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Everything posted by sakana

  1. I'm going to be in the area on Monday afternoon and was thinking I'd stop in and see if I could find a seat in the Bar Room. Are the odds there will be space for one between 12 and 1230pm pretty good, in your collective experience?
  2. I'm heading to BAM Rose Cinemas next weekend, and know nothing about the area. Could you guys recommend a couple of good places for dinner? I'm not there very often, so if anything is a must-visit, please let me know.
  3. I've never been, to Shopsin's, but via an old Jason Kottke post, here's a piece Calvin Trillin wrote about it in 2002.
  4. One year when I was at Vassar my housemates and I would eat at (or get takeout from) Saigon Cafe literally 7-10 times a week, often getting both lunch and dinner from there. The owner is an awesome guy who makes great, cheap food. God. I haven't thought about that place in years. We also used to go to New Paltz to eat at a place in a stripmall that we loved - Main Course, I think. I wasn't very sophisticated about food then (not that I am now, but I was even less so in college), but I remember that we thought it tasted really good....
  5. sakana


    I went a few months ago and got a seat easily on a weeknight by showing up slightly before the bar opened (it opens at 430, I waited outside with a handful of others from about 420) - that way I was assured of a spot at the bar once eating is an option (5pm). You can also try to wait for what's basically the second seating, when the early birds finish, but that's so hard to pinpoint that I elected just to eat early.
  6. If you don't mind, I'd love to expand this question slightly so that it's not only about where to get fresh sardines, but also about places in Manhattan to get sardines prepared in the traditional style you're describing (I've been craving them since I got back from Portugal a year ago). I know there are some Portuguese restaurants around, but reviews that I've seen for most of them are mixed at best, and I'm afraid to go and be horribly disappointed.
  7. As I'll be moving to Manhattan in about a month, I'm very curious about this topic-- anyone with any UES suggestions, please post them/pass them along!
  8. From what I've read, no one could vote via the website-- oops. (Which of course begs the question of how much voting there really was. Good thing we're the only ones watching, otherwise they'd have a big, American Idol-style scandal on their hands.) I decided a few weeks ago that I'd be most interested in watching Hans, but that Dan and Steve would be my second choice-- Deborah's "charm" is like nails on a chalkboard to me, so I'm please she didn't prevail. I'll at least give Dan and Steve's show a chance; my guess is that it'll at least be entertaining, if not enlightening.
  9. sakana


    Just got back from my first meal at Babbo-- while it's hard for me to separate the food from a wonderful evening in general, I would say it was one of the most enjoyable eating experiences I've ever had. I showed up (alone) at about 445 and join the short queue; upon getting seated at the bar, I ordered a gin and tonic and settled in. The bartender (I'm TERRIBLE with names, but his involved initials-- LD, or LB, or LQ or something) was wonderful-- young and laid back and incredibly friendly, and I ended up eating with some very cool people as well, all of which contributed a lot to the experience being such a positive one. Anyway, what I ate: octopus (surpassed the grilled octopus I had in Porto last summer as the best I've ever had-- the sweetness of it was shocking and addictive), asparagus with duck egg, which was quite good (and I don't like eggs), and grilled branzino (wonderfully simple and light, especially after the intensity of the octopus). For dessert on the recommendation of the bartender I had something involving rhubarb which was also solidly good. I know nothing at all about wine, but I had a rose that went very well with the octopus. Overall, as I said, a top-notch experience. I can't wait to take other people there.
  10. sakana


