurant is a blue lacquered bar that overlooks the open kitchen. Here is the menu:

— An update on Kish-Kash, chef Einat Admony's (Taim, Bar Bolonat, Balaboosta) forthcoming casual couscous restaurant in the West Village: September is the updated timeline for opening (it was announced back in July). Now The New York Times has a feature (and a recipe, if you’re feeling ambitious) on how Admony makes her fresh couscous, which is an arduous process, to say the least. Admony certainly seems passionate about it. You can preview her variety on Tuesday nights at Balaboosta until Kish-Kash opens.

PLG Coffee House and Tavern in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens has been listed for sale. Richard Otto and Annalisa Riordan have announced they’re moving back to Ireland, where Riordan is from. “While we are excited about the prospect of a new family adventure, we share this news with heavy hearts,” they wrote on Facebook. Rather than going through a broker, “we are putting it out there with the hope of finding a local family or entrepreneur who is interested in sustaining with love, and a bit of obsession, the thriving café we have created,” they said.

— Fans of the now-shuttered Porchetta can fetch Sara Jenkins’ superlative sandwiches at her Porsena Extra Bar for a six-week, lunchtime pop-up, starting Monday. In addition to porchetta with beans and greens and straightforward sandwiches, new additions include rigatoni with porchetta ragù, and porchetta mac and cheese.

Ramen Lab by Sun Noodle, a Nolita restaurant that hosts rotating ramen chefs from around the world, is now serving ramen from Parisian restaurant Kodawari Ramen, the brainchild of French chef Jean-Baptiste Meusnier. The restaurant opened in a trendy part of Paris in 2016. Here, Meusnier will be offering a specialty vegan shoyu ramen with pumpkin soup and pickled beetroot and a signature kurogama ramen, which has black sesame and garlic broth. He will be there until April 29.

Kodawari Ramen
Kodawari’s signature kurogama ramen
Kodawari Ramen

— The LIC Flea market returns to the outdoors this weekend. Expect the return of vendors like Butcher Bar and hot dog truck Coney Shack, as well as some new ticketed events like a barbecue food festival.

— New York City’s highest grossing restaurant Tao now has a flashy, sexy, faux-Asian outpost in Los Angeles. Check it out here.

— Critic Gael Greene and celebrity chef Carla Hall delightfully ate through much of the hot dog and milkshake-laden menu of Kings of Kobe. On some “big, fat wagyu hot dogs”: “voluptuous and full of flavor.”

— The former record executive who’s worked with people like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Russell Simmons is planning a restaurant in the Bronx that’s like a Red Lobster, but cooler. Robert "Don Pooh" Cummins is opening Pounds later this year.

— Lastly, check out how Dominique Anselwho was just named best pastry chef in the world — creates a desserts-only tasting menu: