Food Republic Where Food, Drink & Culture Unite Sun, 01 May 2016 17:11:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arrests Made In Bay Area Wine Theft Investigation Fri, 29 Apr 2016 18:30:24 +0000 Christine Haughney covers corruption and criminal behavior as part of the Zero Point Zero Production series Food Crimes.

Police in California have arrested two men in connection with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of fine wines that were stolen from several shops and restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area, including Thomas Keller’s acclaimed Napa County restaurant, the French Laundry.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Alfred Georgis of Mountain View and David Kuryakoz of Modesto were charged with shipping stolen wines out of state dating back to 2013. Georgis and Kuryakoz cannot be faulted for their fine tastes: The stolen wines included bottles of such prestigious labels as Romanée-Conti, Château Lafite, Château Latour and Château Margaux.

The most high-profile of the heists took place at the venerable French Laundry in Yountville on Christmas in 2014. But investigators believe the spree started back in March 2013, when the pair allegedly stole 142 bottles from a San Francisco wine merchant, according to the Napa Valley Register.  The duo is also charged with targeting Alexander’s steak house twice.

For months, investigators have said they were closing in on their target; their search extended well beyond French Laundry. Wine-fraud investigators have noted that the French Laundry case mirrored a 2013 case in Seattle involving the city’s oldest wine shop, Esquin Wine Merchants. In that case, the stolen wines were headed to Hong Kong.

An FBI spokesman tells the Chronicle that this may be part of a larger fraud ring.

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Solo Dining, Italian Wine, Bacon-Wrapped Onion Rings: 10 Hot Topics On Food Republic Fri, 29 Apr 2016 18:00:51 +0000 Want to know what’s hot? Dining out in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, for one. Dining solo, for another. But when it comes to hotness, there’s no challenging the Carolina Reaper. That’s because it’s literally the world’s hottest pepper, checking in at an absurdly high 2.2 million Scoville Units. Our associate editor took one down whole over the weekend…and we have the video to prove it! As the weather finally heats up (we’re really on a hot streak here), we wrote about burger blends and burger alternatives, pointed out some spring-dining trends and rounded up the five Italian wine grapes you need to know. Also, a pissed-off Tampa chef explains his take on the “farm to fable” controversy — it’s a must-read. All that and more on this week’s Hot Topics on Food Republic.

  1. Chicago’s West Loop is the hottest restaurant ’hood in the U.S. Here’s why.
  2. A pissed-off Tampa chef explains the “farm to fable” controversy.
  3. Solo dining is on the rise big time! We examine why.
  4. The guys from NYC’s Contra and Wildair are next up on our New Chefs Rising series.
  5. Bacon-wrapped onion rings? Yes, please! Here’s how to make ‘em.
  6. Here are burger-blend and alternative-burger ideas for your next grill-out.
  7. These are the five Italian wine grapes you need to know.
  8. Associate editor George Embiricos ate the world’s hottest pepper. Video included.
  9. We’ve spotted these five trends in NYC restaurants this spring.
  10. Meet the chefs behind Portugal’s thriving restaurant scene.
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Llama Inn’s Peruvian Michelada With Leche De Tigre Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:00:28 +0000

The refreshing Mexican Michelada is essentially a simple blend of beer, lime, salt, hot sauce and an umami seasoning of either Worcestershire sauce or Maggi. The cocktail is Mexican in origin, but most countries throughout South America have their own takes. Now, the Llama Inn in Brooklyn, New York, has introduced a Peruvian influence to the Michelada just in time for Cinco de Mayo, with chef Erik Ramirez’s leche de tigre base taking center stage.

In Peru, it is common to use the leche de tigre [tiger’s milk] from ceviche as a kind of sangrita/shooter with pisco,”note beverage directors Lynnette Marrero and Jessica Gonzalez on the origin of their Michelada. Using the Peruvian golden lager Cusqueña, the malted barley stands out in just the right way against the rich umami of fish stock and ginger-onion-garlic flavors, along with bright citrus, salt and house-made fermented hot sauce.

Featured on the brunch menu, Llama Inn’s version brings a welcome softness to the hair-on-your-back harshness of some Micheladas, often derived from a heavy hand of Cholula hot sauce and seasoning. Opposite a plate of ceviche with corvina and sweet potato, or the chef’s notable lomo saltado beef on a bed of French fries, it’s the perfect respite. Even without a sandy beach, this cold beer brings the right mix of sea and heat. 

