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Leah Cohen of ‘Top Chef’ Opens Pig & Khao With Fatty Crew

Interior shots: Alexa Mae Asperin. Food shots: Zandy Mangold.

“I’m sick of everyone doing pork belly,” says Leah Cohen, the former Centro Vinoteca chef best known as a contestant on “Top Chef.”

That’s why, at her new Clinton Street restaurant, she’s staying away from it. “We eventually want to do pork brains, ears and just everything,” she said.

Pig and Khao, her project with the Fatty Crew Hospitality Partners (Fatty Crab, Fatty ‘Cue) opened for dinner tonight, with a Thai-Filipino menu (below) inspired by the year Ms. Cohen, whose mother is Filipino, spent in Asia.

“Most of the cuisine that I had when I was traveling in Asia, like in Thailand or in the Philippines, the main staples were pork and rice,” said Ms. Cohen. At Pig and Khao (“khao” means “rice” in Thai), she’ll be braising, air drying and frying pork cuts such as head, face, butt and leg – with Thai accents of cilantro, lemongrass, basil and mint. Read more…

Meatball Assembly Line Grinds to a Halt: Seafood Spot Coming Next Month

meatball shopMelvin Felix

Somebody call Michael Moore: there’s been a Factory closing on 14th Street.

The mysteriously-closed Meatball Factory is a goner and will become a seafood restaurant next month, its new owner said today. Miha Khondoker, who previously owned the West Village’s now-closed Mixx Lounge, said he’s busy deciding on a name and finalizing the new restaurant’s menu and decor.

“It’s going to be very different,” he said. Read more…

HBO’s Fantasy Truck

Last night hundreds of people lined up on Astor Place or paused their post-work rush to observe a curious scene. Was there a celebrity? A fire? Actually, there was free squab and stuffing, from a truck.

The “Game of Thrones” truck, promoting the HBO fantasy series launching April 17, is popping up in a different spot in the city each evening this week, doling out “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio’s cooking to the first 300 fans that arrive. The series, based on the fantasy books by George R.R. Martin, has already drawn wide interest on Twitter and Facebook, where the truck announces its evening location minutes before it parks.

The strategy seems to be working. The East Village was filled with crazed “Game of Thrones” devotees last night–crazy enough to eat pigeon anyway.