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Everything posted by jimk

  1. jimk

    The Harrison

    Had a remarkably good dinner here on the weekend. Highlights were a radish/anchovie salad that was perfectly balanced (and served with a big slab of baguette smothered in salty butter), a calves liver which blew the Red Cat's version out of the water, a steak with a parsley and marrow "crust" (quotation marks becaause it wasn't actually crusty although it was very tasty), and duck fat fries that were mindblowing - my new favorite fried food for the time being (until I have the Ko short rib again) ...
  2. You aren't trying to stuff through a mincing plate are you? AFAIK the KA has a special (freeflow) support for the end of the spiral - as shown in the Amazon page... http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-SSA-Sausa.../dp/B00004SGFQ/ I've got a "5lb" piston stuffer and really really really wouldn't want to revert to using a mincer/grinder plus a tube... ← No, no, wouldn't dream of grinding and stuffing at the same time, and I'm using the little support brace thing ...
  3. Am being slowly driven mad by the stuffer attachment for the Kitchenaid. Look, I know it's not ideal, but we've got a small kitchen in a small NYC apartment and just don't have room for a single-purpose stuffer. The grinding attachment works great and the stuffing function worked acceptably for a while ... but lately I just can't get the meat through the machine and into the casings without it breaking and turning into a pink emulsified-looking goo. It never breaks when I'm grinding and I always work with very cold meat and put the auger into the freezer for a bit before I start stuffing. This weekend I was making sopresatta and eventually gave up on the stuffer and stuffed the casings by hand (they were beef middles so big enough to actually get my fingers in there.) Any advice? Anyone?
  4. I had post 10:00 resy last night. New & notable item on the menu is a pasta course involving snails, mushrooms, ramps, asparagus, and a ricotta "milk" with dried broccoli rabe blossoms.
  5. jimk

    Bar Q

    These seem like typical flubs for a restaurant on its 3rd night. ← That certainly explains away some, but not all of it ... they didn't seem like a generally competent service team getting the hang of a new restaurant, etc... Our server seemed more like someone who didn't know or care much about food generally ...
  6. jimk

