All right, so now that it's been open awhile and the hype has cooled a little, let's revisit this year's grandest opening: the W and her little sister, xyz restaurant and bar. The restaurant is blessed with a great proprietor, Gail Defarrari, whose skill is reflected in every nuance of the experience. Still, Harry was there for brunch a few weeks back, and that was slightly grim — the day service still needs work. This is not a fast-turn conventioneer event: The host would be wise to direct name badges to the counter, or better still, to the Metreon food court.
The upstairs bar, however — you just cannot beat that beaded curtain — is to the gills with hipsters, but there is still plenty of room to lounge, while the lobby bar is a fun place to people-watch, and Mary and Amy will always remember your drink. I just wish the hotel staff would hold off on their vacuuming until after the bars are closed.
Green, black, purple … no it's not the latest unity flag — it's figs. Restaurant LuLu is celebrating figs of all colors and flavors, and chef Jody Denton is kicking it off Iron Chef-style on the 31st with a five-course prix fixe in which every item will feature the enchanting fig. The regular a la carte menu will prominently feature figs through Sept. 10. And meanwhile, Denton also has his hands full with Azie, his new project next door.
Party of Two
Gary Danko's eponymous new place on North Point and Hyde opened with a series of tastings and a party on the 12th. It might have been a place where you'd want to ditch your parents, but the food is fantastic — so let's hope the destination doesn't turn into a blue-hair special.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Cinema opening party was quite the opposite. No, they couldn't get that statue of Jesus off of the ground, but it didn't matter: The real show was a group of groping women on the balcony. The ensuing soft-core action, which included a titillated film crew, was very Eyes Wide Shut. The evening ended with plumbing problems flooding the courtyard, which leads Harry to observe: He didn't fly in, but he did manage to make everyone walk on water.
The latest Food and Wine editors' feature on their favorite hotels includes an account of Kelly Phleger and groom Don Johnson sucking down oysters at Ana Mandara in Vietnam on their honeymoon. Lo and behold, the following month Mrs. Johnson is preggers. Oh, the power of the mighty mollusk. … John Scharffenberger's boutique chocolate company is coming out with 1-ounce candy bars — now you can sink your teeth into the hottest restaurant chocolate whenever you like.
Snap, Crackle, Pop
I know they think it's the hottest advance since sliced bread, but Harry begs to differ. I'm referring to those annoying serve-yourself butter bars featured at the AMC movie palaces. The last time I attended a screening at the Kabuki, the concessionaire gestured toward a ledge near the counter when I asked for butter on my popcorn. The shelf was slimy with half-congealed puddles of grease, and the dispenser itself was almost empty. The whole area stunk of mustard and pickle relish, not a fine complement to popped corn. Why should I have to squirt my own butter when I'm paying top dollar for a trained professional to gently coat my tender kernels?
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