Open Thread Wednesday 11/14/07


Lots of stuff to talk about this week… but first…

Come on out tonight for Homer Fink's Family Fists of Fury at Magnetic Field [97 Atlantic Avenue]. Bring your "family" or we can find one for you!  Live game show fun!! Sign ups start at 7, game starts at 8pm.


Should Jessica move into St. George Hotel

Norman Mailer loved the moo shu chicken at Fortune House.  

Nabe's subway Cyrano is legit, galpal… not so much

Jane Austen

What's coming to Court and State?

… and whatever else is on your mind.

BHB Photo Club pic by loriellenp

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  • Heights97

    The latest Brooklyn Heights Association newsletter contains an article that is essentially a two- or three-column advertisement from our favorite trio of Henry Street restaurants, Blue Pig, Busy Chef, and Uncommon Grounds (now to be renamed UCG since the name Uncommon Grounds was already in use). The article confirms that the three are under common ownership, which of course we all knew all along. It also mentions that the Corner of Cranberry empire is expanding, with branches of the The Busy Chef to open in Manhattan and other parts of Brooklyn. If I remember correctly, it also says that they have a branch of the Blue Pig in Grand Central Station. While I wish the owner well, he might want to focus on getting things right at the corner of Cranberry first before he sinks money into new locations.

  • No One of Consequence

    Makes you wonder why they denied the common ownership for so long, especially when it was so obvious for so long.

  • sh

    Any recommendations for a place to have an old wall clock repaired?

  • ABC

    I thought the blue pig was a CT outfit.

  • Jen

    Any recommendations for having an antique wood desk repaired? One of the legs is broken.

  • yo

    shill alert

  • elizabells

    Seriously. I used to go in there at what should be prime pre-cooked dinner-buying hour (shortly before 6pm) very frequently for coffee and it was usually so empty it felt like the four staff members in there were hungry lions. They’d circle you with this weird look in their eyes and were so very, very friendly that it was really creepy. I actually stopped going in there because it was so weird.

    And I think knocking down the wall between BC and BP might have been a clue that they were related, but okay.

  • JL

    For “sh” with the clock repair, check with Jewels by Satnick, I believe on State and Court. He is the city’s only certified watchmaker and may work on clocks or can refer you to someone who does. Of course, in Manhattan there are many options.

  • yep

    shill indeed, sounds like a commercial, might as well read the whole menu “and last week i had this that cost that and it was a great deal, she likes the business section, and i read it for the magazine”

  • Cranberry

    Starbucks is going in where mike\\\’s kosher was.

  • Poster

    Busy Chef is the WORST thing I have ever tasted. I got dinner in there two nights in a row a couple months back (wanted to like it, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt in coming back so soon).

    All I can say is I literally almost threw up from both meals. The worst things I had ever tasted. The piece of cake I got was OK, but I assume they just buy that somewhere else.

    The health department should shut the place down.

  • yo

    I’ve heard that the key food on Atlantic is becoming a big box pet store…

  • Henry-ette

    Honestly, I think the problem with Busy Chef is that the food is presented really poorly. I like the idea behind the place, and I think it has potential, but the few times I’ve been there, I’ve been really turned off by the packaging. Nothing looks even remotely good. Nothing entices!

  • hoppy

    Agreed that the problem with Busy Chef is that the food is presented as if it is going to be picked up by ‘Sky Chefs’ and loaded onto a 737 to Denver. Those black plastic boxes are particularly disturbing. I’ve tried two items- a turkey sandwich with guacamole and a container of hummus. The thing that struck me, and I’m just stating my opinion, is that both the guacamole and hummus seemed to be very similar to certain packaged brands available at the supermarket. Also, a lot of the stuff there (esp. sandwiches, salads, spaghetti w/meatballs) seems like it could be easily replicated by anyone with basic cooking/kitchen skills, at a much lower price. At any rate, if they are successful in the long run, then god bless them.

  • Cranberry

    its seems that there are enough people who do not possess the time or the cooking accumen to keep them in business. Personally I like to cook at home. But I do have the time and enjoy cooking.

  • Heights97

    Admit it, Karl: You are the Busy Chef. There could be no other explanation for your posts above (and dozens of others like it that I have seen here). Come on, you owe it to the neighborhood (or, as you are fond of saying, the “nabe”).

  • Cranberry

    Lay off karl. He is not the busy chef. He’s a very nice guy who is retired and lives in the heights with his wife. If you actually got out of your house you would probably meet him.

  • yep

    I apologize for thinking karl was the busy chef, it did seem like he was trying to hard sell us on the place , and we all know BC has done that before… anyway, Personally, meatballs are one of my favorite foods..

