Volume 17, Number 47 | April 15 — 21, 2005

Under Cover

Inedible Eateries
Two Tribeca eateries accustomed to seeing their names grace the city’s “critic’s picks” pages landed on top of a far less desirable critic list this week. State Senator Jeff Klein unveiled his “Restaurants That Are Enough to Make You Sick” report on Sunday and tapped Kitchenette and Salaam Bombay for the role of dirtiest in the city.

The pol introduced legislation to force restaurants to post their Department of Health inspection report card in their windows, a suggestion D.O.H. is not ready to swallow.

“The city already has a rigorous restaurant inspection system in place,” Sid Dinsay, a D.O.H. spokesperson told UnderCover.

Report cards or not, Lisa Hall, co-owner of Kitchenette, thinks Klein gave her 12-year-old eatery the wrong grade. “We shouldn’t have been on that list, he didn’t do his fact-checking,” Hall told UnderCover.

Kitchenette did fail in 2003 or 2004 for violations including evidence of mice and cockroaches in food areas, expired or undated milk, food protection issues and inappropriate hand washing facilities, but the American eatery adored for its cherry pies edged its way back into D.O.H.’s good graces this year – after surviving purgatory in the Dept.’s “accelerated program” for restaurants that fail two inspections in a row – and received a passing grade in 2005, according to Dinsay. The restaurant is now clean.

Despite its more favorable rating, D.O.H.’s Web site still lists Kitchenette as failing its 2005 inspection as recently as Wednesday.

“Business has dropped considerably,” said Hall. “Unfortunately, the damage is done.”

Salaam Bombay at 317 Greenwich St., which touts a two-star rating from the New York Times and got a nod from Forbes magazine was not pleased with Klein’s assessment, either. “We are keeping our doors and kitchen open for anyone to come in and inspect us on our own,” manager Kedar Shah told UnderCover, adding that his father, Ramesh Shah, who owns the 11-year-old restaurant, is appealing its 2004 D.O.H. inspection rulin

Salaam Bombay has failed its inspections for three years running, according to both D.O.H. and Klein. Its violations include evidence of live mice, food from an unapproved source, undated or expired milk and food protection issues.

Klein’s biggest beef is with vermin. “Pest violations are a problem and it’s a cop out to say that everyone has them, because it’s really not the case,” he said. “The majority of restaurants don’t fail their inspections in New York City.”

Benched from the L.M.D.C.
Paul Crotty got an old-fashioned judge’s wig from Kevin Rampe, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. president, as a sendoff Thursday when Crotty bid farewell to his L.M.D.C. board mates to take a federal judge’s seat in New York’s Southern District in Lower Manhattan. Unlike President Bush’s far right wing nominees to the bench, Crotty was rated Grade A Chuck – that is, Sen. Chuck Schumer supported Crotty and his confirmation sailed through the Senate. Crotty added that his old boss, Verizon, is selling its Midtown office and relocating 1,500 employees to 140 West St., Downtown. “It’s a very nice going away present from you!” gushed L.M.D.C. chairperson John Whitehead.

Cocktails and Condos
When it comes to watering holes, high-priced marketing research is worthless compared to the instincts of a politically connected New York attorney. The lawyer in question, Jim Gill, chairperson of the Battery Park City Authority, was at the hole in the ground known as Site 2A Thursday with Gov. George Pataki to congratulate developer Phil Aarons of Millennium Partners for plopping down 236 condos there.

Aarons gave a nod to Gill for his input at the Millennium-developed Ritz-Carlton across the street. Gill convinced Aarons to toss caution to the wind and build a bar on the 14th floor of the Ritz. His advice paid off. Rise, with Hudson views, is ranked as one of the 50 greatest bars in the world, cheered Tim Carey, B.P.C.A. president and C.E.O.

Aarons had other good financial news to celebrate: His bank approved the offering plan at Millennium Tower Residences. Before the tower is out of the ground, one bedrooms will be selling for $705,000, three bedrooms for $1.37 million and four bedrooms for a whopping $1.8 million. We can only hope the residents can afford the Rise martinis with those mortgage payments.

Royal Cove
While Prince Charles is busy draping himself in plaid with his freshly anointed Duchess of Cornwall, one Dutch monarch appears to be taking a lower-profile approach to the royal life. Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands will be frolicking about North Cove on Friday morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Dutch Volvo Ocean Race boat, which was expected to arrive on Thursday. It’s good to be the prince!

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