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Binghamton is a city located in the southern tier of upstate New York in the United States. It is the county seat of Broome County. The population of the City of Binghamton, according to the 2000 Census, is 47,380 (1990 Census: 53,008).
The City of Binghamton is nestled in the Southern Tier of New York, at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. The city is at the crossroads of Interstates 81 and 88, as well as the future Interstate 86 (also known as New York State Highway 17, The Southern Tier Expressway).
-- Source: Wikipedia.com
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Yesterday Ryan Sutton reviewed Andrew Carmellini's new pasta spot, Bar Primi, and Robert Sietsema found excellent Mexican fare at Bella Puebla. Here's a roundup of the rest of the week's big reviews:
Pete Wells reviews Racines NY, a Tribeca wine bar imported from Paris, where the food surpasses simple bar snacks: "[Frédéric] Duca served a length of barely seared wild salmon, the raw flesh inside the intense orange-red of a persimmon, with a scoop of cucumber sorbet and a schmear of warm cauliflower cream. These are two of the mildest vegetables in existence, so combining them would not seem like a formula for excitement, but it was like watching summer and winter meet for the first time. Raw veal with warm mayonnaise probably doesn't sound like a bell-ringer, either. But with pine nuts and tarragon folded into cubes of meat, it made a delicious tartare." Two stars. [NYT]
Adam Platt is mostly impressed with his meals at Bâtard: "[T]he three-course dinner ... in my case began with a bowl of minty, nicely textured pea soup that was scattered with little croutons of crispy sweetbreads and contained crumblings of salsify hidden in its depths. There were also crinkly tubes of zucchini blossoms stuffed with bits of fresh lobster on the table, seared slices of ocean trout dabbed with crème fraîche, and a version of artichoke barigoule so technically perfect that it caused my vegetable-snob wife to put down her fork and practically clap with glee." Three stars. [NY Mag]
Susannah Skiver Barton reviews beer bar Dirck the Norseman for the Village Voice: "Several dishes draw flavor and tenderness from long cooking times, including fat-melted short ribs, whose sauce leans toward overly sweet. Pork knuckle, equally tender, brings a mountain of meat braised in Riegele Kellerbier and benefits from house-made pickles that provide a fitting foil for the piggy richness. Quicker-cooking mussels in a tomato-beer broth are plump and flavorful but poorly presented, arriving in a deep pot with no bowl in which to stow the empty shells." [VV]
Time Out critic Christina Izzo surveys the pasta scene at Bar Primi: "Fork prongs battle over shared bowls of tender orecchiette ($16), turned creamy from the welcome addition of chickpeas to broccoli rabe and fennely sausage, and country-green spinach cavatelli ($17), a wine-rich veal bianco sauce clinging lustily to the pasta's seal. A tangle of linguine ($14), sucker-punched with heady four-clove garlic and finished with crispy bread crumbs, is so heart-stoppingly good that if someone doesn't want to snog you after, reconsider the relationship." Four stars. [TONY]
Stan Sagner reviews Curry Hill newcomer Kailash Parbat, where the service is rocky but the food is good: "Pav Bhaji ($11.50), simply described as a 'favourite Indian street food,' is fashioned from mashed potatoes and vegetables. It emerges as an unexpectedly tasty dead ringer for a good ol' sloppy joe. This transformation of meat-free ingredients is pure alchemy. Yeasty little Parkerhouse-like pav buns are put to good use, sopping up every drop of the succulent sauce. Bhugal Bhee Aloo ($13.50), a toothier concoction of steamed potato and lotus root in an earthy, cumin-infused tomato masala, deliciously demonstrates how, in able hands, similar ingredients can yield vastly different results." Three stars. [NYDN]
