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Everything posted by jaypm51

  1. Nashvegas, just for the record, there is no music at Seeger's and there is absolutely nothing "common" about the palate emanating from that kitchen. There are many restaurants, one could argue, that meet your description, but I assure you Seeger's is not among them.
  2. I think Cru as well. The food is great and and the bill won't require a second mortgage to pay.
  3. jaypm51


    Ambience? Never noticed the ambience. Too much preoccupied with the food and wonderfully paired wines. Chairs were functional, table was solid, service was great (friendly and informative) and my guests were as appreciative of what came out of the kitchen as I was. One interesting observation though, the chef is as understated as his surroundings. Maybe, just maybe, he only wants us to see the food.
  4. jaypm51

    Pegu Club

    Great place for the exotic cocktail, wonderful atmosphere (very pukka-like) and often, at the bar, interesting and erudite conversation. Bartenders are without peer. The best of all, however, is the simple but elegant unadorned martini made with some of the world's best gin. Just plain hard to beat.
  5. Well, someone felt that their financial backing would make all the difference .. and, ultimately, he was satisfied enough to stay ... I think this is wonderful news for Atlanta! ← It is wonderful news indeed. Hopefully the rest of Atlanta's food-wise community shares our sentiments and provides the patronage necessary to sustain the restaurant beyond the next few months. I, for one, believe Seeger's best is yet to come.
  6. Obviously Andrea Strong's intelligence is flawed. As of August 25, Seegers is still open. Also, I doubt very much that Seeger has ever heard of The Strong Buzz. Of course there is lots of speculation regarding Seeger's next move but whatever it turns out to be, he has demonstrated that his commitment to Atlanta has been far greater than Atlanta's commitment to him and his restaurant.
  7. Chef Guenter Seeger has finally given up the good fight. After investing better than twenty years of his life providing Atlanta's epicurian community with some of the finest dining in the world, Seeger is moving on. Sadly, a slow but steady exodus of Atlanta's most talented chefs have bled the city of top flght restaurants. Where have all the epicures gone? Following their favorite chefs to other cities I presume. It really is a drag to have to fly to New York for a great meal.
  8. u.e. "I've also been to Heinz Winkler's three star restaurant in Aschau. This is, in my opinion, the worst of the german three star restaurants. It appears that his cuisine stands almost still." I totally agree with malacitana regarding Winkler. I dined there only 3 days ago. Winkler was not in the restaurant. It was half empty. The dining room seemed drab (over lit, perhaps) and both the food (we had the chef's tasting menu) and the service were inconsistent. To be fair, there were instances of sheer brilliance on the menu, particularly at the amuse stage. He is also at his best with fish. However, there were several egregious displays of sheer amateurism like the sauce (a port wine reduction?) accompanying our final course of pheasant breast, which was the color of muddy chocolate (a turn off to everybody at the table) and tasted primarily of uncooked flour. Unfortunately, out of the entire menu, this is the one dish we will most likely remember. On the other hand, Tantris is certainly worth a visit. Haas' cooking is honest and without pretention yet precisely executed and often sublime. He is always in the kitchen and takes extraordinary pride in every aspect of preparation, execution and delivery. I have eaten in both restaurants several times and my judgments remain unchanged.
  9. Strongly second Ned! Just returned from Europe where I dined at two Michelin three star restaurants. Neither restaurant could claim the standard set by Seeger for either food, service or for that matter, since his remake, ambience. If money is not an object, though Seegers is not nearly the most expensive in town, then do yourself and your fiance a favor and dine there. When making your reservation, mention that one of you is a vegetarian, and you'll find out just how sublime veggies can be.
  10. But I wonder how much better than Smart Chicken it is? ← Have prepared this bird several times now. Simple roast served with jus. "They really do taste like chicken." Of course, if they taste like turkey.... Actually, they are exceptionally good and worth the money. Nothing like starting with the best ingredients.
  11. Have to second Ned on Tres Hermanos. Took some of my friends from Dallas there recently and it blew them away. It helps if you understand a bit of Spanish, though even if you don't you won't leave hungry. You will need to be able to decipher a written (white board) menu. Mexican idiom. No matter how you spell it though, its really, really good and as down home Mexican as it gets. In a strip mall off Sandy Springs Circle just short of Roswell Road, north side of street.
