Power lunches and secret doors
Meju, Roscioli watch, Midtown business lunch, Bess Freedman, a $46 melon, more
RESTAURANTS • FOUND Table
Behind a secret door in LIC, peak haute Korean
In the back of Long Island City's acclaimed Korean takeout storefront, Little Banchan Shop, there's a hidden door, which opens into a dimly lit hallway, which will lead you to Meju: a grand, eight-seat room with 15-foot ceilings and a glowing-research-lab vibe, where chef Hooni Kim is turning out some of the most exciting Korean food in the city.
Kim, who earned a Michelin star at Danji and also owns Little Banchan Shop, is a master of fermentation. After being bottled up for years, all of his jangs (fermented sauces) are ready for their close up — including the 128-year-old ganjang (soy sauce), a salty, layered, dark hole of a condiment which the chef brushes onto black throat sea perch and beef tenderloin fritters. Other marvels of chemistry dazzle throughout the $185 tasting menu.
In service to the science at work, plates are refreshingly modest, not delicate or tweezered. On a recent visit, the final course was like a dream of a typical Korean home-cooked meal — a simple bowl of steamed white rice, Berkshire pork belly bathing in a 10-month-aged kimchi sauce, a sunny-side-up egg, and a plate of gim (short seaweed sheets). It may be hard to find, but Meju won’t stay hidden for long. –Kat Odell
→ ROSCIOLI WATCH: An early spy at restaurant of the summer contender Roscioli NYC (Soho) tips us, “It is indeed (at least) two different restaurant experiences, with the upstairs serving as an a la carte alimentari (all of which is still getting its finishing touches), while the downstairs holds the fixed-menu main dining room (above) — and, down a few more steps, a private dining room that seats up to 16 in a vaulted-brick side chamber.”
→ DINING UPDATES:
Cecchi’s (Greenwich Village), the new restaurant in the West 13th St. space of dearly departed Cafe Loup, plans to open for business this Saturday and has started taking reservations.
Also now accepting reservations is The Dining Room, Corner Bar’s upholstered-banquette expansion (Lower East Side). For those keeping track, that makes three reservation options inside Corner Bar inside Nine Orchard — Bar Room, Patio and Dining Room. The latter is slated to open July 6, and all menus will now include additional charcoal-grilled selections to mark the occasion.
Starting yesterday, the team from Marea — as previously noted, closed and undergoing a summer-long makeover — is in residence at sister-restaurant Ai Fiori on 5th Avenue (Midtown South). It’s a party in the kitchen. Both restaurants’ pasta menus are available, along with Marea’s seafood specials. Reservations here.
NYC RESTAURANT LINKS: Omakase watch: Ichimura is reborn in Tribeca • Froggy’s, from LA’s Horses team, is still a go for this fall in old Chumley’s space • East Village mainstay Frank planning Chelsea location • Central Park Boathouse dining is back and it’s very bad • Chef out after one month at Fort Greene newcomer Margot.
RESTAURANTS • The Nines
Summer associate lunches, above 23rd
Zaytinya (Nomad, above), José Andrés at the Ritz Carlton Nomad
Ci Siamo (Hell’s Pantry), chicken Milanese says you’ve arrived
Zou Zou’s (Hell’s Pantry), practically Skadden’s house cafeteria
Estiatorio Milos (Hudson Yards), may we recommend the raw fish?
Le Rock (Rockefeller Center), mellower vibe during the day
Oceana (Midtown East), suits and crab legs both in vogue
Lobster Club (Midtown East), Carbone team does sushi and wagyu
The Grill (Midtown East), home of the modern power lunch
For lawyers and bankers celebrating the season, or anyone in search of a civilized midday in Midtown. Hit reply or email email@example.com with additions and subtractions.
GOODS & SERVICES: FOUND Larder
What a melon
In late June, New York City’s farmers markets are full with greens, garlic scapes, strawberries, radishes. Unwilling to wait for the really good stuff — by which I mean melons from Bodhitree, Wednesdays at Union Square Greenmarket and Saturdays at McCarren Park — I went melon hunting on the Natoora app, one of those mentioned in FOUND’s Haute provisioning home delivery Nines last week.
