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markk

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  1. markk

    Bistro Benoit

    As far as I can tell, or that is to say, the only difference I can spot, is that the Charcuterie platter on the real menu is $39 and includes more things like the Foie Gras and the Tongue. If there are other differences, I failed to spot them.
  2. Well, I've spent a lot of time in Alsace (as you probably know), and the brasseries there feature such dishes as Choucroute (with various garnishes); and liver dumplings with boiled potatoes; and tête de veau, and except for "Choucroute" these are always called by both their French and German names, i.e. "Quenelles de Foie"/"Leberknoedel", and "Tête de veau/Presskopf". There are a few more dishes that I can't think of at the moment. I don't think that "steak frites" is either Alsatian, or a legitimate "brasserie standard". But oysters are, and at Christmas-time in Alsace, the supermarkets have crates of oysters stacked up outside them by the hundreds the way stores here would have bags of charcoal in summer. Freshwater fish, in particular "Sandre", aka "Zander Fish" (eat it a lot, have nooo idea what it is), and trout play a very large part in the cuisine of Alsace, but I don't think that they're Brasserie food. Edited to add this note after reading RAHiggins1's post: the people of Alsace define the word "convivial"! This is one of the reasons we go there so much. The people are effervescent, and is contagious. And many restaurants, though not "brasseries", have two separate menus, one traditional/contemporary French food, and one featuring local Fare. Some restaurants have both menus in the same room, and some have different dining rooms for each menu. And then you get the "Tarte Flambée" places which require special ovens, and also serve a few other dishes as well, but are neither "brasseries" or "restaurants". (I don't know if I helped you FG, or added to the confusion.)
  3. Weinoo is correct that it means "brewery" and features the cuisine of "Alsace". And while nowadays the lines blur, even in Paris, as to what's a bistro and what's a brasserie, I think that the functional difference is the appearance of "Choucroute" on the menu, and even Brasserie Lipp has a section called "LES CHOUCROUTES" and offers "Choucroute "Lipp: Joues de porc salée, lard fumé, saucisson pistaché et Francfort Lipp" (I think still). If there's no longer Choucroute on the menu, the please disregard this post. But I think that the only distinction left at this point is whether a place still offers this dish.
  4. markk

    Bistro Benoit

    Would whoever goes there next be kind enough to post what that night's special is, even if you don't order it? Thanks!
  5. Yes, I know that in theory, "nouvelle cuisine" started because things started appearing fresh in the markets of Lyon, and Paul Bocuse couldn't find recipes for them in the Escoffier master lists, so he broke from tradition and invented recipes, and though he called it "market cuisine", it took hold as "nouvelle cuisine". But it meant the end of foods like "Tournedos Rossini" (the traditional name for that dish make with fillet mignon), and it doesn't seem to me that the fancy French restaurants in New York have ever quite returned fully to that style of cooking in full force.
  6. Well, I think that in a lot of ways, fine dining changed for the worse with the introduction of "nouvelle cuisine", and "fusion cuisine", and the latest trends whose names I cannot speak. And in many of the top French restaurants in New York, everything now has Asian flavors and/or aspects to the food that "real" (traditional) French food didn't used to have: influences of other cuisines and their treatment of ingredients at the very least. So that was really my point. I'd like to go back to a time when high-end French restaurants served this kind of food, made to four-star standards. I guess I'm the "Archie Bunker" of French food, and wondered if anybody else who noticed that fine French dining isn't like this any more (and hasn't been since the 1970's) agrees with me.
  7. markk

