Get Down With 2013’s Michelin-Rated Restaurants

This week restaurants around the city celebrated the release of the 2013 Michelin Guide. One of the best features about this prestigious tome is their “good cuisine at reasonable price,” Bib Gourmand section. For the Bib Gourmand, they consider restaurant that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. Here, they don’t offer stars, but getting mentioned in the guide is enough for many eateries. 

“I couldn’t be more excited about our mention in the Michelin guide,” said Speedy Romeo chef and co-owner Justin Bazdarich. “I really see the guide as an honest measure for a restaurant rating, so, it means a lot to me to gain their respect.”

Aside from Speedy Romeo, highlighted this year include Gran Electrica, Pok Pok, and Battersby, which was also voted one of the best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetite magazine. It also appears to be the golden time for Bed-Stuy’s Do or Dine. Not only did chef and co-owner Justin Warner winFood Network Star a couple months ago, but the restaurant has their second notable mention in the Michelin Guide.

In Manhattan, notice went to August, Il Buco Aimentari & Vineria, and Danny Meyer’s Untitled. There were also quite a few Asian places in the guide including Family Recipe, Jin Ramen, Yunnan Kitchen, and Uncle Zhou in Queens. With the one-star awards, the Asian trend continued with Café China, Hakkasan, and Jungsik at the top of the list.

On the higher end of things, three Michelin stars went, unsurprisingly, to eateries including Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, and La Bernardin. There was one astounding twist; out of seven venues, one award went to a non-Manhattan restaurant: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. See folks, Brooklyn is rising. Just wait until it’s all outer boroughs and ramen joints.

Top 10 Spots for a First Date

Variety is key when you are testing the waters of love and lust. To some, love is motivated by how fat one’s pocketbook is. To others, it’s based on where one is able to get a reservation at peak time on a Friday night. Whether your leading lady is a tastemaker with a tiny appetite, or your gent is a sucker for the sauce, there’s a hotspot that’s all the bang for your buck, and a watering hole that may just lead to a bang.

The Little Owl (New York) – Small hotspot where you can view the West Village through rose-colored window panes. A savvy choice for a date in the know, but let your date know you chose it for the greenmarket menu. Swoon. ● Mistral (Los Angeles) – Intimate space, low lighting, the smell of French cuisine, and love is in the air. Couples relish the dark corners. A vast wine list and pared-down menu means easy first date decision-making. Opt for fries over the spinach side; the soft light helps you seem sexy, but it will do nothing for a green tooth.

Nemo (Miami) – Don’t waste this space on someone you’re lukewarm for. Rack up first-impression points with the serious atmosphere at work here. Not too pretentious, but tasty and hip: She just might find a way to thank you after the meal. ● The Bourgeois Pig (New York) – A jump-off point for daters to test the waters before committing to a bite to eat, though perfect as a post-dinner stop when things are going well. Champers, chocolate, cheese make eating sexy as hell. ● Smith & Wollensky (Miami) – Fab first date spot even if your date isn’t a carnivore. For light fare, opt for the cocktail/oyster combo — though the view is the only aphrodisiac needed. Great food, stiff drinks, and unrivaled panoramas of the ocean and the Miami skyline. ● Casa Tua (Miami) -There’s the intimate speakeasy feel that helps to make an impression, especially if your date is young and impressionable. Lamps hang from banyan trees in the garden, inviting atmosphere is conductive to great conversation and even better make-out sessions. Plead your first-date case to the members-only bouncer and see if you can’t stretch out the evening. ● Casa La Femme (New York) – If you’re the dating type that needs a few props, this all-inclusive date spot is loaded with shiny distractions. Tent city flaunts belly-dancing beauties and unbeatable signature cocktails to spice things up. Décor is richly detailed, bearing a genuine elegance to mask the cliché sexiness of it all. ● Little Door (Los Angeles) – Deserving of its reputation as THE place to go on a date — whether you speak fluent or just cinematic French, mais oui. The courtyard will help you fall in love, the sexy candlelight will make you fall in lust, and the extensive drink list will take care of anything in between. ● Mayahuel (New York) – The goddess of agave may be on your side for a modern-day Spanish inquisition. Speakeasy vibe with serious, sexy decor, and food to match. Creative cocktails will impress mixology minors; opt for small, shareable plates and cozy up in a carved-out booth. ● August (New York) – For a date of the handholding variety, turn to this claustrophobic cave restaurant. In the fall, intimate garden and sweater weather inspire premature cuddling, which could lead to other things more mature. ● Bowery Hotel (New York) – Pretend you’re somebody as you whisk your date through the golden doors propped open by smiling bellhops. Good for blind dates, it’s a cozy spot where you can get closer, or direct your attention to Cameron Diaz getting blitzed at the bar. Swill red wine on vintage chairs, surrounded by downtown “it” people. It’s all very very, even if your date is very boring.

The Things We Do For Love: New York’s Top Date Spots

To some, love is motivated by how fat one’s pocketbook is. To others, it’s based on where one is able to get a reservation at peak time on a Friday night. Excite your summer love with these unabashedly romantic restaurants — incredibly sexy date spots, dripping with intimacy, dishes that arouse the senses, good lighting, or otherwise just priced to impress. For more inspiration of the culinary sort (inspiration of the other sort may be too, uh, inspirational for this site), check out Restaurants in the guides and choose the Romantic/Date Spot vibe.

Casa la Femme (West Village) – Former downtown romantic gone uptown returns to camp out in the West Vil. The softest of soft lighting, plush seating, and intricately detailed decor set the mood; signature fig martinis and French Kiss cocktails spell romance; the hip-swiveling belly dancers spell something else, but it’s all sexy. ● The Bourgeois Pig (East Village) – A dark, red room that’s a perfect post-dinner spot when things are going well, or a date spot to pull out all the stops. The fondue makes things romantic for him and her, because let’s face it; dip-able things are sexy as hell.

August (West Village) – Raw bar for those that still hang on to those aphrodisiac superstitions; comfort food for a cozy atmosphere. Sweet nothings will have to be whispered quietly, as this place is tiny. Size in this case is just an excuse to get closer. Hold hands in the romantic garden and cherish the moment — September will be here before you know it. ● Babbo (Greenwich Village) – The only dirty talk you’ll need here is “Baby, this is Mario Batali’s place,” and “I pulled strings to get a res here on short notice.” If this isn’t enough to set the mood, then the fact that you’re sandwiched between a former mayor and Gwyneth Paltrow should do the trick. The food, of course, stands on its own as reason enough to bring your summer lover by. ● One If By Land Two If By Sea (West Village) – Whenever I poll the office on where I should take my date for a romantic evening, the unanimous cry is this place. Aaron Burr’s haunted carriage house is true romance: flowers, firelight, and a piano that plays the lilting soundtrack to your dream date. Get engaged here if you think you might need some persuasion. Fall in love here by accident. ● JoJo (Upper East Side) – For those of you buying Vineyard Vines for him, and pearls for her, here is your classic UES date spot. Slightly stuffy but enduring townhouse romancer. Love, Franco-American style. Conclude with infamous warm spicy Valrhona chocolate cake. Sex to follow. ● Capsouto Freres (Tribeca) – Long-running French romantic will get you laid. But it’s not about that, it’s about romance and the presentation — the candles, tablecloths, quiet corners, and booze make the perfect ambiance to get you feeling romantical. The French know romance, and the exceptional desserts and the extensive wine list add to the way you’re looking at your other half. ● barmarché (Nolita) – Relaxing go-to brunch spot. Because honestly, brunch done right is one of the most romantic things. Subdued, rendezvous lighting. Wear his button up belted as a dress and enjoy the Barmarche Cuban Burger. The New Old American cuisine and the sight of you with bed head makes the Saturday brunch rush worth the wait. ● Relish (Williamsburg) – Cute place for young love — perhaps you might not perceive this classic diner as a place where romance blossoms at first sight, but give the outdoor patio five minutes, and suddenly you have found “your” place. But really, nothing says romance like sangria. In pint glasses. ● Dressler (Williamsburg) – Food to die for, and just enough off the beaten path to call it your own. The mirror/light/candle combo works magic, the food is above par and quite impressive for foodies, and the dark and stormys will take care of the details.

