Where Celebs Go Out: America Ferrera, Harvey Keitel, Hope Davis

At the premiere of Our Family Wedding:

● AMERICA FERRERA – “My favorite restaurant of the moment is Broadway East, on the Lower East Side.” ● CHARLIE MURPHY – “I’ve been going to this Mexican restaurant in New Jersey. I think it’s called El Torito, whatever. That’s one of them. I go to so many restaurants. This is what I want to explain, so no one’s insulted. I’m on the road 48 weeks of the year in different towns, and I go to a lot of restaurants, so to ask me what my favorite restaurant is, is kind of a hard question to answer. I like going to Baja Fresh in L.A.” ● GRETCHEN ROSSI – “In Newport Beach, it’s Flemings. It’s a steakhouse, and I eat the steak and potatoes and everything that you can imagine on the menu. But I just eat small portions, so that you get a taste of everything.”

● LANCE GROSS – “I love Tao here in New York. I don’t get to New York a lot, but the Cafeteria. I love the Cafeteria. I do all the nightclubs. I don’t even know the names. I just go into them.” ● REGINA KING – “Right now, I’m really loving Osteria Mozza in L.A., Mario Batali’s restaurant. It’s so funny because where he opened was a place in L.A. that there’s been four restaurants that tried to make it there; came; spent a lot of money; closed down. And he has been booming, banging with business, and rightfully so. So, if you go and get the oxtail ragu — oh, my God! Hah! It is so good, and mmmm, the pizza next door is even better, because it’s Nancy Silverton from La Brea Bakery making the dough. I love to eat, clearly.” ● PRAS – “Geez! Right now it’s gotta be Dylan Prime. That’s in my neighborhood. Every time I’m out of town, I always take a trip back to Dylan. I feel like I’ve landed back home. Do you like steak? I love — I’m a big meat eater, despite all the things they tell you about eating charred beef.”

At the opening of A Behanding in Spokane on Broadway:

● HARVEY KEITEL – “A candy store in Brighton Beach, in Brooklyn. It was called Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves.” ● ANTHONY MACKIE – “Hey, book that is black! I love to go down to STK. One of my very favorite restaurants is Three Sisters, on Madison and 124th — the best Caribbean food you can find in New York. ● JENNIFER MORRISON – “I have had no chance to discover that yet because we just opened last night. Where in L.A.? I love Madeo restaurant. We eat there all the time. Dan Tana’s, some of the usual spots. I’m a huge fan of spaghetti and meat sauce. It’s my weakness, anywhere I go.” ● ZOE KAZAN – “I love your magazine! I haven’t been going to a lot of bars or clubs lately. I’ve been going to theater hangouts, like the West Bank Cafe or Bar Centrale. In my neighborhood, I love Buttermilk Channel, which is a restaurant in Cobble Hill or Frankie’s 457. I like the fried chicken at Buttermilk Channel.” ● MARTIN MCDONAGH – “Angus McIndoe.” ● HUGH JACKMAN – “Oh, c’mon!”