  • No One of Consequence

    Is that true about Starbucks in the Mike’s/Bagelady space?
    I posted about it back in the April 18 OTW (as BP).

  • cranberry

    uh oh, people disagree with your opinion, so we are sad people with sad lives.. you took the time to post on a blog about a little neighborhood place just like everyone else…but you had a positive review so that makes you righteous???

  • elizabells

    “Don’t mind disagreeing but let’s argue the facts and not get personal.”

    Erm, like calling people who disagree with you sad with miserable lives personal? Okay, let’s not do that then. I mean, yes, I sometimes wonder whether the busy chef owner kicked BHB’s dog or something, but to many people, obviously, the food is not good and the atmosphere unpleasant. Let’s talk about that, and don’t presume to know what my emotional state is.

  • ABC

    I’ve only gotten coffee there and I thought it was bitter and it was cold. This was midday — seemed to be the mornings coffee still in the self-serve thermos.

  • nabeguy

    Boy, that Busy Chef may not taste good on everybody’s tongue, but he certianly has a gift for getting them wagging! If he could figure out a way to package opinions about him, he’d make a fortune.

  • anon

    did you read the posts way back where BS was stealing the advertising copy word for word from another restaurant from another city(blaming it on an underling when it waqs brought to the publics attention), or the fact that as yep said, the owners have come up on the blog posing as a happy customer in order to sell the retaurant?.. thats a deceitful, and unprofessiossional way to treat prospective customers.

  • Vishnu Jones

    You know if you do a little googling on this BC guy, it seems that he tells the same lies everywhere he goes. I’d suggest therapy.

  • Poster

    Man, I love all this hatred of Busy Chef. I thought I was alone.

    It’s certainly not personal for me… I know next to nothing about the ownership. But as to Blue Pig: Does anyone really like the ice cream there? I mean, it’s average. But with Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory down the hill, it kind of pales by comparison. And, frankly, Haagen Daas (sp? it’s a made-up word anyway) is better.

    Was that short-lived Mexican place under the same ownership? I actually thought that place was great, but only got to eat there once before it went out of business.

    The concept of Busy Chef is fantastic. I just wish the food were edible. THAT would be an improvement in the quality of life.

  • elizabells

    How was what I said nebulous? I found the atmosphere in BC unsettling. I’m from northern California, I understand friendly customer service. I didn’t want to be rude, but I’ll give examples. I’m a nurse, so I would go in in scrubs before work. I was asked whether hospital workers really just all slept with each other like on Grey’s Anatomy. A different employee asked me out on a date after I made it clear I was seeing someone. The other problem I had was that with all this friendliness, no one seemed to have an idea how to do their actual jobs. I asked once what was in a wrap, because of allergy issues. After giving me the rundown, I asked “but no tomatoes, right?” and was told “well, YEAH, it has tomatoes in it” like I was an idiot. On more than one occasion when I was the only customer in the shop I would be enthusiastically greeted, and then I would stand at the counter waiting to pay for my coffee for several minutes while everyone finished their sidework. And yes, I have worked in a coffee shop and waited tables before.

    Okay? Specific enough? Or shall I provide physical descriptions of the employees for you?

  • Cranky

    Karl I think some of the vitriol comes from the arrogance displayed by a one or two of the owners of the Corner of Cranberry establishments. That being said, in my experience the people that actually serve you in those locations have been lovely.

    I don’t think Oven is as bad as some people made it out to be. I found it a little pricey for what it was. Not only that, the owner came out with a dessert we hadn’t asked for which I thought was complimentary but really wasn’t (tacky). Still I don’t hate the place and might go there (not often) again.

    Didn’t have much luck with Busy Chef though. Like the guy above says, great concept – just needs some tweaking (and different ingredients in the food).

    I actually used to really like Uncommon Grounds. I look in there now and it looks kind of nice. I’ll try it again.

    I avoid the owner(s), well one particular owner whenever I pass there because he just has this vibe and can be really unpleasant. Just my 2 cents.

  • nabeguy

    Karl, the only thing you may be naive about is whether or not it’s actually Dan’s money that’s being invested. Other posts on the subject have alluded to backing partners who seem to have endless amounts of cash to burn as evidenced by the 3 gut renovations that have occured in the UCG space in 2 years.
    Dan is no doubt a hard working guy and does genuinely seem concerned about his business and the area, but I just can’t get the smell of rat out of my nose with this set-up. Given the amount of negative feedback to all 3 of these businesses, I can’t figure out if this is just an example of someone’s vanity getting in the way of their business sense, or if the whole thing is simply a money laundering operation.

  • yep