Why Chef Nick Anderer Keeps Returning to Le French Diner for the Smoked-Mussel Salad

Photo by Nick Anderer
Mussel Salad at Le French Diner
Nick Anderer, executive chef of Maialino (Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Avenue; 212-777-2410) and Marta (Martha Washington Hotel, 29 East 29th Street; 212-651-3800), spends enough time meandering about the restaurant and bar scene on the Lower East Side to consider it a "second home" to his place in Stuy Town. So much so that he's crowned Le French Diner (188 Orchard Street; 212-777-1577) his neighborhood joint there, and returns regularly for a mussel salad that is the best thing he ate this month — and in many months prior.

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Where to Find the Classic Italian Sandwich That Blew Chef PJ Calapa Away

Chef PJ Calapa
Italian Special at Faicco's
You might expect it to take a truly refined dish to blow away the executive chef of the Altamarea Group — he presides over such high-end restaurants as Ai Fiori (400 Fifth Avenue, second level; 212-613-8660) and Costata (206 Spring Street; 212-334-3320). But most chefs would admit that culinary brilliance is often found in simple, traditional foods done well. And so a classic sandwich of Italian cured meats at Faicco's (260 Bleecker Street; 212-243-1974) was the best thing chef PJ Calapa ate this month.

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New Yorkers Made Out Big at Monday Night's James Beard Foundation Awards

Categories: Interviews

Mark Ostow
Dan Barber and several other New York chefs won awards this year.
On Monday night, the nation's top chefs, bartenders, and restaurant professionals gathered for the 25th annual James Beard Foundation Awards, hosted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. And while it was the first time the anticipated awards ceremony has taken place outside of New York City, the Big Apple and its exponents were very much present throughout the evening — in both nominees and winners.

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Where to Find a Killer Celery Root Sandwich

Noah Fecks
Celery root schnitzel sandwhich at Little Park
Chef/partner Chris Jaeckle of All'onda (22 East 13th Street; 212-231-2236) has worked with many of New York's culinary greats: Larry Forgione, Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants, Morimoto, and Michael White's Altamarea Group, to name a few. Supporting the innovation and personal projects of chefs locally is important to him, as is making sure he eats around to really know what plates his peers are putting out. So when a casual lunch at Andrew Carmellini's new-ish Little Park (85 West Broadway; 212-220-4410) reunited him with an old colleague, a dish teeming with creativity became his best bite of the month.

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Huertas Celebrates One Year With a Few Changes

Thumbnail image for huertasshell.jpg
Bradley Hawks for the Village Voice
When Huertas (107 First Avenue, 212-228-4490) opened its doors a year ago, it offered a pair of distinct concepts under one roof: Grab a table in the front room, and you'd dine via a sort of dim-sum-style service wherein servers popped by your table with trays of pintxos (Basque tapas). Book a reservation for the back, and you'd get a five-course tasting menu designed by chef Jonah Miller. Miller wanted to showcase Spanish technique and seasonal ingredients, and so dinner changed daily.

Now, twelve months into their East Village tenure, the chef and his partner Nate Adler have learned a few lessons, and they're finessing Huertas into one cohesive concept with a few new touches.

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The Grape Frontier: Patrick Cappiello Leads a Revolution in Wine

Categories: Interviews, Wine

Evan Sung
Not even ten years ago, most serious wine drinkers in this city were of a pretty elite group — they were suits with deep bank accounts who cellared Burgundy and Bordeaux and finished nights with $1,000 bottles ordered off the lists of wine meccas like Cru and Veritas. But sometime in the last decade, interest in wine began to seep past traditional boundaries, hooking enthusiasts with much more meager budgets. These drinkers pushed into underrated regions, looking for wines that wouldn't drain their savings in one shot. They drank funky and unusual wines, and forwent the white-tablecloth temples in favor of more casual restaurants. And they were led into this brave new frontier by people like Patrick Cappiello, the wine director at Pearl & Ash (220 Bowery, 212-837-2370) and newly opened Rebelle (218 Bowery, 917-639-3880).

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Why Chef Josh Eden Proclaims Dim Sum at RedFarm the Best in the City

Noah Fecks
Soup dumplings at RedFarm
Chef Josh "Shorty" Eden of August (791 Lexington Avenue; 212-935-1433) is a native New Yorker, and he's spent his life hunting down amazing local eats. He worked with Jean-Georges Vongerichten for twelve years, and spent time in China's biggest cities before working with several Chinese concepts here at home. So he takes Chinese food seriously. And with confidence, he proclaims the dim sum from chef Joe Ng at RedFarm (529 Hudson Street; 212-792-9700) to be the best thing he ate this past month...which he did on quite a regular basis.

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Tex-Mex Moment: Javelina Celebrates the Singular Cuisine of the Lone Star State

Michael Tulipan
Matt Post, left, and Rich Caruso
When Matt Post and his chef Rich Caruso opened Tex-Mex lair Javelina (119 East 18th Street, 212-539-0202) on 18th Street a couple of months back, they steeled themselves for a slow-burning opening. "We didn't open with fanfare," says Caruso. "We were gonna open on a Monday night, but we weren't quite ready, so we pushed it back two days. There was a snowstorm that night, and suddenly there were 80 or 90 people here. I read on Eater a few days later that we were the hottest new restaurant. All of sudden, the reservations book was filling so quickly, it was a challenge to keep up."

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North End Grill Chef Eric Korsh's Best Bite This Month? Korean Barbecue

Zachary Feldman, the Village Voice
At North End Grill (104 North End Avenue, 646-747-1600), chef Eric Korsh serves up incredibly fresh fish and a French-inspired menu in one of the most welcoming dining rooms in Battery Park City. But when he was recently caught in a rainstorm with his daughters during dinnertime, he turned to Korean barbecue, and found the warm vibe they all needed at the Manhattan location of Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong (1 East 32nd Street, 212-966-9839).

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Raising the Bara: Ian Alvarez Finds His Voice as a Chef and Restaurateur

Courtesy Bara
It took Bara (58 East 1st Street, 917-639-3197) chef Ian Alvarez until he was working at Momofuku Noodle Bar to realize he'd been trained as a French chef. He'd gone to culinary school in his early twenties, then spent time in kitchens in Los Angeles and New York, working with people who'd trained at prolific restaurants like Picholine and Per Se. But he'd always favored small, personal restaurants, where training was less formal than at those gastronomic temples, and so it wasn't until he was behind the line at Momofuku, cooking Japanese food with a serious French foundation, that he realized he was well versed in classic technique.

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