    Bistro Benoit

    He said it had been the special all week, and that there would probably be a new one next week, but as I was pressing him for details, he explained that they're newly opened (duh) and have just started having specials so they're feeling their way. I'm thinking of, and working on, starting a thread about "A return to 'real' food?" using this meal as an example, so I gotta ask: is this to say that the "Côte de Bœuf 'Rossini' " appeals to you? This is the kind of food I had told you that I would want to eat in Paris; Perhaps I'll have to start the new thread for your answer, but how does this dish appeal to somebody as "molecular" as you? ← I'm not Bryan, but I tend to like "molecular" or technoemotional cooking so I'll take a shot at your question. It looks great, but I see no reason that both approaches need to be mutually exclusive. I like great food- period. What I love about quality technoemotional cooking besides the appearance, texture and the taste is the imagination that makes it extra special. That doesn't mean that I don't also love more primal dining! ← Doc- I know that you love both extremes, and I think that Bryan may too; I was curious to hear his answer. But in any case, I started a thread about this here (to get it out of the Benoit thread)
  8. I remember a heated debate in the Italy forum regarding "Traditional vs.Contemporary" food, and since there isn't a "France and French Food" topic, I put this here. There were some heated (albeit friendly) discussions between some stubborn oafs (me) and other members about the merits of "traditional" foods, versus the new "molecular" and "deconstructed" cuisines, though with this post I am also lumping "nouvelle" in there for what I'm going to ask in this thread... So I got to thinking after eating this fabulously executed, not-modernized-in-any-way meal at Benoit in New York City: It began when we split three starters... Lucullus-Style Langue de Veau: (Sliced tongue stacked with a 'mortar' of delicious foie-gras mousse; what could be bad?) Pâté en Croûte, Lucien Tendret recipe of 1892: and Duck Foie Gras confit: I don't know if the Lucullan-style tongue recipe actually dates from 65BC, but it's clearly a pre-nouvelle one. The main course was "Côte de Bœuf 'Rossini' " for two: a rib steak (grilled to perfection, I might add, crusty on the outside and exactly as rare as we had ordered) topped with generous slabs of sauteed foie gras, and a rich sauce made with a veal reduction with Madiera and truffles. The cooked steak was presented: then taken away and sliced and presented with the foie gras: and we asked to serve ourselves, as we started with small helpings: (Sliced steak topped with foie gras; what could be bad?) Dessert was perhaps the best Tarte Tatin I've ever had (and extra-difficult to photograph): (Sorry, the accompanying pot of Crème fraîche is not shown.) So we wondered, to ourselves, and out loud in a discussion with the manager, why people stopped eating, and why restaurants stopped serving "real food" like this. We decided that it all went downhill with the introduction of "nouvelle cuisine" in the 1970's. But with the opening of Alain Ducasse's Benoit, and with the recent opening of Daniel Boulud's Bar Boulud (where we had very similar starters, and one of the most magnificent duck confit preparations I've ever had), it seems like what I call "real" food has come back into vogue, and if the various chefs' "first" restaurants aren't yet returned to this, but they're opening "bistros" to serve it, will it be long before their namesake upscale-French restaurants swing back to this cuisine again? Granted, duck confit is a bistro item, but Steak Rossini is certainly not. I understand that one can't eat this food every night. But why did we we stop eating, and why did restaurants stop serving "real food" in the first place??
  9. The theater in Morristown figured out how to work their digital projector and we returned a week later for the La Scala HD showing, and arranged our day so that we could stop by Irving's on the way for dinner and takeout, as it's pretty far from home. Only this time we brought a camera. We made our selections from the sandwich board: I had... Any way I liked it turned out to be my choice of sandwich or platter, and I chose: The reason you don't see four meats is that I chose double-pastrami and double-tongue. And both meats were truly excellent. In fact, I can't remember when I've had significantly better of either in a very, very long time. My partner wimped out and had just a pastrami sandwich: But - and this is very important in a Jewish deli, at least one of the partners (Mark) is a wise-ass. In addition to taking home stuffed cabbage to freeze for future dinners, I was wondering how the pastrami would fare, so I called him over to the table and asked, "If I take home pastrami, will it freeze?" And his answer was, "Only if you're driving to Alaska."
  10. markk

    Bistro Benoit

    He said it had been the special all week, and that there would probably be a new one next week, but as I was pressing him for details, he explained that they're newly opened (duh) and have just started having specials so they're feeling their way. I'm thinking of, and working on, starting a thread about "A return to 'real' food?" using this meal as an example, so I gotta ask: is this to say that the "Côte de Bœuf 'Rossini' " appeals to you? This is the kind of food I had told you that I would want to eat in Paris; Perhaps I'll have to start the new thread for your answer, but how does this dish appeal to somebody as "molecular" as you?
  11. markk

