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Dark Dining, Upscale Korean BBQ and Apple Store Coming to Midtown

By Jill Colvin | December 6, 2011 8:16am
Kristalbelli will open soon, preparing food on crystal grills.
Kristalbelli will open soon, preparing food on crystal grills.
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Canadian clothing retailer Joe Fresh has arrived in Midtown, offering colorful, high-quality basics at affordable prices just in time for the holiday season. The brand, which originally began selling in supermarket aisles up north, has opened two pop-up locations: one at 215 W. 34th St. and the other at 1055 Madison Ave., in addition to a permanent location in the Flatiron District at 110 Fifth Ave. To complete the invasion, the chain is set to open a flagship location at 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue this spring, according to Racked.com.

Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que has opened its second location in the heart of Times Square. The massive new, 500-seat eatery at 234 W. 42nd St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, pleases the masses with menu items like St. Louis-style ribs, Texas beef brisket, Georgia chopped pork, Wilbur beans and bread pudding.


After proving popular in other cities across the globe, dark-dining concept Dans Le Noir? is finally set to open its doors in Midtown, at 246 W. 38th St. The concept restaurant gives diners the chance to experience eating in complete darkness, focusing on foods' taste, touch and smell instead of sight. Diners choose one of four $57 prix-fixe menus (fish, meat, vegetarian, or a "total surprise menu") and are served by waitstaff who are either blind or visually impaired. The eatery will also offer a $43 Gospel Sunday brunch. Reservations are now open for seatings beginning Fri., Dec. 9, though a spokesman said the opening may not occur until next week. 

Kristalbelli, which dubs itself as "New York's first upscale Korean barbecue restaurant," is set to make its debut later this month at 8 W. 36th St., near Fifth Avenue. Each table will feature a special grill made from a block of crystal that prepares food using infrared heat, cooking it faster, at higher temperatures and in a more healthy way, some say. The menu will offer Korean classics — including rib eye, Kobe and Wagyu beef, duck, seafood and vegetarian options — and focus on seasonal, organic food from local farmers markets, according to a company release. In addition to the food, the two-level restaurant will also offer extensive wine pairings and a special "downdraft" air system designed to filter smells from smokey grills.

It's official: After months of anticipation, the new Apple Store is set to open Dec. 9 in Grand Central Terminal. Perched on a mezzanine balcony overlooking the landmark terminal, the massive new store will feature rows of sleek tables and minimal logos, according to renderings released by the MTA.

Pie Face, an Aussie bakery specializing in savory meat pies decorated with creative faces, is getting ready to open its first bakery in the U.S. next week, on Broadway at the corner of West 53rd Street, next to David Letterman’s iconic Ed Sullivan Theater. The menu will feature flavors like chunky steak, chicken and mushroom, pork and apple, tandoori vegetable, and bacon, egg and cheese, as well as sweet varieties like lemon, chocolate and apple.

Beloved Midwestern burger chain Steak 'n Shake appears just days away from opening its first New York location on Broadway between West 53rd and 54th streets, right next to the Ed Sullivan Theater. Word from Serious Eats is that Letterman is a big fan of the burger-and-shake joint, which has been hosting open auditions for staff over the past several weeks.


Swissmaker, a gourmet pretzel shop at 732 Seventh Ave. between West 48th and 49th streets, has closed its doors after less than sixth months in business. The Swiss purveyor had hoped its soft pretzels, nuts, pretzel sandwiches and pretzel desserts would be a hit, but it looks like the Big Apple didn't bite.

Spanish Taverna, the Spanish eatery with the famous red awning at 203 W. 38th St., at the corner of Seventh Avenue, has been closed by the city's Health Department. The restaurant received 54 violation points during a Nov. 21 inspection for infractions including live roaches and cold food kept too warm. Its phone has since been disconnected.