11/17/09 3:27pm


Eater is reporting that Superdive, the frat-tastic East Village bar with keg service and “no rules” (until you start peeing on the piano in the back…trust me, er, my roommate) is up for sale for $350,000. That’s right, for a price equivalent to 1,521.7 kegs of Coors Light, the “fuck off seats”, plastic cups, and kegerators could ALL BE YOURS.

It’s pretty safe to say that the bar isn’t in financial trouble — since opening in June, it’s been nearly impossible to hang there on the weekends without a reservation. There have been rumors floating around that the bar is looking to expand, and yesterday the owners had this to say:

A) SUPERDIVE will live forever.

B) SUPERDIVE will never close.

C) SUPERDIVE is looking for additional locations as well as weighing national expansion

D) SUPERDIVE exists only to have parties like the one for EATER.COM on Dec 17.

E) SUPERDIVE oh how we love SUPERDIVE.


Guess we won’t have to find a new Fraturday keg spot, after all.

11/11/09 4:00am

Los Feliz

109 Ludlow St., 212-228-8383
Price Range: $7-$15 Rating: 2 out of 5 L’s

For many of us dwelling on the LES, Spitzer’s Corner has become a way of life. More often than not, quibbles over where to go out often end with the phrase, “Fuck it, let’s just go to Spitzer’s.” It may not be the best, but it’s got something for everyone.

Unsurprisingly, the same goes for Los Feliz, the new Mexican spot from the Spitzer’s folks, though they’ve traded burgers and beer for tacos and tequila. The vibe inside is similar: dimly lit and huge, with multiple dining rooms and the exotic option of communal seating. On a recent Friday night, the top floor was bustling around a slick bar stocked with over thirty kinds of tequila.

It is a known fact that tequila makes people loud, but if you’re headed to Los Feliz, be prepared to communicate with your dining companions only through text messages. Or, you could just hop on the bandwagon and order a couple of (admittedly small) jalapeño margaritas and get loud. The crisp, grassy addition of the much-loved pepper (minus the heat) perfectly balances out the overwhelming tartness of the classic margarita.

All of the food at Los Feliz is made to complement your rapidly escalating level of drunkenness, though some of it fails to do the trick. Chips and guacamole weren’t particularly fresh— the guacamole was bland and colorless, while the chips, served in a brown paper bag, would have benefited immensely from being served hot. The huitaloche quesadilla was a greasy mess. There were too many mushrooms for the cheese to keep the whole thing glued together.

Stick to the tacos, which are, again, small and overpriced, but come cradled in soft, pillowy tortillas. The puerco was tender and well-seasoned, and sprinkled with corn kernels; it had unexpected bursts of sweetness and texture. Similarly unusual were the camaron enchilado tacos, which featured a Thai-style peanut sauce on top of tender grilled shrimp. The barbacoa was too salty, but the meat was nicely braised and featured a generous helping of caramelized onions.

Los Feliz’s main problem lies in the fact that you can get similar tacos, with bigger margaritas, at so many other taquerias in the city. The food does the trick and the layout of the restaurant is spectacular, but it’s not exactly excellente.

10/28/09 4:00am

Wine tastings never fail to attract an unusual crowd; and although wine connoisseurs are always good for a few eccentricities, the atmosphere relies heavily on the producers themselves. Get a few small-scale vintners together from a tiny wine region in France, where a centuries-old tradition has been upstaged for the past 30 years by a corporate marketing ploy, and you are guaranteed an interesting night. At least, that’s how it is in Beaujolais, where 14 families with centuries-old ties to the region’s terroir have joined forces to battle the evil-doer known as Beaujolais Nouveau.

Nouveau wines have been celebrated in France since the 1800s, but every November, Americans clamor for the recently bottled Grape Drank, whose popularity skyrocketed with the 1985 ad slogan, “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!” The phrase seemed to say, “It’s here, but NOT FOR LONG, so buy a shitload while you still can!” And even though the young wine is considered flat and lifeless compared to its robust older siblings, we’ve guzzled it unconditionally, creating yet another tradition based on our devotion to all things purchasable.

It’s safe to say that while Americans go crazy for Beaujolais Nouveau, many are unaware of the existence of older vintages. Or maybe they’ve tried cru Beaujolais, but it’s just harder to commit to the complicated, yet ultimately more thoughtful, wine, so they settle for the sexy, easy one with shiny hair. Well, that’s how it usually goes in life: Beaujolais Nouveau is the perky cheerleader of the wine world, and Cru Beaujolais is her frumpy older sister.

