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Everything posted by brescd01

  1. I had the lobster roll at Village Whiskey last night, and it could not compare to Oyster Bar's, this from someone who until a few days ago did not even know what a lobster roll was.
  2. My post about Village Whiskey garnered no replies, and I know this is not personal because no one else started a thread about Vilage Whiskey either, I am not sure why. In any event, we had time to return there and my impression was the same. Mistake after mistake but the service, atmosphere, food, and importance of the place's genre (non-hotel non-steakhouse classy/conservative bar) won me over so that this is one of my favorite bars in Philly. As a practical matter, its limited seating makes it a dfficult place to meet someone for drinks unless you are willing to fall back to Tinto or perhaps American Noble around the corner. And I can imagine getting tired of its really small menu with a few weak spots. The lobster roll seemed weak on the lobster and could not be eaten as a sandwich as served. I did not think my wife's vegetarian burger was anything special. I really think a place like WB should have more salads than just Cobb and Green, perhaps Caesar, Nicoise and something else. It needs two or three more entrees. What seemed to be watered-down cocktails were taken off my bill when I complained. And I do not know that they were since I am no cocktail-expert, the opposite. But the place and staff just exudes class. $61/person.
  3. I had Whiskey Bar's lobster roll last night. It was twice the cost of Oyster Bar's, and couldnot compare. I could not even pretend to eat it like a sandwich and it had less lobster.
  4. What is the ideal parking for going to this restaurant? Two things that always scares me away from the South Street area is the parking and traffic.
  5. I don't want to sound grumpy Oyster Bar in its own way represents one aspect of the brasserie ideal I was searching for, and I will be back, anonymously of course, to avoid the slow-acting poison!
  6. As much as I want to pat myself on the back for my good judgment RE Oceanaire, its closing appears to be due to its corporate bankruptcy filing rather than local management. I will not miss it. Oyster Bar is not comfortable enough to fill that niche. But it is hipper than Oceanaire could ever hope to be.
  7. You were there, but I didn't want to draw attention because you might have done something to our drinks after the Meme-rain-dog fiasco! Our service was cool and efficient. We sat at the bar so I guess we could have been more comfortable at a table. But the only really comparable restaurants to Oyster Bar are Oceanaire, Devon, Seafood Unlimited, and Snockeys. I have been to Oceanaire now several times and I have to say that it has disappointed me every time, it carries the torch for fancy seafood now that Striped Bass is no more, and yet it really is poorly managed (in my opinion). Really disappointing oysters, uncomfortable temperature control that could not be adjusted, horrible and confused service at the bar, and really mediocre cooking. I also find the decor to be unbelievably trite and cheap. I used to love Devon and I feel either my tastes evolved or its service and food declined. Or I was seated in the undesirables corner and food and service are better elsewhere, I don't know. Seafood Unlimited is perfectly placed but I dont remember their raw bar selection to be anything like Oyster Bar's. I also do not like their cooking at all. Snockeys is really bare-bones and I have not tried its prepared foods, though I have heard they are terrible. Plus it is no less expensive than the other restaurants. So Oyster Bar actually fills an important role, I will have to return and see if they can keep up the standard we experienced.
  8. I am an effeminate prude, but please don't hold this against me! In any event, we tried both the lobster roll (me) and the split lobster (my wife), the shrimp cocktail, a dozen oysters, several Troigs and the sundae. We enjoyed everything. I was particularly impressed by the decor, which was much smarter than the old decor. We left the dog home, unforunately, or we would have stayed longer. $75/person, what Barclay Grill cost me on Saturday.
