Rocco DiSpirito returns to the kitchen
Dancing With the Stars competitor Rocco DiSpirito is now heading up the kitchen at the Standard Grill in Meatpacking. There, he’s falling back on his years as a cook in New York City kitchens — his life before he rose to fame as a television chef — to revamp the tired hotel restaurant’s menu with dishes such as his signature raw scallops with uni, tomato water, and mustard oil. Raw bar is a big part of the menu, as is meat, though dairy is largely absent, replaced with plant-based products like cashew cream and macadamia puree. So far, he tells Grub Street that being back on the line “feels great.” This new appointment is a pretty big shift in DiSpirito’s life. Former Mission Chinese chef Angela Dimayuga’s recently took over of all Standard hotel restaurants.
Critic says NYC is in “a golden age” of fine dining
Despite often being declared dead, Steve Cuozzo argues, fine dining is thriving in NYC. The critic thinks that social media influencers are creating a false sense of fine dining’s extinction by preferring to post fast-casual food. “Fine-dining restaurants are thriving and multiplying at a furious pace,” he writes, using Jonathan Benno’s new eponymous restaurant as an example along with Le Coucou, the Grill, the Pool, Majorelle, and Avra Madison.
Openings and closings
Greenwich Village’s Pho Bar is adding a second location in Chinatown at 43 Mott St. on January 31. The original location just opened in the summer of 2018.
The Upper East Side Cajun-Creole restaurant Infirmary will close after service on January 29, according to its Instagram post. As previously reported, the literature and journalism hub The Half King closes at the end of the month; it has officially set its last day for this Saturday, January 26.
DaDong debuts new hot pot
Between noon and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, Beijing import DaDong now offers an individual hot pot option at lunch. Soup base options include chicken, seafood, or ginger and scallion, and orders come with a free basket of vegetables. The upscale, individual hot pot affair is similar to that offered at Bowery restaurant Zhen Wei Fang.