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“European Union-- NEW CHEF; SEE APRIL 2007 Review”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Great

Sometimes in this journey known as life, a few wrenches get tossed into the picture that threaten to derail your grand plans. The other morning, for instance, when Craig and I were attempting to make beignets for some ambitious plans we had for our breakfast, we faced a few such obstacles. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say we could not get the beignet dough to puff up in the hot oil. What we were turning out were our own variety of Wheat Thins, not pillowy homemade donuts. We kept trying to get the oil hotter, to roll the dough thinner, to do something to get the recipe to rise, but nothing worked. When we melted our slotted spoon in the oil (oops), leaving the oil swimming with black globules of melted plastic, I was ready to give up and call it a morning. But not Craig. He has much more patience for deep-frying than I do. I believe the patience-for-deep-frying gene is one that is specific to males. We females got the ask-for-directions gene, they got the deep-fry one. Seems fair.

So anyway, while I was ready to quit and have a bagel, Craig was already out the door, running down to get a fresh (clean) supply of vegetable oil. When he returned, he heated the fresh oil in a new pot, and rolled out some more dough and handed me the knife to start cutting the dough into squares for the beignets. (This is a man who has never turned on his oven, and there he was, rolling dough. Granted, he didn’t have a rolling pin so we were using a big beer mug covered in flour, but hey, it worked.) Anyway, about half an hour later, we had succeeded. Sweaty and greasy, we sat down to a plate of powdered sugar coated beignets and coffee. They were nothing like the ones at Café du Monde that had inspired this feast in the first place, but they were hot, airy and almost puffy.

So what does all of this have to do with European Union, you’re probably asking yourselves right now. It has to do with perseverance—the act of not giving up. You see, Jason Hennings and Bob Giraldi, the owners of European Union, a terrific new gastro pub in the East Village, have had to do quite a bit of persevering over the past year.

As you probably know by now, their restaurant was set to open this past spring, with chef Anne Burrell at the helm. But the Community Board opposed their liquor license under the 500-foot rule, and the State Liquor Authority agreed with the Board, and rejected their license. When t ... [more, click below]

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