Weekly Chef And Menu Report: The Week Of December 2, 2013

Every week, we take a look at some new chefs and menus that have appeared across the country. Here's this week's roundup:


Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar is introducing the use of touch-screen tablets to its 1,865 U.S. restaurants beginning March 2014. With the new technology, the company aims to allow guests more control over their dining experience. Presto tablets developed by Silicon Valley-based E la Carte Inc. will be used.

International café bakery Au Bon Pain introduced its holiday menu available until Jan. 12, 2014, according to a press release. Eight new item were added to the menu that incorporates classic holiday flavors of cinnamon, gingerbread, peppermint. Some of these new items include a chicken, mushroom, and Swiss sandwich; cinnamon walnut coffee cake; and gingerbread cookies.


New York City

On Dec. 18 in honor of National Suckling Pig Day, David Burke Kitchen is offering suckling pig specials, including crispy pig heads for $24 each, suckling pig pate for $18, and roast suckling pig with crispy kale and white beans available as an entrée for $34 or a la carte, according to a press release. The suckling pig will be roasted whole and carved to order at the restaurant's carving station in the center of the room. Guests will also receive Chef Burke's chocolate peanut piggy brittle to take home.

Shelter is hosting a 10-course meal of South African-infused Argentine empanadas, braised veggies, and potjiekos on Dec. 10 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to a press release.  It will also be showing a short clip of its WOSA – USA 'From BBQ to Braai Tour' road series, which aims to explore American BBQ, cities and culture while introducing South African braai, cuisine, wine, and culture.

JoeDoe is scheduled to reopen during the summer of 2014, according to a press release. It will offer "classic Americana" cuisine such as sweet and spicy house-made pickles, cheese-stuffed cherry peppers, and fried gribenes.

Patsy's Italian Restaurant is hosting its annual tribute to Frank Sinatra on Thursday, Dec. 12, what would have been Sinatra's 98th birthday, at 12 p.m. Patsy's, which is well known as Sinatra's favorite eatery, will honor him by serving his favorite dishes, including Frank's Clams Posillipo, Frank's Veal Milanese, and Frank's Fusilli with Fileto di Pomodoro, and celebrating his life. Diners will also hear Sinatra's songs performed by Steve Maglio, who hosts the weekly Sounds of Sinatra show at The Carnegie Club cigar lounge. The meal costs $79 per person plus tax and tip.

To celebrate the holiday season, Balducci's Gourmet On the Go Café is offering exclusive hot beverages that are its peppermint hot chocolate and its candy cane latte made with peppermint, white chocolate, and whipped cream, according to a press release.

Williamsburg's Extra Fancy has converted its yard into a Christmas Tree Lot and as of Dec. 6, is offering 4-inch to 8-inch Douglass Fir Trees drive over from Pottsville, Penn. Trees cost $40 to $65, and each purchase comes with a complimentary cup of warm spiked or non-alcoholic cider. Extra Fancy is also holding a food drive for City Harvest. Customers who bring two canned goods will receive $5 off their tree. The lot is open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight.

In honor of the release of Brooklyn Chef's Table, a cookbook featuring recipes from 60 of Brooklyn's most celebrated eateries, Owl's Head Wine Bar is hosting a free book signing on Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. Books will be available for purchase and complimentary small bites along with wine from The Red Hook Winery will be served. Then, on Dec. 12, The Brooklyn Historical Society is hosting a panel discussion and book signing from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. At the event, there will be a discussion with Brooklyn Chef's Table's author Sarah Zorn about Brooklyn's culinary scene as well as with various Brooklyn restaurateurs. Books will be available for purchase and can be signed by the entire panel.

The Beatrice Inn's Brett Rasinski is taking over the former home of 105-year-old Italian restaurant John's of 12th Street but has yet to reveal any potential changes to the space. However, Rasinski says the menu will remain largely the same.

Recently opened Irish restaurant and pub GRACE in Kips Bay is introducing a Sunday Roast beginning Dec. 8 featuring a $29-per-person-special, consisting of prime rib of beef, made-to-order Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, prepared by chef Ryan Schmidtberger, according to a press release. The Sunday Roast is a British and Irish tradition that is rare to find in the city.



Balena is releasing its limited edition pizza for $99 featuring Perigord black truffles in a Truffled Mortadella and Leek Crema with shaved 5J Jamon Iberico de Belota, according to a press release. The pizza was created by chef Chris Pandel and Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar. Also available is a $35 glass of Gaja "Dagromis" Barolo 2008 for a perfect wine pairing. Siskel/Jacobs Productions created a short video to present the pizza-making process: http://vimeo.com/siskeljacobs/review/80952868/fd216ef0e3.


We're always looking for tips about new chefs and seasonal menus, so if you think there are any that we missed, let us know!