New York Opening: Cherrywood Kitchen

At Cherrywood Kitchen, a classed-up New American spot from chef Chris Cheung (Jean-Georges, Nobu), a cherrywood log burns on the fire and makes for a rack of ribs on par with the best of any Gotham barbeque offerings. In a twist of pairings, the apple celery slaw is the real spicy counterpart to the rich but milder ribs. You can eat them with a fork and knife—the bones just fall to the bottom of the plate. In fact, it may be best to keep your hands off, since Cheung doesn’t shy away from slathering on a sweet chili glaze, and the sexy librarian-themed dining room doesn’t exactly jibe with wet wipe packets.

The hands-off approach doesn’t quite apply to the rest of the menu. The market fish stew, which comes with or without the fish head pending your request, is also loaded with a workout’s worth of shellfish to pry open. Behind a frosted glass divide, the bar fare brings a kick of its own. Lobster tacos are a brilliant mix of hot and cold: chilled lobster meat dusted with Old Bay and stuffed in just-fried shells made of eggroll dough. The house variation of a Manhattan sees a smoked orange rind in Knob Creek bourbon, which I recommend over some of the alternatives that lean a little heavy on the sugar.

All said, the best part of the meal might actually be the bread to start. A complimentary loaf of ciabatta, which looks like a horned turtle, comes hot out the oven with a generous bowl of whipped blue cheese. Spread it, dip in it, eat it with a spoon. You can’t miss.

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for Cherrywood Kitchen, Jean-Georges, Nobu; Download the free BlackBook app for iPhone and Android; Subscribe to the weekly BlackBook Happenings newsletter; More by James Ramsay]

Hotel Food to Stay For

Why ever leave your hotel when so many accommodations now offer a wonderful spread for their guests, like the freshly renovated Auden Bistro and Bar at the Ritz Carlton? Where once the bar and dining room of this classic hotel exuded old, musty money, the newly revamped space brings a clubhouse vibe and chef Mark Arnao’s modern-meets-traditional bistro cuisine. Hotel guests and diners can choose whether to look at the view over Sixth Avenue or at their plates of regionally sourced nibbles. Over at the bar, the team has carried over the regional bent and offers many local spirits and beers, all poured by bartender Norman Bukofzer.

Of course, Auden Bistro and Bar stepping up their game comes long after the boom of laidback, yet fine dining. Not too long ago, Reynards made waves by opening up in the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yotel also entered the game with their fun FOUR at Yotel and Dohyo, which looks like it should be in a hip-hop video, which is just might. Oh, and Ace Hotel has the joy of hosting April Bloomfield’s babies, The Breslin and John Dory Oyster Bar.

Todd English spread his, ahem, seed to the Plaza Hotel a couple years ago with the Plaza Food Hall, which is more like a fancy food court that hosts guests as well as permanent residents like Tommy Hilfiger and family. Yes, I am told he is a regular.

Lest us not forget the institutions that have made hotel dining a fine and glorious thing, such as Alain Ducasse’s Adour in the St. Regis, or the famous King Cole Bar next to it. The Trump Hotel also features a world-renowned chef’s self-titled eatery, Jean Georges. In fact, New York’s shift out French food and the start of fine dining featuring American cuisine began in The Four Seasons.

All of this sure beats the continental breakfast low budget travelers (like most of my friends and I) are faced with. True, nothing beats a good cup of cold orange juice from a machine or gooey, prepackaged cinnamon roll, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a little bit of bubbles added to it.  

Industry Insiders: Ken & Cook’s Richard Diamonte & Artan Gjoni

Both veterans of Jean Georges’ Mercer Kitchen, chef Richard Diamonte and managing partner Artan Gjoni merge talents at their new Nolita brasserie Ken & Cook, where Wagyu burgers and oysters rein amid the tin ceiling-exposed brick surroundings.

“We’ve created a restaurant that is casual, yet serious at the same time,” Diamonte says. “Coming from a fine dining background, we wanted to maintain our standards but mold them into a more accessible setting.” The accessibility of the atmosphere extends to the cuisine, which Diamonte describes as honest, fresh, uncomplicated, and accommodating.

