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Everything posted by DutchMuse

  1. Kerry is no longer with Hudson Yards..."he has gone on to pursue other interests" sort of thing. I just dined at Eleven Madison Park last night with the new chef. What I had was an absolutely amazing meal, food wise without a doubt comparable to a Michelin ** restaurant (service not to that standard but good). They have quite a find on their hands--he is from Switzerland, and even the plating showed genius--the dishes were visually stunning. We had something like a 6 or 7 course dinner (chef & sommelier created it to pair with the burgundies we brought) and it was one high point after another. Before long, this guy will be at a gastronomic restaurant or will turn Eleven Madison into one.
  2. LOL, my last dinner at Joel Robuchon at The Manion was in the four figures for 2! Casino comp??
  3. It was with a more than slight sense of sadness but not outright dissatisfaction that I left my dinner at Joel Robuchon at The Mansion in Las Vegas this past weekend. This is because I had the pleasure of having dined at Jamin, Robuchon’s restaurant in Paris that was so acclaimed, and his follow-up venture, Robuchon, that opened in Paris when Jamin closed. Having eaten at these restaurants, eating at Robuchon at The Mansion was a bit like looking at a copy of a wonderful art masterpiece produced by a not so talented student. The setting: The room seats something like 64 guests, and is both elegant but a bit tawdry in a Vegas style of elegance. There is a slight purple hue to the banquettes and walls that are underneath a large, elegant and somewhat gaudy chandelier. It really is well designed as a lovely, relaxing venue for a wonderful meal set right in the heart of Las Vegas. The staff: The general manager was polite, friendly, professional and on top of things. When I informed him that my partner did not eat seafood and we had been told the chef could create a different tasting menu for him, the GM said, “Yes, we are prepared for that.” “Ah, they told you” I said (we had stopped in earlier in the day and one of the staff made note of this request.) “I know everything” he said with a polite, reassuring smile. The head waiter was polite, friendly without being familiar, and professional. Together, the GM and the head waiter made a wonderful team. The waiter was also very good, but made a few missteps along the way, for instance at one point clearing my plate while my partner was still eating his course. But overall, the staff is clearly at a *** level. Other patrons: This is Las Vegas, after all. The menu out front states “jackets required” but the evening we were there, only about 1/3 to ½ of the gentleman dining were in jackets (no one in a suit but us, the other men wearing jackets all wore sport coats) and the rest were in shirtsleeves with one patron in a white t-shirt and blue jeans (his dining companion in shorts). Towards the end of the evening, a group of 6 persons came to dine, and upon seeing the petit fours cart between the entryway and the dining room, they descended upon the cart, picking up chocolates and dried apricots from the cart with their fingers, putting them in their mouths. Upon seeing this, our waiter excused himself from our table and proceeded over to advise them this was for later, between dessert and coffee. The meal: For this dinner, my partner and I chose the 6 course menu, feeling the 18 course would be too much. The food was good but not great; fine but not outstanding or memorable. I felt the food was lacking in creativity and spark, too much a “paint by number” in an attempt to replicate recipes obviously given to the chef by M. Robuchon. As an example, my first course after an amuse was two large steamed green asparagus spears with oscetra caviar—a small canal had been carved into the stalk and the caviar placed therein. Since my companion did not eat seafood, the chef served him three steamed asparagus stalks sans caviar in place of the two I had been given. The lack of creativity was remarkable, to me, for a restaurant of this caliber. My next course was a lobster in a saffron bouillon. This was the course of the night for me. The lobster was perfectly cooked, and the bouillon rich with depth and layers of flavor. There was a thin piece of a toasted saffron chip (made of a thin, crispy substance—I’m not sure what) on top. The entire dish worked, and more than made up for the banal quality of the asparagus. (Mention should be made of the bread cart, filled with many types of bread, from proper baguettes, to cheese brioche rolls, and various others; quite nice). Next was a