Skip to content

Fall is Full of International Intrigue

Fall previews don’t really have much of a place here (though I’m still quite stoked about the Bahama Breeze opening October in Woodbridge) but this year my attention has been peaked by the number of foreign chains—many high-end—that have decided to open in NYC.

One hesitates to equate an establishment with a $125 tasting menu involving fried grasshoppers and a “cucumber cloud” with say, a joint serving spaghetti teeming with hot dog weiners, but to me if a restaurant is using the same name and concept here as in its country of origin, it’s a chain. And I want to embrace them all.

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
Cholopolitan1 Peruvian cuisine has been touted as the next big thing for some time, but up until now we’ve made do with regional chain, Pio Pio (while researching a trip to Charlotte next weekend, I discovered there’s a branch there and in Orlando—who knew?) and their massive matador combo. Soon we’ll have celebrity chef Gastón Acurio’s ceviche-centric outpost in the former Tabla space. We’re a little late to the game; there are already six La Mar locations in Latin America and one in San Francisco. The most cross-cultural item I see on the Lima menu is a cocktail called the cholopolitan (Pisco acholado, cranberry, lima-limón, cointreau, toque de maracuyá). Will the Peruvian cosmo make it to NYC?

Al Mayass
This Armenian-Lebanese chain with locations in Kuwait, Beirut and Riyadh signed a lease in the Flatiron District over year ago. It looks like it will finally be opening. I'm curious about the cherry kebabs.

Laduree I tend not to get caught up in things like cupcakes, frozen yogurt and yes, macarons. Such a strange fetish lady food bloggers seem to have with these little rainbow-hued almond flour cookies. They are certainly pretty, and I was hardly immune to the power of a giant blue specimen at Bouchon Bakery. I also recognize that Ladurée is the shit, hence the venerable patisserie's 1pm grand opening tomorrow is understandably a big deal. I do wonder how it will go down since there will be no public transportation after noon. Also, I take back any cynicism I had—these religieuses are freaking beautiful. I might brave a hurricane for these.

Madkasse I’d nearly forgotten about this Danish smørrebrød chain coming to Tribeca. I’m picturing a Pret a Manger meets Le Pain Quotidien affair with more herring, nettles, sorrel and rye. Probably no sea buckthorn or reindeer blood, I imagine. Promotional photos promise something  very bento.

Taka Taka
I just mentioned this Mexican sushi chain earlier this week and now I’m going to again. This one’s a doozy because it’s exporting an imported cuisine—and presenting it on a conveyor belt! We haven’t had kaiten sushi since Singaporean Sakae Sushi departed in 2009. Also, if YO! Sushi finally gets it together, we’ll have two and all will be right in the world.

Jung Sik Dang
Salads This one was totally new to me. And yes, this high end South Korean restaurant is the grasshopper-serving culprit, and will also be in Tribeca, taking Chanterelle’s old spot. I’m all for modern cuisine and chef Jung Sik Yim has cooked at Bouley and Aquavit in NYC as well as Akelare in San Sebastián, so he might know what he’s doing. “Picking your Salads” seems far more appealing than a Korean deli salad bar (and I frequent them all the time).

Photos: Living in Peru, La Tartine Gourmande, Aamanns, Jinhwa-FICATION

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS