Happy Earth Day! NYC’s Greenest Restaurants

When you’re feasting on a platter of cheese pierogies at Veselka, and loaded nachos from Wildwood BBQ, it’s nice to temper your finger-shaking “you said you’d order kale!” conscience with the fact that hey, you’re going green so scram. In NYC, only a select bunch of restaurants are actually Certified Green – meaning they’re using eco-friendly products and conserving energy and water – and the list just might surprise you (where are all those vegan restaurants?) Here are our favorites:

1.     Lupa Osteria Romana

2.     Nobu

3.     Le Bernadin

4.     L’Artusi

5.     Veselka

6.     Wildwood Barbeque

7.     Otto

8.     Dos Caminos

9.     Del Posto

10.   dell’anima

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Something Sweet for Something Sweeter: BR Guest

The beauty industry has been championing it since 1993, NFL teams pink up their gear in its honor, the Empire State building goes rosy for the cause – so it’s only fitting that New York’s dining circles get involved with October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Participating B.R. Guest restaurants will be offering special dessert items during October, with 75% of the proceeds from each decadent morsel being donated to the Breast Treatment Task Force, a local nonprofit that facilitates free mammograms, diagnostic follow-up, surgeries, and cancer treatment for patients without health insurance in NYC. That means the desserts are calorie free, right? Maybe not calorie free, but certainly guilt free.

Each dessert will be priced at $10 and served at both lunch and dinner at these BR Guest locations:

Dessert: Pink Velvet Cake with Raspberry-Hibiscus Ice Cream. Dos Caminos Dos Caminos Soho Dos Caminos Meatpacking

Dessert: Bon Bons and Pink Velvet and Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream with Dark Choc Dipping Sauce. Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center Primehouse New York Blue Fin

Dessert: Pink Velvet Cake with Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream. Ruby Foo’s

Dessert: White Chocolate Raspberry Crème Brulee served with Pink Ribbon Cookies. Atlantic Grill Ocean Grill Isabella’s Blue Water Grill

Dessert: Pink Velvet Cupcakes with a Raspberry Jam center and Cream Cheese icing. Wildwood BBQ Bill’s Bar & Burger

I think tonight, instead of carelessly reaching for a calorie-ridden late-night snack to soak up the evening’s imbibery, I’ll be noshing on a feel-good dessert, prepared by an award-wining chef.

Arthur Dozortsev Reflects on a Lifetime in the Alcohol Biz

To the thousands who have laughed and smiled with him, Arthur Dozortsev is Arty. He sells booze and is one of those thousands of people who make a living off the nightlife industry even though they don’t actually work at a club, bar, or restaurant. When the city or state changes a law a little, or a joint gets closed or isn’t allowed to open, there is a ripple effect to our local economy. Arty is on that second ripple. He rolls deep, showing up at clubs with herds of models and players. He’s the kind of guy that smiles even when he is mad or hurt. When he was throwing big soirees back in his Kremly vodka days, they were packed with all the right sorts. I had coffee with my friend at Prince Street Catering, and asked him what he’s up to.

You have been around quite a while, but burst onto the scene hard with your product Kremly Vodka. Tell me about that experience. I have been in New York for over 35 years, and yes, Kremly Vodka was an amazing experience. I was basically doing marketing, sales, PR, product placement, you name it. It was great because I met the best people from all over the world. I was working with every hot club and restaurant in New York, Florida, California and a lot of places all around the world, so that gave me the ability to be around really great people from all industries.

Is it hard to launch a vodka? It is always hard to launch a liquor brand. Back in the day, when we launched, we really didn’t have as much premium vodkas as today, but it was an uphill battle from the start. It was a lot of tastings, a lot of events, a lot of word of mouth, a lot of hard work. It was very difficult for us, because we were a private company with limited resources going against giants like Absolut and Stoli, but we made a stand in the industry.

You were born in the Ukraine. Tell me about your transition to the “American” way of life. Yes, I was born in the Ukraine, but I dont remember much cause my family left when I was 2. It was very difficult for my family. My dad didn’t speak English and had no money. But working hard in the country and being honest and loyal, my dad became very successful in the food and caviar business, which led us to get into the liquor business, so I guess as far as I can remember, I was more of an American then a Ukrainian .

Tell me about Forever Young. Forever Young is a joint venture between my good friend Seth Greenberg and my company, in creating a new line of wines called Forever Young. Both Seth and I have a great infrastructure, and we both decided it would be a great idea to launch a great line of wines with a fun approach behind it .

You sell product to some of the hottest places in NY. Name some of them and tell me what you are selling. We work with places like Tao, Sparks Steak House, Rue 57, Serafina, Casa la Femme, 1Oak, Juliet, Provocateur, STK, Dos Caminos, Mari Vanna and many more. Most of these places carry our wines by the glass, which we import mainly from Spain, Chile, Italy, Argentina and Germany. As far as the products they are mostly the common wines people drink.

The SLA has banned a great deal of the promotional money distributors and liquor companies used to be able to give for events. Tell me about the laws for this, and how it affects you. The SLA is always trying to enforce tougher laws which in a way I think is sometimes good. It keeps the industry honest, or at least tries to. We are not really affected by it because we really don’t give away promotional money. As importers and distributors in NY, we are able to offer the best prices in town, so I guess that’s our niche in the business, great wines at great prices

Is the climate for business in NYC getting better or worse? The climate for us as a company is great and very upbeat. There are over ten thousand liquor licenses in the city and we only work with 10 percent of them, so we have a very big opportunity to grow. Personally, I think the climate is a bit stale. Being in the city for so long and going through some of the best times the city has been through, I feel we need to step it up a bit.

Where do you hang these days? 1Oak is great, and Provocateur is a lot of fun but, but there is nothing to compare to the days of Tunnel, Limelight, Mars, or even some as early as Life on Tuesdays. I guess I am spoiled. My favorite place right now is Provocateur in the Gansevoort Hotel. Other wise I am at 1Oak, Juliet, Soho House during the day, and I love this new restaurant BES in Chelsea , amazing food. And u can always catch me at Ciprianis.

Will More Steve Hanson Spots Close?

imageI was walking my dogs past Café Habana when I ran into a group of old friends. The conversation centered on the 675 spot where Level V should be. The crew — which included a few ex-Steve Hanson employees — were talking about how “675 makes no sense” and that “another wave of contraction” of Steve’s B.R Guest properties was about to happen. I was told it’s “common knowledge” that the Starwood acquisition of B.R. Guest was “one of Starwood’s worst deals ever.” In between bites of crisp, cheesy corn, I was told that “at least one of Hanson’s properties was on the verge of closing, maybe more.”

The pal told me that these properties probably should have been closed during the last wave of shutterings that included the famed Fiamma and others. I asked which ones will be closed and was told that “Primehouse is new but doing so poorly.” He shook his head and continued, “there is so much money invested in it, it’s hard to believe it will go down, but I think it has to — that’s what I hear. I think he will retreat to just the Dos Caminos and Blue Water Grill, and I’m sure Wildwood is doing well.”

Steve Hanson looks at promoters like I look at that closet filled with my ex-wives shoes — a terrible and flamboyant waste of money. Yet promoters could have easily turned Level V into a very viable spot. “Steve was always so concerned with his image and feels that promoters are really bad for that image, but is it as bad as shutting places down, or worse, a quick fix into this 675 thing which makes no sense?” I bought him another corn, and he volunteered, “At its worst, Level V generated $30,000 on its three good days without promoters. Can 675, without bottle service, hope to generate that much?” I put in my two cents with “That’s a lot of beers,” and he replied, “Yeah, that’s what I mean.” The female corn-eater added, “It really doesn’t matter to Steve … he took in all that money with the merger.” But my corn-husking pal disagreed. “Sure, the money is always important, but Steve is so driven by image, it’s sad that it has come to this. At least with promoters there would be somebody to point a finger at.” I saw the decor of 675 online, and frankly I didn’t see much worth talking about. There was that fabulous horse with the lampshade on it, which we looked at when we were designing Aspen Social, but thought that even though it was really cool to look at one or two times, it was essentially a waste of space. I guess that pretty much sums it up.

New York: Top 10 Spots for Booze Flights

imageNo matter your poison, level of expertise, or income bracket — there’s no beating comparison shopping. So line up the wine, beer, whiskey, tequila, and even the house-infused vodka for the purpose of weeding out the bad so you can order up more of the good.

10. European Union (East Village) – When you don’t feel like burning your throat with the 5-for-$10 shot-deal at Continental, hit this spot where, for the same price, you’ll get a flight of five hand-crafted artisan beers. 9. I Trulli (Murray Hill) – Always seasonally appropriate with both a garden and a fireplace, the wine flights here go for $14, $15, and $26. 8. La Esquina (Nolita) – Prove wrong all those from Cali who say that NYC can’t master Mexican as you top off your meal with one of three tequila flights — the Blanco ($35), Respado ($40), or Anejo ($45).

7. Eighty One (Upper West Side) – Appropriately posh, the flight here comes with 1-oz. pours of Macallan’s Sherry Oak 12 Year Old, Fine Oak 15 Year Old, and Sherry Oak 18 Year Old — each paired with a changing bite menu that includes dishes like yellowtail tuna tartare with orange honey and yuzu ($30). 6. Artisanal (Kips Bay) – Nosh and kibitz as you enjoy one of 12 beer/wine flights ($27) paired with hand-crafted cheeses. 5. Flatiron Lounge (Flatiron) – There’s nothing simple about this spot’s trio of mini-martini flights ($22) concocted around themes like “a flight to Hawaii” (tropical fruits and rum) and “flight back in time” (Sazerac, Sidecar, Aviation cocktails). 4. Russian Vodka Room (Midtown West) – It will set you back a cool $45 for a flight of six, but for those into house-infused vodkas, there’s nothing quiet like this selection spanning the gamut from garlic to horseradish to peach. 3. Beer Table (Park Slope) – For those looking for a little education with their sampling, Beer Table hosts an informal tasting of five beers — each paired with cheese — every Monday at 7 p.m. ($30). 2. Dos Caminos (Kips Bay) – Give B.R. Guest some much-needed love and order Lick-the-Brick ($45) tequila flight served on a brick of Himalayan rock salt and paired with three flavor-infused salts — habanero champagne, lime sugar, and smoked. 1. Divine Bar West (Midtown West) – A funky décor, a menu full of exclamation points, nearly 20 flight options, and wine-tasting classes offered through their “vino-versity” make this a spot perfect for non-oenophile and connoisseurs alike.