● DANA IVEY – “I don’t want to give it away ’cause too many people will go there. I don’t want to say because it’ll be infiltrated by everybody, and I won’t get a seat! No, but Joe Allen’s is always good. That’s one of my faves. Oh, they have this great, great salad that I really, really like — trevisano, something, I can’t remember, but that’s what I get every time.” ● HOPE DAVIS –Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn.” ● JOAN HAMBURG – “You mean in this neighborhood? I love to go to Orso’s. Oh, I like a lot of places. I like Blue Hill downtown. I got a list!” ● SARAH PAULSON – “One of them is a secret. I don’t want anybody else to know about it, so I won’t talk about that place. I love a place called Café Cluny, on 12th Street and West 4th Street, down in the Village. Any favorite dish? The burger and the Cluny. It’s a giant martini, which is always really good. I’m, kind of, like a person who only goes to places that are in the neighborhood I happen to be standing in, in the moment, which is what’s so great about New York — you’re bound to turn around and hit something great.” ● MARCIA GAY HARDEN – “Oh, God, we never go out. Honestly, we don’t go out. Our living room, our kitchen, our dining room. What about in L.A.? Oh, God, I wouldn’t say L.A. before New York! I couldn’t possibly say L.A. before New York. Okay, wait! We like Settepani in Harlem. We love Orso. We love Orso.” ● STACY KEACH – “It’s a tough one, isn’t it? There’s so many. Joe’s restaurant in Venice. Everything is good, but I, particularly, like steak ‘n eggs, yeah. In New York, there’s so many wonderful restaurants, and we just got here. And every time I come back to New York, I discover new places, so I’m hesitant to give you names of places.” ● PABLO SCHREIBER – “The old standards are the — what’s the place over here on 46th where we go after the show? It’s right above Joe Allen’s. Yeah, I, always forget the name of it ’cause they have no sign. [That would be Bar Centrale. -ed] That’s my favorite place for after-dinner drinks. I went to a great Greek restaurant last night, called Molyvos, on 7th Avenue between 55th and 56th. That place was pretty delicious. I had the whole fish. It was a black sea bass, and they did it perfectly. I’m a father of a 16th-month-old kid, so I don’t get out much these days.” ● DAVID HYDE PIERCE – “No, I don’t have any. I don’t have a lot of places to talk about like that.” ● LILY RABE – “I love Maialino. It’s in the Gramercy Park Hotel. It just opened. It’s amazing. Yes, it’s really good. And I love Café Cluny. Morandi. Those are my favorite places to eat. And the Breslin is also really incredible. The Breslin has this pork belly that’s one of the most memorable things I’ve ever eaten in the city.” ● JULIE TAYMORE –Craft, Maialino, Bobby Flay’s restaurant Mesa Grill.” ● TOM WAITS – “Oh, gee, I eat at home. I eat at home.” ● PAUL DANO – “Eton’s — it’s a dumpling place in Brooklyn. Po. Franny’s — all Brooklyn.” ● ANTHONY ANDERSON – “I really don’t hang out much in New York because of the work schedule that we have. But when I do, I find myself having a drink at Tillman’s. My favorite eatery would have to be Abe & Arthur’s.” ● GRIFFIN DUNNE – “I’m mostly upstate these days, so I’ve got little holes up there that I hit, in Duchess County. What do I want to plug? Gigi’s, an Italian restaurant — very, very good. I think that’s in Rhinebeck, yeah.”

Where Celebs Go Out: Harvey Keitel, Anthony Mackie, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Morrison

1. Harvey Keitel at the opening of A Behanding in Sokane on Broadway: “A candy store in Brighton Beach, in Brooklyn. It was called Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves.” 2. Anthony Mackie: “Hey, book that is black! I love to go down to STK. One of my very favorite restaurants is Three Sisters, on Madison and 124th — the best Caribbean food you can find in New York. 3. Jennifer Morrison: “I have had no chance to discover that yet because we just opened last night. Where in L.A.? I love Medeo Restaurant. We eat there all the time. Dan Tana’s, some of the usual spots. Any favorite dishes? I’m a huge fan of spaghetti and meat sauce. It’s my weakness, anywhere I go, so …”

