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Toque of New York / Boston
By Linda Kavanagh

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It seems only logical that America's favorite city for entertainment and food would combine the two. It's called Chef's Theater. Chefs cook while musical entertainment amuses. The stage is likened to that of a television kitchen set, with the added allure of a pianist and stage performers. Performers interact with the chef while the patrons ooh and ahh over how their meal for that performance is prepared. Meanwhile, Restaurant Associates, the city's hottest catering conglomerate, is busy in the kitchen preparing and serving the audience their 3-course meal. Guest sommeliers, such as Gourmet Magazine's Michael Green and Simply Wine's Andrea Immer, chat about the appropriate wines that will be paired with each course. Chef's Theatre is the brainchild of Tony Award winning producer Marty Bell (Fosse and Ragtime) and one of TV Food Network's founding fathers, Joe Allegro and West Egg Entertainment. A bevy of this generation's most popular chefs, including Douglas Rodriguez (Ola), Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit), David Rosengarten (The Rosengarten Report), and Andre Soltner (French Culinary Institute), are some of the talents featured alongside Broadway performers Shannon Lewis, Paige Price, and Jim Walton. Guest performers pop in on occasion, while leading chefs are constantly being added to the calendar. Dinner, brunch, and dessert shows are offered. There's cooking, eating, singing, and dancing, all in one evening. Is there anything better? I don't think so.

Chef's Theatre
NYC's Supper Club
240 West 47th Street, New York


The New York State Restaurant Association recently held their annual gala and fundraiser at New York's Marriott Marquis Hotel honoring the Food Network's contribution to the restaurant industry. Accepting on behalf of the Food Network was Judy Gerard, Food Network President. An exciting performance from the cast of Cookin', a hilarious non-verbal percussion show featuring four crazy Korean chefs, rounded out the celebration.

This came on the heels of the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, where more than 30,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors walked the floor of the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center March 14 - 16. A highlight of the event was when dozens of New York City's finest restaurants announced they will be featuring New York wines and foods this October, following a meeting with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Anthony Mingone, NYSRA Board Member and Chef/Owner of Romolo's Restaurant is particularly excited about featuring New York's quality ingredients. I was raised in Rockland County, a major farming area where fresh produce was abundant and even my neighbors had vegetable stands outside their front doors, says Mingone, Long Island wineries, as well as the Hudson Valley vineyards, have been raising the bar of New York wines over the past 10 years. My fall menu always features harvest ingredients and there's nothing better than those New York apples!”Romolo's is a family run Italian restaurant featuring a family style atmosphere under a Tuscan setting.


Minetta Lane Theatre
18 Minetta Lane, New York
Tickets: 212.307.4100

77 Route 303 Congers, New York


Owner/Executive Chef Ian Russo brings Noveau New York Cuisine to the Upper East Side with his sexy eatery, IAN. Just six months young, the chef and staff are already polished, and poised to become a restaurant to be reckoned with. The long narrow space, though challenging to a designer, is wonderfully laid out and comfortable. Sherbert colored walls, whimsical lighting, and flowing drapes that separate the tables, really brings out the warmth in the room. A convivial bar with live entertainment squeezed into a corner adds to the energy of the space.

Chef Russo, a true New Yorker (by way of Brooklyn) and gifted chef, prepares signature dishes including tableside carvery specials such as filet mignon wrapped in pastry, roasted Long Island duck, and goat cheese and macadamia-crusted rack of lamb. A great way to experience IAN is with the grazing menu. A seafood trilogy is served in a three-tier plate stack, level by level, with citrus marinated sea bass, crunchy “dancing shrimp” with garlic and lemon, and braised octopus salad. A decadent deep fried potato wrapped trout stuffed with wild mushrooms was absolutely mouth-watering, as was the roasted stuffed chicken with Israeli couscous and truffle broth. The wine list is impressive, but even more impressive, and wise, is the wines by the glass selections. A master in the art of roasting and brewing coffee, Chef Ian was awarded the 2003 Golden Cup Award. Customers that order coffee receive their own personal French press with coffee beans that have been freshly ground upon ordering. Judging by the eclectic crowd gathered here on any given night, Chef Russo really has his finger on the pulse of what New Yorkers are craving.

322 East 86th Street, New York


One Little West 12th Street

Manhattan's meatpacking district continues to reinvent itself with the addition of boutique hotels, trendy night spots, and an exciting restaurant scene. One Little West 12th, a restaurant and lounge, recently opened in a multi-million dollar, bi-level space that dates back to the early 1900s. The integrity of the space has been kept in tact, and renovated into a sophisticated, earthy, and sexy oasis with warm natural candlelight, rich brown and beige suede, leathers, mohair and silk textiles that make up the seating areas. Balancing the natural elements are creative uses of brick, wood, onyx, stone and mirrors, making for a visually stunning atmosphere.

