August 25, 2003 | Ask Gael
What’s Jimmy Rodriguez up to on City Island?

        ‘Giving back,” he says. Jimmy’s Bronx Café launched him. So he’s invested considerable passion and more cash than he expected in Jimmy’s City Island (he lives just six blocks away) and it’s already standing-room-only on weekends. Look for a glowing white façade (and no sign) across from the seaside lobster shacks and neon. Inside, see how sexy cool can be—flowing blue, gray, and white chiffon sailing like waves above, orchids in shiny silver pails scattered on white walls, cushy leather pedestal chairs. So as not to tax the locals, chef Robert Pagan’s menu is classic shore—chowders, luscious baked clams, glazed baby-back ribs, and lobsters broiled and stuffed. And it’s mostly pretty good: the smothered pork chop, pineapple-and-crab fried rice, especially the paella, and even the crisp-calamari salad with banana and what surely must be City Island’s first orange-miso vinaigrette. But who will come in winter? “The Bronx will be here,” says Rodriguez. “This is their Hamptons.”

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