The Hamptons: Top New & Buzzy Joints

One of the most buzzed-about Hamptons openings this summer is actually a re-opening of sorts. A group led by Andrew Chapman, who owns August in the West Village (the group’s also rumored to include Jon Bon Jovi, Ronald Perelman and Renee Zellweger — but you may as well throw in Jimmy Hoffa, the Montauk Monster, and Jackson Pollack) is resurrecting The Blue Parrot in East Hampton. The opening’s been set back a few weeks (as just about every restaurant opening since the birth of the Candy Kitchen has been), but when it arrives, the Parrot promises to bring back the “Killer Mexican” still touted on the wooded sign out front, even though the place has been empty since 2006.

Philippe Chow brings his upscale Chinese and plants it out East next to Michael Satsky’s Lily Pond (now offering helicopter rides from Manhattan to the club — seems like a kind of a bull market thing to do) in the space formerly occupied by Kobe Beach Club.

Harnessing the same sort of imagination it took to name Lily Pond, the owners of The Eldridge have christened their just-opened Wainscott eatery The Georgica. The expansive Georgica (in the former Saracen space) is apt country estate for the crew, if you consider The Eldridge their city studio. The wide-ranging menu ping-pongs from Italian to New American to a fitting bouillabaisse. After 11 p.m. DJs spin, and the vibe changes. Let’s just hope it doesn’t change into Saracen’s late-night vibe of desperation.

Mezzaluna AMG brings the Northern Italian Mezzaluna cuisine Upper East Siders have grown accustomed to in Amagansett. Owner Jack Luber is pulling the twin trick of opening a new luxe inn at the same time. The Reform Club combines English gardens and art-gallery chic in weekend accommodations.

Alison has vacated the Maidstone and been replaced by The Living Room, which promises to bring the slow food ethos to its kitchen, run by local chef James Carpenter. And Rugosa, a new restaurant run by a husband-and-wife team, takes over the surprisingly shuttered Almoncello space. The team at Sen is flipping its Sen Spice concept and turning the space into a new iteration of Phao, the Thai place they ran across the street a few years ago.

Nightclubs are staying put this summer, for the most part. There will be no additional Pink Elephants or the like colonizing the East End, though the big Pink is not remaining completely silent; there will be small restaurant called Day & Night added to the Capri location.

Dune has sold its soul for roll-on deodorant, sprouting The Axe Lounge at Dune for the summer. Nobody every accused owner Noah Tepperberg turning down a quick buck.

And a good old-fashioned bottle-service blowout (though the owners have couched this as a kinder-gentler version) will bloom in Bridgehampton (on the Bridge/Sag Turnpike) with the opening of the Harbor Club — 15-foot ceilings and 3,000 square feet inside, and 2,500 square feet of outdoor area. With the participation of LOLA’s James Cruickshank and David Marino and Ben Grieff of Boutique, it’s certainly the big new baller on the block.

The Hamptons: Top 10 New & Buzzy Joints

One of the most buzzed-about Hamptons openings this summer is actually a re-opening of sorts. A group led by Andrew Chapman, who owns August in the West Village (the group’s also rumored to include Jon Bon Jovi, Ronald Perelman and Renee Zellweger — but you may as well throw in Jimmy Hoffa, the Montauk Monster, and Jackson Pollack) is resurrecting The Blue Parrot in East Hampton. The opening’s been set back a few weeks (as just about every restaurant opening since the birth of the Candy Kitchen has been), but when it arrives, the Parrot promises to bring back the “Killer Mexican” still touted on the wooded sign out front, even though the place has been empty since 2006.

