This post originally appeared in EIC Amanda Kludt’s From the Editor newsletter, a roundup of the most important intel and stories in food and dining each week. Subscribe now.
Note From the Road:
We plan to launch Eater London — a dream of mine for years now and our first site outside of North America — later this spring. I’ve just come back from a week in London scouting out editorial talent and partnership opportunities. A few stray observations from the road:
- All the food folks in London can’t stop raving about their explosive Asian food scene. And I tried some of the newer offerings: the buzzy Thai spot Kiln, with its two-hour queues; 2015’s biggest opening Hoppers; and the Indian restaurant born out of a shipping container, Kricket. They’re definitely buzzworthy (though not all queue-worthy), but I much prefer what I can’t get in New York: traditional British food. I adore St. John (I went to the original and Bread & Wine location on this trip), Quality Chop House (holy shit their homemade butter), Quo Vadis, and Noble Rot. And I loved Scarfes, a bar that isn’t the slightest bit old but screams classic London to me.
- I appreciate how Brits all drink wine over business lunch. “Are you going to be American about it or will you have a glass of wine?” is my all-time favorite lunch greeting from a British acquaintance.
- British restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin, of the Guardian, turned me on to a lovely little literary/wine mag called Noble Rot (started by the founder of the wine bar). I read it cover to cover on the flight home, and I highly recommend.
- I got the chance to meet the man behind the @clerkenwellboyec1 instagram account. He is an anonymous food obsessive with a real day job, who now travels the world, gets into restaurants before they open, and advises chefs on their menus — all because of his social media celebrity. He’s using his influence for good by launching an impressively successful Cook for Syria charity campaign (dinners, events, books), which has so far raised over $400,000 for UNICEF. He’s bringing the concept to New York this summer, and I hope to help connect him to chefs and publicize his efforts.
- And finally, I snuck into the WastED London pop-up before it opened this week to see how Dan Barber is translating his dinner made of food waste concept for the Brits. It’s completely booked out. They were serving marinated lettuce butts (discarded by fast food conglomerates), imperfect Walkers shortbread cookies, fried smoked salmon skin, tarts made from waffle scraps, fried sardine skeletons, and a fortified wine I’d never heard of. Electric energy in there on night one.
Opening of the Week: Ikinari Steak
Who’s behind it? Kunio Ichinose, an entrepreneur who owns hundreds of locations across Japan and the rest of Asia.
What is it? A popular Japanese quick-service chain best known for its lack of chairs and fast turnover. Patrons order their cut of beef directly from a butcher who grills it and serves it to them rare on a hot plate. Those wanting their steak cooked more leave it on the plate longer. At lunch, a 14-ounce chuck eye steak comes with a salad, soup, and rice for $20 (tip included).
Where is it? In Manhattan’s East Village.
When did it open? Thursday, February 23.
Why should I care? It’s the latest in a string of popular overseas chains trying to make it in the US in general and in NYC specifically (Wagamama, Tim Ho Wan). I’m curious to see if business will remain strong here after the novelty of eating a steak in under 30 minutes while standing wears off. They already say they’re planning 20 more New York locations.
- Intel: Houston is getting a restaurant named Balls Out Burger; the World’s 50 Best announced its Asia list; restaurant industry svengali Steve Hanson is staging a comeback; there’s a new restaurant in the Woolworth Building in New York; Burger King bought Popeyes for $1.8 billion; DJ Khaled’s personal chef is opening a restaurant in Miami; the mayor of Minneapolis is at odds with restaurateurs over her desire to maintain one minimum wage (even for tipped workers); and Gordon Ramsay is still doling out sick burns to his fans over Twitter.
- One of my favorite things that we do is our twice-a-year wildly exhaustive, immersive, quirky, fun, and hyper-servicey travel guides. The latest one: The Eater Guide to Tokyo. In it, read about where to eat ramen, drink cocktails with a view, find culinary heaven in a department store, find better-than-Naples pizza, drink beyond-decent coffee, and how to score Tokyo’s most impossible-to-get reservations.
- Where to eat if you’re going to SXSW.
- Where to eat if you’re going to Mardi Gras.
- The president of Iceland wishes death upon pineapple pizza.
- An exploration of the enduring appeal of the value menu.
- Remember how cool Taco Bells of the ‘90s looked? Here’s a look at the last Taco Bell that has the old design and an exploration of the “fun, colorful, geometric, postmodern aesthetic” of that era. [Dangerous Minds]
- You’ve probably read everything in this Thrillist story about tipping before — it’s bad because it’s a racist, sexist, and unfair practice, but it’s incredibly hard to get rid of because diners don’t want to pay more — but give this a read anyway. [Thrillist]
- Here is Bon Appetit saying the children of immigrants are making the most exciting food in America. Here is chef Tunde Wey saying there’s a way to talk about food and immigration, and it’s not by celebrating pho and tacos. [BA / FB]
- Our colleagues at Curbed have a magnificent package on race and architecture. They write that “the seemingly innocuous — from the figures that populate computer-generated architecture renderings to the cost of balsam wood for project models — have contributed to the gulf between the architecture profession and the people it serves.” [Curbed]