Next Week’s NY Happenings: Luau At The Dutch, Charlie Bird, Month Of Clicquot

MONDAY: Dutch Treat
Andrew Carmellini’s Soho smash The Dutch will make sure you have a transporting Memorial Day, even if you never make it off the island. Go whole hog on summer’s start with a tropical luau on Monday. Ribs, wings, and tuna poke get things started, followed by suckling pig cooked in a Caja China. There will be tiki cocktails and halo-halo for dessert, too.
Memorial Day luau at The Dutch (131 Sullivan St., Soho) runs from noon to 9pm on Monday, May 27th. The lunch prix fixe is $40, family-style dinner is $65. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides. Photo by Evan Sung.

WEDNESDAY: Bird Lives 
Soho newcomer Charlie Bird takes its inspiration from Charlie Parker while getting creative on an Italian-accented menu. Chef Ryan Hardy of Aspen’s The Little Nell turns out a Greenmarket array. Robert Bohr (Colicchio & Sons) handles the stellar wine program.
Charlie Bird (5 King St., Soho) opens Wednesday, May 29th. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SATURDAY: Sport of Kings
The Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic returns to Liberty State Park, and while you may not score tickets to the match, you can partake in the citywide “Month of Clicquot.” The Four Seasons Hotel is running “Bubbles and Bites” happy hours at the bar on Fridays in May, Willow Road has a Yellow Label lunch special, and the revamped Bar d’Eau at Trump SoHo is hosting a water ballet pre-party this Saturday at 6pm.
Month of Clicquot runs through May, leading up to the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday, June 1st. Water ballet at Bar d’Eau (246 Spring St. Soho) is this Saturday, May 25th. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Know every inch of this city by visiting BlackBook’s NY City Guides

Industry Insiders: Justin Sievers, Service Manager of The Dutch

First he dined there, now he works there. Once a regular patron at restaurant hotspot The Dutch, Sievers now manages the front of house staff, scheduling, and The Dutch’s famed and boisterous dining scene. “If the staff is having a good time, so will the guests,” Sievers says. They sure are. Lauded for chef Andrew Carmellini’s American cuisine with a Southern tinge, The Dutch is one of New York’s most talked-about restaurants.

Siever’s menu favorites include the little oyster sandwiches, rabbit pot pie, and any of the dessert pies. As someone who’s worked in restaurants – from high-end French to casual Mexican – since the age of 16, he knows good food and good service. Here, Sievers shares how he became a part of the New York culinary scene, what his managing style is like, and the number one quality you need to succeed.

How did you first become involved with The Dutch?
I began working for Andrew Carmellini and his partners Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom in May of 2009 when Locanda Verde opened.  My focus there was beverage under Josh Nadel, the beverage director, and now at The Dutch I’m a service manager.

How did you get your start in the culinary world?
I’ve been working in restaurants in Atlanta, GA since I turned 16. I studied hospitality management at Georgia State University and worked in Atlanta and Vail, CO bartending and serving.  When I came to New York City, I landed the job at Locanda Verde.

As the manager of The Dutch’s front of house, what’s your style like?
I try to present myself as an even-keeled, approachable figure that staff can rely on. Getting to know each person working with you is an important part of making them feel comfortable and part of the team. In the end, it’s all about making sure that the guests are having an amazing time, so creating an environment in which your staff is having an amazing time is key.

When you’re not managing the house, what do you do to relax?
I’m really into snowboarding and rock climbing when the weather allows.  I try to play music as often as possible.  I come from a family of musicians so I grew up playing drums with my dad and still like to jam with friends when possible.  I don’t have anything that is super organized right now though. Other than that, I’m still very much a beverage guy, so learning about and drinking wines and spirits is always a fun way to be productive. 

Since you’ve been at The Dutch, what’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
Flexibility is key. Not only being flexible in the position you can fill but also within that position.  Once you can become dynamic enough to successfully complete all the different aspects of the job, you are infinitely more valuable. One of the most important aspects is managing people, which takes an immense amount of flexibility.

Guest Chefs: Getting Chefs Out of the Restaurants

When Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen finalist Paula DaSilva showed her Miami heat to the James Beard House yesterday, the 1500 Degrees executive chef brought with her not only the whole kitchen staff, but a little bit of sunshine to the five-course menu. As the beaming DaSilva thanked everyone for coming, I felt the praise went to her for letting me try her Brazilian-inspired, farm-to-table food without ever having to step on a plane.

As the concept of celebrity chef becomes increasingly popular, a lot of other restaurants are sending their cooks to the city to showcase their food in a series of one-up dinners. Sine 1986 the not-for-profit James Beard House has been one of the biggest providers of this type of dining. Some upcoming meals to look forward to include the pork-centric feast by Daniel Doyle of Poogan’s Porch in Charleston on June 14. Then they host more Hell’s Kitchen alumni as Connecticut based chefs Kevin Cottle and Van Hurd do a soft shell crab extravaganza on July 11, and, on July 19, chef Adam Keough from the San Francisco will bring a taste of Absinthe Brasserie and Bar to the table.

