Sweetgreen doesn’t leave its menu choices up to chance
Turns out Sweetgreen is watching what diners eat. It’s not nefarious, though — the fast-casual salad chain closely tracks diner choices to inform menu changes and decisions. For example, the company brought back a version of the “OMG Omega” salad from retirement after a focus group showed diners prefer the trout in the salad with a more Mexican treatment than with miso dressing. Similarly, Sweetgreen removed shrimp from the menu after many diners took the protein off salads, but not many added it. People who frequently order a certain salad or ingredient that’s taken off the menu get personalized alerts to help them deal with the loss.
Dirty Candy chef-owner calls tipping “sexist, racist, and mysogynistic”
Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen’s Lower East Side vegetarian destination that went all tasting menu last year, doesn’t allow tipping. Cohen recently explained that decision: “Tipping is, I think, an awful system. It’s very sexist; it’s very misogynistic; and it’s very racist,” she said in an interview. Data supports her claims. “It’s a restaurant owner lying about how much it costs to eat in a restaurant, and so we outsource half our payroll to the customers,” Cohen added. According to her, tipping gives customers power over restaurant workers, which can embolden them to treat them poorly and that this dynamic can make female workers feel like they have to flirt to get more tips. She admitted that this is more costly when it comes to payroll taxes and insurance, but said she feels morally right about her decision.
Openings, closings, and coming attractions
Now reopen in Chinatown at 50 Mott St. is 15-year-old Chinese restaurant Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, which has been closed since February after a pipe burst. Nearby, a Korean restaurant called Reception Bar will take over 45 Orchard St. Over in Tribeca, Perpetuum Cafe has shuttered, though the Chelsea location remains open.
Another rave review for Claro, and a spotlight on Bab Marrakech
Brooklyn’s Oaxacan sensation Claro just landed another accolade, with Hannah Goldfield praising the Gowanus restaurant in her New Yorker Tables For Two column. She highlights the raw yellowfin-topped tostada with Cara Cara oranges and chicharrón and writes that mezcal at Claro is treated like wine, offered in around 50 varieties. Goldfield also notes that Claro challenges the idea that Mexican food should always be inexpensive and informal.
And in Ligaya Mishan’s Hungry City column for the Times, the critic spotlights Bay Ridge’s Moroccan restaurant Bab Marrakech and chef Malika Hakmoune, whose plates of meat, she writes, are great. “A treble clef of lamb shank, the flesh easily tugged off the bone, is long braised with giant fattened prunes and slivered almonds strewn like petals. There are whiffs of cinnamon and jam, along with a hot-sweet streak of ginger,” she writes. But she doesn’t forget about the veggies, praising the grilled eggplant mashed with tomato and garlic.