New York restaurants – Cucumber Chef Wed, 28 Sep 2022 03:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New York restaurants – Cucumber Chef 32 32 Bill and Hillary Clinton dine at Priyanka Chopra’s Sona restaurant Tue, 27 Sep 2022 22:16:00 +0000

Indian food is hot it seems.

Priyanka Chopra’s Sona restaurant in New York’s Flatiron District pulled out heavy hitters for dinner on Monday night.

Hillary and former President Bill Clinton were spotted having dinner with friends. Boxing legend Mike Tyson brought in a team to celebrate a friend’s birthday. And Chopra’s brother-in-law, Joe Jonas, was there at a dinner party with his wife Sophie Turner.

“People are watching [on Monday] was out of 100! They dined there separately. It was weird,” one wide-eyed diner told Page Six.

Other guests were quick to ask the Clintons, in particular, for photos. A restaurant insider told us that the former first couple gladly responded to photo requests from other customers.

“Hillary and Bill had a fun night laughing with friends,” they told Us.

The Clintons, upon arrival, also “greeted Sophie and Joe, who were enjoying a date night,” the insider shared.

Chopra’s hip Indian restaurant has been a hotspot for celebrities and politicians since she opened it with longtime friend Maneesh Goyal and David Rabin during the pandemic in 2021.

Just last week, she hosted husband Nick Jonas, Huma Abedin, Laura Brown, Prabal Gurung and Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones for a dinner party to celebrate fall and the launch of her collection for the SONA house inspired by restaurant decoration and rooms.

Restaurants in New York in September Sun, 25 Sep 2022 04:02:04 +0000

Here are some amazing New York restaurants we’re loving this month. From the basic Gotham restaurant (for a Michelin star), to the new NYY Steak at the Hard Rock Hotel New York, and the Panorama Room perched atop Graduate Roosevelt Island with views of three boroughs, there are plenty of options across the city.

Mollusca, the feisty and sophisticated seafood restaurant that opened in the Meatpacking District in April, has launched a new brunch menu. Conceived by Executive Chef Christian Bonilla (formerly of Zuma, Clocktower and Alta), the brunch menu features unusually paired ingredients to unlock the best flavor in everyone, while adding a touch of seafood luxury. Highlights include duck bacon, lettuce and tomato, or DBLT, with harissa mayonnaise on a French baguette, seared octopus, shrimp, fingerling potatoes, poached eggs and pesto, fruit Seafood on Home Fries, Scrambled Eggs with Uni and Siberian Select Black Caviar and Japanese Pancakes with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream.

Cathedral in Moxy East Village is a hotspot with some serious cooking behind the scenes. Reminiscent of classic New York grand dining rooms, Cathédrale brings elemental cuisine and a sense of French-Mediterranean hospitality to its striking setting. Beneath 26-foot ceilings, Executive Chef Jason Hall delivers pure, ingredient-driven flavors, drawing on his experience at establishments such as Gotham Bar & Grill, Anthos, Craft and Legasea.

In a blue-tiled open-hearth kitchen hung with copper pans and equipped with a rotisserie grill, Chef Hall serves a focused menu of well-prepared but simply arranged dishes that quietly respect southern French cuisine with traces of Italy, Spain and Greece. Guests can savor their meals – which are filled with handcrafted cocktails and unique wines from around the world – beneath Italian sculptor Edoardo Tresoldi’s ethereal centerpiece, Fillmore. Sculpting is truly a moment and great for social feeds.

CHEF GUO is the Manhattan debut of Chinese master chef Guo Wenjun, who began his culinary training at the age of 14 under the mentorship of Chinese master chef Ding Guangzhou, a seventh-generation disciple in the line of royal chefs, in the discipline of Imperial Chinese Cuisine. During his forty-year career, Chef Guo has held executive chef positions at Platinum Seven-Star Beijing Palace International Hotel, Diaoyutai Garden Villa International Club, has been recognized by China as an elite master of the arts Chinese culinary arts and won the gold award. Medal in the Asian cooking competition. The restaurant will showcase its exclusive culinary system which has been recognized by the Chinese government and its unique cuisine brand, combining Chinese imperial cuisine and classic Western cuisine to create its Healthy Royal Cuisine culinary system. Dishes are prepared with healthy, organic and green ingredients, emphasizing nutritional value and a balanced meal. The food is prepared simply to allow the flavors of the high quality ingredients to speak for themselves. Its cuisine is served as a nineteen-course tasting menu, which includes 15 savory dishes, three tea dishes and a dessert.