Steve Cuozzo slams Academia Barilla, the dried pasta company's fast-casual Midtown spot: "A sign says chefs 'train at the academy,' but hardworking cooks evidently misheard 'al dente' as 'al cemente.' Undercooked, understirred orecchiette stuck together in half-dozen-ear clumps. Eerily glowing fusilli montanara, like no Italian dish I've had between Sicily and the Swiss border, 'looks like Campbell's cream of chicken poured over pasta,' my friend said. It should taste so good. Watery minestrone recalled the midnight diner variety." He gives it just half a star. [NYP]
THE BLOGS: Chris Stang of The Infatuation gives Decoy a 7.9, while calling Runner & Stone more of a neighborhood spot,NYC Foodie finds one of the best "bang for your buck tasting menus" at The Eddy, NY Journal finds the food at Bacchanal a little boring, if well-executed, The Food Doc loves the Nomad Bar, and Chekmark Eats samples the Japanese curry at Curry Ya. [Top photo: Batard by Krieger]
WEST VILLAGE —David Santos of Louro is co-hosting a one night Sun Noodles pop up with Sun's chef Shigetoshi "Jack" Nakamura. The August 4 dinner will feature a striped jack ramen, nigiri sushi, summer chilled ramen, a panko shrimp slider and a few other items including two tastes of sake. The BYOB wine or beer dinner is $55 and reservations are available by phone at 212-206-0606. Later this summer, Sun is slated to open its Ramen Lab on Kenmare. [Eaterwire]
WILLIAMSBURG —Tickets for the second annual Taste Talks at the Wythe Hotel, September 12-14, are now online. The food powerhouse event counts Danny Bowien, Mario Batali, Sam Sifton, and loads more in its line up. The festivities will include an All-Star Cookout on the 14th with dishes prepared by 20 chefs working at 12 different grilling stations. [Eaterwire]
LOWER EAST SIDE —This Friday Via Tribunali pizzeria will be serving free pizza from 5 to 7 p.m. and $3 peroni. Donations and a portions of the tips will benefit God's Love We Deliver, an organization that helps individuals living with AIDS/HIV and other critical diseases. [Eaterwire]
SPECULATION —Last week famed British chef Marco Pierre White's memoir The Devil in the Kitchen was optioned for a movie. So, who should play White, Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsey? Eater National's got some suggestions including Russell Brand as a young White because "Obviously." Share your suggestions in the comments. [~EN~]
This week Pete Wells reviews the Parisian import Racines NY. The food, he says, makes it more of a restaurant than a wine bar, with dishes like "lamb cooked two ways, most impressively as a braised shank with a deep, almost gamy intensity that fought it out with a teasingly bitter salsa verde made from arugula." He gives the restaurant two stars. [NYT] [Photo]
Michelin-starred Aldea chef George Mendes is opening a second restaurant where he "plans to tap into his heritage to open a rustic Portuguese," Florence Fabricant reports. Mendes isn't sharing the name of the new spot just yet, but says on Twitter that it will be "rustic, authentic, shellfish, Wood cooking and Many craft beers on tap: A CERVEJARIA." Mendes also tells Eater "It will be different from Aldea — same flavors but the cooking will be rustic, gutsy, FUN, and true to my roots and up-bringing." Expect a "very large dining bar" with beer, wine, and craft cocktails. The space, which is at 29th st. and 6th ave., is under construction and slated to open in December.
· Off The Menu [NYT]
· George Mendes [Twitter]
· All Coverage of George Mendes [~ENY~]
The New York outpost of Ilan Hall's LA restaurant The Gorbals opens for dinner tonight in Williamsburg's new Urban Outfitters "concept store" Space Ninety 8. The menu features several dishes cooked over the restaurant's large wood-fire grill, including lamb ribs, porgy with bonito butter, and bone marrow with hen of the woods mushrooms and creamed walnuts. Other items include banh mi poutine, whole roasted pig head, and the well-known cheeky bacon-wrapped matzo balls. The promised large-format schnitzel "with the hoof still on" turns out to be a "chicken schnitzel with talon."
