City Grazing: 9.24.08


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Coffee lovers will be excited to hear the folks at Ninth Street Espresso have just opened up a new branch. The new Tompkins Square café (341 E. 10th St., betw. Aves. A and B) will continue the trend of producing six to eight new single-origin coffees every week, dealing exclusively with Stumptown roasters. Owner Ken Nye says that the macchiato is probably the brand’s signature drink, adding, “We do it right, which is very rare.” Plenty of baked goods from Balthazar will also be on hand in the form of croissants and the much-loved oat scone. But exclusive to the new store will be the public cuppings, due to commence around October. “We’ll probably make room for 60 customers at a time—it’s like a wine tasting,” says Nye, with the location specifically designed to handle the greater numbers.


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Alex González, drummer of Latin rock band Maná—“the U2 of Latin America”—recently opened one of his De Santos restaurants in the West Village, the first on U.S. shores. The restaurant, at 139 West 10th St,, specializes in modern Italian cuisine under the watchful eyes of co-owners Luis Miguel Amutio and Roberto Polesello. The cavatelli with mussels, cannellini beans, roasted garlic, tomatoes and parsley is one of the house specialties, with Amutio emphasizing, “We’re very old-fashioned for preparing Italian food, which is very organic, very fresh.” A self-described “meat guy,” Amutio also can’t get enough of the whole wheat pappardelles with wild boar ragu and impastata, while the roasted Long Island duck with mashed sweet plantains and apricot vin santo glaze is his favored entrée. All the desserts are homemade, with eternal salivation expected from the carrot cake with cinnamon, chopped walnut and cream-cheese icing.


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Midtown Manhattan will get a little more worldly on Sept. 25 with the opening of eclectic nightspot, Haven (244 E. 51st St., betw. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) The 4,000-square-foot, villa-style space will feature tapas from all over the world—Singapore, Portugal, Argentina—as well as exotic cocktails. Business partners Bershan Shaw and Jorge Peguero will also ensure patrons’ ears are treated similarly by playing everything from Brazilian house music to African rhythms and Edith Piaf. Shaw has taken great global delight in the furnishing, making sure “every room lives its own life,” incorporating velvet wallpaper, cigar bar-style ottomans, snakeskin leather walls and alligator-tufted ceilings. Impressed? Shaw also mentions they have “a library room with old antique books from the 1920s and the 18th century, swords from Hong Kong [and] masks from Bali.”


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Whether you’re looking for a cozy place to grab a bite or a new spot for after-work drinks, head over to Vintage Irving (118A E. 15th St., at Irving Pl.) pronto. This rustic gastropub in the heart of Union Square, which opened Sept. 12, is one of young restaurateur Michael Sinesky’s many restaurants sprinkled throughout the New York area.  The diverse menu features an array of “palate fantasies,” infused with Mediterranean influences, as well as a daily “Chef’s Choice Farmer’s Market” vegetable dish straight from the kitchen of American chef Jason Bunin, executive chef of Knickerbocker Bar & Grill. And as with any good pub, there’s plenty of booze—40 craft beers, a global wine list and even an absinthe bar.


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