  12. jaypm51

    All things RAW

    . eGullet thread on book by Charlie Trotter ← Try "Eat Smart, Eat Raw" by Kate Wood. Lots of good ideas and creativity. Not my thing but occasionally "cook" for friends who are still stuck in past lives (pre fire). Good resource to have on hand. My dogs, however, love their raw diet.
  13. Try a trio of anchovy stuffed olives. I get mine from La Tienda.Com. Fabulous complement to an ice cold martini straight up.
  14. We had the pleasure of dining at the newly reopened Seeger's. There are great chefs and there are great restaurants and, unfortunately, one doesn't necessarily imply the other. Seeger's has often been the subject of spirited discussion. Few would deny chef Seeger's greatness as a chef. Many have criticized the restaurant for its attitude, ambience and diffident service; I among them. It seems as though the Chef has not only heard, but acted definitively on the feedback. Clearly the Chef is intent (intensity is perhaps the one quality that is most indicative of him) on creating the perfect dining experience for his guests. From the moment you arrive at the restaurant to the moment you drive off, everything is orchestrated to insure a sublime evening of fine dining and exquisite attentiveness. As soon as you enter the parking area you are greeted by a valet who escorts you to the front door of the restaurant and announces you by name to the hostess who is standing outside to greet you. You are then led into the newly decorated lounge where you are seated and offered champagne, wine or a cocktail. The lounge area, facing the bar, is populated by a small number of cozy seating arrangements consisting of love seats and armchairs arranged for comfort and privacy. While you sip, nibble on a delicate "amuse" and relax, menus are delivered for your leisurely perusal. Whenever you are ready you are taken to the dining room and seated at "your" (you get to choose when making your reservation) table. The room, also newly decorated, seems much larger than before until you notice that there are only half the number of tables previously there. Here again, Chef Seeger demonstrates his out-of-box thinking; halve the capacity of the restaurant and increase the number of staff in order to insure that every detail of your dining experience is attended to, and those details are evident everywhere. The ambience is warm, intimate, graceful and elegant. New linens, silver and table service adorn each table. The china, carefully chosen to accomodate the Chef's unique dishes differ from one area of the restaurant to the next. The usual unusual flower arrangements are everywhere. We were thoroughly overwhelmed even before the first course arrives. We chose to sit at the Chef's Table and sample the Chef's 12 course Menu de Degustation (only available at the Chef's Table). Chef Guenter Seeger has long had the reputation of being a Chef's chef. His ability to coax maximum flavor from his every ingredient with minimum manipulation is his gift. Therefore, its hard to imagine that the food could have gotten any better than it was, and I'm not certain that it did. It was just purely sublime. I will not describe every dish that we had (though I will list them all) just those that I think are most indicative of Chef Seeger's particular genius. Grand Degustation Menu Burrata Cocktail Marinated Eggplant, Tomato Water, Anchovy Garlic Confit, Burrata (cheese). This dish epitomizes the Chef's absolute control over his ingredients. Every flavor nuance is evident and yet it is impossible to tell where one begins and another ends (we are speaking of garlic, anchovy and eggplant, no shy flavors here). This is perfect harmony until at the very end a, symbol clash, a stunning burst of pure tomato essence. Unbelievable! Egg Steamed Farm Egg Custard, Maple Syrup, Shaved Mullet Bottarga. The addition of the bottarga to the Chef's classic egg prepariation was pure inspiration. The interplay of salt and sweet, maple and fish was worked brilliantly. Sashimi (Two courses) Loup De Mer Seasoned with Three Peppers (as in peppercorns), Lime, Tuscan Olive Oil Abalone on Ice. This was served thinly sliced in the shell with just a hint if citrus. The flavor was pure, clean ocean brine. Soup Vichyssoise, Beet Gelee, Select American Caviar. Another dish of remarkable intensity and richness that was studded with whole roast chestnuts. Again, every flavor nuance identifiable but with indistinguishable bounderies. Oyster Pemaquid, Cauliflower Mousse, Vegetable Vinaigrette, Spice of the Angels. Three, each served on a tasting spoon. The cauliflower mousse perfectly emphasises the sea-brine flavor of the oyster, leaving the palette clean and sweet on the finish. No "fishiness" whatsoever. Salad Mache Salad, Pecan Sauce. Beatifully simple, a