TASTE OF FRANCE
Taste of France

What could be more wonderful this Fall than a relaxing weekend trip to France? Fortunately for New York’s many Francophiles, France is coming to Bryant Park for its second year on Saturday September 28th and Sunday, September 29th. Brought to you by New York-based nonprofit Taste of France, this extraordinary showcase, open to the public, goes far beyond a few crepes and a bottle of Bordeaux. This is the full French experience, with over 120 booths and featuring live French music, master chefs, beauty treatments, and wine tastings, among many other exciting features.

BEST OF
Uncle Boons


A new addition to the Thai food scene has arrived in Nolita, and it stands out among the other Thai restaurants in the area. Created by former Per Se chefs Matt Danzer and Ann Redding, Uncle Boons’ menu is a trendy new rotisserie and grill inspired by Ann’s family in Thailand. Given the culinary background of the chefs, you might expect Uncle Boons to be a formal affair. Although it’s definitely not cheap, the atmosphere is fairly casual with an inviting dining setup and eclectic décor reminiscent of Thai homes in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Plate-sharing is encouraged here, as is eating with your hands.

SWEET TOOTH
Mast Brothers Chocolate Adventure

With descriptions more often found on the back of a wine bottle than a bar of chocolate, Mast Brothers gourmet chocolate is no average candy bar. Available in 19 flavors and split into two categories, Single Estates Origins and Blends & Pairings, expect to taste the unexpected. From Vanilla and Smoke to Black Truffle and Moho River, no bar comes in with under 70% of organic cocao harvested from small farm cooperatives dotted around South America, and no, none of the bars come with a milk or white chocolate option as, to the gourmet chocolatier, either would be cocao sacrilege.

DAILY BITES
Per Se Named Best Restaurant in NYC

For a certain brand of food industry professionals and heavily interested gourmands, today was all about guessing and odds. As promised, Sam Sifton (the now former restaurant critic for The New York Times and arguably the most powerful man in the food world) marked his final column for the paper by announcing Per Se as his choice for the top restaurant in New York. Please take a moment to allow the staff at Eleven Madison Park and Daniel to quietly weep.

So what makes a dining experience the single greatest one you can find in NYC? According to Sifton, quite a lot. "No restaurant in New York City does a better job than Per Se of making personal and revelatory the process of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on food and drink," says the critic. And, yes, you might want to note those hundreds of dollars before clamoring for a reservation. The menu is fixed at $295 (yes, before any wine or other cocktails, which could easily double the tab). But, at least in Sifton's view, the dining experience is so fine that the hefty price tag delivers the necessary goods to back it up.

BEHIND THE PLATE
An Interview with NY Times Reviewed Chef Jesus Nunez

Joonbug arrived at Graffit near the corner of 69th and Broadway around 11am and descended into the well-lit, colorful restaurant. A floor-to-ceiling mirror with the definition of “graffit” outlined the entrance, along with mismatched frames housing different textures creating the perfect so-simple-yet-so-chic décor.

Long communal tables with tall seats lead to a long white bar mid-way through the restaurant. Throughout, the mix of wallpaper and exposed brick with carefully selected pieces of graffiti created a connective thread through the seemingly different rooms.

BENTON’S COUNTRY SMOKEHOUSE
Bacon Beer Has Arrived
CANCELLATION FEES
No Excuse for No-Show

That very posh, very exclusive restaurant that you’re dying to dine at, better be worth it. Because as soon as you call to make reservations, they’re in your pockets. Make sure you don’t get sick and if you get into a fender bender, hop in a cab and make sure you make it to dinner. Now-a-days, more and more restaurants are charging hefty no-show fees.

I know they lose a seat for every missed reservation, and this and that. But seriously, how can you charge me if I didn’t eat. Per Se in the city charges $175 per seat for a booking cancelled within three days. Momofuku Ko charges $150 for cancellations within 24 hours. Are they serious? I better be able to come by at closing and pick up some food put aside for me if I have to pay that.

Other restaurants impose the fees for in-demand occasions like Valentines Day and New Years Eve. But just be aware that restaurants are holding you very accountable for tables they book.

BABETTES FEAST
Babette's Feast at Per Se

If you’re thinking about dinner and a show this weekend, check out French restaurant Per Se in the Time Warner Center. This Friday, January 9th , Per Se will be showing the movie Babette’s Feast and then re-creating the meal for whomever can shell out $3,500 per person or $6,000 a couple. The menu includes a Potage a la Tortue (green turtle soup) and ‘Cailles en Sarcophage’ (tender quail stuffed with foie gras and encased in a puff-pastry shell over a pool of black truffles), paired with vintage Clos de Vougeo and Blinis Demidoff (buckwheat cakes with caviar).

Proceeds benefit the Alloy Theater. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres begin at 6 p.m., the screening begins at 6:45 p.m. and dinner will be served at 8 p.m. [NY Mag]