YOSHINO by Sushi Master Tadashi Yoshida is one of the largest sushi openings in New York to date. The restaurant is the first in the United States from one of Japan’s most respected sushi masters and former owner of Sushi-ya no Yoshino and Sushi no Yoshino, which has been acclaimed as one of the best sushi restaurants outside. from Tokyo. His meticulous approach to sourcing and pairing ingredients and his exceptional skill in balancing flavor and texture have earned him an international reputation as one of the leading forces in high culinary craftsmanship in the art of making sushi. Chef Yoshida showcases his techniques in a 21-course omakase service, combining classic Edo-mae style sushi with a subtle French influence, served on a 10-seat sushi counter made from a single piece of over-aged hinoki wood. 300 years old.

The Oval, a 30-seat chef’s tasting counter tucked away in La Devozione at Chelsea Market, was conceptualized by Giuseppe Di Martino, third generation owner of the famed Pastificio Di Martino to take diners on a culinary journey for the best use of Di Martino’s various pastes. shapes with imported and local seasonal ingredients. Each dish on the seven-course pasta tasting menu is based on classic Italian recipes, reinvented by Giuseppe and Executive Chef Alessio Rossetti in a modern and experimental way. Every aspect of every dish is steeped in specificity, starting with the uniqueness of dry pasta shapes paired with specific ingredients and flavor notes. Dishes are presented with custom-made crockery and cutlery, as well as Zalto glassware, all designed to enhance the dining experience. Classes are paced so that the chef can serve up to fifteen diners at a time, including parties with different start times. As the perfect pasta is served al dente, Giuseppe devised a serving method at The Oval to allow diners to indulge in the pasta at its peak texture, between 10 and 40 seconds after the dish is finished.

Located in the heart of Midtown East, just blocks from the United Nations, MIFUNE is the Michelin-recognized Japanese restaurant that focuses on neo-washoku cuisine. The kitchen is led by executive chef Tomohiro Urata (three Michelin stars La Maison Troisgros in Roanne). His signature style infuses French culinary techniques and flavors into Japanese cuisine and is served a la carte and in omakase tasting menus that change nightly, creating a completely unique dining experience for every seat.

Hidden in MIFUNE’s underground level is the Michelin-starred Sushi AMANE, an eight-seat sushi bar run by Executive Chef Tomoyuki Hayashi (Matsuiri, Sushi AZABU). At Sushi AMANE, chef Hayashi has everything to show off his creativity and has incredible surprises in store for customers, such as nama-yuba and Japanese uni with Kaluga caviar. Using only wild fish from Japan and other countries around the world, Chef Hayashi’s omakase sushi experience is a progression that consists of four small dishes, nine Nigiri, tamago, hand roll and miso soup and changes daily depending on market availability. He seasons his rice specifically for each session using aged akazu vinegar. The omakase sushi experience is priced at $230 and will have two seats per day from Tuesday to Saturday, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

COVID-19 has changed the way we eat out – here are the trends that are here to stay Fri, 23 Sep 2022 08:21:54 +0000

Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

Restaurant trends that will endure after COVID-19

Group of friends enjoying a meal in a restaurant

Restaurants had to make major adjustments when dining halls around the world had to close due to COVID-19. Between delivery services and clever outdoor seating arrangements, companies got creative to keep customers interested in ordering, but that still wasn’t enough to keep sales close to before levels. the pandemic. The U.S. restaurant industry did about $240 billion less in sales than expected in 2020, and some industry experts say restaurants will never recover from the pandemic.

The task force has gathered facts and statistics on restaurant industry trends since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic from industry experts, government data and news sources to determine which trends are here to stay.

While the restaurant industry has seen major changes, the pandemic has ended up being a catalyst for the industry. This sparked trends that helped some restaurants thrive, forcing many to embrace operational changes that may not have been considered before. However, not all restaurant trends of COVID-19 are seen as positive, and many businesses continue to face significant setbacks in recent years. Here are some examples of the creative changes that have resulted from the pandemic, with many trends that may have changed the way we eat.

Bilanol // Shutterstock

QR Code Menus

Close up of guest scanning qr code with mobile phone

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on surfaces, many restaurants have moved away from using physical menus and instead rely on QR-code menus. Diners use their phone to scan a barcode, taking them to a website where the menu is easy to navigate.

