I'm on my way to Manhattan's Meatpacking district. More specifically to 5 Ninth restaurant, which I've always loved, where they're officially celebrating their third anniversary—superstar mixologist Dave Wondrich's cocktails on the ground floor, seated dinner on the second floor and magicians on the third floor. Unofficially, there's big news: Zak Pelaccio is, as of right now, no longer the chef of 5 Ninth (apparently, he's making a guest appearance at the party—maybe one of the magicians will conjure him up). He says he's moving on to pursue other endeavors. Does that mean opening Fatty Crabs all over the city with bf Jeffrey Chodorow, starting with the Upper West Side as has been widely reported? He says no, or he did the other day, anyway. Meanwhile, Daniel "Chino" Parilla, who worked at the wacky 230 Fifth and also at 5 Ninth under Zak, is now the chef (in fact, he'll be most recognizable to anyone who's eaten at Fatty Crab as the guy with tattoos up his neck). He'll keep some of Zak's signature dishes on the menu—that Cuban sandwich isn't going anywhere—but steer the menu away from Asian American and towards modern American. Which means there will be a burger and fries right next to that Cuban (with cheese based on market selection, of course).
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