This weeks food section is all about pressure: A pastry chef has to cook every night for a president who hates pineapples and will send him packing at the first hint of progressive dessert-making; Vinh Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese-American, rolls the dice with his Williamsburg restaurant Silent H, and, as far as Rob and Robin are concerned, comes up lucky seven; Jeffrey Chodorow, fresh off his battle with Frank Bruni and Adam Platt, opens a big new restaurant and hopes for the best; and four new restaurants open, surely hoping for the best as well. Even this weeks In Season is rife with tension, calling as it does for a delicate filleting operation that could easily destroy a beautifully roasted flounder. The New York food world is not for the faint of heart.
Williamsburgs Silent H comes under the scrutiny of Rob and Robin, who like it a lot, both for its perfectly executed Vietnamese standards and its more creative dishes.
R also interview Bill Yosses, the White House pastry chef, who has to have his peaches inspected by government agents before they can go into a pie, and who has no desire to serve Sam Masonstyle desserts to President Bush.
Gael Greene paints a picture of a cautiously optimistic Jeffrey Chodorow, who feels that Wild Salmon, his new restaurant, might signal a change of fortune. The Insatiable Critic seems to like the place well enough.
Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York may seem at first glance a strange choice to give fish-cooking advice, but his In Season recipe for flounder sounds as good, in its way, as steak if you can get it properly filleted at the end.
The husband and wife team of Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, the authors of Cookshop and Five Points, have bought and are reopening Provence; three other appealing restaurants also come to town.