The restaurant is located just above the menswear department, and will also run the space's rooftop bar, which has intimate canvas tents with wooden stump seating. Reservations are now up on Opentable. Check out the full menu below and stay tuned for photos.
It's 9 p.m. at Andrew Carmellini's Bar Primi, and half the guests wouldn't be out of place in the society pages of Vanity Fair. It would make sense if this were an East Hampton pool party, and not a Bowery joint trafficking in cheap pasta, paper napkins, and sloppy roast beef sandwiches.
Leave it to Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom, the team behind Locanda Verde, Lafayette and The Dutch, to give New York what it wants, which in this case is a late night pasta parlor where you and a buddy can eat and drink well for about $120. Bar Primi is essentially doing for Carmellini & Co. what Parm is doing for the Torrisi boys: it provides an entry-level Italian experience that can still excite fans of the group's more expensive brands.
Consider the Amatriciana, a traditional Roman ode to tomato, pork jowl and onions. Chef Sal Lamboglia, a longtime Carmellini lieutenant, subs out the swine and throws in cured lamb belly; it's an almost too obvious plot development. But when you try the result, you shake your head and wonder why every other chef in the city isn't serving it this way, with the gamey perfume of the lamb amping up the rusty sweetness of the tomatoes. There's your Top Gun pasta classic for $18.
Contemplate the artichokes. Lamboglia folds the meaty vegetable into a pudding-like mixture of mascarpone and eggs, pipes it into a long tube of pasta, bends it like Play-Doh and finishes the affair with smoked bacon. It is essentially what lasagna would taste like if it were shaped like a pinwheel and prepared by a chef with a Michelin-star, an accolade that Carmellini is long overdue for.
Fiore di Carciofi; Linguine
Reflect upon the linguine, a dish that's violently assaulted with four cloves of garlic. The bold, salty flavors are so assertive it's as if you're eating clam sauce without the clams, a boon to the duo of kosher diners at my table. What's so compelling about that preparation, along with much of Bar Primi's food, is not just its intrinsic deliciousness but also the tacit reminder behind it all — that rustic cuisine can be just as thought provoking as modernist fare.
It's a tacit reminder that rustic cuisine can be just as thought provoking as modernist fare.
All the action takes place at the old bi-level Peels space on Bowery and 2nd, a venue mostly famous for the design work of Taavo Somer. He's also responsible for the gentle revamp, with wood floors, wood tables, a wood bar and, as insurance in case the business plan doesn't work out, wood stairs lined with way too many candles.
Related: Hard surfaces = loud room. Carmellini would be well served to invest in proper sound proofing. Other creature comforts, however, are not absent; wines are served in properly thin-lipped stems, increasingly a rarity in casual venues.
The smart buy is a bottle of cool, frizzy Lambrusco for $40 ($10 by the glass). Think of the tart, tannic red bubbly as an adult version of a wine cooler. It will carry you throughout any red sauce meal here, though a Lugana ($10) from Lombardy will hold up the tent as well with its nervy, Riesling-like acidity. Pair that with the seafood antipasto (one of the city's finest maritime salads) or the funky goat cheese bruschetta topped with grilled eggplant, and you're ready to party.
There are times when the kitchen could use a jolt of inspiration
Rusticity, of course, isn't an excuse for complacency, and there are times when the kitchen could use a jolt of inspiration. Farro with sweet peas wouldn't be out of place at a gourmet salad bar anywhere in the city. Rigatoni with tomatoes and eggplant turns out to be a redundant understudy to another menu option, the near-perfect spaghetti pomodoro, whose sauce is so intensely perfumed by basil not even a chamber vacuum infusion could match its fragrance.
Then again, some of the obvious attempts at creativity backfire. Clams casino pasta lacks the bacony, garlicky greasiness that makes the dish an essential heart-clogging treat at Long Island seafood shacks. But such occasional oversights can be forgiven at these prices. You'll feel better after a few meatballs, oozing with fontina, and slathered in a tangy and vibrant marinara.
