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Everything posted by DutchMuse

  1. Without question, EMP will get 3 stars, though I think the food is at a 4 star level. It probably literally deserves 3 1/2 stars but they don't give 1/2's I don't think (I seem to recall Amanda Hesser did this once, but we won't digress on her). The Modern?? Well, it probably deserves 2.5 in my book, so we'll see what Bruni will do. But it can't compare to EMP, IMHO.
  2. Whatever the merits of NYC's law, its still the law. EMP is a very visible restaurant--on everybody's radar. Can you imagine the attention it would be getting, and the pages of posts of "how dumb" if they got charged with serving alcohol to a minor and lost their liquor license? How many then would be inconvenienced?
  3. DutchMuse

    Per Se

    Interesting that you say this as it mirrors EXACTLY my experience. I've always thought Per Se's cuisine was very technical and precise but lacked a sense of soul, which is everpresent at EMP under Chef Humm. We're certainly on the same wavelength!
  4. Corkage at 'l Atelier NYC is US $45.00 per bottle. I've done it. The Hong Kong people were giving you a line.
  5. Corkage at 'l Atelier NYC is US $45.00 per bottle. I've done it. The Hong Kong people wre giving you a line.
  6. I would recommend elevating Eleven Madison up on your list and order the tasting menu. Chef Humm is doing amazing stuff. The duck is really great....I think it has been transformed into one of NY's most interesting and creative places.
  7. I think this is just further refining of the restaurant's vision after Chef Humm has arrived. I always enjoyed the desserts there but he may want to bring in his own person, I'm not sure. Part of the whole re-organization I bet.
  8. Went for an impromptu lunch on Friday. A friend and I split the $100 sushi listed on the menu. It was quite good, not great (Jewel Bako is much better) but it certainly was a cut above merely acceptable. The matcha green tea was great. What I did notice, however, was a lack of discipline in the open kitchen behind the sushi bar. One guy was making a broth and he kept taking the ladle out and tasting directly from it (pouring into his mouth from the lip) then putting it back in the broth. I didn't really care, but I saw someone yelled at by Tom Collico on Top Chef once for tasting from the same spoon he put back in the broth. There was another sushi chef who was putting some tuna (I presume it was Tuna) on ice, then scorching it with a flame torch. He sneezed on his arm and left hand, then went right back to putting the fish on the ice with his hands, not pausing to wash them after sneezing. For a restaurant of this supposed caliber, I was surprised at the lack of discipline there.
  9. If I may give an example--Bread Bar at Tabla is really its own place and has informal food (intended to be almost "bar food") but it reflects a sensibility, is interesting, and quite tasty. At BLT Burger, I was hoping for tasty food that I would walk away from thinking "That was unusually good." Personally, I think the folks running it should know the reaction and make modifications. New York is a hard place, and BLT Burger isn't going to live on the tourist crowd.
  10. Hi Nathan I appreciate your comments. Just a clarification--I have no issue with Tourondel running a "hamburger joint" but I'd like it to in some way reflect a chef of his obvious talent in some significant way. The food I had today was no different than what I might get at any nondescript diner joint down the corner. My concern for him is that he is obviously lending (i.e. selling) his name to some company that is running the place, but it isn't reflecting any real talent or sensibility. I would hope for and had frankly expected more because the guy is obviously talented. But this is the best he (they) can do? No, I think not, but it is what they have settled for and decided to offer.
  11. Went there today and was really quite shocked at how--to put it midly--how decidedly mediocre the place is both in food and atmosphere. I thought to myself "What is this guy doing to himself?" The onion rings were so greasy I had the taste of oil in my mouth all afternoon. My partner said of the American kobe ($16) burger, "Well, I suppose it was a little better than McDonalds." When we left, I said "Well, that's our first and last time there." I can't believe how mediocre this was.
  12. LT is an example of a young chef who has seen stars but may not be making the best decisions for his long term career. He hasn't crashed and burned like Rocco, but he'd better be careful or he'll become a parody of himself (as starting to be reflected in some of the comments above). He's no Robuchon---or Jean Georges for that matter, and JG isn't handling his empire so well outside of his flagship operation.
  13. Up until now, I have generally defended the Guide Michelin. No more. No EMP (clearly of two star quality but maybe the chef came too late?) but Del Posto 2 stars? It doesn't come near even a 1 star place. Not close.
  14. DutchMuse

