food 12.11.07

Hot List

Bar Blanc, 142 W. 10th [Waverly/Greenwich Ave.] 212.255.2330. Even before amusing a single gueule, Bar Blanc has foodies buzzing because of the troika of ex-Bouleyites behind this brasserie-to-be.

Christmas came early to the UWS side this year with the opening of a handful of restaurants where you'd actually want to eat. And it's a gift that keeps on giving: Due next week, Dovetail, 103 W. 77th [Col/Amst] 212.362.3800, from chef John Fraser, late of Compass.

Steve Hanson's restaurants tend to be on the stolid side, not generally worth a detour. The notable exception is Fiamma, 206 Spring [Sullivan/6th] 212.653.0100, under the new regime of Fabio Trabocchi and his nominally Italian, thoroughly exciting cooking.

Gottino, 52 Greenwich Ave. [Charles/Perry] 212.633.2590, is a wine bar with an edge: small plates created by Jody Williams of Morandi, who's a partner in this with Michael Bull. Accompanying the sprightly food is a choice of dozens of Italian wines.

The town's professional tasters have been tough on Irving Mill, 116 E. 16th [Union Sq. E./Irving] in the old Candela space. John Schaefer, who spent many years at Gramercy Tavern, has made Irving Mill into something of an homage or mini-me, depending on your perspective. We think that in due time, Irving Mill will find its voice.

Danny Abrams' The Mermaid Inn, 568 Amst [88th] 212.799.7400, has made the grand voyage from East Village to the UWS, performing a self-cloning en route. That means fish, modest prices, and a little cup of chocolate pudding for dessert. Biggest problem: getting in.

Danny Abrams again, this time partnered with Raoul's Cindy Smith, have a hit with Smith's, 79 MacDougal [Bleecker/Houston] 212.260.0100. A warm, welcoming place, with one of those menus where everything looks good—and pretty much is.

fascinating rhythms…list of lists…ball/bag.


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