Both men agree on their favorite menu item: the squid in a yogurt-chili-mint sauce. And with years of experience working and cooking in New York’s finest restaurants, they insist the greatest ingredient is quality. “Quality of your ingredients, quality of your food, and quality of management,” Diamonte says. “I believe you need all three to be successful.”

Industry Insiders: Trenchermen Brothers Mike and Pat Sheerin, Living Large

When settling on a name for their new restaurant, brothers Mike and Pat Sheerin found a moniker that seemed to embody their own life philosophies: Trenchermen. The term describes hearty eaters and drinkers, but, as Pat explains, "We take that a step further to mean a person who lives life fully." It’s something both know well. Pat, the older of the two brothers, has an extensive background in fine dining, having worked at such acclaimed Chicago restaurants as Everest, Ambria, Naha, and most recently as the executive chef at The Signature Room. Mike is just as prolific, having spent time in the kitchens of New York hot spots Jean Georges, Vong, Lutèce, and  WD~50, But it was back in Chicago when everyone began to take notice of his work as the chef de cuisine at Blackbird, a post he served until 2010, when he left to pursue Trenchermen. In the process of opening their newest restaurant, (which should hit the Chicago scene this spring), Mike and Pat took time to chat about how they got started cooking, what it’s like to work together, and where they opt to grab a bit after a long night in the kitchen.

When did you first get started in the restaurant industry?
Pat: For me, it started long ago. I was lucky enough to get some work at the Taste of Chicago for a company called Shucker’s, which was an old steak[house] with a raw bar out front. We’re talking about 23-24 years ago, though. I kind of caught the bug at that point–I was 12/13 years old and I knew that was what I wanted to do. My parents were smart enough to guide me to go to a four-year school before I went to cooking school so I have my undergrad [degree] from Michigan State in Hospitality Business.
Mike: I did not go to college just because I didn’t really feel like I was ready and I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I had been baking bagels for many years and then I started working as a short-order cook or a prep cook in a restaurant and my brother was like, “Why don’t you try cooking?” so I went to school for it at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pat helped me get my first two jobs.  
Pat: They [Michigan State University] set me up with a six-month internship at Everest and that’s where I caught the fine-dining bug. Being in that environment was a real eye-opener. I realized I needed to go to cooking school. We were breaking down venison, wild game from Scotland, stuff like that there. I went out to New York to go to the French Culinary Institute. I lived in Brooklyn in Brooklyn Heights, just right across the bridge–it was a 25 minute walk to school. It was just fantastic. I went back to [Everest] and spent almost three years there.  I was the poissonier–the fish chef; that’s where Mike and I worked together. He was my veg cook. It was fun. It was interesting, I’m sure, for everybody at times. Some days were a little bit longer than others, to say the least.
 
Would you guys ever butt heads?
Pat: Yeah, we would. Just over stupid stuff or not stupid stuff. It happened, but I think we got past it pretty quickly.  
 
When did you and Mike first start talking in earnest about opening a restaurant together?
Pat: It was close to 10 years ago–maybe a little longer than that. He and I always talked and kept talking about food and just dining in general and ideas [that] we’d bounce off one another. When we got a little bit more serious about it, it was probably two years ago when we started to discuss the idea and work on a business plan. We just kept meeting with people and learning more and more about the process and going to meetings. It can be deflating because you meet all these different people and they’re the ones with the money. Everyone thinks restaurants are extremely risky and you have no idea what you’re doing going into them, but if you have a stable plan and you execute it, I don’t think it’s as risky. It’s making sure you find the right match.  
 
What first prompted you to resume discussions two years ago?
Mike: The truth is, why do people leave the jobs they have before? I was honestly looking for something that was gonna allow me to have ownership and partners as well, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed in the kitchen with people – the collaborative efforts. I wanted to push myself and I wanted my brother Pat to be part of that. [And] to be able not to have guidelines set by somebody else. I wanted to see how far I could think about food and where exactly I wanted to go. You never really know where you can go until you get there. I felt like I had definitely grown and gone further in my culinary career and my ideas but I wanted to go further, I think, than Blackbird wanted.
 
