Open & Closed--Say Hello to Xie Xie; Goodbye to 87 Lounge
Turgut Balikci, who owns such UWS establishments as Bella Luna and AYZA, has opened Bar Luna, a wine bar serving small plates. Jacques Belanger, who has worked at Tom Valenti's restaurants, has taken over the kitchen since would-be chef Sean Chudoba, who formerly helmed AYZA, dropped out of the project.
Fort Defiance, the new bar and cafe opened by cocktails writer and former Pegu Club bartender St. John Frizell, has opened. The establishment is something of an homage to Charles H. Baker Jr., who penned such classic cocktail guides as the 1939 The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Cookery and Drinking Book.
Calexico Carne Asada, the Vendy Award-winning California-style Mexican street cart, has opened a spin-off restaurant in Carroll Gardens, featuring favorites from the cart menu, such as the famed carne asada taco and spicy "crack" sauce, as well as shrimp and grits and expanded vegetarian options.
Watch out, Michael Bao. Angelo Sosa's new Asian-sandwich venture, Xie Xie (Mandarin for "thank you"), has arrived and features a five-sandwich menu with such creations as the shredded braised chicken with smoked egg salad, and a turmeric tilapia sandwich with dill, cilantro and onion jam. A second location is expected soon on St. Marks.
Lower East Side mainstay 87 Lounge has shuttered. The space has been for rent since May, and has been fined more than once for underage drinking, unlicensed dancing, and the unauthorized use of a storage space for patrons. 87 was one of the few places on the LES to get a drink or throw a birthday party on a Saturday night that wasn't too crowded.