Gertel’s Bake Shop is closing. They’re a piece of Lower East Side history, beloved for challah, hamentaschen, and especially dense, moist rugelach. Its Hester Street quarters, which it has occupied since 1914, will reportedly give way to a condo complex, and its owners will concentrate on their Brooklyn-based wholesale operation. “Oh, that is awful news!” laments abrocadabro. “What am I going to do for Passover cookies and cakes?!”
A couple other casualties, though not quite so venerable, will also be missed. Rinconcito Peruano, a Hell’s Kitchen hole-in-the-wall for great ceviches and aji de gallina (chicken casserole), has closed its doors. It’s apparently survived by a sister restaurant in Queens. Win49, a Lower East Side hound haunt for bento boxes, fried skewered stuff, and other cheap Japanese takeout, is also no more.
Meanwhile, in three-star land, Alain Ducasse is jumping hotels. The grand French restaurant will close January 6 at Essex House and reopen in spring at the St. Regis, three blocks south. Ducasse et Cie are checking out of Essex House on a high note, says baconstrip, who reports pampering service and sumptuous food highlighted by marinated escolar with apples, squab with radishes in huckleberry jus, and killer desserts including toasted peanut biscuit with chocolate cremeux. “Save up and go there before they close the door,” bacon advises.
Rinconcito Peruano [Clinton]
803 9th Ave., between W. 53rd and 54th Sts., Manhattan
Rinconcito Peruano [Woodhaven]
97-05 Jamaica Ave., at 97th St., Woodhaven, Queens
Win49 [Lower East Side]
205 Allen St., between Houston and Stanton, Manhattan