What can you tell me about the concept behind Trenchermen and some of the dishes you’ve been developing on the menu?
Pat: [Our business partners] wanted to make sure we did it right. We were all in agreement that everyone was gonna do what they do best; this is not about holding back. We’re gonna create a restaurant that people either love or hate because we want to make sure it’s defined. It’s a lot of things from the turn-of-the-last-century and some steampunk things to it. Things that–I don’t want to say vintage–are being retrofitted so that they’re purposeful. Nothing’s being used because it looks good; everything’s being used because there’s a purpose for it. It’s functional. We have a great barrel cocktail and tap program that we’re working on with quite a few great beers on tap, as well as ciders and wines on tap and we’re gonna do a carbonated cocktail as well. Kevin [Heisner, one of their business partners] has found a bunch of different old-school taps, but he’s gonna retrofit them so they’re usable for our purposes. The [interior] design has these elements of an old turn-of-the-century factory. We wanted to create a booze-y restaurant, which kind of fits with the moniker of being a trencherman, which is a hearty eater and drinker. We kind of take it a step further to mean a person who lives life fully.
 
What are some of the inspirations menu-wise?
Mike: We want to make delicious food. We want to present familiar flavors in unexpected ways. We really want to bridge what casual fine dining should mean.  For us, casual fine dining [has meant] fine dining atmospheres that have very casual, rustic food. We really want to have a casual atmosphere, but extremely refined food. That means it’s technique-driven, the food is plated beautifully, and it’s obviously very seasonal.  
Pat: I think we draw inspiration from almost everywhere. We’ll take ideas from a mundane concept, [such as] a tri-tip pastrami that’s brined and smoked and cooked sous-vide slow and low. We reverse a sandwich where we make a sauerkraut-flavored gnocchi and then make a broth with gruyere cheese and clarify, and then we make a mustard air. We add soy lecithin to a mustard broth.  t’s familiar flavors presented in an unfamiliar way.
 
How do your two styles complement or clash with one another in the kitchen now that you’re working together again?
Pat: We went in two different directions but they were very parallel, I guess. Mike’s a phenomenal cook and he’s got great ideas. When we talk about our food, how’s it gonna mesh, Mike brings some advanced technical skills to the mix.  
Mike: I think that Pat’s had a different audience than I have had for the last nine years at The Signature Room. He’s also really brought a lot of great things there, such as seasonality and the use of the farmer’s market. I definitely learned that at Blackbird, and he’s influenced me as well. We’re similar in that we really like to push ourselves to do better everyday and try our hardest, always. And where we clash is I think that we’re stubborn and strong-viewed, when we have different ideas and we’re not communicating or clarifying everything. We’re looking for a conversation with each other about all things.
 
Will you have a noisy kitchen?
Pat: It’ll be focused. During service, it won’t be quiet-quiet but it’ll be quiet.
 
What do you guys like to do to unwind after a long day in the kitchen?
Pat: Now that we’re getting a little bit older – we don’t do this as much anymore – but we definitely like going out, going to the late-night spots, having a bite to eat, and socializing with friends in the industry. But I’m married with two young kids so that doesn’t happen very often anymore.
 
Favorite Chicago place to grab a bite when you’re leaving the kitchen?
Pat: If they’re open, I definitely love to go to Avec. That’s one of my favorites. Now that we’re in the neighborhood, I definitely see myself at  The Bristol a little bit more often. I haven’t been there enough but I really like Maude’s Liquor Bar.
Mike: Lately I’ve been going to MingHin in Chinatown because I live on the Southside. They do a chilled beef tendon and tripe salad. The two restaurants I’ve really been digging a lot and I’ve been going to is Nightwood and Lula Cafè. They’re definitely better than ever now.

From Garden to Snifter: Veggies Land in Cocktails Across America

Is that a cucumber in your cocktail or are you just happy to see me? I, for one, am just happy to see the cucumber. With the emergence of ‘vegetails’ (vegetable laden cocktails) popping up on bar menus from coast to coast, the days of ordering a salad might soon go the way of the tape cassette. These days, you can find all the greens you need right in your drink, from walloping tubers to delicate slices of cucumber, and you can bet those veggies come from organic pastures.