According to the National Restaurant Association‘s 2021 Mid-Year State of the Industry Survey, 57% of consumers viewed and ordered from a restaurant’s online menu during the pandemic. Additionally, The New York Times reported that according to another association survey, half of all full-service restaurants have launched QR-code menus since the pandemic began.

While this made it easier for customers to minimize their contact, it also eliminated staff time spent sanitizing menus or printing new ones. It also reduced the amount of waste produced by the restaurant, especially if the restaurant changed menu options often. It even turned out to be a time saver; some restaurants are offering a way for customers to pay directly on their phone instead of waiting for the server, reducing the number of touch points and reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

QR codes have also given restaurants an easy way to track consumer data, allowing businesses to build a database of customer history and contact information to augment their email marketing efforts and promote loyalty programs.

Renata Ty // Shutterstock

Street and sidewalk meals

An outdoor restaurant in midtown Manhattan

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that COVID-19 virus particles are less likely to spread outdoors — and in highly ventilated areas — restaurants provided outdoor seating options , often blocking spaces for tables on sidewalks, curbs and the street. In September 2021, 72% of full-service restaurants and 57% of limited-service restaurants said they offered alfresco dining via a patio, deck or sidewalk, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Street restaurants have seen great success while increasing the number of tables and increasing restaurant operations, and many continue to offer outdoor seating year-round. New York City, for example, has implemented a permanent open restaurant program, allowing businesses to take advantage of sidewalks and sidewalks indefinitely.

Heidi Besen // Shutterstock

Staff shortages

Sign in restaurant window saying restaurant is understaffed

Although some restaurants saw an increase in business thanks to email marketing and curbside dining, many businesses still suffered from staff shortages. In 2020, more than 2.5 million jobs in the restaurant sector disappeared and around 110,000 establishments closed their doors permanently.

Since then, many restaurants have never seemed to recover, despite the number of jobs available in the market. As of June 2022, there were over 1.3 million job openings in the accommodation and food service industry, which includes restaurant and hospitality jobs. In July, the same sector hired about 74,000 people, but the workforce is still down significantly.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

Home delivery

A food delivery man delivers a restaurant order to a customer

Even though meal delivery service has exploded during the pandemic — providing more convenience for customers who prefer to play it safe at home — demand for home delivery has dwindled somewhat. Part of the reason is due to rising inflation costs, which makes meal delivery services expensive compared to grocery shopping or ordering directly from a restaurant. Additionally, with vaccines reducing COVID-19 death rates and easing social distancing guidelines, customers are returning to in-person dining, resulting in decreased use of third-party services like DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub.

ESB Professional // Shutterstock

Price increases

Close-up image of man giving credit card to waiter in cafe

Inflation is also driving the rise in restaurant food prices – in July 2022, out-of-home food prices were up around 7.6% from July 2021 rates. According to the New York Times, staff shortages, supply chain issues and even the Russian invasion of Ukraine have caused price increases at many restaurants across the United States.

Some of the foods whose prices have climbed over the past year include beef, pork, scallops and wine. Pantry staples like cooking oil and flour were also hit – prices for canola oil alone rose 159%. With prices skyrocketing, restaurants have no choice but to pass these increases on to their diners, creating a much higher price at the end of the meal.

This story originally appeared on Task and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

]]> Inside Priyanka Chopras’ Incredible Dinner at Her NYC Restaurant Wed, 21 Sep 2022 04:47:26 +0000

Priyanka Chopra is undoubtedly a great foodie. So much so that she took her love for Indian cuisine to the streets of New York and opened a restaurant. If you have been following her activities on Instagram, you would know that Priyanka is currently in New York. And, she made it a point to visit her restaurant for a delicious meal. Priyanka shared a photo of her drool-worthy meal on Instagram Stories and left us hungry. On the table, we see a delicious plate of galouti skewers. Delicately seasoned puff pastry and seared lamb pâté add the perfect blend of texture and spice to the dish. Next, we see a sumptuous crab puri caviar. The puffed puris with a lovely vinaigrette looked absolutely divine. It wasn’t enough. His hearty meal also included a rather healthy food – buckwheat bhel along with another exotic dish. For the caption, she wrote “Nights at SONA” with a heart. She also added, “It was so nice to meet everyone having dinner.”