  9. Regarding the whole lobster, what is the mess factor? Could my wife get in and get out without a bib?
  10. What is SPTR? And stupid question, what is a lobster roll?
  11. Where is the best place to order whole lobster in Philly? Cost is no object.
  12. I tried Garce's classy bar over the holiday weekend and I loved it for a whole lot of good reasons, and some embarrassing ones. First, I am ashamed how much I miss Brasserie Perrier. Without Perrier, the only really classy traditional bars are in steakhouses. I hardly ever ate there (maybe once-twice/year) but I enjoyed it every time. Why is this relevant? Because Village Whiskey is a classy traditional bar and it is not a steakhouse. Second, I get good service in general from restaurants (I guess the tip system works), bad service is the exception for me, and usually not because of the server but the set-up (he has too many tables, etc). But there was something about the service at Village whiskey that made me warm all over. We could not get a table or seat anywhere, we had drinks at Tinto, the hostess came over to tell us a table was ready at Whiskey Bar, and then our drinks and bill were whisked over to Whiskey Bar from Tinto. I know it is a unique set of circumstances (both places have the same owner) but they could have thumbed their noses at us and I would not have even complained it would have been so natural. Third, I love Tinto, and I am sorry, a restaurant next to a place I love basks in its glow. Fourth and least important, the food was delicious. The menu is very small, even too small I would say (there should be more than two green salads on this sort of a menu if you ask me). As good as the hamburger was, it will get old. We ordered 2 dozen oysters and the server forgot to bring them. Who cares? Not me. I was tipsy by then, our server was adorable-hot but not snooty, and everything was good and my guests pleased. I will be back, but now I hope Garces opens other places I secretly lust for, like a BRASSERIE.
  13. I had a similar experience to dagordon, which I wrote about in my "steakhouse plus" thread. I think Union Trust has really surprised us to become a lovely addition to the dining scene, rather than just one more expense account hell.
  14. My wife and I tried Minette last night. The decor is fine though I do not care for the Disney-fide version of a French restaurant, pronunciation guides for French on the wall reminded me that this was an exercise in pretend. I just got back from Paris (where I have not been in over ten years) and this was a little much. So were the waiters' immaculate little costumes. We had the flammekuche. I have nothing to compare it to. It was tasty, but probably was one of several factors that contributed to both my wife's and my stomach upset. My wife enjoyed her wine, I, my beer. She had the fluke and I had the lamb. We ordered the mac 'n cheese on the side. I did not try her fluke, she said it was good. My lamb was tasty, I asked for it rare and maybe that was too much. But all the ingredients seemed too clean and nothing blended. I would not be able to write this had I not just been to Paris and eaten in numerous middle-level restaurants. The lamb itself was flavorless for example. Its potatoes were undercooked. The mac n' cheese was over-the-top rich. We had some frozen dessert that no French restaurant would have served, too hard to eat. Nothing was French, it was French-style. I think I am back to not liking French food (I generally prefer ethnic food but this trip to Paris changed me I thought). Service was warm with gaps, the staff seemed easily overwhelmed by relatively few people. I went with the hope that Minette was a Philadelphia brasserie (anyone who read my earlier thread on this knows I have "brasserie on the brain" at this point) and that is my own fault, obviously Minette coins itself a "bistro" not a "brasserie." But I hoped. I much preferred the food to Cochon but in all fairness I have only eaten at either place once now, so that is hardly a fair comparison. I also am prejudiced against BYOB's (obviously I am an angry hateful person). In some sort of endless Heavenly coda to my rained-out-with-the-dog experience there was a torrential deluge as we left necessitating borrowing the restaurant's umbrella. We returned it of course: $70/person, which I thought reasonable.
  15. Oh G-d I hate Washington but I am so there! What about our neighbor to the north? I struggle with the proper definition of "brasserie" but "bistro" is easier: I think it means a casual small restaurant with modest home-cooked food. A brasserie appears to mean two things, first a place with indoor and outdoor seating, a large menu (by French standards) of relatively informal dishes, an extensive shellfish menu, and year-round long hours. The second thing it refers to is the food, which is a set of traditional hearty informal dishes like Lipp's lamb curry, and these could be served anywhere.