Meatballs; Roast beef sandwich
And the $16 roast beef is a serious entry in the city's sandwich wars. The soft, slow cooked bottom-round is piled two, sometimes three-fingers high. The melty provolone turns brown amid the tart, chin-dribbling juices. Spicy Calabrian chile puree wakes up the palate; peppery arugula wakes it up even more. It all sits between a hamburger bun, meaning it has more in common with something from Arby's than a New York deli sandwich. And that's why it rocks (though it would rock more if it came with a cup of au jus for dipping on the side).
Finish off with peaches and fior di latte gelato and there's your go-to first date meal — though remember where you are. On a recent Friday one of Bar Primi's managers handed me my take out meal (roast beef), then excused himself because, in his words, "a guest has just passed out." Sure enough, a lady who was once on a bar stool was now on the floor. Take comfort in the fact that now matter how much things have changed, this is still the Bowery.
Lunch: Monday - Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Dinner: Sunday - Wednesday, 5:30pm - 11:00 p.m., Thursday - Saturday, until midnight. Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. website How much does it cost: All dishes, save specials, at $19 or less. How to get in: Walk-ins only (rightly so) for most parties. What to order: Meatballs, seafood salad, artichoke pasta, garlic linguine, prosciutto-stuffed mezzalune, lamb bucatini, roast BEAST sandwich. What to drink: Lambrusco. Really. Or Lambrusco sangria. Bonus tip: Those who brunch can look forward to "breakfast spaghetti" with kale, pancetta and a poached egg.
* A note on the ratings: Ryan Sutton awards gold stars on a scale of zero (disappointing) to four (exceptional). His main focus is on mid to high-end new and established restaurants. His single visit reviews are unstarred. His colleague Robert Sietsema awards his own set of (different colored) stars. Email Ryan at email@example.com and follow him @qualityrye.
A developer is closing down most of the restaurants occupying a single block of the Upper East Side, in order to make way for a new high-rise. Three restaurants, including Nancy Lee's Pig Heaven, have been told to vacate their spaces by the end of the month. One, the sports bar Johnny Foxes, closed down this past Sunday. Pig Heaven, along with Cascabel Taqueria, will remain open until July 30. Meanwhile, DNAinfo also reports that a fourth restaurant, Agora Turkish, was already forced to close earlier this year. Owner Nancy Lee is currently looking for a new space for Pig Heaven nearby, but so far the only definite survivor of this mass eviction is Cascabel, which will relocate to 1556 Second Avenue, one of the few buildings on the block not owned by the developer.
· Developer Gobbles Up UES Block and Kicks Out Restaurants [DNAinfo]
· All Coverage of Nancy Lee's Pig Heaven [~ENY~]
Eateries that serve the cuisine of Puebla, and the nearby states of Guerrero and Morelos, all in southern Mexico, have become common in the five boroughs. Evolving from bodegas that set up makeshift taco stands, the restaurants eventually fell into two categories: those that served beer and resembled bars, and the more brightly lit spots that catered to families and refused to provide alcohol. Newcomer Bella Puebla falls into the second category. And it's the Pueblan restaurant with the most complete menu in the city and the one most prepared to receive customers from the city's general population.
Located in eastern Jackson Heights right on Roosevelt Avenue, a juice and snack counter thrusts onto the sidewalk; just inside find a steam table with a pristine display in bright earthy colors of brick red, drab olive, and midnight brown. A long prep counter then leads to a large dining room, mirrored, acid green, and draped with serapes and sombreros.