(Also Read: London’s Priyanka Chopra’s Sunday Brunch Looks Like A Dream, Photo Inside)


Well, are you hungry yet? Well, if you’re craving similar dishes at home and want to make a meal like Priyanka Chopra’s, here are some recipes that can be easily prepared.

1) Goan Crab Curry

Priyanka Chopra’s puri crab caviar left us craving a platter of delicious crabs. We have chosen a rich and delicious seafood recipe for you. Cooked with coconut cream and Goan chili bombs, this Goan crab curry is a treat for your palette.

2) Crab and avocado salad

If the curry gets too heavy, you can still enjoy the flavor of the crab in a salad. How? All you need is crabmeat, torn avocado, cilantro, and chili to up the spice quotient.

3) Lower Cal Bhel Puri

Looking for a low calorie Indian snack? Bhel puri with bean sprouts should be your choice. This popular Mumbai street food is delicious yet healthy to snack on. It’s an easy and delicious fix for those hunger pangs.

(Also read: Priyanka Chopra celebrates her daughter’s 6-month birthday with a sweet cake)

4) Galuti Kebab

Galouti, which translates to sweet, is what makes this Indian kebab a melt-in-your-mouth recipe from Awadhi cuisine. Galouti kebab has the perfect blend of spices and textures, leaving you salivating for more.

5) Panir Tikka

Cubes of paneer (cottage cheese) flavored with an array of tangy spices are mowed down and grilled, resulting in a platter of delicious paneer tikka. You can’t skip this one. Save the recipe right away.

Of all the recipes mentioned above, what do you plan to do? Tell us in the comments!

5 Singaporean restaurants that opened this year in NYC Sat, 17 Sep 2022 14:05:00 +0000

If flying 9,000 miles in 24 hours to get to Singapore isn’t your idea of ​​fun, five restaurants in the city will make you feel like you’ve landed on the tropical island.

From a Union Square bar to an Upper East Side restaurant to a dessert shop in Chelsea, these places offer spicy and flavorful dishes from the small city-state.

  • Chard – Open in late February on E. 13th St., Chard’s specialties include roti john, an open-faced omelette sandwich with curry-seasoned beef, Japanese mayonnaise, and sweet chili; the “Ramly” burger, with a smashed beef patty wrapped in an egg with a black pepper sauce seasoning, chilli and mayonnaise. Its bestseller is its Api Api burger, which translates from Malay to “fire, fire”. Filled with heat, the crispy and juicy piece of chicken is nestled in a brioche bun, topped with marinated papaya and carrots, chili and served with shrimp crackers. “Being from Asia, it’s all about powerful flavors and powerful spices and translating that into our food,” says owner Salil Mehta.
  • Singlish – Perched atop sister restaurant Chard is the Singlish bar which opened in June. Singlish – an amalgamation of the words “Singapore” and “English” – means an English-based creole that is commonly spoken in the island nation. Serving Singapore-created cocktails, the 16-seat bar serves food from its ground-floor restaurant. If you’re wondering how important cocktail culture is in Singapore, the country had six bars – the most in Asia – on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021 list. The drinks feature Singlish-style monikers, like ” Die die must have” or “Chio bo” which means “pretty lady” in the Hokkien dialect. “Hopefully when you climb those stairs, we can transport you to Singapore,” Mehta said.
  • Native Noodles – What started as a Queens Night Market favorite is now a 600 square foot counter service restaurant with 12 indoor seating on Amsterdam Ave. in Washington Heights. Owner Amy Pryke counts healthcare workers from New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia Schools of Medicine and Public Health among her regulars. She is particularly proud of her laksa noodles for $13.
  • Lady Wong – Opened in late February by couple Seleste Tan and Mogan Anthony, this East Village dessert shop sells traditional Southeast Asian desserts called kuih, usually made with rice or sticky rice. After growing tired of matcha and oat milk tastes, they decided NYC was ready for pandan and coconut milk and virgin palm sugar — all traditional Asian flavors used in desserts. The most popular are his angku kuih, a starchy treat filled with mung bean paste, shredded coconut or peanuts, steamed durian layered cake and steamed pandan cream cake with sticky rice.
  • Wau – Pronounced “wow”, this hip spot along the Upper East Side row of restaurants on Amsterdam Ave. and W. 81st St. opened earlier this year. “We weren’t focusing on residential neighborhoods and when the pandemic hit, it was actually residential neighborhoods that were thriving and they were more successful because people were stuck at home. Becoming a neighborhood restaurant was the goal,” said Salil Mehta, who also owns the place. Chef’s specialties include beef rendang, caramelized beef curry, simmered and braised in spices and coconut milk, and braised pork belly in soy sauce.
Jōji is a new Omakase restaurant in Grand Central Terminal – Robb Report Thu, 15 Sep 2022 20:42:36 +0000

New York’s latest omakase spot is inspired by the sushi restaurants found in Tokyo’s train concourses. So naturally, you’ll find it in a secluded alcove in Grand Central Terminal, the city’s most iconic train station.