    Per Se

    Thanks for your review; very informative and generally consistent with my impressions. It's been a good while now since I've been to Per Se, but I just burned out on it for I think two reasons: 1) The requisite "formula" of the 7 or 9 courses got a bit too--well, 'formula' for lack of a better word, for me. I wanted a variety in format, and they are just not set up to do that. Unlike the other Michelin 3 star restaurants in NYC. The 9 or 7 course menu is fine if you go once a year, but for a while, I was going once a month and it just got a bit old. 2) I finally concluded the food was more "technical" than inspired. Its wonderful cuisine, don't get me wrong. But it very technical. As a comparison, though the food at Eleven Madison doesn't aspire to equal the technical proficiency at Per Se, it is more "soulful". If Per Se could combine the inspired/heart-felt quality with the technical proficiency, then you'd have perfection. By the way, I thought the wine pairings they did were always wonderful; now THAT is inspired. I'm a bit of an oenophile and always enjoyed the pairings. The wine staff and I used to have fun--they would hide the bottle for each course and we would have to try to guess what it was! It was lots of fun and most enjoyable. I had heard they stopped the pairings (it used to be you could give them a budget and they'd select pairings based on your budget but someone recently told me they had stopped doing this. I'm not sure). Creme brulee?????
  15. DutchMuse

    Del Posto

    Its getting a bit late in the game to really re-engineer the place. Left as it is, it will either survive on tourism and B&T crowd (didn't ultimately work for Rocco) or will slowly wilt until not enough people go there. Or work as a place for the leftovers for Morimoto and Craftsteak. In NYC, the "sooner or later" timeframe isn't all that long a time period.
  16. DutchMuse

    Del Posto

    OK, went there tonight; my partner and I plus another party, total party of 4. Slightly below 'ordinary' and certainly not worth the price. Maybe at 1/4 or 1/5 the price, for a neighborhood place, it would be ok. Certainly not a 3 star (NYT), stretching it maybe a 1 star NYT. The sommelier introduced herself by saying "I'm not that knowledgeable about wines, but I'm learning" and the waiter adoped a superior, haute attitude without obviously knowing much. When I inquired about the bollito misto. he replied "Its not the season for it" said the headwaiter. "Not the season for boiled meats? What kind of silliness is that?" I asked. He had no reply. It went downhill from there. An ordinary first course (I frankly forget what I had....and for a main course, a forgettable venison that was as ordinary as anything at a corner less than authentic trattoria). For $250 p/p, I should have had a better meal than I had. Leave this place to the B&T crowd. Quite forgettable.
  17. Let me echo the accolades to Eleven Madison Park. The food there is as creative and high quality as virtually any in NYC. Service still not quite up to the profound food, but its still quite good. Food is truly extraordinary.
  18. DutchMuse


