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Everything posted by porkpa

  1. I don't believe the story. There is no way that Per Se would restrict diners to less than two hours. There must be more to the story. I've eaten at er Se and its sister restaurant French Laundry at least half a dozen times. Never was the total time less than three hours. In most cases it was closer to four. Porkpa
  2. I've eaten chicken throughout the world. Nowhere have I found the combination of both chicken and fries to be more enjoyable to me than at Chalet BBQ on Sherbrooke Street West. Their cole slaw is pretty good as well.
  3. Dean, Thank you for sharing. I'm glad the McCords had a great time. Sorry about Ben Ash. Its really terrible, especially when compared to its neighbors across the street the Carnegie and Stage Delis. I wonder if anybody knows whether this Ben Ash is at all related to the Ben Ash that used to exist in Montreal. The origibal Ben Ash(the person) founded a great Deli dynasty in Montreal and along with the founders of Schwartz's and Ben's were the founders and leaders of the smoked meat culture in Montreal. In addition to having owned and started several good delis in Montreal through the years, Ben Ash's wife was/is the sister of the three brothers who founded and whose children and grandchildren still run the Snowdon Deli there. To anybody who hasn't been there IMO Snowdon Deli epitomizes what a great deli should be. On further thought its highly unlikely that there can be any relation between the terrible joint in New York and the great dynasty that began in Montreal. Ben Ash must be spinning in his grave. Porkpa
  4. The last time I ate lunch at EAT was about five years ago. At the time I believe they were charging something like $16.00 for an egg salad sandwich. They must have eclipsed the $20.00 plateau by now.
  5. Great report Bryan. I've enjoyed it immensely. One observation. I noticed your pictues of the marrow bones at St Johns. Marrow bones are some of my favorite food items. I had them this past Saturday at Landmarc in NYC. One thing I cannot understand is why both places have their bones cut vertically instead of horizontally. I've had them cut vertically at Landmarc and Blue Ribbon in New York - horizontally at le Boeuf sur le Toit in Paris and Alexandre in Montreal. When the are cut horizontally they are so much easier to eat and all of the marrow can be accessed. When cut vertically I've rarely been able to get at all the marrow and find that some of it just drips through to the plate. When the bones are cut horizontally the bone itself acts as a receptacle for the marrow and all of it can be conveniently sopped up with bread. Porkpa
  6. I believe that we should not take young children to high end places where they generally do not appreciate the experience or perhaps more importantly their presence is not appreciated. However there are times when its unavoidable. When this situation occurs I have two rules which I believe make the experience more enjoyable. (1)Eat early. (2)Tip well. Porkpa
  7. Other than the truly once in a lifetime experience places like Per Se, Jean Georges and le Bernadin, Union Square Cafe is my single favorite restaurant in NYC and perhaps anywhere. The food might not knock your socks off, but it is consistently very good. Their burgers(both tuna and beef) are as good as you will find anywhere; the fries and mashed potatoes are yummy; if the mashed turnips and shallots dish is on the menu - ORDER IT!! The macadamia, banana dessert is to die for. Perhaps equally, the service and reception are terrific. Book now, because they often fill up. Porkpa
  8. Gruyere, You are so very right. Its just wrong. Going back to the original poster, I wonder why they waited until the exact time of the reservation to make the cancellation. Surely they knew an hour before that the child was tired. In order to get to the restaurant at the correct time, they probably would have had to leave at least thirty minutes before. Why didn't he cancel at that time. At least then, the restaurant might have had a slight chance of filling the seats. If they call at the reserved time, then they are late. Porkpa
  9. Just got back from an eight day trip to London and Paris where we ate at five three star restaurants(at the time) - Gordon Ramsey, Ducasse, Le Grand Vefour, Guy Savoy and Taillevent. Of the five, the best all around dining experience hands down was Taillevent. Food wise Guy Savoy probably had a slight edge on Taillevent. The best single dish I had was an appetizer at Taillevent. I'm not sure what its called, but it consisted of a large cube of fois gras placed in a bowl. The waiter then poured a broth over it and it melted into sheer decadence. It might have been the very best thing I've EVER tasted. Amazingly, it was part of the 70 Euro lunch special, which has to be one of the best high quality meals existent. Not only were the portions far from meager, but the addition of excellent amuse buches, gougeres and various sweets following desert made for a meal that was quite generous. Sure its not cutting edge cuisine. But you don't go to Taillevent expecting cutting edge. If you want that, you go to Pierre Gagnaire. You go to Taillevent(or at least I do) expecting excellent food, unexcelled service and hospitality, one of the world's great wine lists and great value. Taillevent delivers on all counts. I just don't understand Michelin's demotion of it to two stars. I've been there three times over a five year period. If anything the overall experience has improved with each visit. Incidentally we were the only anglophiles(unless you count a miniature English Bulldog setting in the lap of a Frenchwoman of a certain age) in the room in which we were seated. We certainly wouldn't have been upset if there were others. I don't understand this seeming self hatred by Americans in particular and Anglophones in general when visiting France. So long as people are not obnoxious regardless of their nationality, I have no quarrel with the neighbors that a restaurant chooses for me. Porkpa
  10. porkpa

    February trip

    Mike, You are so right about smoking. People adapt. I remember when smoking was abolished in restaurants first in California, then in many other states and then especially in New York City. The restauranteers were up in arms. These so called draconian laws would drive them out of business. Sure, there was a small period of adjustment. Then people accepted the new rules much as they did these same rules in the workplace. Try to get into a good restaurant in NYC, even on a weekday evening without a reservation. Its either impossible or you might have to wait a long, long time. I can't remember when with the possible exception of the high flying 80s when restaurants were so hot. Porkpa
  11. porkpa

