The Eater Wrap: Fish Shacks, Piano Man Cutbacks and Mourad Lahlou's Big Break
Welcome back to our partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print, including glorious openings, not-so-glorious departures, and maybe even a Master Top Chef or four.
1) Let's start off this show with the week's biggest opening. Actually, the debut of Woodhouse Fish Company is probably more of a half-opening, considering the Pac Heights offshoot of the East Coast fish shack is only doing lunch for the time being. But still, it's a significant opening in a neighborhood that is quickly racking up new eateries from well-known folks (cf. Dosa, Delfina, SPQR et al.).
2) Everyone pour some booze on the curb for the piano man at the Four Seasons, who was let go in a cost-cutting move. You know, the lounge just isn't the same without some live music to offset the olives' double-digit pricetag, but here's hoping that once things straighten out, he'll be back.
3) On the upscale dining circuit, the news of the week was the announcement that French Laundry chef de cuisine Corey Lee—who has run the flawless kitchen for the last four years—will be leaving this summer to open his own restaurant somewhere in San Francisco. Taking his place under Lord Keller's wing will be Timothy Hollingsworth, who you may remember from his stint as Team USA rep in this year's Bocuse d'Or competition.
4) Oh dear. Fior d'Italia bills itself as the oldest Italian restaurant in America, but its future is suddenly uncertain, as its owner has filed for bankruptcy.
5) SoMa classic Fringale got the review treatment this week, and let's just say that when disorganized service and wine spills happen, Mikey Boom Boom won't be happy.
6) Two dozen of America's big-name chefs will go head-to-head in a Top Chef spinoff appropriately titled Top Chef Masters. The Bay Area boasts a quartet of ponies in this reality show race: Michael Chiarello, Hubert Keller, Elizabeth Falkner and Cindy Pawlcyn. Um, good luck?
7) Speaking of the teevee, that Mourad Lahlou is so hot right now. Fresh off his Iron Chef victory and new 3.5-star status, the Aziza bossman's star continues to rise: he's getting his own series. And he has tattoos! On his arms!