Burritos From the Kitchen of El Vez in Battery Park City

A new soup pickup; a seafood spot expands into Crown Heights; and more restaurant news.


Jackass Burrito

Restaurants offering only pickup and delivery have become hallmarks of pandemic-era dining. Lately, this has taken an interesting turn as restaurants-within-restaurants pop up. The new Smillie Pizza at Vilayet Buco Alimentari & Vineria in NoHo opened last week. Now, there’s Jackass Burrito, with well-stuffed specialties in six varieties, being assembled and wrapped in the kitchen of Stephen Starr’s El Vez in Battery Park City. Mr. Starr is opening another of these setups in Philadelphia this week, at El Rey there, and has plans for other similar ventures moving forward. Daily after 4 p.m., Black Seed Bagels in the East Village becomes Black Seed Pizza, with the chef Bobby Hellen making five kinds of designer pies, mostly squares, for pickup and delivery. These join a growing list that includes Washington Squares for pizza from Dan Kluger’s Loring Place in Greenwich Village, and Otto’s Tacos from the kitchen of Mighty Quinn’s BBQ on the Upper East Side. For an example of just how successful these ventures can be, look to Ghostburger in Washington, D.C. It began offering burgers and Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks from the kitchen of Espita, Josh Phillips’s Mexican restaurant, in late summer. He said he needed something easier to deliver than his high-end fare. Like most of the pizzas at Loring Place and Vilayet Buco Alimentari, which are available to people dining in at those restaurants, the Ghostburger menu is also served at Espita. Mr. Phillips says it’s provided an extra $6,000 a week, and is preparing to spin the pop-up into a brick-and-mortar business.

259 Vesey Street (West Street), 646-540-9740, jackassburrito.com.


Soup Shop

Creative soups are the stock-in-trade (pun intended) of this new food pickup platform trying to help small neighborhood restaurants bolster their bottom lines. The brainchild of Ken Farmer, the founder of Wild Dogs International, a creative studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, it has enlisted restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens — a different one each week — to offer two or three hearty soups (and usually a loaf of einkorn sourdough bread from Nick + Sons Bakery), for pickup at wine shops in Brooklyn and Queens. Coming up are For All Things Good, Le Succulent, İsimde and the Islands. A quart of soup is usually $25 and includes the bread. But orders must be submitted by 9 p.m. Mondays evenings, for pickup that Thursday.


Crab Bros

This seafood spot based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, has branched into Crown Heights. Like the original, it sells assorted fried seafood on plates and in sandwiches, and also has seafood boils with Dungeness crab, snow crab legs, shrimp, crawfish, mussels and lobster tails, most with Cajun seasoning. Pickup and delivery are the options.

770 Washington Avenue (Sterling Place), Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 712-513-0046.

Atla Subscriptions

Enrique Olvera’s NoHo restaurant has started operating a monthly subscription service with two offerings: the Atla Mezcal Club with mezcal tastings from $45 a month; and Mr. Olvera’s Cookbook Experience to prepare dishes from the chef’s book “Tu Casa Mi Casa” to serve two ($100) or four ($180). Both kits include the delivery of ingredients. The subscriptions are under an umbrella, Table22, which began last spring. The founder, Sam Bernstein, thought the model could help restaurants struggling because of the pandemic fatten their bottom lines. The subscriptions do not interfere with the restaurants’ regular takeout or delivery business. Table22, which helps the restaurants design their subscription packages, takes a 10 percent cut. It operates in more than 40 cities. In New York, in addition to Atla, it represents Frankies Spuntino, Oxalis, Vilayet Buco, the Four Horsemen, and more. Other restaurants include Cotogna and Che Fico in San Francisco, Iris in Memphis and Restaurant August in New Orleans.


Looking Ahead

Melba’s Mussels

The Harlem restaurateur Melba Wilson will be opening this mussel-focused seafood restaurant around the end of March. She has teamed up with the chef, Mimi Weissenborn, who was at Vinateria in Harlem, and Ana Shellem, who harvests wild shellfish off the coast of North Carolina. Ms. Shellem specializes in the local mussels, a large variety called ribbed mussels, with colorful shells and a flavor and texture unlike the garden variety black-shelled blue mussels that are usually served. It will be an enterprise dominated by women, with figures like Sophia Loren inspiring some dishes and female winemakers featured.

161 Lenox Avenue (118th Street).

Chefs on the Move

Eli Kaimeh

Naples, Fla., is welcoming this former chef de cuisine at Per Se who then went on to become the executive chef of the new Tavern by WS, the Wine Spectator restaurant in Hudson Yards, now closed as a result of the pandemic. Mr. Kaimeh will be the executive chef overseeing all the Sails Restaurants in the resort town. The group owns Sails and is opening two more places, Butcher and Sava.

Looking Ahead

Wylie Dufresne and Josh Eden’s Latest

It’s been more than five years since Mr. Dufresne ran a restaurant, but he’s going back into the kitchen in partnership with Mr. Eden, formerly of Shorty’s 32, to open one in the Seaport District. As yet unnamed, the restaurant will have an all-day menu for dining inside and outdoors on a terrace, and for pickup and delivery. It will open in 2021 in the space that had been 10 Corso Como.

1 Fulton Street (Beekman Street).

Source: The New York Times

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