great palette cleanser as well. Turbot Wild from Brittany, Wrapped in Fig Leaf, Easter Egg Radish, Olive Oil Sauce. Cooked with figs in the fig leaf, the turbot was fish perfection. Light, sweet and cooked to retain all of its natural moistness. If I didn't already, I could love fish because of this dish. Squab Baked in Cinnamon Cream, Woodland Gardens Glazed Carrots, Date Chutney, Squab Jus. No adjectives necessary here. The squab was crusted, cooked "a point" and simply the best squab preparation I have ever eaten by a wide margin. Veal Tower Four Story Hill Farm Veal Cheek, Sweetbread and Tongue, Butternut Squash Puree and Sauteed Arugula. Again, a beautifully crafted dish, rich and redolent with flavors that flow together on the palette in perfect harmony. Cheese Degustation Selection of International Artisan Cheeses. Like everything else in the restaurant, the dozen or so cheeses represented the best of its genre. Seeger's Chocolate Dream Vanilla Cappucchino, Chocolate Crisp, Utah Salt. Peach From Georgia Mountain, Baked with Grand Marnier, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream. Both desserts were extraordinary but the peach was as good as it gets. The flavor was just absolute, peach. The Chef's stated intent of the remake was to create a new standard of dining experience for his customer. Incredible food and service from start to finish with total focus on the guest and every detail atteded to. Atlanta deserves a destination restaurant and with the reopenning of Seeger's I think we have one. If all this sounds as if I'm a fan, I am not. I've been converted. I'm unashamedly a devotee. I think Atlanta finally has a chef run restaurant worth the trip.
  15. That is very bad news ... will have to rethink my dim sum priorities ... Does anyone know anything about a new dim sum place next to Ricesticks (Sandy Springs) anyone? ← Yes. Can't recall the name offhand though. The restaurant is small, quiet with good, though the selection is quite limited, dim sum. If you're already in the neighborhood on a Sunday morning, have limited time and crave dim sum then, by all means, drop in. Jay
  16. Just returned from another mind boggling dining experience at Soto's. This time it was Soto's new prix fixe tasting menu. Twelve courses for $75 per person. Reservations have to be made at least 1 day in advance and he will accomodate up to 15 people per evening. During our evening, service was impeccable (people who are familiar with Soto may be surprised by this, though correcting the service problem was a major reason for the revamp) and it still required every bit of two hours to complete dinner. I'm told this was record time for completing the meal so plan accordingly. The menu reflects everything that makes Soto the obsessive compulsive creative genius chef that he is. He agonizes over every detail of preparation including service. He closed the restaurant for 11 days so he could travel to Japan to shop for the perfect serving pieces for his new menu. The menu itself reflects every nuance of tradition that true Omikase implies; every style of preparation and every major taste category is represented both hot and cold. Soto orchestrates the presentation as an extraordinary symphony of taste texture and visual beauty. He overwhelms the senses. As I wrote in a previous post, Soto is entirely about food. His singleminded preoccupation with quality ingredients is reflected in every dish. Much of the fish is hand picked by an agent at the tsukiji market in Tokyo. Therefore, even when a menu item appears by description to be relatively mundane, don't be fooled. Whatever it is, it is certain to be the epitome of its class. Our menu began with a simple Sumashi Soup, dashi infused with yuzu and garnished with Mitsuba leaf, which was subtle and perfectly balanced. This was followed by Aori Ika Sohmen, an excellent squid finely sliced and served in a cool shiitake soy ginger broth that had great depth and richness and surprising heat from the ginger, without the ginger over shadowing the dish. Next came a Mousse of Yellow Pepper and Mussel Broth that amplified the sweetness of the sSeamed Lobster served with it and garnished with smelt roe. We were then presented with 3 Spoons each containing the inevitable taste surprise. One was a Julienne of Octopus with a vinaigrette of Asian pear puree and micro lemon mint. Another was Snow Crab with Nikogori Aspic and yuzu with a dab of tobiko and, saving the best for last, a beautifully delicate piece of Idaho "Kobe" Beef and Foie Gras splashed, table side, with a "Sukiyaki" broth. Next came the Flash Steamed Seafood with scallion and ginger oil which turned out to be Lobster, Red Snapper and Scallop each presented individually plated and each uniquely seasoned and garnished. We were next served