Jōji, which opened on Wednesday, is a service counter run by George Ruan, who has spent nearly two decades working at Masa, the three-star Michelin fish temple. For the new restaurant, he teamed up with a starred legend in his own right, Daniel Boulud.

One of the rolls

Eric Vitale Photography

“Jōji is not just an intimate omakase dining experience, but a veritable sanctuary for sushi lovers like me,” Boulud said in a statement. “The tranquil ambience of Jōji’s interior coupled with select seasonal menus will provide each guest with a bespoke and refined experience.”

The restaurant currently offers two services per evening, with 10 seats at the counter and a private dining room that can accommodate up to eight people. The seasonal omakase menu will set you back $375 per person, and the fish can be paired with premium sake and fine wine for an additional fee. In two hours, you will be presented with five entrees, 14 pieces of nigiri and a dessert, according to Eater NY. Dishes will change daily, and possibly even depending on the customer: If you’ve dined at Jōji before, the chef may alter some ingredients to provide a new experience, a spokesperson told Eater.

The view from the counter

Eric Vitale Photography

To complete the omakase offer, Ruan and Boulud have also opened Jōji Box, a take-out sushi counter, just next door. You can pick up boxes containing nigiri, maki and sashimi, as well as à la carte dishes. Delivery will be available in October.

“I look forward to sharing my deep love and admiration for the diversity of seasons and Japanese ingredients with our guests,” Ruan said in a statement.

Jōji is now open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Jōji Box is open on the same days, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Don’t miss the gastronomic event of the year. Register for Robb Report‘s Culinary Masters now. Or, for more information, visit RR1.

New York Council supports drug overdose treatment in bars and restaurants Tue, 13 Sep 2022 23:19:00 +0000

City council members want to enlist bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the fight against fatal drug overdoses by providing them with life-saving doses of Narcan and fentanyl test kits.

A bill creating the program – which would be run by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – authorized the council’s Mental Disorders and Addictions Committee on Tuesday.

Equipment that could test cocaine for fentanyl and treat overdoses would be given to anyone – customers, staff or bystanders – who overdosed on opioids.

“We are in the midst of a national public health crisis, and every four hours a New Yorker loses their life due to an opioid overdose,” said Councilwoman Linda Lee (D-Queens), chairman of the committee.

The bill would also require the Department of Health to provide free resources and training to staff at participating nightlife venues on how to use the kits.

The bill has the support of some business owners. Spencer Nelson, owner of 101 Wilson Bar in Bushwick, said he was no stranger to the realities of nightlife, including drug use.

“I’m a big supporter of Narcan,” Nelson said. “And if you’re doing something, you really have to be aware of how you’re doing it. If you are going to do this, know that things can go wrong and you must have things [in place] in case they do.

Drug overdose deaths in New York City hit a record 2,062 in 2020, according to city data. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be deadly in small doses and is often added to cocaine, accounted for 77% of those deaths.

Fentanyl overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Social isolation, mental health issues and volatile drug supplies during the pandemic may have led to increased drug use and overdose deaths, health experts say.

Councilman Chi Ossé (D-Brooklyn), sponsor of the bill, said a friend of his died of an overdose last year.

“I thank each and every one of you for this bill because I know my friend would still be alive here today, if a bill like this were here and passed,” he said. .

Mitch Rosenthal, president of the Rosenthal Center for Addiction Studies, supported the bill, but said it and other city efforts — such as safe injection sites — should drive addicts to addiction programs. treatment.

“Anything that will prevent deaths, even temporarily, is very helpful,” Rosenthal said. “But it would be more useful if these interventions were then gateways, pathways and bridges to treatment…It’s not bad, but it’s not balanced.”

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Burger King will invest $400 million in advertising, restaurant renovations and app enhancements over 2 years Sat, 10 Sep 2022 15:33:46 +0000

Burger King plans to invest more than $400 million over two years in restaurant advertising, improvements and renovations and to support technology and digital improvements.