Llama Inn’s Michelada

Servings: 1 cocktail

1½ ounces leche de tigre base*
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Dash hot sauce (house-made fermented hot sauce)
Cusqueña beer

*For the leche de tigre base:
3 cups fish stock
2 ounces fish sauce (Viet Huong)
1 cup chicha de jora (Inca Foods)
2 tablespoons aji amarillo pepper puree
1 ounce hot sauce
3 ounces ginger-onion-garlic mix (1 clove garlic, 1 shallot, 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger)
1 tablespoon salt


  1. Rim a tall water glass with salt and add ice.
  2. Combine leche de tigre, lime and hot sauce in the glass.
  3. Stir ingredients briefly and garnish with a lime wedge.
  4. Top with Cusqueña beer when serving.

Prep time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate

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Learn To Cook. Otherwise, You Might Never Play In The NFL. Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:00:55 +0000 There are always a couple of certainties at the annual NFL Draft. Commissioner Roger Goodell will undoubtedly be harassed mercilessly throughout the evening. New York Jets fans will lustily boo all night long…regardless of the team’s picks. And apparently — new this year — eligible college players must be able to cook in order to maintain their high-pick status. That’s right, cook — “to prepare food for eating,” as Merriam-Webster so eloquently defines it.

This particular controversy arose during the past week, as an anonymous NFL scout voiced these concerns regarding Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple: “I worry about him because of off-the-field issues. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can’t cook. Just a baby. He’s not first round for me. He scares me to death.” Yes, that was printed for all to see during pre-draft coverage.

Cook? Cook? Has that seriously become a legitimate criteria for potential first-round selections nowadays? Quickly springing to Apple’s defense, fellow Buckeye Ezekiel Elliot — drafted last night fourth overall by the Dallas Cowboys — defended his former college teammate on Twitter:

I guess we’re happy to shamelessly share with Apple — and all our readers — a link to our extensive on-site recipes section, while we’re discussing.

As the newest member of the New York Giants, who were apparently unconcerned with his lack of acumen in the kitchen and ultimately made him the 10th overall selection in the draft, Apple will line up on defense across the likes of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the newly signed Janoris Jenkins this season. No word yet on whether he is planning to head up a rookie-cooked dinner, but we’ll keep you posted.

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How To Transform Fresh Citrus Into Sweet Little Gems Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:00:54 +0000 perfect-citrus-gems-2-2
These perfect citrus gems have a fresh taste and a silky-smooth texture.

You know how canned mandarin oranges are kind of awesome, except that they can be a bit bland? And you know how fresh mandarins can be awesome, except for that annoying white pith on the outside full of pectin? Wouldn’t it be great to find a way to combine the smooth texture of the former with the juicy taste of the latter?

ChefSteps wrote in this week with a method for doing just that. To create sweet gems from fresh citrus (any citrus), you simply combine them with a little pectinase, an enzyme that breaks down the fruit’s pectin, resulting in a pith-free, bitterness-free treat. Chefs call this technique “supreming” and often use it to augment dishes at high-end dining establishments. At home, the possibilities are endless — pop ’em in a flute of bubbly, serve them atop a salad or ice cream, or eat them plain! They’re easy, adorable and delicious. Take a look at the quick instructional video below and get to work on your sweet little gems today!

Fresh citrus fruit, peeled and segmented

ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. You can also get access to all of ChefSteps’ Premium content — including paid classes and dozens of recipes available only to Premium members for a onetime fee — for the special price of $24 (regularly $39). Classes include Sous Vide: Beyond the BasicsFluid GelsFrench Macarons and more!

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Is There A Future For Processed Cheese In A Spray Can? Fri, 29 Apr 2016 13:00:08 +0000 Cheese can come in many forms: wheels, blocks, sticks, strings, slices, liquefied and, most grossly, canned.