Aji Tataki, sashimi style, accompanied by ginger soy sauce and sweet mustard miso and shaved ginger and scallion. After that, Miso Soup with Edged Perch and Shimeji mushroom and grated daikon. No sooner had we disposed of the soup when the Sashimi course arrived. When we were initially presented with the menu our server asked that we select three out of six choices for each the sashimi and sushi courses respectively. For my sashimi course I selected the kelp cured "Ara" or Japanese Edged Perch, the"Ishidai" or Japanese Striped Beak Perch and the seared Japanese Red Snapper. The ensuing tempura dish was incredible. The tempura was Sweet Shrimp rolled in Flounder and White Kelp and garnished with Tempura Shiso Leaf and Shrimp Heads accompanied by a small bowl of Maccha Tea Salt. One of Soto"s specials followed (everything seemed special to me). You chose one of three. I had the Hamachi Tartare with Pine Nuts and Wasabi Tobiko served with Soy Sauce Foam and my wife had the Beef Tataki which was lightly seared Kobe Beef served with Ponzu and grated Daikon. At this point we began showing fatigue but there was no let up in sight. The Sunomono course arrived. Mackeral with ginger, scallion, sesame seed, shiso and pickled burdock wrapped in vinegar marinated kelp and presented as a sculptered leaf, Seared Red Snapper with cucumber and wakame in light tosazu vinegar sauce and Hokki Clam with sesame and sweet mustard miso sauce. No sooner was this complete when the Broiled Chilean Seabass marinated in Saiko Miso arrived. After that a slight pause provided by a wonderfully refreshing Asian Pear Sorbet cloaked in frozen Plum Wine, it was back to another choice of one of Soto's delightful specials from 7 items. This time I chose the "Sashimi" style Salmon Ceviche with fresh lime, sea salt, cilantro and scallion. Unfortunately the portion was extremely generous and we were beginning to feel the urge to hibernate. Finally the Sushi (rice) course arrived signalling the finale. Again 3 out of 6. I selected Hamachi, Aji and Ama Ebi. Plum Ice Cream finished it and after paying the meager bill, we felt stuffed and very very content. It is worthy to note that Soto doesn't have his portions appropriately scaled to a 17 course menu. If there was one complaint, and there was one, it was too too much food. Given the food, food quality, artistry, service and ambience, Ned is in all liklihood correct when he suggests going sooner rather than later if you have the oportunity. Soto is easily on par with the great Asian chefs of our time. If he doubled his pricing for this meal it would still be bargain basement pricing. Soto might not be a great business person but he is a sublime chef.
  17. jaypm51

    Per Se

    Both hype and haute. Perfect location, impeccable, friendly and attentive service, and perfectly executed food. We had the 9 course Chef's tasting menu and if I were to note any minor, in my view, imperfection or two, I'd have to accuse myself of quibbling. I did not, however, find any noteworthy difference between my dinner at Per Se and the dinner I had at the French Laundry almost 7 years ago. I suppose the adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" holds true for Keller. That was a bit disappointing though not for the folks who were with us, and with Keller for the first time. The biggest problem I had was that there was no option for wine pairings with the tasting menus. On the other hand, the Sommalier was very helpful in guiding a selection of half bottles from a fairly extensive list. As there were four of us this worked out pretty well, although a bit pricey. At $300.00 a head we probably could have done a month long BBQ tour of the South''s finest, but thats grist for a different mill.
  18. I'm an expat New Yorker living in the South (if one can truly call Atlanta "the South") and also happened to be in NY for the BBQ festival. I thoroughly enjoyed both, New York and the BBQ. The crowds were big, the food was generally great (though I didn't much care for that Brooklyn brewed beer) and the whole thing was lot's of fun. In addition to going to Madison Park for the BBQ, I also did a very New York thing and braved the "crowds" to eat at Per Se, The Spice Market and that marvelous lower east side bistro known as Prune. Bottom line is, I'd stand in line, brave wind and rain, frogs and locusts if some enterprising entrepreneur were to sponser a true New York deli festival in Piedmont Park, with honest-to-god, real up-home, corned beef and pastrami sandwiches on real rye bread, potato knishes and chocolate egg creams the way they used to be made in Bronx where I grew up. Every once in a while its nice to step out and experience true regional specialties without having to leave home. Life is all about diversity. I love it all.