In a press release Friday, the chain’s owner, Restaurant Brands International, shared details of a plan it calls “Reclaim the Flame” aimed at accelerating sales growth and increasing franchisee profitability.

It was built in collaboration with leaders across the country and trusted by over 93% of restaurants in the United States.

The investment aims to modernize the Burger King restaurant portfolio and improve the customer experience, driving more traffic to the brand.


A car passes through the drive-thru of a Burger King restaurant on February 15, 2022 in Daly City, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Burger King said it would invest in premium branding to “reaffirm the lofty position of its flame-grilled Whopper”, in addition to building a portfolio of chicken sandwiches with the launch of the Royal Crispy Chicken sandwich.

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He noted that as the cost of food at home continues to face inflationary pressures, he will continue to provide “a strong daily value offering on his menu.”

Burger King Whopper

In this photo illustration a Burger King Whopper is displayed on April 5, 2022 in San Anselmo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

To “fuel the flame”, $150 million will go towards advertising and digital investments and $250 million is allocated to a “royal reset” involving restaurant technology, kitchen equipment, improvements to buildings and high quality renovations and removals.

Through 2024, Burger King will invest $30 million in addition to digital fees collected from franchisees to support the Burger King app.


For the “Royal Reset,” $50 million plus a comparable co-investment from franchisees will go toward a restaurant refresh program for approximately 3,000 locations.

In addition, $200 million will go towards renovating approximately 800 restaurants.

A Burger King sign

An illuminated Burger King sign is seen August 25, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

It is designed to improve return on capital and change the incentive structure of the business, by providing more substantial base incentives and access to additional contributions, as well as upfront cash funding at the time of start-up. completion of the renovation.


Contributions from the renovation program will be accounted for as royalty credits and recognized in its income statement over the term of the new franchise agreements, or up to 20 years.

New York Burger King

People eat at a Burger King restaurant in New York on March 10, 2022. (Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Burger King said it does not expect any significant negative impact on the program’s income statement and said that – if it is successful in generating sales increases in line with historical experience or better – it is expected that the program will generate a positive return on capital and be accretive over time.

“We believe this new approach over the next two years will generate the momentum needed to transition to a sustainable reimaging program that returns to more normalized Burger King capital contributions in 2025 and beyond,” the company said. .


Tom Curtis, president of Burger King North America, said the initiatives are aimed at providing a “superior experience” for customers.

“I am very proud and grateful that our franchisees have once again come together to invest in our performance together, reflecting the true partnership and mutual respect we have built between franchisor and franchisees,” Curtis said in a statement.

“Ultimately, the success of this ‘Reclaim the Flame’ plan comes down to execution at the restaurant level, and we are so fortunate to have franchisees who love this brand and work closely with us to focus on the right priorities. I believe in this team, this plan, and a bright future as we evolve and improve our customer experience and drive profitable growth for the business.”

ōkta, the new McMinnville restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Matthew Lightner, is off to a flying start Fri, 09 Sep 2022 00:18:00 +0000

Matthew Lightner is back.

It’s been barely two months since the debut of ōkta, Lightner’s sparkling new McMinnville restaurant. Still, it’s already clear that Lightner added points to the unrivaled culinary IQ that led him to become an industry star at Castagna in 2009 and then thrive on the big stage at New York’s Atera after leaving Portland. Under Lightner, Atera earned two Michelin stars and a rave review from The New york Time. He left in 2015 and has maintained a relatively low profile ever since.

A recent meal at ōkta was a multi-dimensional blockbuster.

The dining room is elegant but understated, with furniture and fixtures mostly in lighter hues, from blond to gray. Lighting is ample and flattering. The wood and ceramic serving utensils were custom made by artisans in Oregon. The black-clad service staff, a mix of locals and new Oregonians, were friendly and efficient. Our server knew the details of each dish and answered all the questions we asked him skillfully.

Upon entering, patrons are immediately presented with a visual summary of the night’s offerings on a platter of ice embedded in a long sideboard separating the lobby from the dining room. The olfactory greeting is the floating scent of wood smoke. As the host leads the way to tables arranged along a low banquette along the perimeter or in the center of the dining room, your vision is fixed on the vast open kitchen of ōkta: Lightner, at the before, finalizing the dishes for service; a group of cooks preparing plates along a counter spanning the length of one side; kitchen utensil shelves along each other; and a large wood-fired grill centered aft. Despite the size of the kitchen and its constant activity, it remains a bastion of calm and tranquility. The dining room is louder – a combination of an eclectic playlist and surprisingly dynamic acoustics.