Dubbed “spray cheese,” “aerosol cheese” and even “squirt-on cheese,” Easy Cheese made it, well, easy for Americans to eat cheese on anything. Paste magazine takes a look at this now 50-year-old product, which was heavily advertised back in the 1960s as the perfect accompaniment for things like crackers and fruit. Those days are long gone, the magazine notes, as today’s consumers are not eating spray cheese as much as experimenting with it. YouTuber Andrew Maxwell-Parish, for instance, thought it’d be worth his time to try 3-D printing a tower made of Easy Cheese. Check out his video below to see the tower in all its fake cheesy glory and imagine what other modern applications there could be for this ancient relic of mid-20th-century snacking.

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Dinner Tonight: Cook These 2016 James Beard Award–Winning Recipes! Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:00:06 +0000 schnitzel
Freshly fried chicken schnitzel with a creamy, savory, tangy passionfruit tahini sauce is not your average cutlet.

Now we’re not saying we can predict James Beard Award–winning cookbooks, but let’s not fool ourselves: We know what’s good, and the proof lies in Tuesday evening’s big announcement. Peruse our selections from several of this year’s JBF winners and give virtual high-fives to Michael Solomonov, Danielle Chang, Yotam Ottolenghi, Michael Anthony and an extra one for Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee Deborah Madison. If anyone asks where the recipe’s from, you know what to tell them.


Recipe: Chicken Schnitzel With Passion Fruit

Schnitzel gets a bad rap. If you’ve ever been on a bus tour of Israel or spent time in an Israeli prison, you know what I am talking about. Limp, greasy, and warmed over, it’s a deep-fried staple of the cafeteria steam table with a pool of ketchup. This is a shame, because great chicken schnitzel is a thing of beauty. It was one of my dad’s specialties when I was growing up, so I’ve always had a soft spot for it. Sandwiched between two pieces of white bread, schnitzel takes me to my happy place, where all the food is beige and crunchy.


Recipe: Green Beans And Mushrooms With Tehina

I created this dish for a Chanukah meal at Zahav in 2013, the year that the first day of Chanukah coincided with Thanksgiving. Since this hadn’t happened in over 100 years (and won’t happen again for another 77,000), we decided to have fun and merge some of our Israeli flavors with traditional American Thanksgiving casseroles. This is our riff on the classic green bean casserole, with tehina standing in for the cream of mushroom soup.

Savory lamb filling encased in a crisp lamb and bulgur wheat shell fried to perfection and dipped in creamy, savory tehina sauce. Sign us up!

Recipe: Fried Kibbe

Look no further than James Beard Award winner Michael Solomonov for a modern take on classic Israeli food. His new cookbook, Zahav, is packed with your new favorite ways to consume all things Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/North African. Particularly those delicious extra-lamby fried meat dumplings known as kibbe.

Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes

These easy-to-make summer rolls bring new meaning to the term “handmade.”

Recipe: Shrimp Summer Rolls

Ninety percent of the work required to make these summer rolls is in the shopping; the remainder is in feigning exhaustion at having produced such spectacular snacks for your friends. In between, all you need to do is toss vegetables, herbs and noodles in a light seasoning, then roll that salad up with some sliced shrimp into cute little rice-paper burritos!

Settle in for a chilly night with Asian-inspired creamy clam chowder.

Recipe: Miso Clam Chowder

The more “Asian” point of view would be to say that adding clams to dashi makes a great soup (it does) or that adding clams to miso soup makes a great soup better (also true). But since cross-cultural co-option is a two-way street, how about this: Miso makes a classic Boston clam chowder even better.

Dress up your cucumbers for the party! Things may get a little hot.

Recipe: Chineasy Cucumber Salad

This salad takes cues from Xi’an cooking (specifically the kind channeled at restaurants like Xi’an Famous Foods and Mission Chinese Food), pinning down the cooling flavor of cucumber under a savory-sour blast of black vinegar and a sting of chili heat. Do not skip the peanuts; like the rug in The Big Lebowski, they really tie the room together. And feel free to amp up the cilantro if you’re so inclined.


Herb- and garlic-infused smashed new potatoes are a welcome companion to any hearty grilled or roasted protein.

Recipe: Crushed New Potatoes With Caper Berries

This is a side dish that really delivers on flavor, needing little more than some simply cooked meat or fish alongside. It’s common to put all the effort into the main thing on a plate and let the sides provide the supporting act. It often works well, though, to switch the balance around: Pull out the stops on the starch, for example, and keep the main ingredient on a plate very simple.