4.Zoe Kazan: “I love your magazine! I haven’t been going to a lot of bars or clubs lately. I’ve been going to theater hangouts, like the West Bank Cafe or Bar Centrale. In my neighborhood, I love Buttermilk Chanel, which is a restaurant in Cobble Hill or Frankie’s 457. I like the fried chicken at Buttermilk Chanel.” 5. Martin McDonagh: “Angus McAndoes.” 6. Hugh Jackman: “Oh, c’mon!” 7. Dana Ivey: “I don’t want to give it away ’cause too many people will go there. I don’t want to say because it’ll be infiltrated by everybody, and I won’t get a seat! No, but Joe Allen’s is always good. That’s one of my faves. Oh, they have this great, great salad that I really, really like — trevisano, something, I can’t remember, but that’s what I get every time.” 8. Hope Davis: “Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn.” 9. Joan Hamburg: “You mean in this neighborhood? I love to go to Orso’s. Oh, I like a lot [of places]. I like Blue Hill downtown. I got a list!” 10. Sarah Paulson: “One of them is a secret. I don’t want anybody else to know about it, so I won’t talk about that place. I love a place called Cafe Cluny, on 12th Street and West 4th Street, down in the Village. Any favorite dish? The burger and the Cluny. It’s a giant martini, which is always really good. I’m, kind of, like a person who only goes to places that are in the neighborhood I happen to be standing in, in the moment, which is what’s so great about New York — you’re bound to turn around and hit something great.” 11. Marcia Gay Harden: “Oh, God, we never go out. Honestly, we don’t go out. Our living room, our kitchen, our dining room. What about in L.A.? Oh, God, I wouldn’t say L.A. before New York! I couldn’t possibly say L.A. before New York. Okay, wait! We like Settepani in Harlem. We love Orso. We love Orso.” 12. Stacy Keech: “It’s a tough one, isn’t it? There’s so many. Joe’s restaurant in Venice [California]. Everything is good, but I, particularly, like steak ‘n eggs, yeah. In New York, there’s so many wonderful restaurants, and we just got here. And every time I come back to New York, I discover new places, so I’m hesitant to give you names of places.” 13. Pablo Schreiber: “The old standards are the — what’s the place over here on 46th where we go after the show? It’s right above Joe Allen’s. Yeah, I, always forget the name of it ’cause they have no sign. [Bar Centrale] That’s my favorite place for after-dinner drinks. I went to a great Greek restaurant last night, called Molyvos, on 7th Avenue between 55th and 56th. That place was pretty delicious. I had the whole fish. It was a black sea bass, and they did it perfectly. I’m a father of a 16th-month-old kid, so I don’t get out much these days.” 14. David Hyde Pierce: “No, I don’t have any. I don’t have a lot of places to talk about like that.” 15. Lily Rabe: “I love Maialino. It’s in the Gramercy Park Hotel. It just opened. It’s amazing. Yes, it’s really good. And I love Cafe Cluny. Morandi. Those are my favorite places to eat. And The Breslin is also really incredible. And the Breslin has this pork belly that’s one of the most memorable things I’ve ever eaten in the city.” 16. Julie Taymor: “Craft, Maialino, Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Mesa Grill.” 17. Tom Waits: “Oh, gee, I eat at home. I eat at home.” 18. Paul Dano: “Eton’s– it’s a dumpling place in Brooklyn. Po; Franny’s — all Brooklyn.” 19. Anthony Anderson: “I really don’t hang out much in New York because of the work schedule that we have. But when I do, I find myself having a drink at Tillman’s. My favorite eatery would have to be Abe & Arthur’s.” 20.Griffin Dunne: “I’m mostly upstate these days, so I’ve got little holes up there that I hit, in Duchess County. What do I want to plug? Gigi’s, an Italian restaurant — very, very good. I think that’s in Rhinebeck, yeah.”

NYC Celebs: Where Do You Go Out?

imageAt the opening of Hair on Broadway, March 31:

● ROSIE O’DONNELL: We have just little local ones in our neighborhood that we go to, but we don’t really “hang out,” you know. I mean, we have four kids under the age of 13. You don’t really hang out a lot, when that happens. You know, the local Irish pub in our town, the OBI or the Casa del Sol, the Mexican restaurant. You know, there’s some kid-friendly places that we go — we’re kinda dull.

● TIM ROBBINS: Oh, uh, yeah — I’m tryin’ to think of someone that needs help right now. [laughs] A lot of people are hurtin’ with this economy. I can’t, I can’t — I don’t go out much. No, I don’t go to bars. We like Basta Pasta on 17th Street — great food. It’s an Italian restaurant run by Japanese people. Pasta with the cheese — they put it into a big wheel of cheese, and it’s really yummy.

● GINNIFER GOODWIN: Oh, I’ll give you LA. My favorite restaurant is this little spot called Vegan Glory, in a strip mall on Beverly. They have the most phenomenal tacos. Are you a vegan? I am, and that’s where I get my taco fix. I recommend the faux beef tacos — absolutely!