pan fried sea bass with a lemon grass foam and stewed baby leeks. Though the lemon grass foam was very nice, the fish was slightly overcooked and decidedly dry. The baby leeks were so tough (fortunately they were not overcooked but I had to struggle to cut them) that they required the larger knife to cut and provided an unpleasant chewiness to the more delicate fish. The dryness of the fish torpedoed the dish for me, unfortunately. The courses were moving along at a fairly rapid clip, and I asked the waiter if he might “slow it down a bit.” “We just have the veal course and then dessert, but sure” he replied. Along came a sautéed veal chop, sweetbread with jus, morels and asparagus. The jus was very thin as a layer on the plate, and as the plate was brought to the table having been warmed, the thin layer dried very quickly, leaving a nice, tender and thin piece of veal on top of a dark, dried crust. The veal was very nice, but I felt the elements didn’t combine well into a great whole. Though it was not on the menu, we asked if the restaurant had a cheese course, and the staff diligently brought a lovely cheese cart with beautiful epoisse, St. Nectaire, 5 different chevres, two blue cheeses, and two or three others. This was done quite well, though the cheeses were quite cold when served (“we don’t have many people ask for this because most order the 18 course menu and they don’t have room for cheese” the waiter said). The cheese course was quite nice once they warmed a bit. Dessert was a raspberry gelee with raspberries and sake. "This is it?" my companion asked. "No, you'll see--this is before the main dessert." I had thought this was a prelude to a more complex dessert, as I distinctly recall at Robuchon’s restaurant in Paris, but it was not to be. This was the dessert; it was fine but not memorable. I had mistaken it for a palate cleanser. I asked for tea, and a tray of many varieties of loose leaf tea was presented. I chose the Assam, and it was lovely, a nice way to end the night. The now infamous petit fours cart was brought, but by this point we were sated. Wine list: Get out the black card for this one. A Rousseau Charmes Chambertin 1999 that currently sells for $77.00/bottle on winesearcher is on the list for over $400.00, and the more classic burgundies are listed at generally all over $1,000/bottle. A few Bordeaux are priced less, in the $300 range. The restaurant has about a dozen half bottles of white as well as red, and also magnums and some even larger format bottles, all at prices that require winning the lottery at the nearby casino. Summary: Certainly a strong but, eventually uninspired, showing. The staff is talented and well trained. The chef seems to be following his instructions but without a spirit of creativity. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to the restaurant had I not experienced Robuchon’s cooking before, but having done so, this was an uninspired copy that did not replicate the original.
  4. Thanks much all. We're staying at the Imperial Hotel. Seafood is ok but prefer Japanese, seafood not emphasized (but a little ok).
  5. Hi JH I did check out that thread, and found it interesting. However, many of the restaurants were in Kyoto, and the others didn't have a lot of commentary. I'm hoping someone can comment on my choices listed above. Thanks much!
  6. I've searched on eGullet and other places, and frankly, the choices of dining in Tokyo are a bit overwhelming. I'll be there in a couple of weeks for one night only. I'd like a great dinner, just not sushi as my partner doesn't enjoy seafood (though I love it). Anything else is fine such as kaiseki, robata, tempura, etc. One contact gave me the following suggestions: Rokusan-tei-Michiba Rokusaburo Poisson Rokusaburo. Plaza Mikado, 2-14-5 Akasaka. Nishi-Shinjuku 3-7-1-2 Park Hyatt Takamura 3-4-27 Roppongi, Minato-ku Shunsenbo 1-1-40 Hiroo, Ebisu Prime Square Plaza Restaurant Name: Kamon Address: 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-cho Location On the 17th floor of the Imperial Hotel, Ginza & Hibiya Thoughts on these or other places for one great meal in Tokyo? Price isn't a major concern. Thanks for your help.
  7. Had lunch from there yesterday--rotisserie chicken with snow peas and mac and cheese. Chicken was great--yes it has a sweetness and some aromatic element due, I think, to the brining. Lovely. Mac and cheese was disappointing--too many bread crumbs on top (I scraped them off) and the M&C was surprisingly bland--no sharpness. The peas were quite nice and lovely. I'm eager to go back and try the fried chicken, which they weren't preparing yesterday at lunch.
