In Brief

| 17 Feb 2015 | 05:07

Restaurant fines cut by 25 percent

The city's Deptartment of Health said it's reducing the cost of restaurant health-code violations by 25 percent.

The fines are now at the same level they were before the DOH began using a grading system to rate the city's restaurants, but will come with more frequent inspections. Restaurant owners can also request an ungraded and penalty-free inspection to receive tailored advice about what they need to fix before an actual inspection.

"This will help restaurants prepare for their next inspection and give them the information and tools to improve their chances to earn an A," said the department in a statement.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the DOH's letter grading system began as a way to motivate restaurants to practice better food safety, and to enable diners to make more informed decisions on where to eat. "And the program is working," said Bassett. "Over 90

S&P upholds NYC debt rating

Standard & Poor's affirmed its AA long-term rating on New York City's debt, but warned that the 150-plus labor contracts that still need to be negotiated by the de Blasio administration could prove a liability.

The ratings agency was generally praising of the city and its finances, and of the fiscal management that de Blasio inherited.

S&P said, though, that the labor contracts could be a problem down the road, if the city is forced to pay billions of dollars in retroactive pay to unionized city workers.

related, architects sued over A.D.A.

The U.S. Attorney's office sued the developer and architect of two high-profile projects over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the Related Companies from completing any additional projects until the two buildings -- One Carnegie Hill and Tribeca Green (pictured) -- are in compliance.

The architects of the projects, Robert A.M. Stern and Ismael Leyva, are also named in the lawsuit.

East Side's Rotisserie Georgette wins two stars

New York Times food critic Pete Wells last week reviewed Upper East Side French restaurant Rotisserie Georgette (14 E. 60th St., between Madison and Fifth Avenues), and gave it two stars. Opened last fall by Georgette Farkas and Katina Pappas, Rotisserie Georgette features spit-roasted meat at the center of its menu. Wells celebrated new chef Chad Brauze's ability to keep the food honest, noting that the restaurant "plays standards from the French songbook and plays them well." Rotisserie Georgette offers a whole roasted chicken for two, priced at $36 per person, but Wells favored the more modest half-chicken (at $24). He saved his highest praises for the quail and fish, however, noting that, "There is nothing fancy about the quail, just juicy meat wrapped around a pale-pink poultry forcemeat seasoned with paprika and piquillo peppers. The dorade, roasted whole and then filleted, breaks into beautiful white lemon-scented chunks."

Sprinkles Introduces the Cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Cupcakes on the Upper East Side (780 Lexington Ave., between 60 and 61 Streets) debuted its cupcake ATM on March 25. The Beverly Hills company, which also has outposts in Chicago, Las Vegas and Atlanta, among other cities, offers standard flavors such as red velvet and cinnamon, and rotates varieties on a daily basis, including chocolate coconut and chai latte, and also offers daily gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan options. The cupcake ATM-the first in New York and the fifth in the nation for the Sprinkles franchise-will offer a 24-hour sugar rush for those who can't make it to the shop during regular 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. hours. To sweeten the deal for early customers, Sprinkles hid 100 gift certificates for one-dozen cupcakes and one $500 American Express gift card in random cupcakes on launch day, making some withdrawals from the Cupcake ATM that much sweeter.

James Beard Awards

Nominees for the 2014 James Beard Awards were announced during a ceremony in Chicago on March 18. New York City's nominees for best chef include April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen), Mark Ladner (Del Posto), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto) and Michael White (Marea). Betony in Midtown West and Estela on E. Houston were nominated for best new restaurant, while cronut and milk and cookie shot creator Dominique Ansel, and Momofuku Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi were nominated for outstanding pastry chef. The winners will be announced at an awards gala on May 5 in New York.

Spring Comes In With Lamb at Philip Marie

Like many New Yorkers, John Greco, chef and owner of new American restaurant Philip Marie (569 Hudson St. at W. 11 Street) is ready for spring. Unlike most of Manhattan, however, Greco will slow-roast a whole lamb in celebration of warmer days on the horizon. On Wednesday, April 2, Greco will serve a three-course prix-fix tasting menu at his West Village restaurant, with a whole lamb slow-roasted over charcoals as the star attraction. Using a custom box-which he took advantage of last year to roast an entire pig-Greco will roast the lamb, marinated in oranges, limes, mint and coriander, for several hours. The three-course prix-fix meal is $32 per persons and open for reservations (call 212-242-6200 to reserve a seat).

Marine Transfer Station Isn't Worth the Exorbitant Cost

Editorial The Marine Transfer station is a bad idea. Why? Over the past few weeks we explained that the garbage trucks rumbling to and from the site would pose a danger to the thousands of kids who use Asphalt Green. And the site, situated right along the East River, risks flooding as it did during Superstorm Sandy.

The reason this week: It's too expensive. More expensive on an operating basis, in fact, than the system used now to handle our garbage. The city would save more than $100 million the first four years of operation were it to stick with the current system of transporting our garbage, not to mention the savings on capital costs. The capital costs have ballooned four-fold since the plan was hatched, and estimated, in 2002. The City Council and the Mayor should take another look, and conduct an updated audit to understand the real costs of implementing the East 91st St MTS, as well as the other proposed MTS in southwest Brooklyn. The city could and should free up substantial and much-needed operating money by sticking with the current system.

Next week the reason why the Marine Transfer Station is ill conceived: the technology is out-dated.

On Electric Bikes

I have read that engineer Jeff Guida has invented a portable electric motor for bikes and that brings terror to my heart and those of many pedestrians, especially the elderly. As if we do not have enough heart-stopping moments daily with bikers going through lights, on the sidewalk and against traffic (they do that in the bike lanes also). Are we to contend with these bikers zipping through the streets? Hopefully, saner minds will prevail and this will not come to fruition.

Bunny Abraham

Reading the Redesign

Terrible redesign. Type is VERY hard to read in other than optimal light, e.g. a park bench.

Contents EXCELLENT, but I will never read it again even though I have excellent non-corrected vision ( said my ophthalmologist less than 9 months ago!).

N. J. Fenwick

Punishing Drivers

Re: "Punishing Cabbies is Not Enough," March 13, 2014

I'm not sure the wisdom of punishing drivers who have killed or maimed after the incident (when it's too late) is an effective method of reducing traffic fatalities and injuries. No driver thinks that they will kill anyone with their reckless driving. They are confident in their superior driving skills until something happens.

Enforcement BEFORE things happen is key. Follow the Broken Windows approach and ticket drivers going 31 mph, not wait to catch those going 45 mph.

Posted at under the username Sammy Davis Jr Jr