● TOVAH FELDSHUH: It’s not that extraordinary. I like to go to Orso, ’cause it’s right next to the theater. I love to go to the Harvard Club, where we’re members. I love to go to Daniel. Oh, my god, Bouley — way downtown; it’s brand new; it’s extraordinary. I went there for one lunch. I love little Chez Josephine, when I’m playing 42nd Street — Restaurant Row — I love to do Jean-Claude at Chez Josephine. You know, I go to the places that patronize me, that are good to me, and that are easy on me. Sardi’s always takes care of me — I always have their steamed vegetables and tofu ’cause I’m dieting. I love the bread — the extraordinary, very, very, thin, paper-thin bread, that’s garlic and thyme, at Orso’s. I love the Harvard Club ’cause they know me. I’ve been a member all my life, through my father, my husband, and my son. I love The Ivy restaurant in London. I eat there a lot. And I love The Ivy in Los Angeles, on Melrose. And I love The Wolseley in London. It’s fantastic. It was an old bank, like tonight [Gotham Hall], an old bank.

At the Lymelife premiere, Gen Art Film Festival, April 1:

● JILL HENNESSEY: I love the question. God, there’s so many. There’s a new place that opened up called The Charles — John DeLucie’s the owner. Oh, Tillman’s, one of my favorites. I think Leslie Bernard is the owner. Irving Mill, which my husband and I are partners in — it was rated as having the best burger in New York City, and one of the best new chefs, great bar. But Tillman’s — Leslie Bernard owns another place called Mr. Jones on 14th Street. It’s like this 1960s James Bond world that you suddenly walk into, with the best yakitori, food, and incredible drinks. Very sexy, very hip.

ALEC BALDWIN: I’m not a drinker, but my favorite bar to hang out in is the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, Long Island, ’cause it’s just a great, great, old room. It’s a great space.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Lesly Bernard, Yakitori, and the Penguin Joke

imageLesly Bernard (see part one of interview) and I once opened a place called Peace down on Bleecker Street. There were a few investors, and we didn’t see any money, as it was short-lived. The whole buildout cost about fifty grand. Hell — I think we painted vinyl furniture we found on the street. Walter Vee was our DJ, and he promoted a little too — and as my old pal Arthur would say, “It was a hit!” Everybody came, and in its brief run, it was the best joint in town. As I said, it didn’t last long. I think the landlord had other plans for the space, but what we did impressed him, so later on he hired me to run the new club he built in that space. It was called Life, but anyway, back to Peace. I came in late one Saturday night as I still had obligations over at the Palladium, and Walter Vee introduced me to a pretty blonde gal at the bar. He asked me to tell her my famous penguin joke, and so I did. The small crowd lost it at the punchline, and she begged me to tell it again to her boyfriend John. I agreed, and John was brought over, and I started to tell my joke, but after the second or third line I realized that John was John John Kennedy, and the pretty blonde gal was Darryl Hannah, and I became a babbling idiot.

Even a guy who hung regularly with uber-celebs was stunned by the kid I saw saluting the coffin of his father. A few weeks later I noticed the couple waiting on line with the crowd at coat check at the Palladium. I checked their coats for them (the only coats I’ve ever checked). They thanked me quietly — either they didn’t recognize me or were maybe afraid I’d tell another joke. If you see me around. ask me. and I’ll tell you the world-famous penguin joke … or not. Meanwhile, back to my interview with Lesley Bernard.

You made a transition. You were this great promoter — my right hand at Palladium. Do you consider yourself a promoter now? I call myself a producer.

And you decided to get into restaurants. Was it an age thing? I decided I didn’t want to promote anymore. I was tired; it was a combination of that and the lack of creativity that I could put into it.

Thursday is my favorite night, and you’ve always had a lot of success with that night. What does Thursday mean? Why Thursday? Actually, in those days I was doing a party almost every night, but Thursday was the anchor. On Thursday night in those days, people went out; people went out every night of the week, but Thursday was the hottest night because anyone who was worth their salt was probably doing something entrepreneurial. In those days, the guys that filled the clubs were the artists, writers, and photographers; it wasn’t the yuppies that clubs are full of now. So on Friday they weren’t working. You were your own boss; nobody was looking over your shoulder, so Friday if you went in hungover, who gave a shit?

