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  1. Speaking for myself and a few friends, I have long thought that Sifton's writing was incredibly mannered. It sounded fake, like the man was trying too hard to conjure his images. Reading him, I thought that he was attempting to prove that he was "in" enough to know the lingo (as he might call it) of certain segments of the city's younger, grittier food culture. Having said that, Sifton wasn't exactly blessed with a wondrous moment in NY restaurant openings. A recession sucks for food, and so that sucked for Sifton.
  2. I just went to SHO two nights in a row, first to try it out and then because my first meal was so superb. I don't have time at this point to give a full review of each of my 3-course meals, but I will lend my voice to those who praise the restaurant highly. There are very very few places like this working at the same level in NYC today: Per Se and 11 Madison Park come to mind (I've been recently disappointed, again, by meals at Daniel and Le Bernardin). Most competitors are far more expensive, too. At this point, I feel we may be dealing with an endangered species: high art cuisine is languis
  3. I had another excellent meal at Allegretti tonight. The seafood (black and white) tagliatelle remains my favorite seafood pasta in NY. And the fruit clafoutis! It was so good I ordered a second.
  4. Perhaps then I simply went too early before things were in their proper position.
  5. My cynical response to the question of why the published critics have a different reaction on Marea than many of us on this website do: The critics have been recognized and treated differently! To be fair, I've only been once, and it was at the beginning. BUT I have never found Michael White's food to be 4-star worthy no matter where I've tried his stuff (and I have been to his other establishments many times). He's a 2 or 3-star talent, if you ask me. Besides, I think Marae probably already has contracted Del Posto Syndrome (DPS), i.e. performs only when it has to.
  6. Both Matsugen and Allegretti have been mentioned above: they're all great restaurants. Wonder what happened? Another, I'd submit, is Pamplona. Does anyone go there anymore? Chef Urena works miracles, at least on occasion, and although the atmosphere there is still bad (same space as its chef-eponymous predecessor), I've had some sparkling meals there.
  7. As there probably is a big difference between being a regular and being a regular who is also a major culinary personality or critic, I want to drop my 10 cents here. Perhaps I can present myself as a sort of "control" in this particular discussion, because I'm a total nobody in the dining world. No one has any reason to pay special attention to me apart from the fact that I care about food and I am a loyal patron. My opinion can have no real impact on the restaurant's popularity and bottom line. I am what we might call a "regular" at Per Se at the moment (I've been there 3 or 4 times this Spr
  8. I think what we’ve all been missing, or simply not saying, is that there actually can be critics of Corton who DO appreciate PL’s mode of creation, but nevertheless find PL wanting in this very mode. Indeed, some diners may truly like his approach and yet think that he occasionally fails by its own standards. Even the greatest artists may regularly flub up their own game. This is NOT my position on PL at Corton, but it is one I could see myself entertaining if future visits to Corton were to be as so-so as my first one. Saying that Corton probably does not have a consistency problem, and suspe
  9. I wanted to report that my dinner at Aldea on Thursday night was excellent. It was, in fact, one of my best new restaurant experiences I've enjoyed in a long time. Following the advice of the early reviews, we ordered the sea urchin toast and foie gras terrine from the tapas, or rather "pesticos" menu (this place is technically Portuguese). Both were excellent and satisfying. A foie gras terrine of this caliber should really cost more than $15. I'd say it was near the top of the game, with brioche as good as any I've had. With this dish, the cocoa nib soil worked very well, especially textural
  10. Perhaps, but I now have read more on this thread and I have noted that several individuals have complained of lackluster dining experiences at Corton, even on important evenings when the chef and culinary celebrities were present.
  11. Oakapple, you're right that I've played a bit too loose with the word "inconsistent." I was attempting to be respectful of the other diners whose opinions I value (like yourself), and who have enjoyed Corton. My tendency has therefore been to assume that, whatever the so-so quality of my experience, yours and others are more typical of those who dine at Corton. And because I do like experimental cuisine, and liked quite a bit of the food at Gilt under PL, my problem was not one of sympathy or taste, but rather a matter of an off night. That said, if I had not your and other reactions to Corton
  12. I'm really astonished. Having heard from so many trusted sources about the pleasures of Corton, and having liked Gilt well enough, I return from my dinner at Corton this evening extremely disappointed in my meal there. Some of the food was decent, but very little of it stood out as either well-conceived or even interesting. It wasn't that I thought Corton would be like Per Se or anything of that sort: I didn't go with specific ideas of what I'd experience, but I thought I'd try something new and important. New and important is not what I found. We had the tasting menu. The uni was nothing ext
  13. You'll have to forgive the somewhat provocative topic description: I did want to bring attention to Allegretti, the relatively new restaurant of Alain Allegretti. I've read a lot about the restaurant over the last several months, but I put my visit off again and again (despite several good reviews, there was something in the thought of Provencal food that didn't quite grab me). Over the last few weeks, however, I've gone twice for lunch. The 2 or 3 course prix fixe is an excellent value at $24 and $28. What is more, Allegretti serves excellent food. My lunch today began with a well-executed mu
  14. Portions did seem a bit slight for the price. If I had received advice about how to order (which, of course, I did not), I would have probably been told that one needs to order at least four courses. The primi are really primi at Marea. You'll need more than the pasta to leave full.
  15. I ate at Marea tonight, and I have to agree with the gathering consensus: while the food is fine, the service is a total joke. Let's start with the food. I wasn't all that hungry, and I was eating alone, and so I didn't order all that much, just three courses. I started with the stuffed morels, which are described and pictured above, and enjoyed them, despite the fact that they were arranged with less care than one might expect at a place like this one. After the morels, I proceeded to the fusilli with grilled octopus and bone marrow, which was a very pleasant dish. The pasta was cooked prope
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