    February trip

    Grace, Why do the Americans get blamed for everything? Certainly there are many Americans who prefer a casual style. Believe it or not I'm not one of them. Nevertheless, as far as I know restaurants are at liberty to determine their own standards for dress and decorum as are those who patronize them. If one wants a restaurant where people dress up, then one should only patronize places of that sort. It probably shouldn't disturb me but it does, that so many Americans when posting of dining in Paris or elsewhere foreign use the term "the place was full of Americans" or words to that effect in a derogatory manner. Why is that so terrible? Do we hate ourselves so much that when we see Americans in another country that it somehow becomes some sort of badge of dishonor? I just don't get it. Porkpa
  12. As a follow up to my previous post, having raised three grown children and now being involved with five grandchildren, there are three key rules that I've learned about dining with young children in non family style restaurants: (1)Eat early. (2)Tip generously. (3)Refer to (1) and (2). Otherwise, try to get a baby sitter or switch to a lesser dining environment.
  13. I would also question your judgment in making a reservation with a three year old to begin at 7.30 PM. This would mean that the earliest you could expect to get out of there would be 9.00 PM, probably later. You knew that you would be spending the day outdoors. If you had given it more thought, you would likely have surmised that your child would have little chance of being up, let alone being happy in a quality restaurant at 9.00 PM or later. Dinner at 6.00 PM, if at all in a restaurant such as this would have been more appropriate to the situation.
  14. porkpa

    Pre Catelan

    As a friend of mine says about ice cream "Even bad ice cream(fois gras) is good!
  15. porkpa

    Pre Catelan

    I had dinner there about a year ago. IMO it was just allright. Its a beautiful place. I imagine its really lovely during the daytime in the Bois de Bologne. I thought that the food was rather staid and decidly not innovative. I hear that they are destined to receive their third Michelin star in the upcoming guide. This surprises me, since I thought my experience was at best a one star performance. I had heard so much about their famous millefeuille for desert. So I ordered it. What a huge(literally) disappointment. Its enough for six people. If you want loads of booze in a desert, then order it. Any other taste it might have is overtaken by that of alcohol.
  16. Robyn, You say: "Europeans would never tolerate going to a place like Per Se 20 minutes early and standing in a mall for the doors to open". From my experience that's pure nonsense. I realize that in terms of ambience Chez l'Ami Louis is not Per Se. However in name recognition and price tag, it very well might be. Last year on the last Sunday in January, a group that I am affiliated with was hosting an international gathering for which we had reserved all of l'Ami Louis. The dinner was scheduled for 9.00 PM. Several of the folks had arrived as early as 8.45. It was freezing outside as it can be in Paris in January. The waitstaff were just hanging around. They were well aware of the perhaps 20-30 people freezing outside. Nevertheless they didn't open the doors until 9.00 PM SHARP. The vast majority of those waiting were Europeans, yet the Americans complained the most. I would submit that I for one would be much more willing, not to say comfortable waiting in a beautiful mall than freezing outside on the Rue Vertbois in one of the more decrepid neighborhoods of Paris. Porkpa
  17. I would hope they are frowned upon. I enjoy wearing jeans as much as the next person, however I think that there are some restaurants of which Jean Georges is one where the setting, the staff and the cuisine calls for more respectful attire. Just my thoughts. Porkpa
  18. John, Thank you so very much. Murray Brown
  19. Nothing could be truer. Just as in real estate the key is location, location and location, the key to successful buffeteering is reconaissance, reconaissance and reconaissance.
  20. I've said it here before and been put down for doing so. Nevertheless, my favorite Italian eating place in New Jersey is Il Villaggio on rte 17N in Carlstadt. I would estimarte that I've eaten here a couple of hundred times in the last 25 years. I've never had a meal that I've found to be disappointing. Porkpa
  21. In my opinion all they had going for them was their location and the fact that they had been there forever. Why anybody would seek out their smoked meat elsewhere is beyond me.
  22. I was told that Ben's Delicatessen closed its doors forever over the weekend. In terms of smoked meat quality, it hasn't been competitive for about a half century. However its believed that Ben's may have been the first vendor of Montreal smoked meat. I never thought it was near as good as Snowdon Deli or Schwartz', but because of its central location and history it managed to hold on for a long time.
  23. I understand that there is a controversial movement to change the name of Avenue de Parc to that of Robert Bourassa. I hear that most of the opposition to the proposed change is coming from the merchants in the area, specifically the owners of the dining establishments on the avenue. Why all the controversy?
  24. Cheryl & IHarrrison, I respectfully disagree. Its entirely about the smoked meat. I have been going to both Schwartzs and Snowdon Deli all of my adult life(over 50 years). IMO Schwartz isn't even close to Snowdon. Snowdon's old fashioned sandwich has ALWAYS been better and more consistent. This is not to say that Schwartz does not produce a superior product, but there have been times when I've found it to be dry and/or stringy. That's never been the case at Snowdon. In all other categories, except for location, hours of operation and the steak and the liver appetizer, Snowdon excels. Schwartz' steak dinner although not near the high quality found in the best steak houses is nevertheless adequate and a great value. In all other areas - cleanliness, breath of menu, service, the fact that you do not have to share tables with strangers and hospitality there is not even a remote comparison. Its true that Schwartz is unique and a one of a kind Montreal experience, but for an extraordinary and consistently good smoked meat experience in an acceptable setting, Snowdon is the place. Porkpa
  25. Daniel, How in the world did you get your purchases over the border? There is a prohibition on many food products, especially meats coming from Canada to the US. I wonder if these restrictions have been removed. Porkpa
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