So one day you woke up and nightclubs weren’t filling you anymore, so you decided to be a restaurateur? I didn’t know what I was going to do.

So how you became a restaurateur? I stopped doing promotions and nightclubs, which was my second life. My first life had been finance, after I graduated from Georgetown, then I did the whole promotions thing. After awhile, I realized that I didn’t want to promote anymore, and I didn’t want to go back to banking, so I lived in San Francisco for awhile until I got a call from one of my idols, Keith McNally. He said, “Hey Lesly, I’m opening up a couple of places and I’d love for you to come back and do them for me.” So I came back, and he had just signed the lease for Pravda, and he was thinking about signing the lease on Balthazar.

You made Pravda hot. Yeah, Pravda’s still running, and Clementine ran for seven years. The places that I do stick around, they don’t disappear. Clementine was sort of a knee-jerk reaction to all the French bistros; there’s more French bistros here than in all of Paris. As a Haitian guy I love Americana — it’s so sexy to me — so Clementine was my homage to Americana. This is what I love now, maybe because I’m older, but sometimes I don’t want to be in a restaurant — most of my place are not restaurants, they are places with great food, great service, great ambiance, but they’re not restaurants.

So your work with Keith led you to open your own places? Yes, I came back and worked with Keith, and he’s a genius. I can talk to him for ten minutes on the phone, and I’m going to learn something for nine of those minutes. When he’s snoring, I’m taking notes! I learned so much from him, and after I worked with him, I decided that I could do this — I couldn’t do Keith, but I could do Lesly Bernard. So now I have Tillman’s and Mr. Jones, and I’m opening up three more places in New York. The Village Tart will open in about four weeks on Mulberry, and it’s going to be an adult desert café lounge: frozen yogurt, gelatos, great savory tarts, and other deserts. Then Premier Brunch will be on First Avenue later on.

Tell me about Tillman’s. Tillman’s is a sort of slice as Harlem; it’s my love of Americana, and what’s more American than Harlem or jazz? What I love about the Black-American culture is the richness and the soul. Its sort of gotten usurped by the T.I.’s and that whole crowd, but there’s so much more to it. I wanted to build this soulful little piece of Harlem, and as a result, when you come to Tillman’s, you’re going to see a crowd that you don’t see in New York anymore; a real mix. Even on Mondays, I have cool, funky, live music playing.

I have this theory that places don’t get tired; I think that the energies of the people who run them get tired. I think that a place can run forever. The new guys, they don’t know what work is. They think work is to surround themselves with girls and sit at a table. You will never catch me doing that. You’ll never catch me in my restaurant sitting down. I’m always working, and I tell this to my staff also — it’s a service industry, whether it’s a nightclub or a restaurant. They’re the waiters, but I’m the headwaiter. I’m there to cater to my clientele, so you’ll never see me sitting down with a bottle like a big shot. I have to make sure that my guests are taken care of … I’m just a glorified waiter, and that’s what’s lost in our industry now. Take bottle service for example — the one thing wrong with bottle service is that there’s no service. They slap the thing down, and then they walk away.

The not-so-great model drops the bottle, and that’s called service. And then they want 20 percent tip!

So I’m having dinner with you here at Mr. Jones, and I love the food. Can you explain what it is? I’m proud of this place. The funny thing is that in Japan, yakitori is very commonplace; it’s on every street corner; but in New York, most people only know sushi. In Japan, yakitori is street food, and I fell in love with it. The thing about yakitori is that the Japanese love their cocktails, so it’s basically drinking food. They have these light portions so they can drink more.