Whilst carousing at New York’s Gilt in Midtown East recently, I found myself gleefully swilling chef/mixologist Justin Bogle’s Watermelon Coolers, made with Bulldog Gin, fresh watermelon, and basil. Like a symphony played upon the taste buds, this legume-y libation partied on my palate and went down almost too smoothly. Summer, watermelon, and basil go together like peas and carrots, which decidedly should be Bogle’s next veggie-inspired cocktail. Always an intrepid foodie (and cocktailie), I’d come back for some muddled peas mixed with vodka and a carrot garnish any day. He could call it The Forrest Gump.

Ever since, I’ve been thinking—what else is out there in the vegetails realm, and how deep does this alcoholic spin on the farm-to-table trend really go?

Owner of Williamsburg’s Huckleberry Bar, Stephanie Schneider explains that there are many reasons to use vegetables, fruits, and even meats to create cocktails. She says, “Being in the restaurant business for so many years [Schneider put in time at Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Eleven Madison Park, and Jean Georges before opening Huckleberry Bar in 2007], I saw chefs working with seasonal herbs and vegetables all the time. It’s bringing the same mindset to cocktails. If you’re serving a fennel and blood orange salad, why not make a cocktail with fennel and blood orange juice?”

Huckleberry Bar serves up a bevy of booze, from citrus-infused vodka to rosemary-infused rye to anise hyssop-infused vodka to lovage-infused rum to jalapeño-infused tequila. You name it, they infuse it. Most of their ingredients come directly from the Green Market in Union Square. “You take the fresh herb, shock it with hot water to release the oils, then pour the booze over and let it sit for two to five days,” Schneider explains. Not only does it make for great tasting drinks, but it’s also cost effective. “When you make dinner and you buy tarragon or thyme why not use the leftovers for the drinks? It eliminates waste in a small place like ours by using all parts of the vegetable and animal.” If you ever go to Huckleberry Bar for brunch try the bacon-infused bourbon. But I digress.

Aimee Olexy, co-owner of Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia, maintains a purist mindset when adding herbs and vegetables to cocktails. “One of the things that we do is try to focus on food and then the drink as a result of it,” she says. “We manipulate ingredients but still showcase the liquor. If we’re going to use a pure spirit then what can we do to take some of those inherent flavors and showcase them in a natural way?” The goal of the cocktails at Talula’s is to relax you and get you ready to eat, a precursor to a nice bottle of wine. “People that are drinking good cocktails these days are such foodies that the drinks must reflect some of the flavor profiles of our food,” Schneider adds. “Take the flavor of rum. We think about what characteristic from the farm will make a nice marriage to it. Its woody because it’s aged in oak so honey or a cucumber nuance will bring the flavor out. We want the integrity of the spirit itself to exist by finding something in the garden that will accentuate the taste.”

A house favorite at Talula’s Garden is the Gardner, a classic play on the Mojito. “The fresh mint will bring some more fragrance to this nice vanilla woodsy spirit, making it a little grassy. The use of cucumber, basil, or mint tends to open up your palette far more than juice. This drink literally makes you start to salivate and then you crave food,” Schneider says.

Chef/Mixologist Mariena Mercer of the Chandelier at Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas takes a culinary stance when it comes to her cocktails. “I explore individual roles of the four basic tastes [salty, sour, bitter, and sweet], coalescing them and bringing them into unity,” says Mercer. “The spirit needs to stand out, as does each element.” One of the newest additions to their cocktail menu is the Thai Down, made with Milagro Blanco, Domaine De Canton, strawberry puree, Thai Chili Syrup, and Thai basil leaves. “We eat a lot of Thai food so we wanted to channel the cuisine into the cocktail,” says Mercer. “The Thai basil has strawberry puree, but not in a gratuitous sweet way. It’s all about creating perfect harmony in the drink,” says Mercer

Beverage director Jonathan Baird of Hatfield’s in L.A. agrees wholeheartedly. Baird takes leaps and bounds to concoct myriad mixed creations for their discerning and thirsty clientele. “We base everything on balance,” says Baird. “That is to say, we make sure that you can taste each item that goes into the drink. It’s also about using the freshest ingredients we can get our hands on from the local Farmers’ Markets.”