Sure you can get excellent tacos freighted with standard fillings like carnitas, bistec, and pollo, or porcine variety meats such as cabeza (face), oreja (ear), and buche (esophagus and stomach). But the extended menu also includes tacos that you or Alex Stupak have probably never heard of. One delectable little number is tacos arabes ("Arab tacos"). Consisting of a grilled flour tortilla rolled around a filling of pork al pastor, these tacos were introduced to the city of Puebla by Iraqi immigrants in the 1930s, who used homemade pitas, yogurt, and charcoal-grilled mutton to create a Mexican pita sandwich. About the same time, Lebanese immigrants introduced the method of cooking meat on a rotating vertical spit used to make shawarma, and this evolved into pork al pastor. Two to an order and neatly wrapped in butcher paper, tacos arabes ($6) are served with charred green-onions, radishes, and lime wedges. These days, you'll have to bring your own yogurt.
The waitress giggled as she served it, then handed us a fork.
Another off-the-wall taco is the placeros, which means "market taco." Immigrants from Morelos brought the first one here a few years back and served it from a cart on Roosevelt Avenue. Now it has become commonplace in Middle Queens. Back home these tacos served as cheap market snacks, usually filled with boiled eggs and vegetables, though some contained random meats. The strangest from the Queens cart had an entire chile relleno pressed into a bed of rice on a pair of corn tortillas. Now Bella Puebla has embroidered on the formula by creating a monster taco placeros ($8) featuring a chile relleno, boiled egg, oiled potatoes, chiles, and yellow rice, an ode to New York's culinary opulence. The waitress giggled as she served it, then handed us a fork.
Top: Guashamole, pipian de pollo; Bottom: Cemia cubano, mole poblano
Bella's catalog of fringe southern Mexican dishes also includes the frequently available red pipian (pumpkinseed) mole ladled over a quarter chicken. Check the list of specials on the chalkboard as you enter the restaurant. While the pre-Columbian sauce called mole pipian is usually a milky shade of green, this one ($11.95) is deep orange, and dances with droplets of red chile oil. That doesn't mean the sauce is scaldingly spicy, though it has a rich loamy flavor. If you want spicy, head for adobo de puerco: clumps of meaty swine ribs in a mighty scarlet sauce that will singe your lips. Be forewarned: According to the same waitress, it's the hottest thing on the menu.
Most special of all may be guashamole, a weekend special of pork or beef in an ancient puree made from pounded guaje seeds.
Other recommended dishes include a menudo (tripe soup) with a nice barnyard flavor, and a cemita — the round sandwich of Puebla, on a seeded roll said to contain cactus pulp — made in emulation of a Cuban sandwich, for a little cultural one-upmanship. Most special of all may be guashamole, a weekend special of pork or beef in an ancient puree made from pounded guaje seeds, the ones you see in the long green pods in Mexican groceries, more often sprinkled on tacos for added crunch.
There are a few things to avoid at Bella Puebla, including the antojitos like quesadillas usually made from freshly hand-patted masa: the sophisticated kitchen uses pre-formed shells much thinner than the ones you get, say, at the Red Hook ball fields. The mole de olla — a thick vegetable-and-beef soup beloved of Pueblans — is here thrown-together and thin, mainly undercooked green beans in a tepid red broth.
But most of the food on the menu at Bella Puebla is spectacular. It just may take you a year or two to fully explore the colossal 160-dish menu. And you'll have to do it without benefit of beer.
94-11 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, Queens
Open seven days, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. How much does it cost? A taco placeros, plate of mole pipian pollo rojo, and two Jarritos sodas shared by two diners, $25 plus tip. What to drink: No alcoholic beverages, but a broad range of Jarritos sodas (try tamarind or grapefruit) and freshly prepared juices (including watermelon and hibiscus) are available. The horchata (homemade rice-based sweet beverage) is some of the best in town. Ideal order: Tacos arabes, adobo de puerco, menudo (tripe soup), mole enchiladas con pollo, oreja taco, lengua huarache, cemita Cubano, guashamole de res.
Bonus tip: The tacos are often constructed with freshly made tortillas, so get tacos instead of quesadillas or picaditas. Avoid the gorditas, too, due to density and greasiness.