    Bistro Benoit

    We had a wildly successful dinner here last night! Based on the thread, I wasn't so sure we would. (Just a note to anyone used to my partner's usually spectacular photography - it seems that he left his photographic expertise at home last night, for which I give apologies in advance.) Rather than share the Charcuterie platter, we split three full starters, Lucullus-Style Langue de Veau: (Sliced tongue stacked with a 'mortar' of delicious foie-gras mousse; what could be bad?) Pâté en Croûte, Lucien Tendret recipe of 1892: and the Duck Foie Gras confit: The first two were show-stoppingly good. The cold foie gras was neither the worst nor the best I've ever had, certainly not up to the standards set by the first two dishes, and I wouldn't order it again. The evening's special was a "Côte de Bœuf 'Rossini' " for two: a rib steak (grilled to perfection, I might add, crusty on the outside and exactly as rare as we had ordered) topped with generous slabs of sauteed foie gras, and a sauce that was a very delicious rendition of the traditional version, which (of course) is a veal reduction with Madiera and truffles. The cooked steak was presented: then taken away and sliced and presented with the foie gras: and we asked to serve ourselves, as we started with small helpings: (Sliced steak topped with foie gras; what could be bad?) This dish was wildly successful, and made us wonder aloud why in the world people stopped eating like this, "nouvelle cuisine" and its successors be damned, as far as we're concerned. Dessert was perhaps the best Tarte Tatin I've ever had (and extra-difficult to photograph): While we were savoring every bite of steak, we realized that we hadn't been told and hadn't asked the price, so we started to speculate. Surely we thought, because of how superb it was, and how generous the foie gras was (each piece was at least 4 or 5 times larger than what Jean-Georges puts on his Roast Pigeon plate), that it would have to be at least $125 for two, and perhaps more. When the check came, the steak, for two, was..... $80. With the exception of the cold Foie Gras starter, which wasn't terrible by any means, this was a wildly successful and wildly delicious dinner. And both the manager and our waiter were as nice as could possibly be hoped for. I hope our experience wasn't a fluke!
  12. Oh, I really agree. The book really rambled for me in the middle and had me thinking, "sure, this is interesting, but what is the point? What is this moving toward in the end?" It was just a bit strange to have the book be a hybrid of a biography of Batali, an autobiography of the author, and a travelogue. All interesting stuff, but it really needed a strong-handed editor in my view. ← That's an interesting comment. You're right of course, it rambled, and lost at least one friend of mine, but I enjoyed all it's disconnected parts. But I think that they don't waste a lot of time and effort editing food-essay books. Not too long ago I read "From Here, You Can't See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and Its Restaurant" by Michael S. Sanders ["From Here, You Can't See Paris is a sweet, leisurely exploration of the life of Les Arques (population 159), a hilltop village in a remote corner of France, untouched by the modern era. It is a story of a dying village's struggle to survive, of a dead artist whose legacy began its rebirth, and of chef Jacques Ratier and his wife, Noëlle, whose bustling restaurant -- the village's sole business -- has helped ensure its future. "The author set out to explore the inner workings of a French restaurant kitchen but ended up stumbling onto a wider, much richer world. Whether uncovering the darker secrets of making foie gras, hearing a chef confess his doubts about the Michelin star system, or absorbing the lore of the land around a farmhouse kitchen table after a boar hunt, Michael Sanders learned that life in Les Arques was anything but sleepy. Through the eyes of the author and his family, the reader enters this world, discovers its still-vibrant traditions of food, cooking, and rural living, and comes to know the village's history, sharing along the way an American family's adventures as they find their way in a place that is sometimes lonely, often wondrous, and always fascinating."] And I was scandalized by the lack of editing. Naturally, when we met each new character, we learned some introductory stuff about them, and from that point on they were mentioned by name, as we already met them. Then at one point, as if nobody paid attention to this, we were introduced to them anew. I realize that the writer's manuscript may have been a hopeless mess of a hodge-podge, but I kept thinking "isn't this what editors are for?"
  13. 575 Mt Pleasant Ave (Rt. 10) Livingston, NJ XXX-XXX-XXXX NO! The number above is the cell phone of one of the owners. The IRVING'S DELI number is (973) 994-5100
  14. markk