    Bar Q

    A disappointing experience here wednesday night. Really wanted to like this place as it's a stone's throw from home. Called wednesday afternoon to see about a res that night and was told that all that was available was 5:30 or 10:00. I asked if there were any tables held for walk-ins, and was told no, but they "wouldn't refuse to seat walkins if there were a table available." Wow, I thought, that's big of them. She also added that there are a number of seats at the bar but that she had no idea if you could get the full menu there. An inauspicious beginning. So heading out to dinner we decided to swing by at around 7pm - found the restaurant maybe 25% full and the host said there was no problem seating us. The room was very nice - clean lines bright, chearful ... the garden (pre-fire) looked great. Service was clumsy - the menu didn't offer much detail so when we asked questions like "what comes with the lamb?" we got long discertations on what edamame is, from a server who seemed to assume that because she'd never heard of it before we must not have either. Food was fine but really small portions with sides sold seperately - didn't feel right at this price point. $27 for three thin pieces of grilled short rib with a smear of sauce on the plate. The stuffed spare ribs also very flavorful and more realistically priced. Don't get me wrong it was all tasty, but it just felt a bit greedy for a brand new restaurant. We drank beer with dinner - again, $7 or $8 for really small pours of Sierra Nevada draft. At these prices, seems like they have a lot of work to do in getting their service act together and delivering a better value proposition if they want to get the neighborhood crowd on board. And with a 120 seats they're going to need the neighborhood crowd.
  7. That's pretty remarkable. Did you have any say in that before the meal started? I'll be pretty chapped next week if I don't get the foie dish I had on my first visit but it's being offered to first timers. ← I had the same experience - on our second visit they greeted us with a "welcome back" and said they'd chatted during the afternoon to make sure we got some different stuff. We got a variation on the foie dish, with pickled grapes and cashew. ← I've been to Ko four times and, in my experience, they are very aware of repeat diners. (On at least three of my visits, other diners there were also repeat visitors.) This is what I have observed about menu variations. It appears that there are no alternatives (and only minimal variation) for the already-classic dishes -- the egg and caviar, the shaved foie gras, the deep-fried short-ribs. For a couple of the other courses, there appear to be standard alternatives. Although the staff will try to give repeat diners alternates they have not previously had, the alternates are not limited to repeat diners. Often, for a couple, one person will get one dish and the second person the other. More specifically-- With respect the amuses, if they have something special, it may be offered as a third amuse, but it is offered to everyone there -- not just repeat diners. Of the six main savory courses, there appear to be standard alternates for two courses and a variant on a third. 1) The standard fluke with buttermilk alternates with a dish of shrimp and grated, frozen avocado. 2) The kimichi consomme/pork belly/oyster alternates with a spring pea soup containing a tofu canelloni filled with trumpet mushrooms and, at times, topped with either lobster or crayfish. 3) As noted above, the shaved foie gras is sometimes prepared with grapes and cashew brittle, instead of the standard lychee and pine nut brittle. The "palate cleanser" of miso soup/pickled vegetables/grilled rice cake remains constant. The pre-dessert is one of an assortment of sorbets. The dessert is either the deep fried apple pie or the cereal milk panna cotta, although on one occasion I was served a deep-fried strawberry rhubarb pie. ← That's a whole lot of great information from someone who's been a member of eGullet for less than an hour! Thanks and welcome to eG!
  8. You are perfectly entitled to say that the whole "style of experience" at Ko appeals to you more than Per Se. You'd have a lot of company, just as the folks who prefer Heavy Metal to Beethoven have a lot of company.You are not entitled to say (and expect to be taken seriously) that the service at Per Se is "downright terrible". You can say that you personally had an experience that struck you that way, but most of us would conclude that that that experience was grossly atypical of the restaurant's usual performance. I think it was docsconz or slkinsey who once said (on an EG thread) that you may enjoy Salieri better than Mozart, but you can't say that Salieri actually is better than Mozart. ← Actually, I didn't say that the service at Per Se is downright terrible. I said: "We've never had really outstanding service at Per Se and our last visit there service was downright terrible." And the service I was referring to was the service we experienced, not the service in general, which I think should have been pretty clear. I think I posted a review of that dinner somewhere here on this site and others seemed to agree that we had experienced bad service, urged me to write a letter (which I did), etc. etc. etc. And I agree with docsconz or whomever that you can't say Salieri actually is better than Mozart ... by extension, you also can't say Salieri is objectively worse as a factual matter.
