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Everything posted by DutchMuse

  1. I absolutely love this place, and don't know why it isn't higher on the culinary landscape visibility. Back when I lived near, and worked at (then) New York Hospital, it was my 'go to' place for dinner. It really is quite special in its own way.
  2. Gordon, just what I was looking for! Very helpful; thanks much!
  3. First time there tonight, and throughout the meal I thought "Serious food; amateur service." The frites--and I say this as a Belgian frites loving Dutchman--are killer. Some of the best I've ever had; notably better than the two times I had Vlaamse (Belgian) frites in Amsterdam a couple of weekends ago. These are serious frites--fried, according to our waiter--in duckfat and lard. (Maybe one for the first fry and the other fat for the second? I'm not sure). The apple salad was also killer, as was the Tuscan kale. The trio of hams was outstanding, except that no one ever told us which was what--the plate was just put in front of us and the server walked away without a word. The two "mains" (my term) were just ok---the pork shank (huge portion) and the country ribs. Both were a bit dry and on the bland/flavourless side. But the country hams, frites and kale more than made up for the deficiencies in the larger portion dishes. The service could use a total makeover. Greeting at the door was somewhat perfunctory and lifeless. I had read they had a "beer sommelier" and when I asked our waiter if the "beer sommelier" was available, the reply was "He might be if he's not busy." My reply was "Not too busy to help out a customer, I hope." He did come over and offered guidance and is quite knowledgeable but with little enthusiasm or energy. He did (correctly, I believe) correct my misunderstanding as to which Saison beer was still brewed with steam, but commented "If I have time I'll look it up and let you know." He came back to the table twice (in the role of 'runner' to bring food to the table) but never again mentioning whether he looked up the issue or not. That said, the food--most of it--is really serious and spot on. Next time, I'll avoid the two larger dishes we had and focus instead on the smaller plates. The frites were so good we ordered a second order. And they're ('correctly' I might say) served with mayo/aioli rather than ketchup. If the service were as serious as the food, they'd have some place on their hands.
  4. Hi fellow eGulleters.... We are having a party for 40 people for New Year's Eve. Having it catered, but for the alcohol (and soft drinks/water) we decided to buy it ourselves as it will be a lot cheaper than buying through the caterer. We thought we would have: Caipirinhas (the 'house drink' as the theme will be a churrascaria), martinis (gin and vodka), rum based cocktails, beer, and wine/champagne. Any guidance on quantities of the spirits and champagne, in particular? THANKS FOR YOUR HELP; I could really use it!
  5. I'm just curious what everyone's standard for a "*" (or ** or ***) is, exactly. FYI, here's Michelin's own stated standard. "Every restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide is recommended by our team of professional inspectors. The ones listed below have earned stars that reflect their exceptional culinary achievements, regardless of cuisine style. Stars represent only what is on the plate. They do not take into consideration interior decoration, service quality or table settings." Whether they follow this standard or not is another issue. NOW do you think Babbo and Craft deserve(d) one Michelin star? ← Maybe Craft; not Babbo.
  6. IMHO, most Michelin 3* in NYC would not warrant 3 * in Paris; maybe 2, some one. FWIW, I never thought Babbo deserved even one *, nor did Craft. Craft is a lovely expression of a certain type of cooking, but I don't think it deserves a *. But some of the places Michelin has anointed in NYC; I just don't get it. Agree that Le Bernardin, Per Se, Jean-Georges are tops in NYC, but then there are surprising omissions that have been well discussed here such as EMP. But tops in NYC doesn't necessarily equal something like Taillevant or Troisgros (of course not in Paris but in Roanne). There's no restaurant in NYC that would approximate those places.
  7. DutchMuse

    Dinner! 2008

    For a snowy night in Chicago, I grilled a Dakota Farms Bone In Rib Steak with Belgian Frites (double fried and made with fingerling potatoes) and asparagus:
  8. From the website, it is on the Reguliersdwarsstraat. (I used to live in the area) Looking forward to trying your bar when I go back to A'dam in a couple of weeks.