  8. All makes sense; and we'll be staying at the Pennensula Hotels in both of these cities. Question--do you think it will be a problem to do this via the hotel concierge on the day we arrive for that night, or should I ask my travel agent to be in contact with the hotel concierge beforehand?
  9. I have searched and searched, this and other websites and consulted Zagat's, and I must tell you, its all a bit overwhelming. The myriad of restaurants (especially in Shanghai), and because the names are spelled phonetically, what I see listed in one place isn't necessarily spelled the same in Zagat, for instance. So here are my three questions: 1) If you were to go for the best peking duck in Beijing, what would be the "don't miss" place for this for one night. 2) Aside from roast duck, any "if you had only one night in Beijing you should go HERE" type restaurants? Seeking great Chinese cuisine. 3) How about one night in Shanghai? I don't want western type food--no Jean Georges, we have that in NYC where I live. Rather, I'm seeking a somewhat upscale Shanghai- or Hunan type restaurant for this one night. Anyone care to help me narrow my choices? I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the wearching with endless names upon names of places.
  10. Going to Beijing for two nights in May. Can anyone make suggestions for: 1) A consensus on the one "must try" place for Peking Duck? 2) A top Beijing restaurant if you were there "for one night only" (other than the duck)?
  11. DutchMuse


    Yes, two stars. I think the overly 'haute' nature of the place worked against it....promised more than Bruni thought was delivered. Will anyone forgive him (Bruni) for the corny line about the "lost sole?"
  12. They make a 'mean' sour string beans with minced pork, too.
  13. Outside of Peter Luger and Shake Shack (agree with prior posts that said these were they best), the best burger in Manhattan is at Balducci's on Eighth Avenue/14th St. One day a couple of weeks ago, I had been thinking about a terrific hamburger for dinner. I went into Balducci's (not that impressed with the store really but its near where I live), and told the guy at the meat department I wanted the best meat possible for a terrific hamburger. I imagined he might grind some nice sirloin or whatever, for me. No, he walked to the refrigerator case and held up a package. "What's that?" I thought, dismissively. Turns out it said "Peter Luger's Hamburger meat." And it was--raw, ground beef from Luger's. I bought it and the hamburger's are completely a la Luger. With some artisinal cheddar, they were amazing.
  14. Yummmm, lekker! (Tasty!) One caution: be sure the bitterbalen have cooled a bit before you sink your teeth into them. I've burned my roof of my mouth more times than I want to count from a hot bitterbalen. They can be HOT when newly served. Oh, and yes, good enough with beer, but I like them with een borreltje (a jenever).
  15. I don't know that I'd call it a "great experience" but I certainly found it a terrific place. The room is interesting, and looks period of the 1960's (but isn't, its new!), and the service was absolutely impeccable (for a large room with many covers). The wait staff was knowledgeable, engaging and friendly; the wine staff was unusually good. The food was very good, not outstanding. Its a fairly busy, somewhat crowded space. Very very solid mid-level dining experience. I enjoyed it very much and would go back in a heartbeat; but don't expect a Daniel experience...its very good but not a gastronomic restaurant.
  16. I went to the cafe at Country a few days ago and really enjoyed it. I was a bit surprised--I expected it to be much less polished and art "in the making" so to speak....searching for its legs I guess. But no, I found the food was well executed and polished. Nice wine list too but I think the wine staff and I don't share the same preferences and was more comfortable with my selections than what they recommended. I started with foie gras which was superb, then the pork dish which is similar to bbq ribs. Very nice. Sides are nice. My expectations were low, but I found it quite pleasing, especially for their "lower end" restaurant. Geoffrey Zakarian was there as well and was both friendly and monitoring the room fully.
  17. I would love a great recipe for kroketten...the package spice mix worries me a bit; I'd prefer fresh vegetables and herbs. I love kroketten as well as bitterbalen. They serve great bitterbalen at both Cafe Luxembourg and the Hoppe bar next door in Amsterdam. I must say, Cafe Lux also has some great erwtensoep!