Baird reveals how it’s done, “For our Cucumber Mint Gimlet we peel and slice the cucumber thin and blend it with an immersion blender instead of steeping the cucumber coins in vodka. This gives the drink more of a cucumber flavor and adds a nice green hue to it.”

Now that fresh herbs and vegetables can be obtained through bar hopping, I may never have to masticate them in salad form again. The veggies in these drinks must counteract the calories from the alcohol (they simply must!). And besides, why expend energy chewing when you can sip your greens and simultaneously get a buzz?

Industry Insiders: Heathe St. Clair, Cow Tipping

Charming Australian Heathe St. Clair is the proprietor of Bondi Road, The Sunburnt Cow, and new Upper West Side outpost, The Sunburnt Calf. He has that jovial, Down Under wit and good spirit, which surely helped him develop a name in New York’s unforgiving hospitality industry after moving across the globe to pursue acting at the Atlantic Theater Company. As a struggling actor, he worked at Isabella’s, Box Tree, Monkey Bar, and The Captain. He also ran an uptown restaurant called Maison. The Calf, as St. Clair calls it, has been open since April 1st. Against expectation, it looks like the Upper West Side was fully ready for the influx of rowdy Australians and all-you-can-drink weekend brunches. More on the new joint after the jump.

Backstory: I came here to study drama. I got an agent and I was going out and auditioning and stuff for a while but at one point I just realized I needed to move on from that. Then I studied martial arts; I had a martial arts business for a while. I taught kickboxing which, you know, sort of doesn’t blend well with the bar business. I didn’t do any bar business for a few years, but it’s always sucked me back in. Always. A friend of mine was involved with marketing Paradou in the meat packing district and they needed someone to come in and help with the wine program, so I started consulting on that. I ended up working there for awhile. By then I was really actively seeking a space for the Sunburnt Cow.

On difficulties of doing business: We’re trying to get our air conditioner turned on, which is a major issue in the city. It’s not easy doing business in New York. Everybody is running very, very slowly, even though this is the fastest city in the world. There are three departments involved in getting an air conditioner turned on and nobody wants to give you an answer.

On the UWS: We found a great space: It’s two floors, a really beautiful space. And we’ve tricked it out pretty nicely. I’m hoping it’s going to work out the way we want it to, but you never know in New York. I have been living up here for months now while I’ve been building this place and there’s nowhere to go out up here, unless you’re a college kid. They’ve got some great frat bars, but you don’t see that good downtown music. We’re trying to bring a bit of that downtown vibe up here, by bringing some of our DJs to play music. I used to get drunk up on the Upper West Side when I worked at Isabella’s fifteen years ago.

On the new menu: I didn’t have a lot of money when I first started the The Sunburnt Cow and we were limited by the space. We didn’t have enough money to put a dishwashing station in so we served food on paper plates. Once we made enough money back, we put in another station and had a dishwasher and plates. But in the beginning, we were serving this amazing gourmet food on paper plates. It went over pretty well, but obviously you don’t want to be doing that forever. When we built Bondi, I had a chance to build the kitchen, so I built it around the menu. For this neighborhood, I think we’re right up there, probably at least 8 bucks cheaper than anybody else. If you visited where I grew up in the Outback of Australia, when you went to a pub, your mom was cooking and dad was serving the beers. And I always stay true to that, but we’ve done a little bit more here.

On All-You-Can-Drink brunch: That’s something I’d like to call my idea, but it’s not. I’ve always made my money working in restaurants and bars, but I always tried not to work on Sundays, to hit up a Sunday brunch. I used to go to drag-queen diner Stingy Lulu’s. They did an all you can drink bar with a transvestite show going on Sundays. I thought, Wow this is a great concept. So when I opened The Cow I was like, I’m gonna do that here. It took me awhile to build it up though. I walked around Tompkins Square Park with baskets full of orange hard-boiled eggs that were stamped with the Sun-Burnt Cow logo and glued to our flyer. I did it everyday for a long time. It took me a couple of years to build it up, but now, all three places are pretty packed.