    I know that single diners at Babbo generally eat at the bar, but I'd love some feedback about when to show up. If necessary, I'm willing to be there at opening and just eat super early-- does anyone have any experience with slightly later times, say 630-7? I'll be there on a weeknight, probably early in the week. Also, is the atmosphere friendly to those eating alone, or is there a feeling of WE NEED YOUR SEAT! I mean, are they willing to do tasting menus and/or pairings for single diners? Any info/tips would be appreciated!
  11. Reopening this long-dead thread to share my utter obsession with the product @ Hummus Place. It's honestly one of my favorite places to eat in all of Manhattan-- I hesitate to ask this, but is there anywhere that's even better?
  12. I believe I read in a review that the tables in the bar are half first-come and half for reservation-- or did I just make that up?
  13. For those interested in the design of The Modern, there's a long, fascinating article about the planning and execution of the design in the current (as in brand new-- it's not even up on the website yet) issue of Metropolis Magazine.
  14. It kills me to be a sheep but on the Uptown girly breakfast tip, if someone got between me and my plate of Sarabeth's breakfast potatoes I could kill without a second thought. The rest of their breakfast/brunch stuff that I've had (pancakes, omelets) is ok and all, but those potatoes are mind-blowing.
  15. Just got back from dinner @ Masa (I actually sat next to a guy who was allergic to shellfish-- Vivan, you weren't back already, were you?). While I have serious doubts as to if any meal is worth $400 (tax AFTER the 20% tip is added is a bit harsh, too), I do not feel ripped off. The room was magnificent-- oddly, something about the smell of the wood made me feel like I was in a ryokan in Kyoto. The food, too, was wonderful: every course was distinct, interesting, and meticulously prepared. The sushi highlights for me were the most tender squid I've ever encountered and a grilled small scallop (from "Nantucket, Japan"), garnished with both wasabi and tiny bits of nori-- nothing I hadn't had before, but in terms of taste, in a different universe than anything I'd previously tasted. It was interesting to me that the guy who didn't eat shellfish ended up on a totally different sushi track than his wife and I followed; in addition to his non-shellfish pieces, he also received other pieces that differed from ours. I did not at all feel as if I had too much food, though; based on other descriptions, I wonder if he's cut back on the size of dinners. Has anyone been lately who also ate there shortly after opening? I'd love to know for sure. Anyway, I'm thrilled I went, both for the food and for the entirety of the experience.
  16. Finally had dinner at Yasuda last night, and the experience was just as wonderful as this thread had led me to expect. I sat right in front of Yasuda and had phenomenal fish while talking (in great detail, oddly enough) about old-school, American professional wrestling. Who knew a man could know so much about sushi AND wrestling? I didn't take any pictures and my memory is not reliable enough to list everything I ate, but the things that stood out most were the 2 different kids of uni (prepared differently and with distinctly different tastes), eel prepared 2 ways, oyster, and trout, which I'd never had before. Each piece was of a perfect size, and the rice was amazing-- warm and welcoming, and just sticky enough. I'm someone who rarely notices the rice, but Yasuda's work serves as a reminder to me that, when it's prepared with care, the rice significantly enhances the taste and texture of each bite. In response to my questions about his use of salt, Yasuda put pinches of both kinds that he uses in front of me, inviting me to taste and feel the differences-- I love that he's so engaged with his customers, and loves what he does enough to share every bit of it with us. In addition to discussed Dick the Bruiser and the British Bulldogs, I asked Yasuda quite a lot about his background. The most interesting thing he said when I asked why he came to the US, and to NYC in particular, was "I didn't care where I went, what I did. I just wanted to touch more fish, touch more rice." I assume this is an explanation he uses often when asked about his life, but it nevertheless seemed almost profound when coupled with his lamentation about the American cultural obsessed with names and labels and status... I'll probably hit Kuruma for lunch later this week-- will I really not be frowned upon if I tell them up front how much I want to spend? And who do I tell? Is it bad form to tell the chef himself? Should I just tell the waitress? Both?
  17. Could you provide links to some of those, please?
  18. I had a sort of similar experience when I called to make a reservation. They asked things like "Do you understand how dinner works here?," etc. I was not asked, however, if I knew what sushi was-- honestly, it would surprise me if your friend was asked that question out of the blue. I wonder if he asked a question of his own that prompted it. Anyway, I didn't find the questions I was asked strange at all. To me, it was courtesy, and good business. I assumed the food allergies question was a way of finding out if the day's dishes need to be adjusted at all for the individual diner's needs-- for example, I don't eat red meat and told the hostess that, despite the fact that I don't anticipate it being a problem (I know Masa serves foi gras, but I've never read about a meal that included any beef or anything). She said she would write it down just in case. Far from being offended, I appreciated the attention to detail.
  19. The two times I went to Kuruma for lunch, the bar was almost empty. At Yasuda, you can definitely get a seat at the bar at lunch, it just might not be at Yasuda's end of the bar. ← Excellent-- thanks, JJ. Am I correct in assuming that I can potentially have the same experience (in terms of food) at lunch as I would have at dinner at both places?
  20. It looks like I'll be making a second quick trip to NYC, but my schedule is a bit dependent on what others end up doing, so it won't be possible to plan out my eating as carefully as I'd like. If I find I have time, would it be possible to just walk up to Yasuda or Kuruma for lunch and get a seat at the bar (for 1) without a reservation?
  21. In terms of kaiseki, I would recommend Sugiyama without reservation (so to speak) and would love to hear your take on it, Justin.
  22. Another great review, tetsujustin-- and particularly timely, as I'm trying to decide whether or not to visit Jewel Bako on my upcoming trip to NYC. (That said, after reading your review, I still haven't made up my mind!) Given your reactions to much of the food, I was surprised that the rating was so high-- but you justified it will with your discussion of presentation, interaction with the chef, etc. A question for those of you who frequent Jewel Bako: if tetsujustin went back tonight, would he get a similar meal or would all of the courses be different?
  23. Someone upthread mentioned Dumpling Man-- are others fond of that one as well? It's hard to get through the press and hype and find out how good it really is.
  24. Thanks, oakapple. Is a month in advance far enough to make my call then-- I want to make sure i get a seat at the bar. (Also, sorry for all of the questions-- eventually I'll get an handle on this stuff and will be answering them instead. Eventually....)
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