A culinary masterpiece from London’s Nopi. Venison at its sweet, gamey best.

Recipe: Venison With Date Labneh And Blackberries

Head from the Middle East to the Far East with the newest book from famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Penned along with chef Ramael Scully of London hot spot Nopi, this collection of inventive recipes hits every sweet spot along the flavor trail. Fans of venison will recognize the time-tested pairing with blackberries, and the sweet-tart and creamy finish of the date labneh provides the Middle Eastern twist we’ve come to love and anticipate. Source some fresh deer meat and get this impressive entrée on the table as soon as possible.

Leave it to Yotam Ottolenghi to whip up prawns this impressive in about 20 minutes. Up to the challenge?

Recipe: King Prawns With Pernod, Tarragon And Feta

The combination of prawns and feta is a classic Greek combination — prawns saganaki — that we’ve been playing with since the first Ottolenghi book. It’s a lovely dish to do, as everything can be prepared in advance and just cooked before serving. If we were to enter any Nopi recipe for a 15-minute-supper competition, this would be it. Get prawns as fresh as you can: It means you can leave the heads on, and their bright red bodies look just wonderful when they are cooked. It’s almost a must to serve this with some crusty white bread to mop up the juices.

V Is for Vegetables


Recipe: Collard Greens Frittata

This especially lofty and majestic layering of greens is held together with sliced potatoes and eggs. As you can see, it is not a thin frittata! I like to make the frittata in my black cast-iron skillet; it’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Feel free to use whatever leftover potatoes you may have on hand, or just leave them out.

Studded with vegetables like little jewels, this fresh take on tabbouleh will quickly become your favorite vegetarian side dish.

Recipe: Fresh Fennel Tabbouleh

This salad shows off another side of fennel: fresh, crunchy and full of anise notes. Israeli couscous isn’t a grain like bulgur or farro; it’s an extruded wheat pasta whose size and texture work well with the fennel dice and other chopped and tossed ingredients.

Make leeks the star instead of the backup singer with chef Michael Anthony’s citrus-studded recipe.

Recipe: Roasted Whole Leeks With Tangerine Vinaigrette

Whole leeks roasted over coals, or in the oven, reveal a deep, soulful side of their character — charred on the outside, soft and tender within. I like to use citrus and vinegar to add brightness to their mellow flavor.

Cookbook Hall of Fame: Deborah Madison

Don't let their size fool you; these veggie cakes are mighty satisfying.
Don’t let their size fool you: These veggie cakes are mighty satisfying.

Recipe: Veggie Cakes With Chard, Ricotta And Saffron

These little cakes are so very satisfying, and light enough that you can serve them with a dollop of sour cream and a cluster of micro greens or a chiffonade of sorrel. A mixture of chard and beet greens works well, too. The beet greens may cook more quickly than the chard. If you prefer spinach, you’ll need at least two pounds.

Pair these braised bulbs with either seafood or rice. It goes nicely with both.
Pair these braised bulbs with either seafood or rice. It goes nicely with both.

Recipe: Braised Fennel Wedges With Saffron And Tomato

Fennel is a natural with seafood, so you might pair this dish with halibut or seared scallops. But it’s also good with rice, and black rice makes for an especially dramatic — and delicious — pairing. Be sure to leave the core in the fennel bulb. It’s what holds the wedges together.

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Would You Drink Beer Made With Belly Button Fluff? Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:30:04 +0000 Belly button fluff is a weird thing. It’s both gross and not useful and should probably be left to its own devices. Oddly, however, the Australian beermakers at 7 Cent Brewery thought this should change and brewed a batch of belly button beer.

According to the Daily Mail, the specimens were harvested from the depths of the three brewers’ own navels, which raises the question of whether drinking the resulting beer involved some level of cannibalism. It’s definitely not vegan, that’s for sure. The brewery’s website states that yeast was cultivated from the samples and incorporated into three different beers, one of which will be poured for the public at the 2016 Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular (actual name).

Seven Cent Brewery’s website states that the yeast strain chosen “exhibits qualities of Belgian beer with the key characteristics being spiciness, clove and light banana esters.”

