RUSSIAN MOVE Gary Robbins is no longer the executive chef at the Russian Tea Room (150 W. 57th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, 212-581-7100).
"We separated ties," Mr. Robbins said yesterday, after eater.com reported the break. "It's been four years since I've not done anything, so I'm going to take some time and contemplate my next move."
A restaurant spokesman said management had no comment.
Mr. Robbins first gained acclaim in New York as executive chef of the Biltmore Room, and he also was the opening chef of Wish restaurant in Miami Beach.
PASTRY CHANGE Nice Matin(201 W.79th St. at Amsterdam Avenue, 212-873-6423) has a new pastry chef, John Lee, recently of Payard.
YEAR OF THE PIG Chinese New Year is on Sunday, and the coming year, 4705, the Year of the Golden Pig, is especially appropriate for restaurants.
China Fun (246 Columbus Ave., between 71st and 72nd streets, 212-580-1516, and 1221 Second Ave., at 64th St., 212-752-0810) is offering a free roast pork bun from Friday until February 25th to anyone born in a year of the pig (count by 12 backward from 2007: 1995, 1983, 1971, etc.). The restaurant also is raffling a Cantonese-style suckling pig banquet for eight people. Enter by emailing to [email protected], or fill out a card at the restaurant. The drawing will be on Sunday, March 11.
At Almond Flower Bistro (96 Bowery at Hester Street, 212-966-7162), chef Chris Cheung is offering a special $50-a-person prix-fixe menu between this Friday and Sunday, March 4. That includes an appetizer course of char siewbaoswith truffles and foie gras, crab and lobster toast, and crispy rice noodlecrusted blue fin tuna with avocado foam.
The main courses are linguine infused with dried scallop, pan-fried flounder with a balsamic reduction, and wild boar chops with black bean emulsion.
Ruby Foo's is offering family fun at both locations (1626 Broadway at 49th Street, 212-489-5600, and 2182 Broadway at 77th Street, 212-724-6700) on Sunday. Between 12:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., face painters, origami artists, and others will entertain children while grown-ups drink mixologist Eben Klemm's Pig-Tail cocktail, made with sparkling sake, vodka, and kumquat marmalade.
Porchetta (241 Smith St., near Douglas Street, Brooklyn 718-237-9100) is ringing in the year by launching a monthly pork-and-beer dinner on Sunday.
The dinner has one seating only, at 8 p.m. and it will be the only option offered for the evening. It costs $45, including beer from local breweries.
Included in the dinner will be steamed buns and dumplings, crispy pork ribs, General Tso's pork, and pork egg drop soup.
Chinatown Brasserie (380 Lafayette St. at Great Jones Street, 212-533-7000)will celebrate Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with an eightcourse dinner by executive chef Joe Ng. It is available for parties of four for $288. Additional guests can join for $72. Menu items include suckling pig served Peking duck style with pancakes and plum hoisin sauce, and noodles with chicken, shrimp, and herbs in butter sauce.
Traditional Chinese musicians will be performing in the Lobby Lounge, on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, 212-805-8800), this Saturday and Sunday between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Between Saturday and March 2, the lounge will be offering a $28 dim sum special containing good-luck items like noodles and dumplings. Those include chilled barbecue duckling and sesame noodle salad with ginkgo nuts and ginger sprouts, and nameko mushroom vegetable pot stickers with scallion-sweet soy sauce. Shark fin dumplings with dashi broth also are part of the special.
Mr. Thorn is food editor of Nation's Restaurant News. He maintains nrnfoodwriter.blogspot.com.