And you have two of the best bartenders in the city. They’re the sickest guys in New York. When I built Pravda with Keith, originally it was going to be a vodka bar, but I pushed for this cocktail thing. At the time, in downtown New York, in any club you went to, the fight was whether you were going to have an Absolut and tonic or a Stoli and tonic. That’s what people drank, but I thought we needed something softer, more feminine, because I was always more about the ladies. So I started doing cocktails at Pravda with Keith, and when I opened up Clemetine I created a whole other slew of cocktails: sidecars, mojitos etc. I sort of made mojito a word in Manhattan. If you look at old articles about Clementine, they would say, “They served this Cuban drink called mojito.” Pravda and Clementine spearheaded the whole downtown cocktail culture.

New York: Top 5 Old-School Bars

imageGlimpse the city as it was before fauxhawks, metrosexuality, and that internets thing.

1. The Campbell Apartment at Grand Central (Midtown East) – Former private office hidden in GCT with flapper-clad staff delivering expert shakers. 2. Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel (Upper East Side) – Named after Madeline creator Ludwig, whose murals enliven one of Manhattan’s classiest drinking experiences. 3. Ear Inn (Soho) – Geek-boy film crews and UPS workers in their fly brown shorts both agree on super- old, super-dark tavern.

4. Old Town Bar (Flatiron) – Oasis of Chicago in Union Square, proudly lubricating the locals since 1892. 5. Tillman’s (Chelsea) – Golden Age Harlem scene schooling us in smooth and sexy.

Good Night Mr. Lewis: Meeting Your Halloween Eggspectations

At midnight or so tonight, I will waddle out onto the great stage of Webster Hall, where legends have performed, dressed as fat, old Elvis, and co-judge the annual 5000 costume contest with their favorite virgin-to-be-sacrificed, Shane. Last year they had Ron Jeremy but it went too long, the contest length I mean. Where Sinatra or Johnny Cash or U2 rank among the greatest acts who have hit that stage over the last 140 years, I’m sure my performance will rank amongst the worst.

I’ve been asked by many to provide a list of options for my favorite night out, Halloween, and first of all I must recommend the parade. I try to walk it every year but then again, I spend my New Year’s in Times Square. Ha, you say, ha! Well I’m not the only one who chooses this option. I am always among like a million people and I always have a blast. There are a couple of other events I’ve been endorsing. I like the idea of Lucky Strike Lanes, where Danny A, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss will host. The vision of peeps bowling with Sarah Palin masks or pirate costumes puts a smile on my face. For cool, cool, cool fun, I’ll recommend Lesly Bernard’s (of Tillman’s and Mr. Jones fame) soiree at 640 W. 28th street. It may be the only time of the year where the beautiful and fast set over at 1Oak, will be accessible via a great effort with a costume. Most club people loathe Halloween. Costumes hide the faces of people that have been 86’d. Security guards have to be careful of swords or clubs and such, that are a little too real. Doormen have a hard time judging who they are letting in, and checking an ID is sometimes problematic. It’s generally considered to be an amateur night by all.

I remember standing in front of my club, The World, one Halloween night dressed in a black tuxedo with a bat bow tie–my pre-old Elvis staple –when a group of kids started tossing eggs at the front door from the 6th floor roof of the building across the street. While security scrambled upstairs to…alter their chosen costume and facial expressions, I watched the eggs raining towards us from above. The crowd and door staff all scrambled as the eggs hit and splattered them in rapid succession. I figured all I had to do was stand in place real suave like, a la James Bond, and track each egg as it came. I would, I figured, just take a few calm steps left or right and I’d be safe and ultra cool too. Well then came “the egg.” As it cleared the rooftop I could see that it was going to come close to me. “Wow, what a great shot,” I thought. Then, “Wow, it’s coming right at my nose.” “Wow, I’m going to stay cool…I mean what are the odds?” Then, “Wow, it’s coming right at my nose.” Finally, “Wow, I’m not going to panic!” But then I panicked and moved at the last second. The egg nipped my ear and splattered on the wall behind me. My security then arrived on the roof, and explained to the young perps, in the language of the day, that what they had done was a bad thing—a very bad thing. They were persuaded never to do such a bad thing again, and something tells me they never did. Meanwhile, I had a very sore ear and the back of my tux was a yoke. It took a very good dry cleaner a very long time to save that suit. My cool recovered around the same time.