Philippe Chow brings his upscale Chinese and plants it out East next to Michael Satsky’s Lily Pond (now offering helicopter rides from Manhattan to the club — seems like a kind of a bull market thing to do) in the space formerly occupied by Kobe Beach Club.

Harnessing the same sort of imagination it took to name Lily Pond, the owners of The Eldridge have christened their just-opened Wainscott eater The Georgica. The expansive Georgica (in the former Saracen space) is apt country estate for the crew, if you consider The Eldridge their city studio. The wide-ranging menu ping-pongs from Italian to New American to a fitting bouillabaisse. After 11 p.m. DJs spin, and the vibe changes. Let’s just hope it doesn’t change into Saracen’s late-night vibe of desperation.

Mezzaluna AMG brings the Northern Italian Mezzaluna cuisine Upper East Siders have grown accustomed to to Amagansett. Owner Jack Luber is pulling the twin trick of opening a new luxe inn at the same time. The Reform Club combines english gardens and art-gallery chic in weekend accommodations.

Alison has vacated the Maidstone and been replaced by The Living Room, which promises to bring the slow food ethos to it’s kitchen, run by local chef James Carpenter. And Rugosa, a new restaurant run by a husband and wife team, takes over the surprisingly shuttered Almoncello space. The team at Sen is flipping it’s Sen Spice concept and turning the space into a new iteration of Phao, the Thai place they ran across the street a few years ago.

Nightclubs are staying put this summer, for the most part. There will be no additional Pink Elephants or the like colonizing the East End. though the big Pink is not remaining completely silent: there will be small restaurant called Day & Night added to the Capri location.

Dune has sold its soul for roll-on deodorant, becoming The Axe Lounge at Dune for the summer. Nobody every accused owner Noah Tepperberg of not wanting to make a quick buck.

And a good old fashioned bottle service blowout (though the owners have couched this as a kinder-gentler version) will bloom in Bridgehampton (on the Bridge/Sag Turnpike) with the opening of The Harbor Club . with 15 foot high ceilings and 3,000 square feet inside and 2,500 square-foot outdoor area the club, involving LOLA’s James Cruickshank and David Marino and Ben Grieff of Boutique, is nothing if not the only new kind on the block.

The Hamptons: Top 10 New & Buzzy Joints

One of the most buzzed-about Hamptons openings this summer is actually a re-opening of sorts. A group led by Andrew Chapman, who owns August in the West Village (the group’s also rumored to include Jon Bon Jovi, Ronald Perelman and Renee Zellweger — but you may as well throw in Jimmy Hoffa, the Montauk Monster, and Jackson Pollack) is resurrecting The Blue Parrot in East Hampton. The opening’s been set back a few weeks (as just about every restaurant opening since the birth of the Candy Kitchen has been), but when it arrives, the Parrot promises to bring back the “Killer Mexican” still touted on the wooded sign out front, even though the place has been empty since 2006.

Philippe Chow brings his upscale Chinese and plants it out East next to Michael Satsky’s Lily Pond (now offering helicopter rides from Manhattan to the club — seems like a kind of a bull market thing to do) in the space formerly occupied by Kobe Beach Club.

Harnessing the same sort of imagination it took to name Lily Pond, the owners of The Eldridge have christened their just-opened Wainscott eater The Georgica. The expansive Georgica (in the former Saracen space) is apt country estate for the crew, if you consider The Eldridge their city studio. The wide-ranging menu ping-pongs from Italian to New American to a fitting bouillabaisse. After 11 p.m. DJs spin, and the vibe changes. Let’s just hope it doesn’t change into Saracen’s late-night vibe of desperation.

Mezzaluna AMG brings the Northern Italian Mezzaluna cuisine Upper East Siders have grown accustomed to to Amagansett. Owner Jack Luber is pulling the twin trick of opening a new luxe inn at the same time. The Reform Club combines english gardens and art-gallery chic in weekend accommodations.

