My new restaurant-in-restaurant concepts


Restaurateur and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio has introduced several new gimmicks at Craft in recent months. First, in November 2008, it was Tom Tuesday Dinners, in which, as one wag pointed out, (and I’m paraphrasing) “It’s gotten to the point that it’s news when a chef actually cooks at his own restaurant now.” In January, he announced Damon: Frugal Friday, partnering with his executive chef, Damon Wise, in offering an all-$10 menu. The latest bit to come down the pike (in early February) is Halfsteak, which Ed Levine pronounced “half good” on Serious Eats New York (Tom Colicchio’s Halfsteak Is Half Good).

Now that Colicchio has set the precedent and I’ve set the stage for you, I am pleased to announce my own clandestine restaurant concepts (I’m also capitalizing on the “secret dining” trend). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

Hotplate: Every two weeks, I place a hotplate on top of my stove and cook single-pot meals from it. As at Coliccihio’s Tom Tuesday Dinner, which makes use of Craft’s private dining room, guests of Hotplate will enjoy a separate dining area—the hallway just outside my apartment. The menu will be market-driven and local, featuring ingredients that come exclusively from Key Food market or from the foodshed in the cabinet above the range.
— Market prices —

Fridgidaire Friday: This menu will be constantly in flux and guests are asked to appreciate the omakase nature of the meal, as they will also be eating down my fridge. Watch for menus to rely heavily on milk, orange juice, dairy, bread, wilting produce, and anything else whose expiration date may be approaching. Dining will also occur in the hallway, unless the housekeeping staff is in that day, in which case guests will eat in my bedroom closet.
— $10 a person —

Kuban Stingy Sunday: Guests are locked in the bathroom without dinner. Patrons may avail themselves of the self-serve NYC tap water fountain. (The water here is some of the best in the nation.) One Dixie cup per guest, please.
— $50 —