    Damn! Oh well, I'm off to France until mid-September. But I'll be in then, discount or no discount.
  19. I've had some outstanding meals at The Modern, but on two occasions I have had to send courses back because of the salt. One of them, I tongue in cheek told the server it was like a "salt lick."
  20. Wine list is something like 2.0 to 2.5 x retail. I can't predict how many stars Bruni will give it, but it deserves 3 stars. I ate there last week and it was superb. Not a **** place (NYT) but certainly 3; if Bruni gave 2 then I'd consider him way off the mark. Both food and service were exemplary.
  21. Leave the bottle standing up at room (or cellar) temperature for 24-48 hours in advance. Gentle decanting is fine to remove the wine from the sediment at the bottom (probably only half an hour or so before serving so you can watch the evolution in the glass) but another method winegeeks like is to "Audoze" it. This means to stand it upright, cork pulled, for about 3 hours before serving. Do not shake the bottle, pour or move it after removing the cork. Patiently wait about 3 hours, then serve. Sante!
  22. Not cheap; its $45.00. But bring a nice wine (I had brought a 1977 Ch. Montelena) from your cellar and it will be worth it.
  23. Went to Craftsteak a couple of nights ago. It was an interesting evening--a night of one high and several lows--too many for a restaurant that charges the fees this one does. That said, I had the best steak tonight that I believe I've ever had in my life. Let me explain. We arrived, and were asked to sit at the bar. OK, we did--though I'm always a touch disappointed in this when we arrive at the time of our actual reservation. My partner ordered a cocktail; by the time I was ready to order, we were informed our table was ready. Non-descript table for 2 along a long banquette. I ordered a glass of the Moet & Chandon 1999 which was not cheap, but after an evening of debauchery the prior night, I did not want a cocktail per se. Lovely wine, and served quickly and nicely. We ordered the onion rings to munch on while we decided on the full order. However, we were informed that the kitchen prefers the full order at once and not being ones to argue, we complied, but said we'd still like the onion rings to start before anything. The waiter was very accomodating and said no problem at all. The onion rings were mediocre, and actually, a bit disappointing. Too much oil, and no real seasonings. Last night we had great onion rings a la Floyd Cardoz at Bread Bar at Tabla. Tonight, in contrast, oil is predominant on the palate and no real flavor except for crunchy onion, which was ok. My first course was the copper river salmon belly tartare--diced copper river salmon in a creme fraiche (I believe creme fraiche). Good enough, but where's the flavor? Taste? Kick? Bland salmon, bland fraiche, no real zing or kick or predominant flavor. Good enough bot not great. I relied on a 2nd glass of the champagne to give me flavor. I did enjoy the champagne. My partner had prosciutto--fine and good quality. Maybe not as good as the best Italian deli's in town, but certainly fine and no complaints. Next up--Steve--I was all set to order the skirt steak. It was not on the menu tonight! I even asked the waiter about it, and he said "We don't have it tonight." So, we ordered the Waygu porterhouse 32 oz for two. Probably the best steak I've had in my entire life. Truly great. Yes, like others, I wished for some char on the outside, but still. Cooked as ordered (medium rare), this tasted nutty and had an aged quality. Lovely. Frankly, this is the beef analogue to a sort of Iberico--it was really tasting of acorn, mineral, age, and tons of flavor. Texture was so tender. I loved this steak. Served already cut, with the bone marrow on the side. This dish made the entire meal. Hen of the woods mushrooms--lovely--properly cooked and tasty. Gratin (potato)--nice, not different from many finer steak houses. Lamb quarters sauteed--inedible. Tasted so salty it was as if an entire Morton's salt container had been used. I sent them back with no protest from the wait staff. Substituted green beans. Fine, nondescript, too much butter. Forgettable. No dessert--too full by this point. Wine with dinner--I had brought a 1977 Ch. Montelena, and it was served properly, and before (as I had made a point of asking) the steak was served. At first, when asked, I said not to decant, but apparently the wait staff had a problem with the cork and asked if they could decant it. Fine, I said. Wine was lovely--pre-phylloxera 29 year old California cab. Great wine. In all, the steak made the meal. Otherwise, it would have been a disaster. But I can still taste that aged (28 day) Wagyu porterhouse. I would still compare it in the beef world to a lovely leg of Iberico jamon in a way--in terms of the acorn, nutty flavor. Will I be back? Reluctantly, yes, though the tarrif is high. But still, better than BLT Steak, by a long shot ,and this place allows BYOB. Going in the right direction. My advice: Hire a stronger chef de cuisine.
  24. LOL, actually just friends with a dutch oenophile. Maybe you have a different sommelier in mind? Feel free to PM me.
  25. I have first hand information that Legendre is solid to stay at Le Cinq. He is going nowhere. Their chief sommelier, Enrico Bernardo, is leaving today however. Any reports that Legendre is leaving Le V are quite false.
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