  9. Well, Ko isn't Chuck E Cheese and it's not a stick figure. Keith Haring did pretty well for himself with stick figures but they weren't really my thing. And actually we were talking about "the experience" at one versus the other. And there isn't one experience. I have my experience and you have yours. My 8 year old niece may declare the Chuck E. Cheese experience far superior to Per Se, and she'll be right because she's talking about her experience. I bet she'd like Ko though now that I think about it. Put another way, if you made 1000 people listen to Pachabel's Canon, followed by Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, and all 1000 say the Pachabel is more pleasing that doesn't make the classical piece objectively more pleasing - it just summarizes the subjective views of 1000 people. Anyway, my point was merely that s soon as we start comparing the "experience" we're putting it in the world of the subjective because we're talking about some individual person's experience.
  10. It's subjective...but then again, it isn't. There's a sufficient body of responsible criticism about Per Se to state as a fact that "downright terrible" service there is exceedingly rare.Unless David Chang has managed to overcome human nature — which is that both people and perceptions are fallible — you'll eventually have reports of "downright terrible" service at Ko, too. Per Se has had four years for them to accumulate (and very few have), while Ko has had four weeks. ← No actually, it's subjective. Period. Someone else can find the experience to be superior at Per Se and someone else can find the experience to be better at Ko. Neither is wrong if both are basing their conclusions on our own experience. I don't care what the body of criticism says about either place - reviews help me decide whether to go to a restaurant, they don't tell me after I've eaten there whether I was rightly or wrongly satisfied (or dissatisfied) by the experience. There were aspects of the service at Per Se that rubbed me the wrong way that I know weren't about human error, but about how they run the place (e.g. agressive upselling on the wine, bringing the check before I asked for it). I just know that at Ko I feel happy and at Per Se ... well ... less so ... isn't that what we're talking about when we talk about "the experience"? I guess I just don't know how anyone could say the experience at restaurant A is objectively better than the experience at restaurant B any more than someone could say that Monet is objectively better than Jackson Pollak.
  11. It's all subjective ... I've been to both restaurants twice and found the experience at Ko better both times. We've never had really outstanding service at Per Se and our last visit there service was downright terrible. Bad enough that that experience combined with the steadily climbing prices has kept us from going back. For me, being able to engage directly with the chefs makes the Ko experience preferable to me. Agree that Per Se's execution is more consistent but on the whole I'd take dinner at Ko over dinner at Per Se any time even when someone else is paying.
  12. I prefer Ko to Per Se ... told Chang as much and he strenuously disagreed.
  13. That's pretty remarkable. Did you have any say in that before the meal started? I'll be pretty chapped next week if I don't get the foie dish I had on my first visit but it's being offered to first timers. ← I had the same experience - on our second visit they greeted us with a "welcome back" and said they'd chatted during the afternoon to make sure we got some different stuff. We got a variation on the foie dish, with pickled grapes and cashew.
  14. There's currently a 1-top available for tomorrow at 9:15.
  15. No - not like that at all. Closer to a really thick french onion soup if you managed to preserve a perfectly white color, but that's not quite it either. If I remember right, Mastering the Art had a soubise recipe that contained rice, but this wasn't that. I know that there are also some recipes that use cheese but there was none of that either. My guess is that it was incredibly thinly sliced onion, softened in butter but not allowed to brown, and maybe a bit of light veal stock as well. But I'm totally guessing here...
  16. Another really great meal at Ko on Saturday night. This was our second visit in two weeks and we were greeted as old friends (apparently there's someone who has managed to get in three times since the public opening). They were sure to give us a few new dishes so that was great ... we had a pre-amuse this time of fried ebi heads which was great, simple. The rest of the ebi showed up a couple of courses later with poppy seeds and grated frozen avacado. They gave us a new variation of the foie dish as well - instead of lychee, riesling gelee and pine nut brittle, this one was the grated foie over pickled grapes, apricot puree and cashew brittle. Sorbet course was lychee over cashew "sand" ... instead of the apple pie we got the cereal milk panna cotta with guacamole and chocolate which was wonderful and which is still evolving they said. What else to mention ... there was a bit of a backlog for the second seating but the kitchen sent folks waiting lots of snacks so there were no complaints. I noticed they grilled some peppers for them, and I saw another group got the english muffin and pork fat served with bacon and egg which looked incredible. We didn't do wine pairing this time but instead ordered a bottle of kabinet riesling off the list that went well with most courses, supplemented with a small pour of the rioja to go with the short rib course. Chang was there for much of the evening helping out with service and chatting with guests.
  17. I think I might be on my way to becoming its second ... just randomly checked the web site to see if anything was open and grabbed a 2-top for tomorrow night. This will my second visit, both times secured on the web site fair and square. This will be our second dinner there in two weeks.
  18. This is great - I love the comraderie that Ko is bringing out in eGulleters! ← I couldn't agree more, since I actually just snagged that seat - I have no idea how, I first got error messages about 15 times. Jimk, thanks so much for the heads up. I really appreciate it, will report back. ← Glad you were able to get the reservation Daisy17! Can't wait to hear about it.
  19. jimk