During a summer tasting at City Winery, a group of old-school vintners called Expressions d’Origine brought a different kind of Beaujolais all the way from the foothills of France. The Beaujolais region is divided into ten crus (which basically means growing areas) that produce the wine’s distinct flavors, and the members of Expressions d’Origine have complicated relationships with each year’s vintage. At the tasting, the winemakers fretted over every wine as they would their children during parent-teacher conferences.

“Oh, the 2007 Morgon Javerniere is very acidic,” one vintner said. “But it will be better in three years! Don’t worry, the 2004 and 2005 vintages are perfect right now.”

08/28/09 9:36am

Pedros Bar in DUMBO

When last we checked in, The Man had robbed our beloved Pedro’s of its outdoor seating, which serves as The L staff’s only link to nature in the summer months. It’s been 85 bleak days, and we are still unable to waste away in Margaritaville. But fear not, readers, for there is a glimmer of hope on the salt-rimmed horizon… We got the inside scoop on Pedro’s pending permit, and things are looking up… Maybe.

A source close to Pedro recently divulged that the outdoor section of the restaurant would be up and running again, “As soon as the permit comes in.” This means that it might be available BEFORE October 1st, the tentative day of seating legalization. She assured us that neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow would stop the restaurant from re-opening the sidewalk seating, and that the benches now occupying the space in front of Pedro’s are within the limits of the law.

Well, that’s the good news. The bad news is that Pedro’s does not offer to-go cups for their margaritas. Until the permit is approved, we’ll be drinking vodka cocktails mixed with free GURU energy drinks that have found their way into the break room. [Ed. Ha, “break room” — sad euphemism for “by the front of the office.”] They’re 100% natural, but they ain’t no Pedro’s.

08/19/09 4:00am

Umi Nom, 433 Dekalb Ave, 718-789-8806
Price range: $17-$29 Rating: 4L’s

New York isn’t short on Southeast Asian restaurants. There’s a mediocre fusion spot on nearly every corner of the city, where the essentials of each culture’s cuisine have been abandoned in favor of a dumbed-down, Americanized version of “Asian” flavors. Not so at Umi Nom, Kuma Inn’s little sister in Clinton Hill. Umi Nom’s Filipino and Thai dishes never cross paths, choosing instead to coexist in more traditional forms. There may be dishes on the menu from a few different countries, but don’t call it fusion.

The restaurant itself is cozy and dimly lit, with exposed bulbs dangling from the ceiling. There’s a bar at the entrance (“Umi Nom” literally means “to drink” in Tagal), but the owners are still waiting on a liquor license, so you’ll have to BYO for another couple weeks. Don’t fret — the food is so good, and the staff so inviting, that you’ll be happy even if you decide to bring some Boone’s Farm to accompany your meal.

Like Kuma Inn, the menu at Umi Nom is mostly tapas-style small plates. Everything comes out as soon as it’s ready, so order at your own pace. The first dish we tried was one of the best: tender barbequed rib tips marinated in oyster sauce with garlic, ginger and lemongrass. All that remained after sampling the sticky-sweet, savory chunks of charred meat was a pile of naked bones.

While getting down with the ribs, my friend insisted I try a slice of Chinese sausage with grilled onions and chili-lime sauce. I was hesitant to believe it could be worth it for me to stop stuffing my face with the ribs, but after trying the sweet-tart pork sausage, I’m pretty sure I found my new favorite food. We also had a bowl of tiny Manila clams in black bean sauce. Dunking sticky rice in the spicy, leftover clam juice is the Filipino equivalent of a baguette with Moules Marinieres.

We tried noodle and rice dishes, too, but it would be wise just to stick to small plates at Umi Nom. The chicken Pad Se Ew might have been better with beef and a sweet component, though anything with those fat, wide noodles gets the thumbs up. Similarly, the chicken in our Bahay Kubo fried rice was bland, but at least the dish had more of that tempting Chinese sausage.

Umi Nom is the perfect place to escape the pretension of so many of the city’s other restaurants. The food is no-frills, but the flavors that emerge from the kitchen are so addictive that it’s worth the trek to Clinton Hill, even if you’re without convenient subway access. Just make sure you bring booze.

UPDATE: Several readers have written in to point out that the language spoken in the Philippines is now referred to as Tagalog (or, more officially, via the first commenter below, as “Filipino”). “Tagal” is an antiquated term for the language spoken by the Tagal people, a Malay ethnicity at one time prominent in central Luzon, the largest of the islands that now make up the Philippines (according to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, pub. 1913). The suffix “(l)og,” (derived from the Greek “to speak”) was added later (as in dialog); so from an etymological perspective, Tagalog simply means “to speak Tagal.” Unfortunately, a restaurant review is not the place for etymological nuance. The L Magazine certainly regrets the error and has had an appropriately stern dialog with Ms. Dulin.