This isn’t the first time body yeast has been made into beer. Oregon’s Rogue Ales’ Beard Beer is brewed with their brewmaster’s beard yeast, and there’s an ongoing IndieGoGo campaign for the world’s first vaginal-yeast beer. Draw the line wherever you like.

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This Week In Restaurant News: Noma Owner Opens In NYC; Caviar And Bacon Get Their Own Bars Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:00:55 +0000 Caviar Pizza
Caviar pizza becomes a reality at NYC’s new Olma Boutique & Caviar Lounge. (Photo: Jason Greenspan.)

Claus Meyer is the founder of the New Nordic Cuisine movement and an owner of Copenhagen’s famed Noma, yet he had never opened a restaurant in the United States…until now. His Agern — located in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal — tops our list of this week’s restaurant openings. Also in the Big Apple, diners can now enjoy caviar at a reasonable price point and established Philly chef Jose Garces has brought his tapas-style restaurant Amada to Brookfield Place. We also highlighted a bacon bar, a Thai restaurant inside a music venue and the world’s most expensive bowl of ramen — it’ll run you $180. Just another week of covering the restaurant beat here at Food Republic! Take a look.

Now Open

New York City

Agern_Sorrel Cream knotweed puffed buckwheat_Evan Sung
Sorrel cream and knotweed with puffed buckwheat at NYC’s Agern. (Photo: Evan Sung.)

Claus Meyer is a cofounder and owner of Copenhagen’s Noma — yes, that Noma, the one voted the world’s best restaurant no fewer than four times. He’s also credited with being the creator of the New Nordic Cuisine movement, which promotes natural produce and a focus on seasonal foods that benefit from the local region’s climate, water and soil. Meyer just opened his first U.S. restaurant, Agern, in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. The food seeks to bring flavors and ideas from the landscapes of Nordic countries to New York, placing an emphasis on the virtues of the plant kingdom. In addition to à la carte selections, there are two tasting menus available, one of which is vegetable-only. Dishes include split-pea tofu; mackerel, dashi, horseradish and celtuse; beef heart, salsify, young cress and sumac; and lamb, roasted and braised with sunchokes, dill and buttermilk. Food Republic wine contributor Chad Walsh is the restaurant’s sommelier, part of an impressive beverage program. Meyer will also soon unveil a large-format food hall adjacent to the restaurant. 89 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10017;

Platter 1
A platter of different caviars at Olma’s new lounge in NYC. (Photo: Jason Greenspan.)

Olma Caviar Boutique & Lounge
Caviar is deservedly viewed as the epitome of a luxurious and extravagantly priced food. But what if it were more accessible and available for trying in single-serving quantities? That’s the premise behind the Upper West Side’s new Olma Caviar Boutique & Lounge, an expansion of the highly successful bar in the Plaza Food Hall. There’s no need to splurge on ordering ounces of the delicacy — diners can start with blinis or hard-boiled eggs topped with anything from salmon roe ($5) to top-of-the-line beluga caviar ($32). The lounge menu also features smoked salmon, foie gras, caviar pizzas and open-faced caviar sandwiches. And yes, there are non-caviar entrées, as well. Cocktails employ only top-shelf brands, and there’s a complete Italian espresso bar serving coffees and teas. 420 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10024;

Jose Garces Amada-1005
Razor clams at Jose Garces’s Amada in NYC’s Brookfield Place. (Photo: Daniel Krieger.)

Jose Garces is one of the most respected chefs in Philadelphia, the operator of eight restaurants and the recipient of a James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. One decade after opening Amada, an Andalusian tapas-style restaurant, in Philly, he is looking to replicate the success of his first solo venture with the same concept at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. In addition to a variety of beloved dishes from the Philadelphia original, such as empanadas with Spanish Manchego and artichoke escabeche, Spanish tortilla served with a saffron aioli and griddled Wagyu beef skewers, Garces is experimenting with dishes exclusive to New York. Some of the plates he is testing out are lamb tartare with romesco verde and Idiazábal; Spanish flatbread with Catalan garlic sausage, piquillo pepper confit and spinach; and sea trout with harissa, baby lettuce and a tamarind glaze. Large-format items include lobster paella, rabbit-and-chorizo paella and two types of suckling pig. There is a large-scale wine and cocktail program (the latter highlights different types of gin and tonics), and an adjacent 20-seat café for guests looking to grab a coffee or a light breakfast or lunch. 250 Vesey St., New York, NY 10281;

Huntington Beach, California

Coffee-rubbed bacon, one of 11 varieties now available at Saint Marc’s Bacon Bar in Huntington Beach.

