Critic looks at UWS newcomers Oxbow Tavern and Lucky Pickle
New Yorker critic Hannah Goldfield offers dispatches on both Tom Valenti’s return to UWS dining, Oxbow Tavern and fast-casual dumpling spot from neighborhood restaurateurs, Lucky Pickle. Valenti’s restaurant was packed with regulars, eating familiar dishes, enjoyable food that thankfully “wasn’t trying too hard to seem like it wasn’t trying too hard.” In contrast, Lucky Pickle served “mostly bland, with mealy filling” dumplings. The pickle soft-serve, though, was surprisingly delightful.
Support for NYC’s straw ban swells, including mayoral endorsement
Sounds like the bill banning plastic straw use in NYC is gaining even more support. On Thursday, popular Italian marketplace Eataly joined in the movement by nixing plastic straws at all of its locations, including the NYC ones in Flatiron and FiDi. Instead, papers straws, as well as wooden stirrers versus plastic ones, will be rolled into use. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced support of the bill, and even local restaurant group New York City Hospitality Alliance — which frequently opposes regulation — says it is in favor. A survey of its restaurant members found that 85 percent of them support the ban, though the Daily News reports that disability advocates and some business owners still disagree.
Doughnut Plant’s new outpost, and other coming attractions and openings around NYC
Doughnut Plant’s Grand Central Terminal location opens today. Mott Haven will soon be home to Beatstro, a graffiti and hip-hop-inspired restaurant with a performance space. It will serve food with touches of Afro-Carribbean flavor, including fried chicken, jambalaya, and kale and collard green salad. Over in the East Village, wine bar Grape and Grain has reopened on Sixth Street. It closed last fall after 12 years, and the restaurant owner next door took it over for a revival. And LES now has a tiny new coffee shop called Dripped Coffee.
Eggslut and the Usual chef Alvin Cailan’s NYC routine
Alvin Cailan is getting closer to opening his first restaurant in New York the Usual, and the Times takes a look at his Sunday routine in NYC, where he now lives with his girlfriend. They like to go to Clinton Street Baking Company if it’s not too packed, as well as Pho Bang and Joe’s Shanghai. He and his restaurant’s GM also like doing late night meals at The Dutch. As for the restaurant, Cailan’s been hitting up Brooklyn to look for plates and an LES nursery to fill the place with plants.
Critic highlights a Tajikistan restaurant in Brooklyn
In this week’s Hungry City column, Times critic Ligaya Mishan looks at Cafe Dushanbe in Sheepshead Bay — possibly the only restaurant in New York to serve a Tajikistan dish called fatir. The dish, from chef-owner Alidzhon Imamov, involves a layered, buttery bread that’s hand-torn into a bowl and dressed with kurut, a salty yogurt. “Eaten on its own, the bread is a chapbook of crackly glassine sheets and thicker, chewy panels, hoarding its stores of butter without leaking a drop,” Mishan writes.
A Hawaiian brunch from a Top Chef alum
Maui-based Top Chef alum Sheldon Simeon is cooking up a Hawaiian family-style brunch this Sunday at Bessou, a collaboration with owner Maiko Kyogoku and chef Emily Yuen. The buffet-style, all-you-can-eat meal — which costs $40 per person for two hours and two cocktails — includes dishes like tocino (Filipino-style sweet pork, guava jelly, pickled red onions), musubi (homemade Span, ginger rice, tsukemono, misokyaki glaze), and a mini pineapple upside down cake (rilled pineapple, kuromitsu caramel sauce, azuki coconut sorbet). Make a reservation here.