Ratio of Australians to non-Aussies on staff: Everybody’s Australian. Well, from Australia and New Zealand. We’ve got one New Zealander right now. We take New Zealanders, but we want to try and keep it as authentic as we can. I mean, I sponsor a lot of people to come from Australia. We’re always looking for people that want to get involved. If you show the right spark, you get sponsored, and then there’s a chance to get points in the business and that sort of thing. It’s part of the fun. Someone was just saying that everyone was so friendly and that they have good energy. I mean, it’s not the easiest thing. In Australia, you’re gonna get great food, but in general the service is pretty poor. Sometimes it can be quite hard to find good people. I try to find people who have grown up in the industry. We try to create a good work environment which eventually trickles down to the customer. I think that the important part of management is treating your staff well so they treat your customers and each other well.

On The Cow’s namesake: Bessie. I was a little boy and my mom loved animals. My sister is actually a horse dentist. There were always animals that our mom would rescue. We had this cow and one day it wasn’t around and I was told that it got sunburnt. I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. I believed it, but it turns out we actually ate the cow. I didn’t find out for years. Bessie’s calf was called Bruce and that inspired the name for the new restaurant.

Most popular dish at The Calf: I like the grilled crispy chicken dish. I think that’s going to be really popular. I was actually drunk when I thought of that one. I was sitting at the bar and we were brainstorming back and forth. And I just saw this dish. It came to me and I was like, yeah, we’ve got to do that. And it worked out really well. We put a citrus rub on the chicken and it’s grilled crispy and finished in the oven. It’s served over a terrine of garlic, Portobellos, potatoes, endives, and a fennel puree that holds it together. It’s topped with fava beans and fresh grilled corn.

Go-to places: I quite like Little Branch. There’s a jazz sensation there and the drinks are good. My friends just opened up this place next to The Cow called Summit Bar, a cocktail bar. I love going there. I really enjoy Jean Georges, but I’m a pretty low key guy these days.

Where Celebs Go Out: Green Day, Serena Williams, Dr. Oz, Carla Gugino

Billy Joe Armstrong at the Broadway opening of Green Day’s American Idiot: I don’t have any favorites. I like anywhere and everywhere. I went to go see “Everyday Rapture” last night, and then I went to punk-rock karaoke down on the Lower East Side, it was at Arlene’s Grocery. ● Mike Dirnt: Honestly, I like to meet friends for a nice pint at McSorley’s, the oldest pub in New York. ● Tre Cool: I like to go to Gray’s Papaya at 72nd Street and get cheap hot dogs.

Serena Williams: Oh, I don’t go out too much. I love Mr. Chow in Miami. ● Donald Trump: Only at Trump properties! Jean Georges. ● Carla Gugino: I’m a big fan of Morandi. I just went there for brunch for the first time. And I love a little Mediterrean place called Taim. ● Camryn Manheim: The truth is I like to go to a casino and play some poker in Los Angeles and Vegas. And I love to go to all the places here after the show. Joe Allen, Angus, Bar Centrale. ● Whoopi Goldberg: I don’t go out, but when I am out in the city, I go and get my hot dogs from Gray’s Papaya. Which one? I like all of them. ● Dr. Oz at HealthCorps “Garden of Good and Evil” gala to fight obesity: I like Candle 79 a lot. It’s my favorite vegetarian restaurant. It’s easy to get to, and I love the way they pull together tastes that are unique. And by the way, they supply my food in the green room, for my show. I order out, and Candle 79 caters it. They have a seitan dish and they look like chimichurri. ● Roger Ross Williams: I hang out a lot at Norwood, which is a private club, on 14th Street. It’s a whole brownstone. There’s a restaurant and a number of bars. I live on the Lower East Side, so I hang out there at a lot of different bars. I love restaurants, so sometimes Spotted Pig, Pastis a lot for lunch. Right now, I’m like editing in the Meat Packing District at an edit house, so I’ve been to the Standard a lot. ● Rocco DiSpirito: I still go to Balthazar and Spotted Pig and places like that. I love going to Balthazar and getting a big plateau of fruits de mer, you know the three-level plateau, with a couple of friends and some good white wine. ● Ben Vereen: Koi restaurant. I like the food, the ambiance, and the people.