Alison has vacated the Maidstone and been replaced by The Living Room, which promises to bring the slow food ethos to it’s kitchen, run by local chef James Carpenter. And Rugosa, a new restaurant run by a husband and wife team, takes over the surprisingly shuttered Almoncello space. The team at Sen is flipping it’s Sen Spice concept and turning the space into a new iteration of Phao, the Thai place they ran across the street a few years ago.

Nightclubs are staying put this summer, for the most part. There will be no additional Pink Elephants or the like colonizing the East End. though the big Pink is not remaining completely silent: there will be small restaurant called Day & Night added to the Capri location.

Dune has sold its soul for roll-on deodorant, becoming The Axe Lounge at Dune for the summer. Nobody every accused owner Noah Tepperberg of not wanting to make a quick buck.

And a good old fashioned bottle service blowout (though the owners have couched this as a kinder-gentler version) will bloom in Bridgehampton (on the Bridge/Sag Turnpike) with the opening of The Harbor Club . with 15 foot high ceilings and 3,000 square feet inside and 2,500 square-foot outdoor area the club, involving LOLA’s James Cruickshank and David Marino and Ben Grieff of Boutique, is nothing if not the only new kind on the block.

Industry Insiders: Randy Scott, RDV Frontrunner

Randy Scott tells BlackBook about RDV— his newest nightlife muse, being considered the Kevin Bacon of the Industry and the social importance of the lounge.

What is your current project? I am involved in the whole complex on 13th Street between 9th and Washington which is now, Kiss and Fly the nightclub, Bagatelle the restaurant and the third space, which is the lounge, is the new project called RDV. Abbreviation for Rendez-vous. Bagatelle is one of the most successful restaurants in New York. Remi Laba and Aymeric Clemente are the partners and great to work with. I was brought on to head the lounge. RDV is a plush lounge—it is the gem. We are just doing friends and family now, but we will be opening shortly. We did a party for Josh Lucas and another for Quincy Jones. We hired a mixologist, Thierry Hernandez from Bar du Plaza Athénée in Paris, and we are following his formal steps of service.

Where do you go out? When you are in this business as I am, I enjoy quiet on my nights off. If I do go out, I like relaxed environments like Rose Bar, Beatrice and small restaurants. Cozy places, like the restaurant August. I really love Socialista, I love the Latin theme.

How did you start out in the business? I went from waiter to bartender. I bartended at the Paramount Hotel, Randy Gerber’s first project. I did the bartending circuit, then someone asked me to do the door in the Hamptons, at the Tavern. I think the Von Brocks were still running it. I remember David Sarner was involved. It was Lara Shriftman who dragged me around the scene, she is the one I probably owe my entrance to. We met at Frederick’s, the original on 64th Street. It was a game to me at the time. It became obvious doing the door was a more central position with a lot more opportunities. You become the front person.

What has changed? I think the culture has changed. It is not that as one scene comes in the last one has died. I see things as more cyclical than changed. When people talk about bottle service they make it seem that nightlife has created this evil monster when they are just supplying what there is a market for. Right now it’s obvious there has been a proliferation of lounges. People wanted more intimacy. The lounges have interesting interior design. Each one is different.

What led you here? Previous to this venture [which is RDV], there was Cain, prior to that was Marquee, before that was Pangea, and Float, and the beginning was every Hamptons club. I worked at every place Andrew Sasson did. He was a pioneer. I worked for Seth Greenberg when he opened Conscience Point which was then M80. Andrew asked me to open all the Jet lounges with him.

You have worked with everyone in this business. So you might be the Kevin Bacon of nightlife? Maybe, I even worked for Amy Sacco once when she was part of System.

What do you dislike about the business? When people lose themselves in it. It can be dark. These people feel fulfilled because they are inside an exclusive place. They get caught up in the hype. When they are out 4 or 5 nights a week for years. They dance with the devil. Also, when people complain about getting their friends in, I say, ‘I don’t see you down at McSorley’s, you could all be in there right now. Don’t pretend you don’t know what’s going on here.’