  9. Agree with FG, because they have a central reservations for all their restaurants---the person may say "Craftsteak" but they're not there--they are physically at Craft, I believe, or where the corp. offices are.
  10. Many thanks! I have begun experimenting with belgian fries and now want to try duck fat; I will go to Gepperth's once I get back from France next week.
  11. Thanks for the input Toby and all. Right now I am on the QE2 en route to Southampton on its last transatlantic voyage, missing the quality of cocktails I could have had at The Violet Hour (but enjoying the 1966 Chateau Lafite with the chateaubriand, but that's for another day). I look forward to many more experiences at one of my favourite places in Chicago. I am afraid I got off on the wrong foot sounding a bit displeased by my last experience there; but a sign of respect I have for world class places is to be a bit critical because I think the place aspires to a world class enterprise. That's true of Violet Hour but few other places; if that didn't come through, may I apologize and set the record straight?
  12. Could be, db. I think he was also attempting to get the right ratio of water (i.e. melted ice) to offset the 'hot' aspect of the Raj. Darren--sorry for any confusion. On each board, I interact with posters and other than the initial post, my responses are tailored to the discussion at hand on that board.
  13. Hmmmm; NY is not really the place to be if one is broke. I recommend John's pizza of Bleeker St as one option. Another option is Grand Sichuan on 24th/9th Ave (with which I'm familiar) but there are other locations (e.g. St Marks Place).
  14. I think its bartender variation. One week prior to my ill-fated 'vermouth martini' evening, I had outstanding martinis (made by, as I recall, Kyle (?)). But he told us he was going to Publican except for 2 days per week, and I have a feeling some new talent was recruited for Violet Hour. Sounds like Henry was the right choice. The person who took care of us (I didn't get his name) was really behind the curve. He confided he wasn't an expert on martini's (huh?), and when we ordered Sammies, he didn't provide cloth napkins or plates. A food runner handed them to us, commenting "They've been sitting there for a while so I thought I'd just give them to you." Not to be so negative about the place; it is a wonderful environment and when its on, its REALLY ON. It can be world class. But a place that aspires to be 'world class' must (IMHO) be held to that standard and shouldn't have bartender/mixologist talent that isn't ready for prime time. I've recently (well, five months now) moved from NY to Chicago. One difference I've noted---NY will definitely hold a place to a standard and 'call' them on it if they fall short. Chicago folks, interestingly enough. seem to accept things as they are more than would happen in NY. I feel that Violet Hour is a top notch place that seeks to attain excellence. If we merely accept what is offered (flaws included), they will never be prompted to attain the excellence they could otherwise achieve. All that said, I look forward to going there on a regular basis and will always have a great time, no doubt. I just want them to be held to the standard to which I know they aspire and are capable of ultimately achieving. New Yorker's are not so forgiving; Chicagoans are a bit, if I may be so bold (now living here), a bit over-forgiving. Surely there is a middle ground.
  15. Agree with all the recommendations. A short taxi ride is Mercat, which would be great for tapas for a lunch/dinner or brunch.
  16. Went there tonight. They did have Old Raj gin (yea!). However, they have a ways to go.... They weren't too busy; most people were sitting by the bar; few people were at tables. My partner ordered caipirnhas; loved them. I ordered Old Raj martini's--two of them. Disappointing. The first one--was served in an ice cold glass, as would be proper, but the remaining liquid was to be poured in a room temperature mini-carafe (not cold). I asked that it be poured in another ice cold glass and the mixologist gladly and politely complied. The problem with the martini was that the taste of vermouth was prominent. This was true of the first martini, and the second. For the second, I asked that it be served "very, very dry." It still tasted predominantly of the Noilly-Prat vermouth. We asked the mixologist what ratio he used for gin to vermouth: he replied "two to one." (The last weekend when we were there, the mixologist said "three to one" meaning three parts gin to one part vermouth). The vermouth was prominent; could not taste the Old Raj gin in either of my drinks. My suggestion would be to get the proper ratio of Old Raj to vermouth down; then serve the remainder that doesn't fir in the first glass (as Pegu Club, for instance) in a carafe over ice to keep it cold. Never should it be put in a room temperature carafe. To me, its still a work in progress.