    New York Strip Roast

    I've never done it on an outdoor grill, but I certainly have roasted them in the oven the same as a Rib Roast, and they work great. My butcher insisted on wanting to hack partway through the "chine bone" (I think it is) but I thought that was an abomination, so I didn't let him. I roasted it whole, and then after it rested, I used a long smoked-salmon slicing knife to scoop the entire piece of meat off the bone before carving, and it worked great as well.
  15. markk

    Bistro Benoit

    The buzz here is indeed perhaps unprecedented. Of course, for anyone rooted in the past and in favor of traditional foods (now who could that be? oh wait, me!) this sounds wonderful. I have a reservation for Thursday, and I can't wait. Maybe to drive you crazy, Doc, I'll report back that the food "wasn't inventive enough".
  16. I had sclepped to Morristown, NJ to see (supposedly) one of the La Scala Opera HD theatrical showings (same as the Metropolitan Opera is doing), and it turned out that they couldn't get the digital projector working, and canceled the showing !!!! Luckily, we remembered reading about this deli on eGullet, so I used my Iphone to track down the name "Irvings" on eGullet and then to get the phone number. The extremely friendly man on the phone (never found out which one he was) said that we were about 15 minutes away and that they would stay open (they were in the process of closing), and when we got there with the trusty GPS, we were greeted by a very friendly staff who told us we were welcome to sit and eat, though we had promised to do take out. We got a 3-meat combo of only 2 meats (Pastrami and Tongue) - when the counter-guy asked why I didnt get the 2-meat combo, I explained that I wanted extra meat, and though at first he didn't catch on when I couldn't tell him which meat I wanted a "double" portion of to make the three, a minute later the light bulb went off for him, and I got quite the sandwich - and quite delicious too. The pastrami was absolutely not fatty, which worried me when I saw it, but it was tender and delicious, and sliced nice and thick by hand; the tongue, too was excellent. And my companion wimped out and just had the regular pastrami sandwich, which was perfectly good sized, and delicious. So as not to make the trip a total loss, we tasted the brisket (superb) and took home a few pounds for dinner, and we took out some orders of stuffed cabbage as well, but we haven't eaten them yet. But delicious and friendly would certainly be my vote!
  17. I'm a New Lok Kee addict from way back (to its days as Sun Lok Kee on Mott St.) and recently posted photos of a small seafood feast we had there (softshell crabs, many orders of lobster, green vegetables), and it's still my favorite. Of course, I'm more into Cantonese seafood than any of the other Chinese cuisines (sadly, can't eat anything spicy-hot). But some great photos are here: Photos (and video) of New Lok Kee I will say that the Flushing location is considerable more upscale than the down and dirty Mott St. place was, which was famous for it's lack of cleanliness in the front of the house (the Flushing location is upscale and clean) - but I can say that I had been taken through the kitchen and down to the seafood tanks in both places, and surprisingly enough, the parts that you can't see are utterly immaculate. The seafood tanks in the sub-basement sparkle cleaner than anybody's prized aquarium that I have ever seen.
  18. There was a time when I used to live on Rascal House's flanken The place started to go downhill a long time ago. Food practically inedible, customers sending things back en masse, and waitresses telling people "this is it- take it or leave it". I don't know if it specifically coincided with Jerry's Famous having bought it, but it might have. Maybe they purposely ran it into the ground so that nobody would miss the food when it closed. It's really a shame what they did to it, though. On the bright side, Mo's Bagels in Aventura makes a boiled flanken that's probably better than Rascal House's ever was.
  19. I have a friend who knows he is allergic to "shellfish", and knows from experience that he cannot eat shrimp or lobster. However, he can and does eat mussels. So the first question is, will he be able to eat clams, and the second question is, does anybody have way to explain what he can and cannot eat (i.e. which things fall into the same category as shrimp and lobster). Thanks !!!!!!
  20. smoked salmon. don't laugh. whatever I buy, I eat the first day, slowly but surely throughout the day until it's gone.
  21. markk