Where Celebs Go Out: Hilary Duff, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kristin Bell

Martha Stewart at Good Housekeeping‘s 125th anniversary “Shine On” benefit for the National Women’s History Museum – Mmm. I love La Grenouille. I love everything of Jean Georges. I love everything of Daniel. And I love Benoit, right around the corner, yeah. Every one of them has its specialty, of course. If you go to Benoit, you can have the oysters—they’re delicious. The souflees are like the best. And at Grenouille—the frog’s legs.

Hilary Duff – That’s a good one, I have to answer that. In L.A, Giorgio Baldi. ● Meryl Streep – Women’s National History Museum, which is yet-to-be-built on the mall, in D.C. ● Michelle TrachtenbergYerba Buena. ● Kristin Bell – In Los Angeles, Real Food Daily. ● Gayle King – I love Jean Georges and I just discovered Quality Meats the other day on 58th, really good. ● Candice BergenJean Georges at the Mark, at the moment. ● Liz SmithSwifty’s, at Lexington between 72nd and 73rd. It inherited the old Mortimer’s crowd, but it’s smaller. They just have the kind of food I love. I can always find something wonderful to eat there: tuna carpaccio, their little hamburgers, vichysoisse. I like everything they do. ● Carolyn Maloney – I go in my neighborhood—Paola’s, right next door, hot dogs on the street the Four Seasons is always a great restaurant. Every corner has a great restaurant. ● Marlo Thomas: – I love Nello, Bella Blue, Il Mulino, and Primola. I’ve got a million of ’em. ● Phil Donahue – We enjoy Nello and Primola. We’re an east side crowd, so those are two of them. And I don’t get out like I used to, so I don’t have as many to suggest to you. But I hope those two will be fine, and I haven’t hurt their reputation by endorsing them. ● Laura BenantiABC Kitchen. I like Back Forty as well. They’re incredible. Their hamburger is the best in the city. And they’re both all local and organic. ● Anika Noni Rose – Dang it, I just went completely blank! Wait a minute. Give me a second because I love to eat, and I am a restaurant girl. Pio Pio is Peruvian and has the best chicken in the world. It’s on 44th and 10th Avenue. ● Cheryl Tiegs – I live in Los Angeles. The Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge, and MyHouse.

Where Celebs Go Out: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Alan Cumming

At the Date Night premiere: 1. Steve Carell – “Boy! You know what? On the way in, we drove by Shun Lee. My wife and I, when we lived here, we ate there all the time. John’s Pizza was one of our favorite pizza places. Any one, but, certainly, the one in the Village, and I think they opened one up off Times Square. That’s just always good.” 2. Tina Fey – “My favorite restaurant in the world is a restaurant in Chicago, called the Athenaeum Room. Favorite dish? Chicken on french fries.” 3. Taraji P. Henson – “The Little Owl. I went there the other night!” 4. Jimmi Simpson – “Providence, on Melrose, in Los Angeles. Any special dish? The five-course tasting menu.” 5. Carol Alt – “Actually, I like Pure Food and Wine because it’s a raw restaurant. What do you like there? Well, just about everything, but their ice cream is killer! Raw ice cream — unbelievable, unbelievable. I eat at a lot of Japanese places, so I can have raw fish. I’m a raw foodist, so it, kind of, limits.”

6. Common – “I love Café Habana. It’s located on Prince and Elizabeth. I’ve been, consistently, going there. It’s not anything new. I’ve been going there for, like, 10, 11 years. Cuban food; great music. You got to eat the corn. The corn is the best. I like the camarones, too — the shrimp; they’re incredible. I also enjoy a place called Stan’s, in Brooklyn. It’s like Cajun, but new food. It’s like New Orleans, but slash some other feel to it. It’s a great restaurant. I’m a restaurant guy more than a club guy. I like going to the movies different places, like, what’s the one on Houston? The Angelica. I love that.” 7. Serena Williams – “I don’t go to restaurants here, so–.” 8. Jane Krakowski – “Can’t think of any. Sorry!” 9. Shawn Levy – “Well, I’ll go with New York. I like– I ate there last night– Scalinatella, at like 61st and Third, that place underground. I like Nobu. That’s really not surprising. I like Cafe des Artistes, with that great antipasto cafe. Does that give you enough? All right.” 10. Ben Stiller – “Bar Pitti.” 11: Keith Powell – “I live in Brooklyn, and I live in Fort Greene. And in Fort Greene, there’s a restaurant called No. 7. And No. 7 is the most amazing restaurant. The head chef is a guy named Tyler Kord. And he used to be the sous chef for Jean-Georges. And the menu changes every month, and he comes up with the most amazing concoctions, both in terms of drinks and food. It’s wonderful. Anything that man makes is, kind-of, a work of art.”