  16. I completely agree with the lack of need for an "elsewhere" feel, in fact I would prefer to feel like I am in Philadelphia and happy! This is what I loved about Brasserie Perrier, it made no attempt to make one feel like one was in Paris, just in a really cool restaurant. I did not realize at the time how many of the "required" brasserie elements it had and I miss it more now that I have been to Paris, eaten in brasseries, and loved them. I wonder if Table 31 will become more and more like a brasserie, though its location is all wrong for this.
  17. That is funny but sad:( The more I read about "brasserie" I realize this is both a place and a set of traditional dishes, so that "brasserie" style food could be served in a "bistro". Any place to get traditional brasserie dishes, then? The more I think about it, the more I realize Brasserie Perrier really checked off most of the brasserie boxes. What a loss. Trust me, I want to love Parc, I really do. But I have had only lousy experiences there, lousy food, intolerable noise, iffy service.
  18. I would not have any confidence in what I wrote about Mouffetard. We spent one evening there. Maybe the market is more interesting earlier in the day. But I found it over-the-top touristy.
  19. I just spent 9 days in Paris and I had not been there for a very long time. I know that my impressions were colored by heat and August closings, but I really changed my mind about a lot of things. I had posted lists of restaurants I wanted to try (on the France board) and the most frequent concern was that my list disproportionately contained brasseries. Frankly, I don't think I understood what a brasserie is. I thought these were places that specialized in Alsatian food and seafood and were open all hours. Instead, these are pretty clearly high-end "diners" that maintain full menus with fresh seafood and alcohol, are open all hours, and have both inner and outer dining spaces. They are as lovely to have a beer in as to eat in. I loved them. I cannot think of any restaurant except Parc that resembles them (now that Perrier has closed), and I hate Parc. So I ask, am I missing something? Are there places here that resemble brasseries? Accomodating large groups was also important, and watching these warm reunions was half the charm of eating at them.
  20. I just spent 9 days in Paris and I had not been there for a very long time. I know that my impressions were colored by heat and August closings, but I really changed my mind about a lot of things. I had posted lists of restaurants I wanted to try and the most frequent concern was that my list disproportionately contained brasseries. Frankly, I don't think I understood what a brasserie is. I thought these were places that specialized in Alsatian food and seafood and were open all hours. Instead, these are pretty clearly high-end "diners" that maintain full menus with fresh seafood and alcohol, are open all hours, and have both inner and outer dining spaces. They are as lovely to have a beer in as to eat in. I loved them and I am very sorry that there is not more than one or two restaurants in Phladelphia that resembles them, and one of those has really lousy food. The only "bad" dining experience we had was at Maison D'Aubrac (obviously not a brasserie). But every other restaurant we ate in was one (Chez George, Bar a Huitres Wagram, Ballon des Ternes, Devez). In fact, an enormous number of restaurants aspired to be like brasseries and I think the distinction between "brasserie" and "non-brasserie" gets blurred. Devez had everything but seafood, for example, but was indistinguishable from a normal brasserie otherwise. I had thought I did not "like" French food, but on the contrary, I think I love it. When I say "French" I am not specifically referring to classic French dishes that we did not have time (or the appetite) to try. I refer to the French "hand," which is lovely. Everything I ate in Paris was at least tasty. Half of what I eat in Philly is disgusting, in contrast. Highlights: the salmon (made in house) at the Hotel Raphael, where we stayed; the service everywhere; seafood platters at Bar a Huitres; the beautiful outdoor dining at all the brasseries we tried; Caron perfume, the Dali Museum, how art SHOULD be appreciated; women’s underwear, which French women do everything with short of wearing it on the outside a la Bananas; bread; giant snails every time we had them; pastries (what a surprise:)); steak tartare Lowlights: Belon oysters, what is so fabulous about these? I should have had the fin de clairs; Maison d'Aubrac, just mediocre; the Eiffel Tower; the Louvre (what an awful way to display the greatest paintings of all time); Mouffetard, what a sad fate for my once-favorite street.
