Franklin Becker to open new restaurant in January
Celebrity chef Franklin Becker has taken over food and beverage at Chelsea’s Hotel Americano and will open a new ground-floor restaurant called La Central there on January 10. The menu will feature regional Latin American cuisine with a focus on Mexican food, and the kitchen will be run by executive chef Joseph Abbruzzese (Fusco, Marea), chef de cuisine Carlos Cartagena, and pastry chef Cesar Moreno. Later in 2019, the hotel will debut a rooftop concept as well as a basement mezcal and tequila bar. Members of the kitchen staff will contribute dishes from their home country, including papusas from El Salvador and Mexican salsas. Becker is behind the fast-casual lunch chain Little Beet.
Critic praises the “pick-and-mix” Thai food of Taladwat
The New Yorker’s Hannah Goldfield visited Taladwat, a new Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen that comes from Pure Thai Cookhouse’s David and Vanida Bank as well as Feast’s Brian Ghaw. Taladwat features family-style portions of traditional Thai food, like winter-melon soup, pad ped beef, and turmeric curry chicken. Diners choose two of dishes on the menu, which come in ceramic bowls with jasmine or red rice, and share at yellow communal picnic tables. Goldfield praises the other Thai restaurants owned by the Banks but writes on the Thai-born David Bank’s cooking at Taladwat that “the cooking feels like a purer, less compromised expression of his roots, bolder with traditional ingredients and flavors.” She also writes: “To experience the entire spectrum in one bite, order a side of the house-made chili paste, served in a heaping scoop that is hideously ugly but psychedelic on the tongue, a thrilling roller coaster of salt, sugar, fish, funk, and heat.”
More end-of-the-year closings hit NYC’s restaurant scene
Tribeca juice bar Lyfeping closed after just a few months of serving acai bowls, juice, and smoothies. East Village corner spot Bar Virage also shuttered after 22 years in the neighborhood. And as previously announced, today is the last day for Pasta Flyer, which teased discounts and freebies on its Instagram for its final day.
Turns out there’s such a thing as too many poppy seeds
A city correction officer was reinstated after being fired a year ago when he failed a drug test that he claimed was due to consuming poppy-seed bagels. Officer Eleazar Paz’s claims were backed at his administrative hearing by a toxicology expert that noted that the results of the test were inconsistent with drug use and under the federal threshold for morphine and codeine. He got his job back on Christmas Eve.