    Cooking without salt

    To the OP: I would suggest that you cook things without salt, and then salt your own portion, if it's only you that is missing the taste of salt. As far as omitting it from the cooking process, nothing bad will happen. I'm also one of the people who had to eliminate salt from my cooking, and I found the very same things that some people mention above - after a while your taste buds adapt, and the salt you add to what's on your plate at the end does the trick. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that you get a lot of cleaner, clearer flavors in cooked foods when you don't keep salting during cooking as so many people do - and I have seen people put something up to cook, taste it every half hour, decide it needs salt, and keep adding it every 30 minutes. As a test once, I made the same thing, tasted it, realized it needed salt, didn't add it, and just before serving, put a little bit of salt to taste. Tasted just as good, and probably eliminated several grams of sodium from the dish. Another thing I'll do when putting up a pot of something to cook, is after it has cooked for a bit, I'll take some out, put it in a little pan and reduce it tremendously to preview what it will taste like when cooked down, and if all it needs at that point is a little salt, I've got it made. If it's your wife who's craving salt, she may have to make do with squeezing lemon or using balsamic vinegar on her food and just make the best of it.
  22. If you're going to go to all the trouble of sauteeing onions and hard-boiling eggs, all you have to do is throw some raw chicken livers in with the onions once they're golden, cook till the livers are done, add to a chopping bowl with the egg, and you've got homemade. Why do all that work just to doctor some store bought brand? If you like some sweetness in it, use a sweet onion variety.
  23. Phoenix was always my favorite (though I haven't been there in a while).
  24. markk

    Dinner! 2008

    I dont shop in Supermarkets but, I did not expect something that pretty to be in them.. They look awesome. Were they just like packaged sitting in the meat bin? ← Yes! They were packaged one per Styrofoam tray, and wrapped in plastic, just like the steaks or the pork chops come. It's the ShopRite of Hoboken (NJ). They don't have a "service" meat counter with a "butcher" like many supermarkets where you choose the meat and they weigh and wrap it, but there is a section of the meat cases that's separated from the whole rest of the section, where they always have veal that beautiful (they break down one half an animal per day in to chops, breasts, etc), and in that section they also have the Nature's Reserve grass fed organic beef, and a gigantic selection of D'Artagnan products, including the fresh (raw) duck Magret (as packaged by D'Artagnan, one per pack), as well as D'Artagnan's superb duck confit, and much more from their catalog, including the Nieman Ranch bacons. I realize that this is shameless showing-off, but I can actually create meals like this duck duo from what i get at my local Jersey supermarket - and I love it (!): The rest of the store is no big deal, but the meat department is great!
  25. markk

    Dinner! 2008

    Though I haven't posted in a long time, because I really haven't been cooking (long story), I have been lurking and seeing things get more and more beautiful. I've started cooking again, so I thought I'd post two dinners from this, my first week back in the kitchen making things that don't come out of containers. First, fish. My fish market had some beautiful skate (dressed, i.e. off the bone) Which I dusted with Wondra flour and sauteed in olive oil with a little buter When both sides were crisped, I removed it to a hot plate, and deglazed the pan with white wine, and added organic lemon, and capers, let it bubble for a moment, and then plated it with the sauce over it. The sides were roasted cauliflower and roasted cremini mushrooms, and though I could kill the person who plated the sides for me, I'll post the photos anyway It was delicious, though I can only show the ones that didn't break apart when I turned them. Then, my supermarket had some veal chops that I just couldn't pass up: So I seasoned them with fresh thyme, salt and pepper, and grilled them: and varied the plating: No, those aren't Tater Tots. They're the "Alexia" brand of Potato Nuggets, which are a healthier alternative, and of course there's some watercress salad. It's fun to be able to stand long enough to cook a whole meal again.
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