The Rick’s Cabaret Guide to New York

Where do the dancing girls of publicly traded flesh palace Rick’s Cabaret like to hang when they aren’t putting themselves through school? Sure, you saw the stripper interviews yesterday, but wouldn’t you rather get intimate with the source material? After the jump, the Rick’s lovelies page throuh our “notes” regarding where the ladies kick it when they’re not working the pole. Can you get a Pulitzer for blue balls?

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Jennifer’s Picks:, Son Cubano, Little Branch, Bourgeois Pig, Boss Tweeds, Le Souk

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Becky’s picks: Dos Caminos, Blue Water Grill, La Zarza, Lil’ Frankie’s, Rick’s, Kum Gang San, Wildwood, Ace Bar, Mason Dixon, Boss Tweeds, Little Branch, PDT, Lucky Cheng’s

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Jazz’s picks: Cielo, Pink Elephant, Esperanto, Cafe Mogador Suzy’s Picks: 7B, Niagara, The Box, Apothéke, Big Wong King, Rick’s

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Level V Sinks

If Hanson can’t make it, who can? At 10 a.m. yesterday, management was informed of the closing of underground Meatpacking club Level V, part of Steve Hanson’s B.R. Guest empire. It was one of four places closed. The others — Fiamma, Ruby Foo’s Uptown, and Blue Water Grill Uptown — were restaurants dependent on broker bucks, which are becoming quite endangered lately. Level V, on the other hand, was the underground lounge/club beneath Vento, the corner restaurant in that v-shaped building at 9th Avenue and 14th Street.

The Hanson team tried their best to have a separate identity for each place, but they did share bathrooms, and neither place ever gathered the kudos they sought. Even with the best location in town, Level V could never muster an A-list crowd, and instead settled to grab what came by. Its promotional theory was basically that of a spider: build a web in a busy spot and hope for your clients to fly into it. I asked an axed Level V employee why it didn’t make it and was told that the restaurant mentality never could grasp the necessities of club promotion. They could not grasp paying promoters and decided to keep every dollar for themselves. He said he was always asking them if they would, “rather have 50% of $50,000 or 100% of $15,000” but they never grasped it. The concept of a promoter-driven club diluting the Vento brand was the reason cited to opt out. Not dealing with lowlife promoters is one thing, but shutting the doors might be a bit worse.

I’ve never felt that the Vento brand was all that great anyway. All of Steve Hanson’s places are well run, and the food is always solid, but the atmosphere at Vento is very 1992, and Level V

Upon returning from his New Years’ Eve at the Fontainebleau in Miami, another source reveals that Steve was faced with a “huge cashflow problem.” The Dos Caminos in Las Vegas’ Palazzo Hotel, with a $20-million-plus-plus-plus build-out and launch, is doing — I was told — “A mere 150 covers a night. The entire casino and resort hotel has performed poorly.” My source said that “the mounting problems with this spot are so bad that only ego and thoughts of a terminal blow to the brand are keeping it afloat.” Still, more bad news comes from the newish restaurant Primehouse that he operates on Park Avenue South. Despite a $10-million-plus build-out and launch and a Himalayan rock-salt-tiled aging room for steaks, my source tells me, “It’s a bust.” She said, “There’s no more money coming down the pipe from the famous merger of Steve Hanson and Barry Sternlicht,” which seemed just a short while ago to be the greatest deal ever made. The real question here: If Steve Hanson isn’t making it, what does it mean for everyone else?

Madonna’s Top 5 Romantic Prospects

Now that Madonna is single, she can get back to her man-eating ways and not have to hide it under the guise of darkness. Gossip rags will head into max overdrive, speculating who will be the next meat-slab to try and satisfy the Material Girl’s insatiable sex needs. But we like to be one step ahead of the game here, so here’s a rundown of possible paramours for Madge to devour.

Alex Rodriguez: His ex-wife claims Madonna ended their marriage, and just two weeks ago, the pair were seen dining at Dos Caminos in New York. He had the chicken en mole poblano with a side of “I left my wife, so you owe me,” while she had the shrimp ceviche with some “You’re right.”

Britney Spears: They’ve already made out. Britney appears on screen during Madonna’s current tour, so the two are still cool. Madonna even kissed a backup dancer a short while back. And if lesbianism is ever going trend up in Hollywood, it’s now. It wouldn’t be the first time. Or second. Or third.

Eminem: He likes blondes, she likes white rappers. And in 2001, she defended him during a peak of controversy. “”I like the fact that Eminem is brash and angry and politically incorrect. At least he has an opinion,” she wrote to a US paper. And they’re both from Detroit.

Chace Crawford: Because who doesn’t want to date this?

Any one of these guys: Because if the first time doesn’t work, you try, try again.