07/24/09 10:48am

Restaurant WeekIt’s that time of year again. NYC’s biannual Restaurant Week never fails to cause a stir in this here city, perhaps even more so this year, what with our fucked economy and all. The $35 price tag (for a three-course dinner) means you afford to eat at a fancy restaurant, like, every night until July 31st. Or, if you’re an intern like me, maybe you’ll think about going to one and ultimately cancel your reservation because you don’t want to overdraw from your checking account.

In any event, $35 is more of a deal at some Restaurant Week participants than others. A lot of the prix-fixe menus (okay, all of them) are dumbed-down to match the discounted price. So, is it worth it? Without further adieu, let’s take a look at some promising Restaurant Week options, as well as the places to avoid.

Best Bets:
Bar Boulud only has a lunch menu for RW (which is $24.07, by the way), but with entrée choices like Coq au Vin and Moules Belges, who gives a shit?

Aquavit — because Restaurant Week prices provide the perfect opportunity to get over your fear of herring, without feeling guilty if you discover you hate it.

Lure Fishbar seems to have a generous RW menu with a lot of choices — and you can get a half dozen Malpeque oysters as an appetizer!

Click through to find out where you shouldn’t spend your Restaurant Week savings.

Best to Avoid:
Japonais has a mandatory 20% gratuity for everyone eating the RW menu, which apparently isn’t made clear until you receive the bill (courtesy of Eater.) Also, one of their appetizer options is a “Mixed Green Salad, served with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, in a mustard seed-honey dressing.” Clever.

Ruth’s Chris has locations in pretty much every city in America. Not exactly a special New York experience.

Salute! wins for the most uncreative Restaurant Week menu. You can get a Caprese salad as an appetizer and then have a “Warm pasta salad with fresh mozzarella, basil, cherry tomatoes, and parmigiano.” Isn’t that essentially the same thing?

For a full list of Restaurant Week participants, click here.

07/22/09 4:00am

Gus & Gabriel 222 W. 79th St, 212-362-7470

Price range: $17-$28 Rating:3L’s

It’s difficult to replicate the atmosphere of a local Midwestern
pub, but that’s just what Michael Psilakis has managed to do with his
new restaurant, Gus and Gabriel. The tiny joint, an ode to deep fried,
chili-covered comfort food, occupies Kefi‘s original space, though it’s
foregone the blue walls of its Greek predecessor in favor of something
decidedly more Wisconsin-esque. Tiffany-style lamps and playful
trinkets, like an old-timey high-wheel bicycle, make the room feel more
like a toy store than an upscale restaurant. Which is kind of the
point, when you consider the menu.

Gus and Gabriel is not for the faint of heart or the
health-conscious. It takes guts and childlike determination to order
fries, onion rings, mac and cheese, chili and a bacon cheeseburger in
one sitting. But there’s not much else you can do in the face of
Psilakis’ upscale T.G.I. Friday’s-like menu, complete with flasks of

I tried to go to Gus and Gabriel on opening night, but the kitchen
was closed when I got there, even though I called ahead. By 8pm the
next night, I realized why. The exhaust fan in the kitchen was broken
and the small dining room filled with smoke. But least the food was
good. We tried pickled fries ($4), which showed up instead of the BBQ
pork, cheddar, and jalapeño tater tots ($4) we’d ordered. Both
were delicious takes on traditional bar snacks, but they didn’t compare
to the paper-thin hot potato chips ($4) which came with a caramelized
onion and sour cream dip.

The staff hurried around nervously, and although our waitress was
confused and overwhelmed, she made some great suggestions. The buttered
sweet corn and jalapeño soup ($6) was a creamy blend of
essential summer flavors, and the nachos ($10) were loaded with beans,
sour cream, and chunky guacamole.

Psilakis makes a fine hot dog ($12), which we ordered slathered in
chili. Served on a brioche bun with pickles, it’s almost as good as a
Chicago red hot
. Same goes for the brisket French Dip ($12), which was
rich and tender, with sweet, roasted garlic cloves under melted
gruyere. “Batter-less” fried chicken ($14) still manages to have a
crispy outer skin, while staying juicy inside.

Though everything at Gus and Gabriel was satisfying, simple and,
surprisingly, reasonably priced, the menu just wasn’t unique enough to
justify a trip to the Upper West Side. It’s definitely wise to stay
away for another couple weeks while the staff smoothes out some
technical issues. But if I’m ever nearby, I will stop in for the
chocolate chipwich ($6) with homemade caramel ice cream. Sometimes you
just need to feel like a kid again.

