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Climate-Conscious New York City Veggie Burgers

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Two of the hottest burgers on the New York City food scene right now are vegetarian or vegan, and they’re changing the way people think about meat-free food. “One of the biggest problems with bringing vegan food to the mainstream is people think of it as hippie food: crunchy, granola, and sprouts,” says Chloe Coscarelli, the chef behind one of the burgers transcending that stereotype.

Brooks Headley is the chef behind the other. He opened Superiority Burger last June in a tiny space below street level in the East Village. It makes a quinoa-based veggie burger — vegan if you skip the cheese — that GQ in December proclaimed “the best burger of the year” for 2015. “Superiority Burger,” the magazine wrote, “shatters the notion that meatless burgers are nothing more than frozen cardboard vessels for fungus or tofu.” It’s rich and gratifying. In another piece, GQ enumerated the burger’s virtues: “Maybe the best thing about N.Y.C. chef Brooks Headley’s raved-about Superiority Burger — better even than the nutty patty, the roasted umami-bomb tomato, the fact that no cows were harmed in the creation of this sandwich — is the texture. The bun squishes. The lettuce crunches. The pickles snap.”

Read the rest on Grist.

2016 Zagat Guide to New York City Released

Credit Evan Sung for The New York Times, via The New York Times
Credit Evan Sung for The New York Times, via The New York Times

The 2016 Zagat Guide to New York City was released on Tuesday, with a few surprises. A notable addition to the top 20 restaurants is Graffiti, which received a 28 (on a scale of 1 to 30) for food. Jehangir Mehta’s tiny eclectic spot in the East Village joins a list populated by big guns like Gotham Bar and Grill and Peter Luger.

Last year Graffiti also received a 28, but from too few voters to put it on the top 20 food list, said Evan Barbour, a spokeswoman for the guide.

Read the rest on The New York Times.

Why Are Restaurants So Noisy?

Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

From the outside, Untitled looks like one of those places where intimate conversation gets lost in the din.

The restaurant, which anchors the architect Renzo Piano’s new home for the Whitney Museum of American Art in the meatpacking district, has all the makings of a cacophony box. The primary walls are glass. That back wall is concrete. The floors? Blue Catalan limestone. The cooks chop and sear in an open kitchen, and the tables don’t have tablecloths.

Read the rest on The New York Times.

Flynn McGarry, Teenage Chef

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On September 12, 16-year-old Flynn McGarry will open his first restaurant in New York. McGarry, who launched his own supper club at age 11 and has spent time in the kitchens of AlineaEleven Madison Park, and Alma, has long attracted strong reactions. His most recent critic is David Santos, formerly of Louro, who ranted on Instagram: “The fact the media even calls him a chef offends me to no end. Chef is something you earn through years of being beaten and shit on and taught by some of the greats … It’s not about playing dress up and plating a couple dishes.”

McGarry rarely engages with his critics, and through Eureka, he actually wants to shift the focus from his character to his food, saying that he knows he’s making himself vulnerable by serving an ambitious, $160, 14-course tasting menu. This week, Grub sat down with McGarry to discuss his decision to open a restaurant at this point in his life, his awareness about his privileges, and how he internalizes all of the negativity surrounding his work.

Read the interview on Grub Street.

Hack Your Food This Summer

Photo: Bobby Doherty, via Grub Street
Photo: Bobby Doherty, via Grub Street

Grub Street has this amazing list full of tricks for making and eating Summer foods, as well as places in New York City that you might not think to drop by for eating (or drinking) these next three months. Highly recommend checking it out.

Read the list on Grub Street.

The Return of Reservations

Photo: DeBrocke/Corbis, via Grub Street
Photo: DeBrocke/Corbis, via Grub Street

“Ten years ago, people were so used to stuffy rituals of tablecloths and silverware and crystal and reservations,” says Ivan Orkin, the noodle whisperer behind Ivan Ramen. “A lot of younger chefs started to say, ‘If you want to eat here, just show up.'” The advantages of a no-reservations policy for an owner are obvious: No need to pay a reservationist when the restaurant is closed, no-shows aren’t an issue, and big crowds waiting outside restaurants can telegraph popularity, in turn possibly attracting more customers. For diners, no-rezzie policies can feel more democratic than a reservation book blocked off with VIP tables. For a time, the practice became so widespread that New York critic Adam Platt took to calling the whole phenomenon “the No-Reservations Generation.”

Read more on Grub Street.

Dirt Candy Moved, Just FYI: A New York Times Profile of Amanda Cohen

Credit Ben Russell for The New York Times
Credit Ben Russell for The New York Times

Maddening logistical challenges involving no-shows and stymied movie stars should be a thing of the past for Ms. Cohen. Earlier this month she opened a reboot of Dirt Candy on the Lower East Side with a much-augmented staff and seats for about 60 customers. At 40, for the first time in her career, she has a reservationist (Cristina Spano) answering the phones. She has the bandwidth for a full bar and a dedicated bartender (Karla Harscheid). She has a pastry chef (Alycia Harrington) overseeing dishes like a chocolate-onion tart and a carrot meringue pie. To maintain control, she’s financing it herself, with help from her family. (She has been married to the writer Grady Hendrix for almost 22 years.)

Read the rest on The New York Times.

New York Is Considering a Tipped-Minimum-Wage Hike

Brad Barket/Getty Images, via The Salt
Brad Barket/Getty Images, via The Salt

The restaurant economy of New York City may be nearing a tipping point.

State officials are recommending a big hike in the minimum hourly wage for people who work for tips. But that idea is giving many restaurateurs indigestion in New York City, home to more than 20,000 restaurants. Some say a tipped-wage hike could upend the whole system of tipping.

Read the rest on The Salt.