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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Why Patsy's Pizza in Harlem Is John Stage's Best $5 Spent

Beqir Brija
Mozzarella pizza at Patsy's Pizza
Pitmaster John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (604 Union Street, Brooklyn; 700 West 125th Street) has watched Harlem change over the decade he's been in business. His 125th Street location gives him a great view of the Hudson River and enough space for his smokers. It also gives him easy access to old-school heavy-hitting restaurants, like Patsy's Pizza (2287 First Avenue at 117th Street; 212-534-9783), which serves classic slices of mozzarella pie that Stage says are the best thing he ate this month.

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How Rita Sodi Builds Neighborhood Restaurants With Heart and Soul

Ben Jay for the Village Voice
Rita Sodi (right)
Weeks after Rita Sodi opened I Sodi (105 Christopher Street, 212-414-5774), her West Village paean to Tuscan food, in 2008, her chef quit. Sodi had never worked in a kitchen — she'd been in the fashion industry for her entire career, and had settled in New York to open a restaurant when she decided she needed a change of pace. To make matters worse, the economy was sliding, making the environment for all restaurants — let alone new restaurants — less than hospitable.

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Why Chef Colleen Grapes Doesn't Mind the Wait for Pizza at Di Fara

Di Fara
Owner Domenico DeMarco at Di Fara Pizza
The precision required of a pastry chef makes chef Colleen Grapes of Oceana Restaurant (120 West 49th Street, 212-759-5941) particularly appreciative of pizza perfection. Recently, she stood awed at the skills of Domenico DeMarco of Brooklyn's classic Di Fara Pizza (1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn, 718-258-1367), and didn't mind the wait for her best bite of the month:

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Old Soul: Using Its Storied Past, Sylvia's Leads Harlem Toward a Vibrant Future

Tren'ness Woods-Black, photo by Javier Mota, courtesy Sylvia's
At midafternoon on a cold late-winter day, Tren'ness Woods-Black is perched at a table at Sylvia's (328 Malcolm X Boulevard, 212-996-0660) in Harlem, eating cornbread and sipping hot tea, and insisting that I order a sweet tea. ("Welcome to soul," she says.) The restaurant has been added onto a few times over the years, absorbing neighboring addresses when they go dark, and so it feels like a bit of a haphazard crosshatch of dining rooms, each slightly separate from the next. But from Woods-Black's seat she can see nearly all of it, which makes it easy for her to spy regulars as they walk through the door and wave hello.

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Where to Find the Fried Chicken Chef David Standridge Fell For on a Recent Day Off

Lauren J. Kaplan
Fried Chicken at Root & Bone
At Café Clover in the West Village (10 Downing Street, 212-675-4350), chef David Standridge makes decadent food that's somehow easy on the waistline: a sweet potato, shiitake, and pumpkin seed salad; an entrée of cauliflower "steak" with romesco; and an almond-milk panna cotta dessert. But when he found himself with a few hours to spare recently, he strayed from the healthy and went for full-on fried comfort: the bucket of bird and trimmings at Root & Bone (200 East 3rd Street, 646-682-7076) by chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth.

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How Ilan Hall Built the Gorbals and Avoided the Trappings of the Celebrity Chef

Thumbnail image for ilanhallhead.jpg
Courtesy Ilan Hall/The Gorbals
In the high-stakes era of the celebrity chef, high-profile restaurant employees often live or die by their public image, and a cook's persona is often crafted and finessed by a public relations firm long before he or she steps into the spotlight. By the time most of these people make their way in front of a television camera, they've carefully honed a trained personality made for media. Deviating from the script can mean a quick fall from grace.

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Where to Find the Roasted Chicken That Chef Jesse Schenker Mauled This Month

At The Gander (15 West 18th Street, 212-229-9500) and Recette (328 West 12th Street, 212-414-3000), chef Jesse Schenker covers a wide range of comfort foods, like house-made pastas, charcuterie plates, and family-style suppers on Sundays. So it was no surprise that he was so smitten by another comforting dish, a full-flavored roasted chicken dish from chef Gabe Thompson of L'Artusi (228 West 10th Street, 212-255-5757):

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How Louise Vongerichten Is Building Chefs Club Into a Global Brand

William Hereford/Courtesy Chefs Club by Food & Wine
If Louise Vongerichten hadn't pursued working in restaurants, she says, she would have become a ballet dancer. She continued dancing even as she began working at Mercer Kitchen, her family's restaurant (her father is chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), not leaving the stage until she was 24. "It's really my number one passion," she says.

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