Taiim Cellar Opens in Scarsdale; Crabtree's Kittle House Hires New Chef Jay Lippin

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I love when restaurants overcome challenges—oh, like, f’rinstance, not really having a kitchen. Actually, it’s pretty common not to have a real kitchen in restaurants or, especially, wine bars. What these places have are “assembly kitchens”—rooms where food is only minimally processed before hitting the table. Generally, restaurants with this type of set-up are located in spaces where it’s impossible to provide serious ventilation with hoods, etc. Zak Palacio’s fabled Chicken Bone Café in Williamsburg was a famous example, though it’s now closed and Palacio’s gone onto greater things.  At Chicken Bone, Palacio did amazing things with what looked like a plug-in Crockpot, an electric panini grill, and a couple of toaster ovens. These were all laid out on a folding table for diners to marvel at, especially when they tasted Chicken Bone’s stunning food.

Assembly kitchens are pretty common in wine bars—Pour Café and Wine Bar has one, as does the Gnarly Vine in New Rochelle.  Last week, we checked out the most recent example, Taiim Cellar in Scarsdale, which is an offshoot of popular Taiim Falafel Shack in Hastings.

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Taiim Cellar differs from the Falafel Shack in a couple of major ways. First, since this space—in the Harwood Building (it was formerly Vaccaro’s Shoe Repair, and it still slightly smells of leather)—permits only an assembly kitchen, it can’t have a Frialator. Sadly, at Taiim Cellar, you won’t find Taiim’s fabulously crisp and nutty, freshly fried falafels. Nor will you find its succulent, hot shawarmas or kebabs.  Basically, Taiim Cellar’s menu is more about Taiim’s spreads and salads, with a short menu of cheeses and tasty pressed sandwiches thrown in. We loved Taiim’s delicious hummus and baba ghanoush, here, presented in beautiful wooden bowls. Both are smart little noshes to relax with after stepping off the train (and the Scarsdale Metro-North station is just around the corner).

Another big difference is that Taiim Cellar is a wine bar, with a taut list of wines from all over, but, intriguingly, a few from the Middle East. It’s also got Middle Eastern takes on classic American cocktails.  We loved its “Filthy Martini” (vodka, Middle Eastern olive brine, citrus bitters, and goat-cheese-stuffed olives) but felt less confident about the Arabian Night Moves. Here, the titanic flavors of lemon and licorice clashed in a creamy, white, and licorice-scented mixture of Arak Razzouk, lemon juice, fresh lime syrup, and coriander seed. It was hard to taste anything after just one sip. Still, the cozy flickering candles and Arabian touches around the room (like onion dome cut-outs behind the bar and jewel-like lanterns hanging from the ceiling) were a seductive respite from downtown Scarsdale’s rush hour. Plus, we loved our glass of Chateau Musar Blanc from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon—it was a nicely mineral palate-washer after those sticky dips.

Finally, we made a light dinner with two Taiims Cellar’s panini. Each was generously portioned, and, if not rocket-hot, in line with what we like in a mid-week meal. The Sabich (fried eggplant slices with hummus, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tahini) was the stand-out winner—it was light yet nourishing, crisp yet rich, and worth a visit on its own. We were slightly less excited about the halloumi – a bready loaf barely flavored with a few unmelted sticks of cheese. That said, it’s still early days at Taiim Cellar. We’re looking forward to another visit.  And, if Taiim Falafel Shack is a predictor, it’ll soon find its way into our hearts.

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Crabtree’s Kittle House Names its New Chef!

Yup. It turns out that Chef Marc Lippman has resigned from that Hudson Valley icon, Crabtree’s Kittle House—rather unexpectedly and just when the Kittle House team was working on their new venture at Tarrytown Hudson Harbor. Well, Kittle House partner Glenn Vogt just shared that he’s appointed Chef Jay Lippin to the vacated position. The two had a history at Montrachet, and, in fact, Lippin already did a stint at the Kittle House way back in the ’90s.

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From the site:Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin discusses The Plate Project—she mailed paper plates to designers, chefs, artists and other food folks to draw their predictions of what we’ll be eating 35 years from now. She’s joined by Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Dave Arnold, the French Culinary Institute’s director of Culinary Technology and partner at Booker & Dax, to talk about the future of food.” Listen to the WNYC  

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Spring Fling at The Cookery
April 15, 7:30 – 10:30 pm
$75 per person

From the announcement, “If you haven’t heard, the new restaurant buzz is all about wine on tap. On Monday, April 15, we will be introducing it here at The Cookery for The Cookery’s Spring Fling Food & Wine Dinner. Chef David DiBari and GM Ralph Rubino team up with their good friends at Bedford International to introduce UnoKeg. We will be featuring wines from the beautiful Veneto region, all poured from taps, such as Glera (aka Prosecco), Pinot Grigio and a Cabernet- Merlot blend.” Look for wine on tap all evening, plus, passed hors d’oeuvres, a mozzarella station, Cacio e Pepe pasta, Cookery charcuterie, whole roasted leg of lamb, and more.

To purchase tickets, please contact The Cookery’s special events manager, Bjorn Van Wyngaardt, at (914) 305 2336 or email events.thecookery@yahoo.com

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