* A note on the ratings: Robert Sietsema awards red stars on a scale of zero (disappointing) to four (exceptional). His main focus is on ethnic, lower cost, and/or mid-level eateries around the five boroughs. His colleague Ryan Sutton awards his own set of (different colored) stars. Email Robert Sietsema at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him @robertsietsema.
New York City might not have much of a BBQ legacy, but Hometown pitmaster Billy Durney says that's a good thing. "If they try to make a jerk rib in Ayden, N.C…they'd hang him up by his shoe strings…We're really proud of the fact that we have no rules. We don't have to cook whole hog because our granddad or greatgranddad was a hog farmer....Here in New York, we can essentially do whatever we like. We don't have to adhere to any legacies." [Food Republic] [Daniel Krieger]
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It's confirmed: a church on 110th Street across from Central Park is no more, and a residential building will (eventually) takes its place. Harlem Bespoke snapped a photo of the tell-tale green fencing with no religious structure behind it to confirm its demise. Meanwhile, a preliminary Department of Buildings application "to convert the cellar and first floor and to enlarge the building," filed in March, was initially rejected because of incomplete drawings but is currently undergoing review from both the DOB and the Board of Standards and Appeals, which handles zoning and will assess the building's height and setbacks. The application for a permit calls for a 13-story, 24-unit building that takes up 50,770 square feet. An early floor-by-floor breakdown has a community facility and church auditorium on the first floor, as well as bike storage, two recreation areas, a meeting room, and a dressing room. Presumably a church will be the ground-floor tenant with some facilities while the other amenities are for residents living above.
[A photo of the church from June 2011, via Googel Street View.]
Because the DOB application is in an unsatisfying limbo, Curbed put in calls to architect http://www.davidhowell.net/ and developer Einhorn Development Group. Both confirmed that the residential project was still on but that it was too early to share renderings and the like. Principal Yiannes Einhorn said: "It's a vacant site now and we're in the process of planning the future development." Reports have put the building between 11 and 13 stories, which Einhorn says will be hammered out according to zoning laws. The apartments are likely to be rentals, he added.
Einhorn and Howell have gotten a lot of flack for their collaboration on another church-conversion project in Chelseawhich is rather unattractive, based on renderingsso let's see what kind of design emerges for this site, which is between Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Boulevard to the east and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard to the west.
There was a good deal of skepticism around art world heavyweight Tobias Meyers' insane Time Warner Center apartment being listed for $16.95 million. However, it seems that at least one buyer was able to look past the striped wall-to-wall carpeting, brightly painted columns, and other eclectic design choices to see the 2,632-square-foot, 66th-floor, 3BR/3.5BA condo underneath. The apartment entered contract after less than three months on the market and yesterday the sale hit public records with a final price of $16,220,300. The identity of the buyer is hidden behind an LLC, but whoever they are, we think it's pretty safe to say that a redesign is in this apartment's future.
The fourth floor of the co-op building at 860 Park Avenuejust hit the market for $18 million, and boy, is it a doozy. The brokerbabble generously says it's decorated in the "Renaissance style," which translates to horrid floral wallpaper, some seriously questionable carpeting and marble choices, and a master bathroom with a jacuzzi (they were all the rage during the Renaissance, don't cha know?) and a mirrored ceiling. The 10-room home also has a "luxurious corner living room with architecturally paneled wood details" with "a Louis XVI mantle over the wood burning fireplace," and a dining room with "ornate stenciled patterned wood floors, plaster molding, and gilded fixtures from Sherle Wagner." One of the photos also shows what appears to be a trompe l'oeil painting in one of the hallways.
According to public records, the unit is owned by socialite Denise Wohl, who may or not still be the wife of Larry Wohl, a real estate developer. Several rumormongeringarticles on the internet say that the couple may have gotten a divorce, but stories about their daughter acting like a crazy person make it seem like they are still together. That said, public records seem to show that Denise paid Larry $4.75 million for complete ownership of the apartment in February.