Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by robert40

  1. It is my understanding that the kitchen counter seats are reserved for walk ins. Though I would call to confirm.
  2. Cool to see him giving a shout out to Great Lake. Best pizza I ever tasted.
  3. I believe AaronM may have gotten the impression from Schwa's website that there was a "punk rock attitude". I was pointing out that may be misleading. While Schwa's concept is very different then most they remain professional and I noticed no such attitude. I didn't want him to get the impression it was like "Hey dude, want to smoke a bowl" type of environment.
  4. More supportability, I have more than once walked into a dining room and silently cursed the fact that the last few dollars of my entree were paying not for ingredients but for over-the-top decor that did not excuse the mediocrity of the cuisine.Here in DC, Michael Landrum has been wildly successful with his growing Ray's the Steaks group (including the now-legendary r -- Ray's Hell) pursuing a low-overhead, high value strategy. I've spoken with him a couple of times and he is quite psychotically devoted to the idea, including also no real decore and excellent wine values. He bragd about being profitable with food costs over 40%. I believe this description has been greatly exaggerated by the media and others on the Internet. Even Michelin contributed to this false image with a innuendo tweet suggesting smoke drifting out the kitchen. In my experience had the cooks been in a uniform and not aprons I would have never known they had worked in the kitchen. Very professional and equal to other such restaurants, if not better.
  5. It may be worth noting. There are those in the industry that have suggested to Michael Carlson that he get a wine/beer licence. Though profitable it apparently is not something he is interested in doing. The link below offers some insight into this. http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-richman/200901/chicago-michael-carlson-schwa-charlie-trotter
  6. It took my wife maybe two or three days of calling. I doubt she called four times before getting through. In the big picture it was nothing. I spent much longer trying to get through to my cable provider.
  7. I will be the first to admit I don't condone some of the reservation policies. But with that said the posters were given no explanation for the cancellations and its only speculation as to why. I will say as much as this. Schwa is like no other restaurant I know of. And after visiting and having personal conversations with Chef Carlson and staff I believe I have a better understanding of the work they are doing. One example is, everything I've learned from the industry over the years is meaningless in Chef Carlson's restaurant. They march to their own beat and really don't care what the common practice is. The menu is so technical and evolved that no restaurateur would even consider attempting it without 2-3 times the kitchen staff of Schwa. They also seem to cook right on the edge of complete chaos. I recall thinking if some nights they may not be able to pull it off and could foresee service crumbling apart. But on the night I visited they pulled it off brilliantly. Also for a 26 seat restaurant they break every rule in the book on Rule 101. Serve good food and turn those tables as fast as you can otherwise you won't even break even. Not at Schwa, as a matter of fact they never even filled the dining room the night I was there. They don't care about that and said as much. The thing is I am well aware that the average diner could care less if the restaurant is profitable or how the meal is produced. As long as the food and service has met expectations that is all that counts in the eyes of the customer. As well it should. Which brings me back to what I said about Schwa being like no other restaurant. I firmly believe from my observation that if only one cook got sick they would have a very difficult time completing service. No need for a fire to close down for the evening as only one sick staff member would do it. Thing is, what diner after waiting months would believe that? They would be outraged and ask why this would not be the case at Alinea or Per Se. Dare I say it may be best to give no reason or explanation in such a case? Of course this is only my opinion. In closing I must mention after my conversation with Chef Carlson I was blown away by his kindness and generosity. Rarely have I met such a down to earth person and he was like nothing I expected. I honestly walked out the door and stepped on the sidewalk wishing I knew him better.
  8. Regardless which restaurant I may visit in the future. I'm convinced at some point during the meal no matter how great, I will wish I was back at Schwa.
  9. From my understanding not only was her photo made public but also her phone number. Just wrong on so many levels.
  10. The reservation policy at Schwa is no doubt far from the norm of what most diners find acceptable. Could it be that it is just such a foreign policy then what we are use to in obtaining reservation? For instance the French Laundry has a receptionist just to turn away dozens of people each day. On the other hand at Schwa when no seats are available your call goes to voice mail. I was just thinking about this the other day as my wife surprised me with a reservation. She told me she had been calling Schwa daily for nearly two weeks only to get the full voice mail message each time. Then suddenly someone picked up and she made the reservation with no problem. The end result was reservations without nearly the wait as one for the French Laundry.
  11. The above linked article offers a glimpse into the character of Schwa. The below link offers a view into the character of the chef. Both certainly worth the read. http://nextgenchicagonista.com/2010/01/29/amazing-generous-schwa/
  12. Have been hearing wonderful things and the reviews seem positive. Anybody been?
  13. Get well soon Chris Bianco! http://www.azcentral.com/business/news/articles/2010/01/27/20100127chris-bianco-gone.html
  14. I'm not sure if you'll get seated if you show up that late. Maybe someone knowing will chime in. Keep in mind though even if you were there at 4.30 you will likely miss the first seating. When I went I was first in line but also got there at 3.00pm. By 4.30 the line was already to the wine bar. Hopefully you will get the opportunity to try it as it surely is a rare special place.
  15. Simply nothing more then tradition and respect.
  16. I mean no disrespect but honestly assume there are readers curious as to why you would seek menu pricing suggestions here? Manhattan may very well be one of the most competitive restaurant markets in the world. A well thought out business plan is essential to success and even with that many of the very best have failed. There is nothing wrong with seeking a general opinion, but your question hints somewhat in being a bit unprepared as to the task ahead of you. Certainly wishing you the very best of luck!
  17. robert40

    Per Se

    It is my opinion that at this stage of Chef Keller's empire his being on or off site has little to do with quality control. Regardless if he is in house or not sometimes problems arise and can't be avoided. (Human element) I suspect if unfortunate problems happen during service it would not have changed anything had Thomas Keller been there. My experence has been staff at Per Se or French Laundry will always gladly offer a kitchen tour if asked. Sometimes they may not ask as some diners could care less about touring the kitchen. Shame but true.
  18. I can't recommend Great Lake for pizza enough. Surly some of the best pizza I ever had and being right up there with Pizzeria Bianco. And contrary to the many comments on yelp/press suggesting the owners of Great Lake having an attitude. I seen no such attitude on my visit and found them to be very friendly.
  19. robert40

    Chef abuse

    From the days of Joel Robuchon at his height and before. I'll have to disagree and think we gained some ground.
  20. robert40

    Chef abuse

    Very comparable to the blue shield of secrecy. Right or wrong that is just the way it is. I do believe though that improvement's have been made in recent times.
  21. Apparently! Some pretty scary stuff for sure.
  • Create New...