    Our experiencce the other night was pretty underwhelming. My cocktail was quite good - an opaka raka - and something in the mix hinted at the Indian influences of the place ... perhaps some cardomom in the mix. Food was generally very, very good - lamb sausage and stuffed pig's foot were great though not that adventurous. When I asked what the pig's foot was stuffed with the server responded that it was stuffed with pig's foot as though it was a stupid question. We both had the boar, which appearred to be a roasted loin, aside a very tasty and bracingly salty vermicelli. My boar was perfectly medium rare (although we weren't asked about temp and we were both expecting a boar sauce) although my wife's was closer to medium well and on the dry side. Biggest problem here was the design - incredibly uncomfortable and virtually anyone sitting near us could be overheard complaining about it at one point or another. Female staff uniforms were pretty dorky - kind of an eight-maids-a-milking look. Vibe felt a bit like a MePa scene dropped into the west village.
  20. At this moment (10:43) there is an open 1-spot at Ko tonight at 6:45 looking for a good home.
  21. Since no answers to my above question here, I asked Ruhlman directly ... indeed, he says no real reason other than tradition (bacon was traditionally hot smoked) and he copped to having some raw bacon in his own freezer ...
  22. They presented the oyster dish to the guy sitting next to me the other night and he kind of hesitated and said "oh ... um ... oysters ... ok" to which chef asked "You aren't allergic or anything are you?" to which guy replied "um ... kind of but ... it's ok ..." at which point chef whisked away the dish and they made him the duck one. You could tell that while they enjoy the press buzz they're getting they seem to want to try to avoid fatalities during their opening weeks.
  23. Yesterday, the mods asked us to move on from this topic, and I think they were right to do so. Everyone has made their point a hundred times by now. I hadn't planned on saying any more on the subject, although I assumed FG would want to get the last word in. I'm not at all surprised that he would choose to do so by summing up not just his own side of the debate, but the other side as well. I didn't expect him to so grossly and insultingly distort the position contrary to his own. FG says that everyone who hasn't bought into his position (which by the end of the discussion seems to be just about everyone) is advocating "a whole passive school of consumer thought." Almost spilled coffee on myself when I read that. I looked for a smiley in the sentence because I was sure he must be joking. Because nowhere in this discussion, and nowhere in any discussion I have ever seen on eGullet have I ever seen anyone who I would even for a moment describe as advocating passive consumerism. Passive consumers don't come to eGullet to debate the pros and cons of a reservation system or a restaurant or a butcher shop or a breed of pork. There are thousands of people around the planet who participate in this community and there are thousands of things that we all disagree on but I'll wager the one thing that every single one of us agree on is that we are not passive consumers. That's what seperates us from the people who have trained themselves to eat their food without tasting it. I eat out a lot. I have incredibly high expectations of the restaurants I patronize. I complain when those expectations are not realized. I have done so at Per Se (discussed in detail somewhere around here), and I have done so at Arby's, and I have done so at many places in between. I have applauded those who have met and exceeded my expectations. I reward them for doing so by continuing to patronize them, and they thank me in turn by continuing to meet and exceed my expectations. I'm not going to try to sum up FG's position, and I hope he doesn't try once again to sum up mine. I will say that I have seen this discussion, it seems, as a fundamentally different one than he has. I think we've ultimately been talking about value. Every day someone here is disagreeing about whether the Prix Fixe at restaurant X represents good value or not. One person says $20 for a lunch of that quality is outstanding. Someone else says I'd rather go at dinner for the $75 prix fixe for a dinner of even better quality. Their views are no doubt influenced by how much money they have in their pocket, what lifestyle they lead, and a million other factors. Neither position is wrong - they just see it differently. I think this conversation is much the same. What do I consider good value for the the $20 price on the lunch prix fixe? What do I consider good value for the $75 price for dinner? Or what do I consider good value for the intangible of my continued loyal patronage. For me, for many of us here, I consider good value - excellent value - in fact - to be the good food, good service, etc that made me a loyal customer in the first place. I'm happy to acknowledge that FG sees it differently. I think it's all subjective ... I think if he feels his loyalty at a restaurant isn't being rewarded appropriately, he should find another restaurant to be loyal to. But I don't think there's an objective answer to this question. I don't think that my relationships with the restaurants I patronize are somehow in violation of some unwritten code. I don't think I'm letting down my fellow consumers by paying a fair price for a great meal at a nice restaurant as often as I want to and not expecting something more than that. This discussion has gotten personal at times - and I'm perhaps as much to blame as anyone for that. Steven, you can believe me to be naive or a know-it-all or a fool or whatever, and if you called me these things I would know that I've been called worse by people who didn't know better. You can tell me I have ridiculously low expectations (and if it's true, then I suppose I experience the thrill of having them exceeded that much more often.) You can tell me that a sense of entitlement is a good thing, and I can respond that my experience has led me to believe otherwise. I can say that we must agree to disagree, and you can say that, no, you must be right and we must be wrong. You are one of those who built this house and you are one of those who host this party and I thank you and applaud you for that. But you claim that because I disagree with your position on this topic, I am an advocate of passive consumerism; you say that I eat crumbs which are thrown at me. You cross a line. Because it is the worse kind of insult, sir, to be spoken in this place. Shame on you.
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