City Grazing: 8.27.08

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Two weeks ago, PetalBelle (158 Sullivan St. betw. Houston and Prince Sts.), a tiny pastry and coffee shop, opened up smack in the middle of NYU territory, giving students yet another spot to spend their work-study stipends on espresso and fancy sandwiches. Owner Elisa Cecola said, “We have gotten all positive feedback and have regulars already!” They specialize in coffee from Liege, pastries by Ceci Cela and the freshly mad, trademark waffles. Cecols said that soon enough, the restaurant will feature sandwiches on bread from Sullivan Street Bakery. Take that, dining hall!


Just this week, chef Joe Dobias just opened the doors to JoeDoe (45 E. 1st St. betw. 1st and 2nd Aves.), his new project with partner Jill Schulster. While the new restaurant waits for its much anticipated liquor license to go through (they said they’ll be serving booze within a couple of weeks), Dobais is serving up his “seasonal American” fare, which, as he put it, is “influenced by other cultures but not a fusion in any means.” You can ponder whatever that means as you sample the signature dishes like lobster with corn, and bacon and the veev-cured scallop.


This past Thursday, on a strip of Third Avenue that’s going rapidly upscale, Apiary (60 3rd Ave. betw. 10th and 11th Sts.) opened. Chef Neil Manacle will be serving new American cuisine including a bacon-wrapped, braised rabbit leg ($28), that general manager Sophia Picazo said is the tastiest dish on the menu. Other options include seared halibut with eggplant and fried capers and spiced lamb with fried hummus. Come for the food, but stay for the drinks; the beer list includes 24 microbrews, and 30 wines by the glass.


Prana (79 Madison Ave. at 28th St.), the Pan-Asian restaurant set to take the place of Gramercy’s Scopa, is still under construction, despite initially announcing a fall 2007 opening. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, however, as managers at the restaurant have been holding open calls for staff over the past weeks. Judging by the construction being done inside, it probably won’t be too much longer before Prana opens its doors.


And tickets have gone on sale for the 2008 Vendy Awards. The ceremony, which honors the best in street-cart food from across the city, will be held at the Tobacco Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn on Oct. 18. Tickets start at $80.

Earlier that week, the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park adjacent to the Tobacco Warehouse will play host to Rachael Ray and a burger-grilling contest as part of the Food Network’s “New York City Wine & Food Festival.” Contestants will include Al Roker, Katie Lee Joel, Tom Colicchio and David Burke. But for the $200 price tag, these had better be some killer patties.

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