That’s where I found the Honeymoon, the first melon I have ever paid $46 for (~3lbs. at $16.95/lb). Is it worth it? If you value the most electric taste of fruit you've ever experienced, then yes, yes it is. Grown by an Italian farmer by the name of Oscar Zerbinati, Honeymoons are cultivated to keep the sugar concentration unusually high. The bright pink flesh is saturated with juice. The first bite is breathtaking.
Natoora says it’ll keep the Honeymoon in stock all summer long, with daily delivery to Manhattan and various options for delivery upstate, New Jersey, and out east. At least until our local haul comes in, it will remain in rotation. –Lockhart Steele
GOODS & SERVICES LINKS: More unlicensed cannabis shops busted in the East Village • Related: how can there be so many vape shops across the country? • The nine most beautiful bookstores in the world (including Ft. Greene’s Center for Fiction) • Global luxury goods market on track for strong 2023 • Diving deep on Ssense’s impact on the cool clothes ecosystem • Is it time to do away with good taste?
WORK • Tuesday Routine
‘I don’t believe in WFH’
BESS FREEDMAN, CEO, Brown Harris Stevens
Neighborhood you work in: Midtown East
It’s Tuesday morning, where are you working?
I'm in my office at 445 Park Avenue. I don’t believe in WFH — I despise it. Real estate is a relationship business, and to build strong relationships, it helps to be in person. I also think it's nearly impossible to build culture over Zoom calls.
What’s the Tuesday morning scene at your workplace?
As soon as I get to the office, I make a cup of coffee, and read the papers. The morning scene is fairly chaotic. Lots of phone calls, some Zooms, a few in-person meetings. Arriving around 8 allows me a little time to prepare. I like to walk the halls to see who's in, so I usually do that when I get a break from my schedule. I love seeing people in person… catching up, sharing a story, a hug, connecting. It’s why I do what I do — the people!
What’s for lunch?
Today I have lunch with an agent at Bilboquet. I love it there, because it's fast (and good). I LOVE their French fries, and they have great salads, and fresh fish. Also, the staff is impeccable... Incredible service.
Any plans tonight?
Tonight I'm going to Sandro's on East 86th to sit at the bar and have dinner with some friends. I've been going there since my kids were little. Love the lemon pasta. And a family-owned business… Solid people, and delicious food. I also love Raoul’s, in Soho. Dover sole, fries, great dessert. It’s a cool spot with high vibes. Feels very New York.
WORK • Commercial Report
The flight to quality in the Manhattan office market continues, with a couple of big-dollar leases heralding the summer season.
At 50 Ninth (14th St., above), where renovations are wrapping on townhouses and a boutique office tower, the fifth floor has been leased to private equity firm Sole Source Capital. The asking price was $180 per square foot, believed to be a neighborhood high.
Uptown and east, at 550 Madison (55th & 56th), investment firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice just signed on for 144k SF at prices also estimated in the high 100s. The landmarked building — famously built by Philip Johnson for AT&T in the ’80s and subsequently the home of Sony — recently underwent a $300M upgrade and is 70% leased. “That building is on fire in the midst of a terrible leasing market,” a broker told the Post.
NYC WORK LINKS: Amazon ready to open doors to 2K employees at Lord & Taylor building • The office-to-industrial conversion trend is here • Bill to expose LLC owners passes NY state senate • Trendy Brooklyn spa Bathhouse powered by Bitcoin mining draws heated response (see also our day spa report) • City bars have a new motto: thank God it’s Wednesday (team happy hours!).
First, a quick reminder on how this works: You send us the pressing questions of the day (on dining, services, living in NYC and surrounds). We all put our heads together (us, FOUND, + you, FOUND subscribers, who are also FOUND) in a search for truth and beauty. Please do not be shy — hit reply or or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscriber additions to last Tuesday’s Haute provisioning Nines:
Farm One! Incredible greens delivered weekly.
Would also add HIVE Brands to elevated home delivery — organic snacks, sustainable packaging, no plastics, women-founded. I get my organic peanut butter here and then schlepp it in a suitcase to France!
Another really good one for your list: MISIPasta from Missy Robbins of Lilia/Misi. Daily delivery to the five boroughs and further afield to Westchester, the Hamptons, and CT.
PROMPTS, one new, two for which we continue to seek more intel:
What are the best private dining rooms for business dinners?
I’m a home pour-over obsessive and want to up my game. Who’s selling the best beans in New York right now?
What are the best/coolest coworking spaces? There are so many to choose from.