Saint Marc Bacon Bar
From caviar to bacon, we really don’t discriminate when it comes to single-item restaurants here at Food Republic. Yes, there is officially a bacon bar offering no fewer than 11 signature flavors of bacon “buy” the slice. We’re talking Nueske’s wild cherry, garlic Parmesan, tender belly maple, apple pie, tender belly habanero and coffee-rubbed. The one-of-a-kind bacon bar is connected to the existing Saint Marc Pub-Café, Bakery and Cheese Affinage — say that five times fast — a casual eatery and bar highlighting items originating in the Southern regions of the U.S. and throughout Europe (and over 100 cheeses!). Saint Marc’s addition of this plethora of bacon just might have made it the meatiest place in town. 21058 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648;

Other News

Octopus 1b
An octopus appetizer at Washington, D.C.’s new cocktail bar and lounge Radiator.

Upscale cocktail bar and small-plate haven Radiator has officially opened its doors in Washington, D.C., next door to the new Mason & Rook Hotel. 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

Philly chef Kevin Sbraga is bringing his Nashville hot chicken to the King of Prussia Mall this summer.

Top Chef alum and Philly star Kevin Sbraga just announced his plans to open a second location of his popular Southern comfort concept the Fat Ham by late summer at King of Prussia Mall (his iteration of Nashville hot chicken is Food Republic–approved). 160 N. Gulph Rd., King of Prussia, PA 19406;

The Baker’s Special (caramelized onions, ricotta and sausage) at NYC’s upcoming Baker’s Pizza. (Photo: Jen Senn.)

Elevated, ingredient-focused slice joint Baker’s Pizza is opening to the public on Friday, May 6, in NYC’s East Village. Think pies topped with slow-caramelized onions, fresh herbed ricotta and house-made pork sausage. 201 Ave. A, New York, NY 10009;

Don Muang Airport_Mieng Kham 1_Photo Credit Heidi Solander
Smoked pork lettuce cups with coconut, lime, chili, fried garlic and tamarind jam at Brooklyn’s Don Muang Airport. (Photo: Heidi Solander.)

Full-service Thai restaurant Don Muang Airport will open inside Williamsburg’s live-music joint Baby’s All Right in early May. 146 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211;

KOA Ramen Dish
Behold: A $160 bowl of ramen noodles at NYC’s Koa.

Beginning on Monday, May 2, Flatiron noodle lounge Koa will offer the world’s most expensive bowl of ramen. At $180, it features Japanese-imported Binchotan-charcoal-grilled-to-order Japanese Kobe Wagyu steak topped with truffle and 24-karat gold leaf, Shantan broth and seasonal green and white asparagus. 12 W. 21st St., New York, NY 10010;

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New Chefs Rising, Episode 10: Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske of NYC’s Contra And Wildair Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:00:34 +0000

Few young chefs better exemplify the power of strong ideas and point of view than Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske. Their first restaurant, Contra, became a word-of-mouth favorite in New York City culinary circles shortly after opening on Orchard Street in 2014. Multicourse set menus at bistro prices, a stripped-down ambience with cool music and a parade of hip guest chefs from around the world — how could you not love it?

Then came Wildair next door, a next-generation, no-reservations wine bar with a focus on the organic and natural. Here, von Hauske, a 26-year-old with places like Noma and Fäviken on his résumé, and Stone, 31, who’s cooked at Isa in Brooklyn and Rino in Paris, create à la carte dishes that veer between playful (potato cake with sea urchin) and challenging (shrimp and celery, with the shrimp served whole; you’re encouraged to eat it head and all).

In the latest episode of New Chefs Rising, shot at both Contra and Wildair, Stone says, “The food is obviously important. So is having a good time.” It’s a perfect credo for their restaurants, and von Hauske hammers home the point: “This is who we are,” he says. Watch as the two discuss their ascending restaurants and careers, as well as create a dessert that showcases their ideas, in which banana ice cream and rye chips experience an unexpected union.

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