Executive Chef Paul Liebrandt dazzles with his modern American menu. The specialty of the house is the Celestial Platter, an enticing combination of raw and cooked seafood including seasonal oysters, lobster, crab legs, seared tuna, uni, and can also be complimented with Sevruga caviar. From there the menu is a playful palate of tastes and textures: Fresh / Bundles includes white gazpacho of artichoke and a lobster rice paper wrap with avocado, mango and mint. Crave features whole onion rings and Sicilian rice balls with prosciutto. Cream tantalizes with cheese fondue, wild mushroom and roasted cauliflower risotto with mascarpone, and artisinal cheeses. Grain offers pizzetta and panini. Wet includes black cod with red pepper chutney and jumbo lump crab cakes with a habanero lime emulsion. Wild dishes are such favorites as apple wood smoked Colorado lamb chops with eggplant fondue and “bad ass" twin cheeseburgers with blue cheese and truffle goat cheese. A D.J. entertains nightly and a late night dinner scene often ensues. This neighborhood will never be the same again!

One Little West 12th Street
at 9th Ave., New York


Let's see…how do I describe BLVD…? Located in the Bowery section of the city, BLVD is a top-notch restaurant, casual café, roaring nightclub, event space, entertainment venue, and a recording studio, all within one 18,000 square foot complex. Sound incredible? It is that, and more! BLVD starts with a café on the first floor, followed by a 200-person lounge, 150-seat restaurant, multiple private rooms and a high-energy nightclub, all atop Crash Mansion @ BLVD, the live music venue and recording studio located on the lower level. While cocktails abound within the party atmosphere, a Latin-Asian inspired menu prepared by Executive Chef Julian Alonzo, also of Brasserie 8 - in the city, is a main attraction. Asian tuna tartare, red snapper ceviche, and bison, duck, and shrimp empanadas start off the menu. Wild mushroom ravioli with mint and ginger consommé, pancetta wrapped halibut with sesame crusted asparagus and red miso, and braised short ribs with stuffed taro root cake and a mango relish don't even begin to tell the story of this unique restaurant.

Desserts include lemongrass pana cotta and a passion fruit cheesecake with a toasted macadamia nut crust. To plagiarize the P.R. firm that represents this fabulous destination: Imagine Smith Barney with a corporate function in the private room, a birthday party in the lounge, revelers in the party room, Ashton and Demi in the VIP room, Lenny Kravitz rocking out downstairs, and the ability to get a bowl of cereal at the café on the way out! I couldn't have said it better myself!

199 Bowery (at Spri
ng Street), New York,


Chef Eric Bogardus, previously from Biba's and Lockober's in Boston, has joined Lucy's in Brookline as the new Executive Chef. With the restaurant's goal being, To offer the freshest ingredients available and allow the natural flavors of the food to create the essence of the plate, Eric has maintained this philosophy with the launch of an entirely new menu. Lucy's signature "clean food approach (no creams or butters) can still be enjoyed under the tutelage of Chef Bogardus. Chicken cooked under a brick with smoked paprika and sticky parsnips, cider glazed venison with potato, apple and onion pavé atop a sauté of red swiss chard, and wood oven baked monkfish with coral saffron mashed potatoes and lemon braised baby fennel are a few stand-outs.

242 Harvard St., Brookline MA
617.232.LUCY (5829).


Bricco, a North End enoteca and lounge, is run by the dynamic team of Rita D'Angelo and Chef Marisa Locco. Both women are from Italy and have been business partners for over 15 years. Rita manages the front of the house while Marisa cooks regional Italian food that screams simplicity, quality, and consistency. Imported specialty items appear in many of the dishes such as with the warm bufala ricotta crostata with Prosciutti di San Daniele (from Friuli) and broccoli rabe, wild mushroom soufflé with bufala mozzarella and lolla rossa lettuce drizzled with Mostocotto vinaigrette, and stuffed bigne with peppers, garlic confit, and taleggio cheese fonduta.

Needless to say, pasta dishes are always perfectly al dente, a bit chewier than even many of the state side Italian restaurants tend to serve it –a true testament to how Bricco sticks to the techniques, as well as the recipes of authentic Italian fare. I could not get enough of the garganelli with salty olives, sweet chestnuts, and tender braised rabbit meat with a Pinot Grigio ragu. An impressive dish is the "Big Night" timpano stuffed with pasta, petite meatballs, and slow braised meat ragu, baked into a pasta-lined dome. I challenge anyone to recreate this dish. How's this for sheer indulgence; Foie gras cappellacci, lean pork crumbs, rabe blossoms, whipped butter and parmigiano cheese. And, if that wasn't enough to convince you, a must try is the duck trilogy of leg confit, roasted sausage, truffle pate, prunes and poached pears in grappa. Butternut squash pillows with sage butter sauce are also a delicious treat. The all-Italian wine selections are as much fun to peruse as they are to experience. With great food and wine comes fabulous hospitality and service at this Boston gem.

241 Hanover Street
North End Boston, MA


Linda Pernice Kavanagh
MaxEx Public Relations, LLC

102 Alton Road
Stamford, CT 06906
P 203.323.4185 F 4183

Other Writer's Related Links:
Charleston Cooks With A Little Bit Of This - And A Lot Of That

Food is Love

Toque New York/ Boston Spring 2005

It's a Matter of Tasting...

In the Mood for Exceptional Contemporary French Cuisine
without all the Pomp and Circumstance?

Toque New York/Boston Summer 2002

Writer Linda Kavanagh - Profile



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