Hamburger America, From a Burger Documentarian, Opens in the Village


Hamburger America

Imagine if, after publishing her flagship tomes, Julia Child had opened a French restaurant. George Motz has done something along those lines. The genial, whiskered filmmaker, a Long Island native, has spent decades chronicling the hamburger on TV, in guidebooks and cookbooks. He can now be seen pressing and seasoning onion-thatched portions of ground beef on the griddle at his first Hamburger America, a sunny restaurant with counter seats, booths and takeout, in SoHo. The restaurant’s name is that of his 2004 documentary film, a project that took him around the country researching hamburgers, and subsequent guidebook. In partnership with the owners of the Schnipper’s casual American restaurants, he serves a flattened fried onion burger with American cheese, and a classic smashburger with optional cheese and condiments, $7.25 for a single on a toasted, buttered potato roll, or $11.50 for a double. The meat is prime chuck, 75 percent lean. As for why the smashed burgers, they go back to what he says were the original hamburgers sold in the United States for more than 100 years. “I like history,” he said. There are fries, a few sandwiches, flavored milks including a chocolate egg cream, and Miller High Life, as well. Early next year he will invite guest hamburger makers from around the country on a monthly basis to serve their specialties. (Opens Wednesday)

51 Macdougal Street (entrance on Houston Street), no phone,



Anna Castellani, who opened the original Foragers Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn, in 2005 (now closed, along with a Chelsea branch), has repurposed the space as this Mediterranean restaurant that dresses in disco in the late evening. The chef, Sagi Azrouel, is Israeli and has recently worked for private clients. His menu will feature a smoked eggplant carpaccio, toasted pine nut hummus, tahini fish kebabs and many of the typical spreads, salads and meat and fish dishes of the Eastern Mediterranean. The 156-seat space is partly divided into intimate areas. A more concise menu will be offered for late evening munching with music. Ms. Castellani is also involved in the DeKalb Market in Brooklyn. (Thursday)

56 Adams Street (Front Street), Dumbo, Brooklyn, 347-929-5997,


The yurts are gone. Now there’s a holiday pop-up in the space that housed the now-closed restaurant Narcissa at the Standard, East Village. The area is festively decorated with a name that suggests a Christmas carol. Through Dec. 31, it will serve oysters Rockefeller, hot crab dip, chicken schnitzel, prime rib, spiced custard tart and what appears to be a New York trend this winter, fondue.

The Standard, East Village, 25 Cooper Square (Third Avenue and East Fifth Street), 212-475-5700,

Pop-Up Bars

Seasonal pop-ups bring the holiday spirit to the bar scene. Union Square Hospitality’s Porchlight becomes Camp Porchlight with après ski décor, egg nog and frozen candy cane Negronis through New Year’s Day; 271 11th Avenue, Three floors of Irish Christmas festivities and holiday drinks have taken over at Jingle Jangle at the Dead Rabbit until Jan. 1; 30 Water Street (Broad Street), And Leyenda again becomes Sleyenda through Dec. 30 with a sparkling winter setting, Mexican hot chocolate and a Nutcracker old fashioned to drink; 221 Smith Street (Butler Street), Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn,

Looking Ahead

Gingerbread House Decorating

At the Marshal, in Hell’s Kitchen, there will be two opportunities to decorate a gingerbread house and take it home. For adults (at least 21 years old) on Dec. 2, 16 and 17 from 3 to 5 p.m., it will be a happy hour activity with an open bar, $65; a free, ticketed gingerbread house workshop for children will be at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3. Reservations are required for both.

The Marshal, 628 10th Avenue (45th Street), 212-582-6300,


Fort Defiance

After nearly 15 years in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this magnet for drinks and good food is closing. An announcement on the restaurant’s website says, “Don’t ask why we’re closing — ask how in the hell we managed to stay open for as long as we did.” The last day will be Dec. 3. Exact hours until then are posted on the website.

347 Van Brunt Street (Wolcott Street), Red Hook, Brooklyn, 347-457-5802,

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