  18. Wow, wonderful to see such a thread. I'm dutch (but born in America) and love dutch food. Like our thread starter, I grew up on meat and potatoes every night, and I swore that the minute I moved out I would learn to cook different things, which probably explains why I often visit eGullet! And similar to Poffertjes, my family is from Pella, Iowa as well! Small world. Some favourite dutch foods of mine: 1) All time favourite--erwrtensoep--dutch pea soup. This is a great dish...I'm traveling right now so can't post a recipe but maybe others can or I'll do it when I get back to NYC. 2) Gevuldekoek. Sorta flaky, chewy, filled with almond paste, just wonderful. 3) I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned, but I love two "main course" dishes--boerenkool and hutspot. I love kale with potatoes and "rookworst" (smoked sausage)...wow. So underappreciated. For those who are interested in sort of an in depth discussion of why the dutch, though travellers and certainly spice traders (Dutch East & West India Company), often eat rather bland food, there are some interesting writings on the subject. The culture (at least in the North) has been very Calvinist. A culture of "merchants and ministers" Calvinism is deeply rooted in the dutch psyche. Thus, flagrant use of money, and things sensual (including spices, etc.) were historically frowned upon. A great treatise on this is found in Simon Schama's "Embarassment of Riches" (A history of the dutch republic in its golden age). He goes into the whole influence of religion in Holland and its influence on art, food, etc. This is why much more interesting and (dare I say) "quality" food can be found in the South versus the North. (The southern park of Holland is predominantly Catholic and the northern part is Protestant). Anyway, everybody, PROOST, and let's share some more recipes! I'll share some too when I get home this weekend to my cookbooks.
  19. I'm visiting Vancouver this week from NYC. Can you recommend some great sushi places for me? Staying at the Sutton Place Hotel.
  20. Heretofore, I had a lot of respect for Mimi Sheraton A good friend of mine worked closely with her on publicity for her book. But wow, who knew there was such mean spiritedness in the woman? I don't understand the degree to which the "old guard" (old, not in years, but in stature) gets so worked up about a midcareer chef commenting about his experiences. If he's so off the mark, then dismiss him and let it go. But geez, this is weird. Going to Country Wednesday night; will report back on the appropriate thread.
  21. I've been a member here for quite some time. Do any of the culinary intelligencia disagree with my comments? For the record, I haven't been dispatched here by anybody. Not sure I can say the same for some of the culinary luminaries.
  22. In reading the following comments, please know I'm not ITB, though I follow culinary stuff closely as I'm very much into great food and wine, and have been known to travel far and wide to find it. Yes, Mimi Sheraton has earned respect on this thread, but she's one of the few, it seems to me, of food professionals who have. First, Tony Bourdain posts a mild defense of Doug's book and basically says back off. Then, from what I can read between the lines, some phone calls were made, and all of a sudden Bourdain takes back his prior comments and comes on with a vengeance. Then Ruhlman comes on strong, too, after stating he has some (I'm paraphrasing) inside information. Then people who have written blurbs on the back cover begin to take back their on the record remarks, confessing they really did not read (most of) the book, contrary to the impression given by their quotes on the cover. Yes, I'd say Mimi is one of the few with remaining credibility. This certainly doesn't reflect well on the culinary 'luminaries' who have either posted or written blurbs on the cover. Has the smell of circling the wagons to protect their buddies in the fraternity. And Psaltis is the one taking the heat????
  23. I love an ice cold martini straight up, especially with Old Raj. What kind of olives do you prefer in this drink?
  24. I might actually take the contrarian approach. Had a lengthy (2 hour) lunch there recently. The restaurant was about 1/3 full at 1:00pm. The food was good but not better than good. The wait staff was certainly very good to excellent (but nowhere near outstanding). The price, however, was outrageous. Lunch for 3, including 2 bottles of a village level borgogne, including tip, was just shy of $500.00. For that price, I can have outstanding food and service elsewhere.
  25. Psaltis and eGullet make the New York Times.
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