The Lists

News to Know in the World of Fine Dining This September

news fine dining September

What news do you need to know in the world of fine dining, food and wine this September 2019 to keep up in conversation with your foodie friends? Our Food Editor Nicole Douillet has the top 5 headlines from the world of food, wine and craft beer this month.

news to know in the world of fine dining this September 2019

Every month our Food Editor Nicole Douillet gives us her inside take on the top 5 things to know from the world of food and fine dining. This month, several new restaurants – and revivals of beloved icons – make the headlines. Chef Jose Andres is on the ground in the Bahamas helping victims of Hurricane Dorian. And feathers fly in fast food.

Curious about the big events in the world of fine food, wine, spirits and craft beer this month? Click here.

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While December often brings announcements of restaurant closings, the fall tends to bring anticipation of hot new openings. This fall is no exception. There are at least 15 new New York City restaurants that I’m excited about.

Many are from New York restaurant veterans, chefs and restaurateurs who have cut their chops at some of the most successful restaurants in the city. Others are newcomers. All of them have concepts that sound winning to me.

I’ll list a few of my top picks here. A quick Google search will bring up the full lists from Eater and The New York Times. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot to look forward to!

what you need to know in the world of fine dining this month

1. Chef Alfred Portale opens his own spot

Gotham Bar & Grill is a special restaurant to me. My first New York apartment was three doors down the block on E. 12th Street, and it became my local. I ate my first fancy New York City meal at the bar there over 19 years ago – seafood salad followed by the legendary lobster, both piled high in chef Alfred Portale’s signature vertical plating style.

But everything changes, and this is no exception. Chef Portale announced in July that he was leaving his role as chef at Gotham Bar & Grill after 34 years to open a new restaurant. (He will remain a partner in the restaurant.) The new eponymous spot, Portale, will open on W. 18th Street this fall serving modern Italian food in a more casual environment. This is on my short list of places to get to as soon as they open.

news fine dining September

The news to know in fine dining September 2019: Chef Alfred Portale at his new restaurant, Portale in Chelsea. Photo Credit: Nicole Craine for the New York Times.

2. Gotham Bar & Grill reboots for version 2.0

Meanwhile, back at Gotham Bar & Grill, Victoria Blamey is the new chef in the kitchen. She has launched an updated menu that goes beyond classic American fare.

news fine dining September

The news to know in fine dining September 2019. Yellowtail crudo at the new Gotham Bar and Grill. Photo Credit: Noah Fecks for the New York Times.

And colorful ceramics have replaced the traditional white plates. Chef Blamey’s stated goal, according to Eater, is “to liven up the food and space to attract a younger crowd.” New menu items include a spicy octopus ragu, made with black felicetti pasta, charred sungold tomatoes, and peperoncino.

The news to know in fine dining September 2019: Chef Victoria Blamey at Gotham Bar and Grill. Photo Credit: Noah Fecks, the New York Times.

3. A prodigal chef returns

Chef Michael Toscana earned critical praise for his cooking at the now-shuttered Perla in the West Village. Fans were heart-broken when Toscana relocated his family to Charleston, and Perla closed a couple of years later.

In an interesting twist of fate, Toscana and his family are back in New York and will be opening Da Toscana in the original Perla space this fall. The chef, who remains an owner of Charleston restaurant Le Farfalle, will take advantage of a large wood burning oven to turn out rustic Italian classics. This is the food that earned him two stars in the New York Times. His wife, Caitlin Toscana, will run the front of house

Chef Michael Toscano in his new restaurant Da Toscano. Photo Credit: Emon Hassan for the New York Times.

4. A New York classic is reborn

Another restaurant I’m excited about is actually a reboot of a true New York Classic. Le Veau d’Or, the city’s oldest French Bistro, is getting a new life from the chefs behind hit restaurant Frenchette. Chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson have purchased the space and will be giving it a bit of facelift while also modernizing the menu with a focus on seasonality.

Restaurant Le Veau d’Or on the Upper East Side of New York. Photo Credit: Quest Magazine.