  19. Quite right and, quite possibly, a quibble. After having scoured the literature the closest definition of sweetbreads I could find was, "glands of friable (?) cellular construct." There are two kinds; thymus or throat, and pancreas or stomach, sometimes referred to as heart. Calves are considered the best although pig and lamb are available. Butchers historically refeered to both types as sweetbreads because of similar appearence. Since it is unclear as to precisely what the cellular construct of sweetbreads consist of, the best approach to cooking technique would be historical precedent followed by informed and intelligent trial and error. Judging from the erudition of your prior posts, I assume your capable of both.
  20. Ned, it seems to me that you are not inquiring about how to cook sweetbreads so much as you are interested in the properties that cause it to be chalky or not. Firstly, the response to your query as to whether or not they contain collagen, is, emphatically, no. They do not. Organs typically don't. The chalkiness has much to do with the cooking. I, as expert sweetbread cooker, have had my fair share of chalky disappointments. While all the aforementioned advice is well founded and, doubtless, well intentioned, it lacks, shall we say, a certain sense of empirical, hands-on, up-to my-elbows sort of experience. Sweetbreads need to be pre-soaked or rinsed under cold running water for several hours to insure the removal of undesireable detritus. They needn't be blanched or pressed unless firmness is desireable in the finished dish. Depending on the cooking method employed unblanched sweetbreads will add richness and flavor to a sauce in the making. No matter what cooking method is employed you need to remove membrane, nerves, fat and cartilage. Cool the breads prior to cooking. The key is fast cooking, eight to twelve minutes, over relatively high heat. Basting with brown butter the whole time helps but isn't essential to the successful outcome of the dish. If saute is your preferred method of preparation, a light coating of flour or wondra helps both with browning and crisping. Hope you find this helpful although trial and error is still the best teacher. If none of this proves helpful, take two "panorama specials" and call me in the morning.
  21. Ted, if fine food is what you're looking for, Seeger's is the place to go. Guther Seeger is one of the most gifted chefs in America and well respected by his peers both here in the U.S. and in Europe. His cooking is sublime and elegant. He has a great wine list and a very knowledgeable sommalier. Often the best way to go is the Chef's tasting menu with the wine pairings. I'd be hard pressed to come up with a better recommendation. Next on my list would be The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead, Chef Bruno Menard, or Joels (Joel Antunes). Hope this is helpfull. All three of these should meet your requirements. Also, the order in which I've listed them would reflect my order of preference.
  22. Whatever wood could be found, scrounged or scavenged, was typically the best wood to use for tandoori. The wood, or fuel source is not nearly as important as the shape of the oven and temperature range. Smoke or other strong flavors imparted by the fuel source are not desirable in tandoori dishes. If authenticity is what you're after, preparation of the marinade and its application is what's important followed by cooking at the proper temps.
  23. Could never drink enough to experience the "narcotic effect" which, strictly speaking, is not narcotic at all. Its actually supposed to be hallucinogenic. Rimbaud reportedly had debilitating hallucinations following all night drinking bouts of absinthe. Incidentally, his hallucinations were green!
  24. Just had dinner at the Spice Market this past Saturday. While both the food and service were good, of the two, the service was better. I'm afraid, at least for me, the Thai, Asian fusion flavors have become cliche and a bit tiresome. The restaurant itself is a pleasant bustling place in the old meat packing district and attracts a well-heeled class of Jean Georges devotees. The wine list, while thankfully small, is quite impressive for its broad representation of wines that go well with the menu selections. While I ejoyed myself and ate without complaint, I won't make a return trip anytime soon. Nothing I sampled was outstanding.
  25. The Czech Republic has been producing Absinthe for several years which means I've had the opportunity to sample the much touted and romanticized, read Rimbaud, Verlaine, Hemmingway et. al., "green fairy" on a number of occasions. I've found that any good bottle of Pernod, Pastis, Ouzo or even Arak is a superior drink. Travelling to Switzerland, or for that matter the Czech Republic, to secure a bottle of Absinthe is a waste of time. I found the drink, made from wormwood, to be thoroughly unpalatable and incredibly bitter. Typically drunk with sugar disolved on a spoon with a bit of Absinthe heated over a flame, then added back to the drink which is poured into a glass containing water and ice whence the heretofore green liquid turns milky white. I tried 3 different brands with no hint of approachability. Reading about it proved to be infinitely more pleasurable. Try Rimbaud"s "Une Saison en Enfer."
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