Food is, of course, the highlight of ōkta. This is a tasting menu only ($165 weekdays, $260 weekends, wine pairings from $160; prices include 20% gratuity), with the long course option offering 15 to 20 dishes. Each of the dishes my guest and I tried hit the mark in terms of composition (beautiful), technique (advanced), proportion (not too big or too small) and flavor.

As in Castagna more than ten years ago, the ingredients here are mostly local. During one meal, there was Pacific rockfish, albacore, chinook salmon, and Dungeness crab paired with a cornucopia of produce, most of which was grown at ōkta’s nearby farm.

The newest additions to Lightner’s gourmet arsenal are a host of fermented flavors. Whether appearing in foundational roles or as accents, ingredients can include lacto-fermented honey, garlic scapes or carrots, or miso paste – made from rice and soybeans fermented with koji – several varieties of which ferment in pots on the ground floor of ōkta. -Open bar.

Lightner’s creative process is mind-boggling, but the result is easy to understand: deep, varied and balanced flavors with no faux pas. It’s early, sure, but given Lightner’s success, a meal at ōkta will be worth a special trip to the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country as long as he stays on the premises.

TO EAT: Okta, 618 NE 3rd St., McMinnville, 503-376-5353, Dinner Wednesday-Saturday, lunch Sunday.

One of New York’s most anticipated new restaurants is Indian Wed, 07 Sep 2022 06:22:54 +0000

Over the past two years, the duo have opened up some of the city’s fastest growing spots. (Case)

On September 15, Masalawala will open its doors as one of New York’s most anticipated restaurants this year. And when you eat there, you can also buy the ingredients.

Chef and co-owner Chintan Pandya will serve dishes from Kolkata, as well as his under-the-radar specialties all over India. On the shelves that line a wall of the restaurant, in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, will be spices and other products from small producers.

These will be premium, freshly packaged items in small batches, so ingredients like cinnamon and coriander seeds won’t stay in pantries long past their peak.

“In the 70s and 80s in India, it was like this: small traders measured things and handed them to you,” says Roni Mazumdar, co-founder with Pandya of restaurant group Unapologetic Foods.

Over the past two years, the couple have opened some of the city’s fastest growing spots, including the busy and flavorful Dhamaka Restaurant on the Lower East Side, which made slow-roasted Rajasthani rabbit the dish the most coveted in town. Their most recent spot, the Rowdy Rooster fried chicken sandwich storefront in the East Village, set the town’s collective mouths on fire.

With Masalawala, Unapologetic Foods is making its first foray into packaged goods and food products, which the pair have seen demand for and plan to expand in the future. “There’s room for this concept in every neighborhood in New York City, and beyond,” Mazumdar says.

Masalawala, which means “spice merchant”, is the reboot of a Lower East Side restaurant that closed last year when its lease expired after a decade. A few dishes from its first menu will be relaunched, such as the beetroot and the banana flower cutlet.

Other dishes that Pandya will serve include daab chingri, a bengali prawn curry cooked then served in a tender young coconut. It will also offer a few chicken dishes, such as Kashmiri-style Yakhni Pulaoa pilaf made with long grain basmati rice cooked in a broth infused with fennel, ginger and garlic.

On the menu will also be saoji chicken, a fiercely spicy dish from the Vidarbha region of central India, is a meat-based cuisine the chef has taken an interest in. Mazumdar’s father, Satyen, will be the manager.

For starters, Masalawala’s products will all be shelf-stable. In the future, the couple plans to sell prepared meals, including the exceptional paneer from Pandya, which is served in Dhamaka. They source products from spice importers Diaspora Co. and Burlap & Barrel, and chocolates from vegan bar makers (and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alum) Elements Truffles.

Opposite the grocery store is a white brick wall adorned with a bold and colorful mural of the Hindi word for ‘spice’. The full-service full bar area seats 30 inside and about 30 in the courtyard. It will be open all day, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Whether or not it becomes the Eataly of the South Asian food world, Mazumdar sees Masalawala as a chance to showcase the entrepreneurs who represent the region and expand the community they represent so strongly.

“It will be a one-day experience,” he says. “You can come shopping or eat.”

“Or both,” Pandya replies.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)