The chefs are aiming to keep the essence of the 82-year old bistro, and plan to keep some of the former space’s most famous dishes on the menu. So you can still expect to see frog’s legs and escargot on the menu, but likely in updated preparations. Guests can also expect a wine list packed with natural wines, a la Frenchette. 

5. Nordstrom’s New York announces its signature restaurants

Next month, Seattle-based Nordstrom’s will open its first women’s store in Manhattan. And it will include seven eateries, two from well-known Seattle chefs. According to the New York Times, Tom Douglas will open Hani Pacific, serving “small plates like crispy shrimp spring rolls and cured salmon rice cakes.”

Crab Cakes from Chef Tom Douglas at Etta’s in Seattle. Photo Credit: Leslie Kelly, Forbes.

Ethan Stowell is creating Wolf, the only restaurant that will be open after store hours. On the menu? “Italian dishes using Pacific Northwest ingredients like Dungeness crab, king salmon, oysters and wild mushrooms.”

6. Chef Jose Andres aids Bahamas victims of Dorian

Before Hurricane Dorian had even drawn close to the islands of the Bahamas, celebrity chef José Andrés had already traveled to the area so that he’d be ready to mobilize his volunteers as quickly as possible once the storm passed. Dorian is the most powerful hurricane on record ever to hit the island nation; it slammed into Abaco and Grand Bahama in a direct hit. World Central Kitchen, which Andres founded in 2017, has been helping to feed victims and first responders in the aftermath of natural disasters. Andrés has set up four kitchens across the Bahamas. If you’d like to help, visit the World Kitchen website, here. 

news fine dining September

The news to know in the world of fine dining September 2019: Jose Andres, chef and founder of World Central Kitchen. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

7. flying feathers in fast food land

While it probably doesn’t count as fine dining news, this one is just too good to pass up. There’s been a Chicken Sandwich War underway, and it has not been pretty. 

Popeye’s chicken lays a golden egg

You may have missed this news. It’s understandable. It was August and you were at the beach eating lobster rolls and corn on the cob. Or you were offline in the desert, burning the man. ICYMI, I thought you should be aware that fried chicken chain Popeyes launched a new fried chicken sandwich and nearly broke the internet.

The universal acclaim for this sandwich was unparalleled. Critics from The New Yorker to the LA Times raved about it. Lines wrapped multiple city blocks to get one of these sandwiches. Social media blew up to the point that I considered blocking the word “chicken” from my feeds. A dude in Texas pulled a gun on a worker at his local Popeye’s after they ran out of them for the day. Yikes!

Chik-fil-A’s feathers get ruffled

Unsurprisingly, Popeyes’s competitors took to Twitter unsuccessfully to try to capitalize on the media frenzy. Chick-fil-A tweeted that the ingredients in their sandwich equaled love (which is comical when considered with Chick-fil-A’s political leanings and famous position against same-sex marriage). To which Popeyes clapped back “…Y’all good?” The Advocate, the LGBT-interest magazine, proclaimed Popeye’s chicken sandwich “More Flavor, Less Homophobia.

news fine dining September

The news to know in the world of fine dining September 2019: The famous Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. Photo Credit: Eater.

the chicken has flown the coop

Under normal circumstances, I would say that you should hurry up and get to a Popeyes to see what all the fuss is about. But alas, all locations across 49 states have sold out. Although we read that people are selling them on Ebay “in the original wrapper.” Never fear, though. Popeyes promises to make the chicken sandwich a permanent menu item before the end of the year.

the news you should know in the world of fine dining September 2019

That’s it. That’s the top news to know in the world of fine dining this September. You’re good to go – have a great month.

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

Nicole Douillet is a Wall Street executive and lifelong lover of food and drink. She is currently the Food Editor of Dandelion Chandelier, and a senior advisor to several fintech companies. Nicole serves on the Advisory Council for Action Against Hunger | ACF International. She is a former junior Olympic skier, serial restaurant regular, and two-time chili cook-off champion. She lives with her wife and two little ones in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where her kids’ favorite neighborhood restaurant is Lilia. Nicole is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

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