At the YourSingapore launch in Times Square: 12. Matt Harding – “Oh, my gosh, I’m totally blanking on– I love garlic, so I love The Stinking Rose restaurant in L.A. and San Francisco. They just drench everything in garlic. You’re sick the next day, but it’s fantastic! My favorite restaurant in Seattle– I love Tom Douglas. He’s a Seattle chef. He’s at the Dahlia Lounge. New York, there’s just so many fantastic restaurants, I couldn’t think of one. And Singapore, actually, my favorite place to eat is out on the street. The Hawker markets are fantastic! Where’s your next stop? I’m going home to Seattle, and then maybe to Afghanistan.”

At the NY International Auto Show benefit preview for the East Side House Settlement: 13. Fe Fendi – “I like Le Cirque. It’s like going to a family restaurant for me. For lunch, always Cipriani! Cipriani for lunch — dinner at Le Cirque.

At Dressed to Kilt: 14. Alan Cumming – “Gnocco in the East Village.” 15. Shani Davis – “I live in Chicago. My favorite restaurant — fast food — is Harold’s or, maybe, Portillo’s. I love Giordano’s a lot.” 16. Eric Daman – “I’m a huge fan of the Mercer Kitchen. I love their mac and cheese and their carpaccio sea bass.” 17. Kelly Killoren Bensimon – “My ultimate favorite restaurant is Le Bernardin–Eric Ripert– he catered my wedding. It’s, probably, the most incredible restaurant, actually, in the world. But one of my favorite restaurants is Brinkley’s, which is right around the corner from me. It’s a really, really, cool, fun bar, and one of my friends that went to Trinity — ’cause I went to Trinity — went there, so I go there a lot. Any favorite dish anywhere? Wherever– whatever– I like to explore and have fun with the menu. I really, really like and what they’re making is more exciting than just for me to sit there and be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll have rice and vegetables. This is really fun.’ I’d rather have someone make something and be creative.” 18. Al Roker – “Oh, golly! That’s like asking, ‘What’s your favorite kid?’! If it’s Italian, it would be Girasole or Fresco. If it’s a steak place, it would, probably, be Ben Benson’s or across the river, Peter Luger’s.” 19. Nigel Barker – “Del Posto. I love that place. I used to go there on dates all the time. My favorite pub is Dublin 6 in the West Village. It’s my old, local Irish place — D6. And Barbuto is another favorite of mine. It’s not as upscale. It’s, kind of, in between the two. It’s on Washington.” 20. Donald Trump Jr. – “Wow, that’s a — in New York, there’s really no shortage of great restaurants, but, I guess it depends what food we’re going for. If we’re going formal, Jean-Georges is good; Le Cirque is good. If we’re going low-key, there’s a lot of great ones lying around. We’re opening up a great one on Friday — Quattro — in our hotel down in SoHo that’s going to be opening, so a little bit of a Miami, downtown flair.”

Promoting Burlesque to Broadway: 21. Quinn Lemley – One of my favorites is Maloney & Porcelli. They have a great wine dinner that’s all inclusive, and wonderful steaks and oysters. There’s a new Academia del Vino that’s up on Broadway and 89th. It’s where Docks used to be. They have a great wine bar and wonderful food. It’s the same people that have Cesca— it’s that restaurant group. And it’s very happening. It’s so exciting to see something on the Upper West Side above 86th Street.

At Our Family Wedding: 22. Mark Indelicato – “I like to go to places that aren’t mainstream chain restaurants. Sometimes, I’m just walking down the street with friends, and we see like this small, little cafe, and we just go in. Don’t even know the name of it, don’t know what it’s about, but I just like the small, boutique restaurants, like Alice’s Teacup here on the Upper West Side. It’s small and not a lot of people know about it, but it’s still really cool.”