City Grit is another way to experience chefs from around the country. Run by Food & Wine’s Home Cook Superstar Sarah Simmons, the pop-up establishment is meant to showcase chefs that don’t always get to be the stars of their own restaurants or ones visiting the city. Today and tomorrow, they feature award winning chef John Currence from City Grocery in Mississippi as part of their new series “Secrets Behind the Chef.” Past chefs have included Top Chef contestant Ty-Lor Boring previewing his upcoming restaurant and “the angry chef” from Atlanta, Ron Eyester. The schedule goes up monthly, so check it out for upcoming events.

For those wanting to try star chef’s food in a more intimate setting, and give something to charity, on July 24 Just Food and the Sylvia Centerhave put together A City Farmer, A Chef, and A Host a series of 14 dinners that take place at private homes around the city. Though this event is geared toward local chefs, it’s a good way to try some food from some of the hottest restaurants around and features chefs like Dan Kluger from ABC Kitchen, Robert Gurvich of Alison Eighteen, and Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch. It’s expensive, sure, but lets you experience these chefs in a whole new light.

No matter which way you go, the time of having to go to one restaurant (or many, if it’s Danny Meyer) to sample a chef’s cuisine is slowly changing, which is great for many diners. 

Mystery Chef Revealed: Exquisite Corpse at Le Grand Fooding NYC 2011

You know that mystery chef we mentioned — the blind recluse opening a 52-hour popup restaurant in Chelsea next month? Well, he doesn’t exist. Or rather, he does exist, and his name is legion. That’s because he’s a culinary amalgam of 13 for-real superchefs, all contributing their talents and grub to 13 individual seatings for Le Grand Fooding NYC 2011. You would be well advised to buy from our special allotment presale tickets, available as of right now. But who exactly makes up the exquisite corpse of the mythical Nikoalan Nselurfueymardcora?

That would be Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde and The Dutch in New York City); Hugue Dufour (M. Wells in New York City); Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf, of Dranouter, Belgium); Armand Arnal (La Chassagnette of Arles, France); Ana Ros (HiSa Franko of Kobarid, Slovenia); Sat Bains (Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham, UK); Blaine Wetzel (Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington State); Fulvio Pierangelini (Hotel de Russie, Rome); Brooks Headley (Del Posto in New York City); Mauro Colagreco (Le Mirazur of Menton, France); Adeline Grattard (Yam’tcha in Paris); Corey Lee (Benu in San Francisco); and Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy).

Quite a lineup, brought to you by sponsor dollars from the lines of Veuve Clicquot, Mastercard, and San Pellegrino. Now you can only buy tickets for the 9/24 and 9/25 seatings via our link, but you only miss out on Carmellini; everyone else is working round the clock on the other days. There’s only a handful of tickets available for each one, so act fast.

Locanda Verde Sequel Coming Soon

Earlier in the week, we dished about the fire-roasted chicken at The Greenwich Hotel’s Locanda Verde. It’s oh-so-tasty, as is everything there, but scoring a reservation or a walk-in table in under two hours is no easy feat at the Italian hotspot, which has been known to attract celebs from Keanu Reeves to Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Thankfully, Locanda Verde’s chef Andrew Carmellini has just announced plans to open another restaurant.

On his website, under a new “Opening Soon” section, Carmellini says a second restaurant at 131 Sullivan Street in Soho is in the works. He signed the lease last November, and he’ll run it with his operating partners from Locanda Verde, Luke Ostrom and Josh Pickard. The new place is set to open in mid-September, and, whatever it is, it won’t be Italian. The restaurant will be designed by Roman & Williams, the same team behind The Breslin at The Ace Hotel, so we can bet that it will look as good as Carmellini’s food tastes.

The Dish: Locanda Verde’s Fire-Roasted Garlic Chicken

What: Fire-Roasted Garlic Chicken Where: Locanda Verde, Chef Andrew Carmellini’s casual, family-style Italian trattoria at The Greenwich Hotel. Ideal meal: When you’re craving large portions at a rustic, neighborhood-friendly joint, and you’ve planned ahead (reservations a must for dinner). Because: Any discerning food-lover will agree that chicken’s a tough one to get just right. Carmellini has perfected the process by preparing his in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven (formerly used for pizzas) and adding an understated portion of mushrooms, roasted peppers, and carrots to enhance (without overwhelming) the ample flavor dripping out of the crispy outer skin. Tastes like: Moist and simple, chicken done right. Bottom line: Available on the lunch and brunch menus for $19 and prepared for two at dinner for $21 a person. Sharing is encouraged, and it’s pretty close to impossible to leave this place hungry. Especially after tackling the dessert menu.