  17. Great report, Bryan. This remains my favourite place, too, in the City. I must ask--in all candor--does Michelin have an 'agenda' against EMP? If this were in Europe, it would have one or more **.
  18. Couple of points. I'd do Ssam for dinner, not lunch, as the menu at lunch is very simple and not at all representative of what Chef Chang is doing. I think you could show up around 7 and (maybe with a brief wait) get in for drinks at somewhere like Pegu Clubb or PDT or milk and honey, etc. I don't think any of the places will take reservations for a party of 2 (others, correct me if I'm mistaken), but I don't think the wait will be awful. And no, you won't have to deal with a ridiculous door policy at any of them.
  19. I generally only drink martinis--for a martini with olives, my fav gins are (in order): 1) Old Raj 2) Tanq 10 3) 209 4) Junipero 5) Plymouth 6) (reg) Tanq Only stirred, I might add. No shaking!
  20. I tried Genevieve last weekend at The Violet Hour in Chicago. Had I tasted it blind, I would have said some kind of jenever but on steroids--a "new world" style of dutch jenever. I liked it though--quite nice.
  21. DutchMuse


    I've had a similar experience there. Could be that Collichio's eye is not on the ball as he is focused on his other (TV) ventures. As Craft seems to have gone down a notch, I would say that Craftsteak has gone up a notch over the past couple of years.
  22. What a GREAT place! Loved it--even if you guys were out of Old Raj. But Kyle, the very talented and knowledgeable bartender, made a lovely martini of Junipero. We then tried an experiment with American-made jenever which was interesting but Kyle wasn't totally happy with the experiment so he left me with the Junipero, which I thought very fine. I learned a lot, too. Before last night, I didn't know that Vermouth was a wine that should only last 3 or so days in the refrigerator. I had been making the mistake of buying a large bottle of Noilly Prat....next time I'll put it in a 375ml bottle or smaller so as not to oxidize it. Also fun talking about shaking versus stirring (now I know why I had always preferred a martini be stirred and never shaken--but just thought it was a personal preference). For me, I enjoy olives in the martini but understand its not considered 'pure.' Would you guys ever consider carrying olives? (There are some great ones, by the way, that to me, add to the martini experience. My friends at Tabla in NYC--who serve Old Raj, always stirred--buy olives from The Pickle Guy and they are impressive).
  23. But isn't it ultimately a problem for the stature of the Guide when the locals don't use the Michelin Guide but the tourists do? (Please don't respond that the locals don't need to consult a guide---they consult sources routinely). I'm not trying to trash the Guide....but I am so struck at how the France Guide is taken as gospel but the NY version seems so different. Or is just my (mis)perception?
  24. You make some good points, Oakapple. BTW, I wasn't saying I disgreed with Ko getting two stars--I haven't eaten there yet so can't judge. My only point was that I believe that had it recently opened in Paris, such a new restaurant would not be given two stars in the France Guide. Again a different standard.
  25. I really don't understand why the Michelin Guide in NY seems to have standards so different from its France and Italy guides, for example. Does anyone think newcomer restaurants would get ** in France? Does anyone think Momofuku Ko would get ** in the France Guide? And Del Posto--Its very inconsistent--some report great meals, many report mediocre meals. On one of my visits there ordering the bollito misto, I was told they didn't have it "maybe because its out of season?" speculated an uninformed waiter. I know the NYT ratings can be controversial, but it still, to me, remains the gold standard in NY. The Michelin Guide just misses it so far--does anyone who lives in NY rely primarily on the Michelin Guide? I never did.
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