This Week’s New York Happenings: Reynard, Lucky Strike Lanes, Sanctuary Ultra Lounge

WEDNESDAY: Dinners With Benefits
Andrew Tarlow’s Nouveau American hit Reynard is bringing more star power to the house. Starting this Wednesday, food and wine friends will be staying over (there’s the whole Wythe Hotel attached to the restaurant after all) to pitch in on fine dining in an event known as "Dinner With Friends." This week’s collaborative dinner sees chef Chris Fischer of Martha’s Vineyard joining forces with Andrew Mariani of Sonoma’s Scribe Winery. Lobster and bone marrow, anyone?
Dinner With Friends at the Wythe Hotel launches Wednesday night at Reynard (80 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg). Meals are $125 and include wine pairings, with seatings this week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. To learn more about the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

TUESDAY: DIY DJ
If you’ve got the itch to scratch, get yourself down to Lucky Strike Lanes for a Tuesday night throwdown. Competitors will be picked at random for pointers from Scratch DJ Academy, followed by judging from turntable pros. Bulldog will be pouring free gin.
Check-in for the contest is between 7pm and 8pm tomorrow night at Lucky Strike (624-660 W. 42nd St., Midtown West). To learn more about the bowling alley, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

SUNDAY: Sports Haven
The Sanctuary Hotel celebrates Super Bowl Sunday by kicking off their new sports lair: Sanctuary Ultra Lounge. Sibling spot HAVEN hosts a tailgate on the roof. Russian Standard models (and vodka) accompany the game downstairs.
Sanctuary Ultra Lounge (132 W. 47th St., Midtown West) opens Sunday, February 3rd. To learn more about the bar, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

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Reynard’s Desiree Tuttle Works Pastry Magic

Desiree Tuttle, the pastry sous chef at Reynard in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has a tattoo of a croissant under her left ear. “Croissants are my jam, I love croissants,” she explained the other morning as she sliced one in half. “Most people don’t do this, they just bite right into the side or something. But you can see all these laminations—each one is a layer we put in there by hand.” Indeed, there’s an incredible geometry to it, like the rings on a sequoia. “It’s actually really hard to do, because we use this organic butter that’ll shingle if it doesn’t laminate properly. Then you won’t get those distinct croissant qualities, like the flaky layers.” 

At twenty years old, she might be less precocious were she doing this elsewhere. Namely, anywhere but Andrew Tarlow’s esteemed new farm-to-table restaurant in the Wythe Hotel. But for more reasons than one—e.g. having spent nearly two years in San Francisco doing double-duty at Waterbar and Farallon under James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Emily Luchetti—she seems to be right where she belongs. And in a sense, all this was a long time coming.
 
“When I was ten, we started going to my grandpa’s farm in Maine. We’d go out and pick all this corn, and flats and flats of strawberries. I made jam with my aunt and she made this little label with my name on it and my face and I jarred it and brought it back to California—it was so awesome! It makes such a difference—it tastes so much different when you can see where the food is coming from and you’re doing it yourself.” 
 
Otherwise, her own home in San Diego lacked for inspiration. “My mom doesn’t have a culinary bone in her body.” Afternoons at the babysitter’s house meant an occasional episode of Emeril. “Half the time, I didn’t really understand what was going on, I was just so enthralled with how excited he got about food and how excited people were to see what he was doing with it.” 
 
By eighteen, she’d won a scholarship to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco through a competition. “You were given an hour and a half and a whole chicken. And I was like, I don’t know how to break down a chicken, I’ve never done that! I was looking up YouTube videos of these Asian women teaching you how to break down a chicken.” She showed up with a borrowed knife (“my mom didn’t believe in having sharp objects in the house”) and a couple of her grandparents’ recipes in mind, and wound up beating out the other nine finalists with an almond-crusted chicken breast, baby sweet carrots, and lemon-and-herb baked red potatoes. “I cooked my chicken to an appropriate temperature without killing people,” she told me through a wry grin. 
 
Nine months later, she was logging hours with Luchetti and executive chef Mark Franz over at Farallon, then skipping down to Waterbar, another project of the Bay Area powerhouse of Franz and Pat Kuleto. But it wasn’t more than a year and a half before Erin Kanagy-Loux, her former instructor in school and the head pastry chef of soon-to-be-open Reynard, gave her a tug. “In San Francisco, I was learning so much and I was so excited to be in the places I was, but I was ready for more responsibility. I was coming up with menu items, but wasn’t in a position to push them because I was only a cook. Erin gave me an opportunity where I’m not only learning how to manage, but I’m in a position to grow creatively.” 
 
At Reynard, Tuttle’s skill and curiosity folds well into Tarlow’s overall philosophy. His full line, from Marlow & Sons to Diner, is meticulous about its use of local ingredients and full animals—its retail wing, Marlow Goods, features a full line of leather goods made from the same body as that steak. 
 