07/16/09 5:15pm

7d31/1247778816-alg_nudist_record.jpgAt exactly 3pm this past Tuesday, approximately 12,000 naked knockers—along with the same amount of wieners and beavers (It makes sense, promise… I did the math)—entered pools across the nation, setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous skinny dip. The American Association for Nude Recreation organized the event, and participants included both nudists and people who usually wear clothes. Never-nudes were discouraged from attending.

07/09/09 2:28pm


By far, the most exciting piece of news I received recently was that Murray’s, the greatest cheese shop in all the land, had just introduced a create-your-own panini counter. Because the only thing better than cheese from Murray’s is cheese from Murray’s that is melted between two slices of chewy, toasty, buttery bread.

So, for lunch last week, we at The L Magazine decided to taste-test eight of these creations, carefully choosing and combining ingredients from the forty that Murray’s offers. A base sandwich costs $3.99 and consists of your choice of buttered bread and cheese, but things become more complicated (and expensive) if you’re tempted by delicacies like quince paste, Niman Ranch smoked ham, or Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. Most sandwiches we tried ended up costing $5-$6, which is actually pretty affordable. In addition to sandwiches, Murray’s is also serving up milkshakes made with Van Leeuwen ice cream, which means they’re fancy, I think.

“Murray’s Melts”, as the new venture is called, only started serving customers out of the Bleecker Street location a week ago, which is obvious as soon as you step into the chaotic shop. A vein in the cashier’s forehead nearly exploded when I handed her my long list of sandwiches. Right now, the biggest flaw in Murray’s Melts is the ordering system. Rather than having customers fill out order forms while they wait in a long, jumbled line, the cashier fills them out when customers reach the register. The fifteen people that joined the line while I ordered eventually turned into an angry mob and herded me out of the shop with torches and pitchforks.

Back at the office, everyone was starving because the trip from Dumbo to the West Village took, like, an hour. We tried the soupy chocolate milkshake first, and decided it was pretty good. After tearing into the sandwiches, we agreed that they were tasty, with a nice balance of ingredients and melted cheese. But they weren’t pressed long enough to achieve the golden outer crust that’s a staple of the finest grilled cheese sandwiches. Let’s be honest, they were flaccid. This could also be avoided if Murray’s offered crusty bread in addition to white, wheat, rye, and Eli’s “health loaf” (whatever the fuck that is.)

But enough of my kvetching. On to the melts!

We tried:

White bread and Manchego
White, Fontina, artichoke, roasted garlic, and tomato
White, young goat Gouda, roast beef, and caramelized onions
White, gruyere, Niman ham, and Dijon
Eli’s health loaf, young goat Gouda, and onion fig jam
White, Sopressata, and smoked mozzarella
Wheat, turkey, bacon, NY State Cheddar, and tomato
White, fresh mozzarella, and Prosciutto di Parma

“Fuck, I have the worst breath ever right now,” complained Music Editor Mike Conklin after our feast. Almost everybody agreed that the sandwiches were a little soggy, but Editor-in-Chief Jonny Diamond liked their squishy quality. “It made me feel a bit like a little kid, actually, with the white bread and the softness,” he said.

Floppiness aside, I couldn’t resist eating a leftover half at 5pm, mostly because I usually spend about 75% of my day scavenging for food. After reviving the panini in the toaster oven, it was crispier than it had been when I first tried it at lunchtime. Murray’s Melts has a few flaws, but if all they need to do to fix the sandwiches is toast them longer, I’ll be back there again soon.

06/09/09 5:39pm

eb80/1244582946-slimjimbeerbong.jpg‘Tis a somber day for Slim Jims. This morning, the North Carolina plant that produces the beloved jerky batons suffered an explosion due to an ammonia leak in the packaging wing of the factory. Subsequently, parts of the roof caved in on the building, and forty-one employees have been hospitalized for exposure to toxic ammonia fumes and chemical burns.

One worker interviewed by Fox News, Chris Woods, recalled the exact moment when the explosion forced everyone to prematurely snap into a Slim Jim. “I was picking up a piece of meat off the line and I felt it, the percussion in my chest. One of the guys I was working with got blown back, he flew backwards.”

Thankfully, there have been no human fatalities, but the death toll for ole’ Slim and his brothers is so immense that we have no definitive numbers as of yet. Please say a prayer today for America’s, “most well-known [example] of a food product which is listed as containing mechanically separated chicken in its ingredients” (thanks, Wikipedia).