  21. This is really off topic, but your analysis is flawed. I do not refer to your assertion that there is a limited pool of "prime of prime" meat, but of the meaning of cost to diners in various cities. Life in NYC is indeed much more expensive than in Philadelphia. And the average salary is almost certainly higher in NYC than it is in Philadelphia, in part driven by certain industries like the financial industry, which are unique to New York. This is partly balanced by enormous competition in certain industries, like health. But the rise in salaries in NYC are more than outweighed by the higher costs of living in NYC. New Yorkers on average are housing-poor and have much less disposable income than Philadelphians. So a $40 steak actually is dearer to New Yorkers on average, than to Philadelphians. There are huge cultural differences, for instance New Yorkers eat out much more often (and order in) than Philadelphians, but these reflect personal choice rather than disposable income. The low cost of living here relative to my salary is one of the reasons I love Philadelphia, and I know how much people in my industry (health) earn in NYC (the statistics are widely available). It does not even come close to compensating for the higher cost of living there, which is mostly due to housing.
  22. The problem with providing a long list of anything in NYC is that NYC has a long list of EVERYTHING. Take gastro-pubs, a genre that I doubt anyone could argue, Philadelphia has cultivated and perfected, and certainly a non-entity in NYC. And yet, I am sure, because of NYC's size compared to Philadelphia, were we to count, NYC has more gastro-pubs than Philadelphia. My remark would apply really to anything in NYC (underwear stores, plumbers, etc). I accept that the steak-plus genre may have developed in cities besides Philadelphia, but I can't help imagining that this is a growing type of resto that will become more important in high-end dining here, not less important, and will be one more distinctive aspect of Philly dining. So far as comparisons, I am not going to NYC anytime soon to gorge myself, so I cannot try many of those places mentioned. But the ones I have tried, Smith and Wollensky, Spark's, and the Knickerbocker (not in your list but listed and recommended in the NYTimes) were pretty average. I also think that grass-fed beef is the next great trend and Philly may have an opening there to leave its rival city behind.
  23. I did research and received a lot of helpful replies about where to eat in Paris. I am afraid to say this amongst such august company (no pun intended), but I think after not being in Paris for ages and living in Philadelphia since 2000, my tastes have become incredibly pedestrian. I may be just soooo grateful for a crusty baguette or ecstatic over the dryest flan from Paul (chain bakery). My particular desire was to sample French regional cuisine, and hopefully try one from each of the following styles: Alsace Normandy Brittany Burgundy Aveyron Languedoc Provence That said, my hotel has made these reservations for me: Chez Georges / Porte Maillot Le Ballon Des Ternes A Casaluna Brasserie La Lorraine Chez Jenny Le Winch Bistrot Du Dôme Le Bar à Huitres Devez Any disasters? I know that the obvious foody's reply will be that this list is brasserie-heavy but one, I am dying to get real brasserie food and two, brasseries are disproportionately open in August. I do not really appreciate the finest traditional restaurants, hence their absence.
  24. My parents are visiting Philadelphia and would like to go shopping at Reading Terminal. They are older and want to drive their car there and park it, but each time they go they get derailed by traffic or yesterday, super-expensive parking. Does anyone know the "ideal" parking place that is not too expensive and would be easy to carry grocery bags to?
  25. Hence my mention that I left NYC in 2000. That said 1) Sammy's Roumanian is not a steakhouse 2) I did not mean to say there were no good steakhouses in NYC, just that they did not play an important role in the NYC dining scene. And while your list is long, NYC is enormous. Serious foodies just did not and do not, go to Smith and Wollensky except to get a free steak on someone else's dime. 3) I have been to Sparks, it was pretty mediocre even as a steakhouse, that was in 1997, perhaps it has improved. 4) Just to see if I am really disconnected from the NY scene, a place I spent the first 32 years of my life, I checked the NYTimes. If you search for "steakhouse", none gets a particularly good review (including Sparks and Peter Luger), and none better than two stars. And none seems to be recommended as something more than a steakhouse, which was my point, a separate type of joint that presents a fuller menu. But that's okay, pop my bubble of something Philadelphia is doing better than our rival up north...
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