“Erin and I actually just went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and we met with the farmers that we’re getting all our produce from. It hit home as well because it felt like I was getting to be with my family again. It was great to see where we’re getting all this beautiful fruit from and the (Amish) people who are putting in that work.”
 
Beyond the croissants, the pastry menu is stacked from morning ’til close. The vegan chocolate sorbet, made with Mast Bros. Papua New Guinea beans, was the densest thing I’ve ever tasted. “In Papua New Guinea, because of the flash floods, they have to dry the beans over a fire instead of on the ground, which is what gives it that smoky richness.” A menu that changes daily features fennel ice cream, sweet corn pudding cake with salted caramel corn and olive oil ice cream, and chocolate layer cake with mascarpone cream and almond-tea dacquoise. 
 
But as demanding as the day may be, they still won’t serve her a drink after work. “I’m not a partier. I want to go wine tasting for my twenty-first. I’m working on expanding my palate and being able to read notes, on wine and coffee specifically, because you should know every spectrum of the food world, not just your department.” Indeed, next up for Reynard is a curated set of coffee-and-pastry pairings that she’s working on with their barista.  
 
She’s an extremely careful speaker. After I’d ask her a question, she’d wait a good moment or take a bite of croissant first, the way someone much older might, had I asked them something ontological. Her age isn’t something she cares to flaunt. “I don’t think age changes judgment. I think you’re born with a good sense of judgment, and either you have it or you don’t.” 
 
While pleased with the success of her career so far, Tuttle has her sights on the mecca of sweet desserts. 
 
“In five years, I need to be in Paris working for a baker. Christophe Vassuer is an expert French baker I would kill to work under. Just to be there, and know that’s where it all started.” Surely that time will come.

Drink and Get High at New York’s Newest Rooftop Bars

Instead of grassy eco-roofs, the latest crop of new hotels is planting bars up top. Maybe they’re there to evade air rights litigation. More likely it’s that bars are more fun—and more profitable—than plants. Either way, it’s that time of year again. The namesake pool at La Piscine, the bar and grill atop Chelsea’s Americano, is purportedly for guests only, but why swim when you can eat and drink? A special elevator carries patrons up ten floors. The Mexico D.F.-based management likes the crowd to lean Latin, so work on your mezcalito and caipirinha pronunciations.

Down at Battery Park’s new Conrad Hotel (as in Conrad Hilton, of Mad Men season three cameo fame), the rooftop bar Loopy Doopy is already a draw for financial fellows and the rest of the fun percent. The bar takes its name from one of Sol LeWitt’s massive gouache murals hanging inside the hotel. Atop the sixteenth floor you’ve got views of the city’s glass behemoths, and across the Hudson, there’s New Jersey.

Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel joins the rooftop bar club with The Ides Bar, run by the same duo behind the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant Reynards. Six stories up, the furnishings are minimal, but the craft beer and specialty cocktail list is extensive. Out-of-towners staying on the Brooklyn side of the river should make for a crew worth mingling with. What are hotel bars for, if not chatting up new faces? If nothing else, prime views of the Financial District will keep you occupied. So get up on a roof and drink. And bring sunscreen and shades, because you’re that much closer to the sun.

New York Opening: Wythe Hotel

A new book by Jack Hitt tipped me off to an anecdote from 1778, wherein Ben Franklin visits the palace of Louis XVI to ask for support for the Revolutionary Army. He shows up at the gates wearing not the powdered wig and frilly sleeves customary to Versailles, but a coonskin cap and a brown fringe jacket a la Daniel Boone. Ben was hammin’ it up for the Frenchies, playing the colonial fool. When we talk of restoring our country to what the founders intended, we should look to Franklin, forefather of irony, original snarker. Now ask, what could be more in line with the history of American cheek, circa 2012, than a posh hotel in a gutted Williamsburg factory? One with XL twin bunk beds, each outfitted with mini TVs. 

The new Wythe Hotel’s “Band Rooms” come in 4 and 6 person arrangements. The option is pragmatic: you don’t want to share a bed with someone, just the cost of a room; square footage in desirable neighborhoods is pricey, bunk beds are efficient; and if you’re young and vivacious, you should be out at Brooklyn Bowl or the Brooklyn Brewery, not sleeping. The Wythe does, of course, offer plenty of luxe options for those with bad backs and thick wallets. They didn’t invent the bunk thing, either—they’re keeping in line with the Ace Hotel/Bowery House/Pod/Nu Hotel tradition of waxing nostalgic for the less-is-more, rustic-cabin-meets-freshman-dorm aesthetic. 

The appeal of bunks mat extend well beyond the rational. Novelty is fun. It flatters the imagination. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little pastiche, especially if it keeps you away from the sterility of a Hilton Garden Inn. If anyone wants to scoff at a band of bearded fellows in ironic getups walking into the lobby of this Williamsburg palace, at least recognize that these hipsters are, historically, in pretty good company.