Monday, April 19, 2010

Restaurant roundup: Nosh, Bistro de Pinto, more

Posted By on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Here are four timely updates on the food scene:

• Checking back in with Concept Restaurants' Luke Travins on Flatiron's restaurant, which we first told you about in early March: Travins says he and chef Pete Moreno (from MacKenzie's Chop House) "are going to be the creative forces behind the menu." Meaning no chef will be named for the spot, only a kitchen manager, and that position hasn't been filled yet.

The Corner Café has discontinued its weekend hours. Co-owner Virginia Smoot says the outfit picked up a catering contract that "made up for Saturday."

• After scrapping the idea a few years ago, chef Mike Pinto has finally decided in favor of serving breakfast at Bistro de Pinto . From 7 to 10 a.m. weekdays, look for items in the $6 to $8 range like banana fritters, omelets, "Pintos Style French Toast," huevos rancheros and fresh fruit parfaits. When asked about the decision, Pinto cited the closure of Flavors on Tejon and said he didn't believe there was any good breakfast spot downtown anymore — so he figured he'd create one. He's planning a Mother's Day brunch, but says he'll gauge customer demand before considering opening regularly for Sunday brunches.

• Some news from the Blue Star and Nosh as it relates to local growers, specifically Pikes Peak Urban Gardens (PPUG): Owner Joe Coleman has arranged for PPUG to grow vegetables and herbs on some property that he owns near the Blue Star, which both the Blue Star and Nosh will be able to use for such things as nightly or weekly specials.

Yup — its a hell of a lot more exciting to grow your own.
  • Yup — it's a hell of a lot more exciting to grow your own.

In addition, Nosh chef Shane Lyons is hosting a private farmer's dinner this week (closed to the public), in which he hopes to form relationships with as many local growers as possible and secure the finest local produce available this growing season. [Disclosure: Lyons and I worked together at Sencha several years ago.]

"I want Nosh to be the place where, whatever they have that's really good, they come to us, first," he says.

Lyons says he'll premiere a new and radically different menu on June 2 that will feature a whole section dedicated to local food. It will change constantly with the growing season and make the best of what's available. Local veggies won't just appear next to proteins; Lyons plans to make each item the highlight of the dish.

Beyond that, "it's gonna be weird," he says. "I'm done with the linear model."

Expect a horizontal menu, broken up by categories. Tentatively, the "Lighter Side" will feature charcuterie and raw items; the "Beloved" section will feature "the new classics," basically items popular from the current menu; "Breakfast for Dinner" will play on just that; and "Out There" will experiment with more challenging (to squeamish customers) items like crispy fried trout heads, buffalo tongue and foie gras.

"We're going more refined — away from fried and heavy foods," Lyons says.

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