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Everything posted by viejomajadero

  1. Hi Would you share with me and others what you consider "Fine Dining"? To me -- places like The Saddle River Inn and the Dining Room at the Manor are fine dining. Customers dress well. Food is impeccable. Table service is done by professionals. Place settings --- hardware, china, glassware --- are high quality. Wine service is is 4 star whether they have a wine list or not. I love Blu in Montclair but I would not call it "Fine Dining". Love to hear. Viejo
  2. Paulo Thank you so much for your reply. Do you have any dinner suggestions in Lisbon where the locals would eat? We wish to try all levels of dining and really want to try some typical local foods in additon to high end? With us depending on public transportation trips outside the city for dining might not be practical. Obrigado Viejo
  3. Hi Everyone My wife and I are planning our 10th wedding anniversary in Lisbon. Will probably be staying at the Tivoli Lisboa but that has not been decided. Based on the fabulous help we received for our last trip (Barcelona) we are once again looking for your recommendations. We wish to taste Portugal. Would like dinner choices for 5 nights. Neighborhood locals and up. FYI my wife is fluent in Spanish which may help at local restaurants. Obrigado Viejo
  4. Hikeleader I would say you reiterated my feelings based on my last visit. In my estimation there is no reason to return to this place. Viejo
  5. So, Deserts What is your evaluation of Cinc Sentits food?? Viejo
  6. Hi All First we would like to thank all who have submitted their thoughts and suggestions. We have decided (also in light of availability) for our dinner as follows; Saturday Hisop Sunday Cerveceria Catalana Monday Rias de Galicia Tuesday Gresca Wednesday Quimet i Quimet Thursday Cinc Sentits Viejo Majadero y Esposa
  7. Thanks for the reply. If you had to choose 4 restaurants for us to visit, which ones would you pick? Price or or type of food is not an issue. We appreciate all your help. Viejo PS.....not necessarily from this list...
  8. Mi esposa suggests Top Choice for Tasting Menu ---- 35 - 50 Euro Best Suckling Pig Best Paiella Best Seafood Viejo
  9. Aiden I truely respect your opinion but need to make this simple for me and the way I think. I have read through all the restaurants recently visited on this blog. I also culled from some web sites and then got this list from the hotel. What I need from someone such as yourself is to tell me not to choose a certain place because it is "not good". Impecable references are good, but as you must be aware restaurants change over time or after a great review you visit the place and it is just off. I plan to take in all levels of food and only have six nights to do it in. I want to try what the locals eat as well as higher end. I don't want Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, Chinese, etc. I do want what is expressed as "Barcelona" food. Radical is not important, but exciting and inventive can be, BUT not every night. I want to narrow down my list tonight and make a final selection. Set Portes, Barceloneta, Cerveceria Catalana, and Merendero de la Mari are open on Sunday and I need a Sunday choice. Since one is your second home that helps me. I thank you in advance for your educated help. I usually have chef friends with connections to places I visit and that is a tremendous advantage. I don't have that in Barcelona. Lastly, my wife is Cuban and her mothers side of the family is Catalan, so she would like to taste her "roots" so to say. I'm already thinking Gresca, and Cerveceria Catalana, Hisop, and Pinotxo. Viejo
  10. Hi Would appreciate a yes or no to each restaurant listed. I have already considered all of those restaurants reviewed in other threads and recently got this list from our intended hotel. Thanks very much for your quick reply. Viejo Majadero --------------------------------------- Via Veneto Windsor Ca l’Isidre Casa Calvet Set Portes Barceloneta Merendero de la Mari Cerveceria Catalana thanks
  11. Hi Six courses including tip cost each of us under $100 (low $90's). Of course it cost me a lot more since I supplied the wine. But that is what I wanted this to be about. Great food. They do have a menu!!! And BYO!!!! Impecable service. Wonderful old world, civilized charm. For me this was a much better dining experience than my recent visits to Panache and David Dreck. Viejo
  12. Told Ya So!!!!!!! Derek Barnes of Derek's Culinary Casual, 514 Central Avenue, Sarasota was one of twenty chefs nominated last week as a semi-finalist for the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards. Twenty chefs from five different states have been put onto the roster for "Best Chef South." Read More at http://www.dereks-sarasota.com Derek is cookin and I'm watching snow flakes. Viejo
  13. Ah, and it came to an end too soon!!! Viejo
  14. Hi Had no idea what the price would be until the bill came. Thanks Viejo
  15. On Tuesday the 17th my wife and I had dinner at the Manor in the Ala Carte area. Tuesday is special as they allow wine to be brought in (no corkage) and, as it turns out, they have a very respectable list of wines at half price. We were really enjoying the old world charm and the piano music when I realized this would be a great choice for one of my Boys Night Out dinners. I spoke to the Maitre d' about such and asked if we could use the side room so as not to disturb the diners and the piano player. I discussed the wines I intended to bring but felt the menu would not accomodate the wines. In walked the Chef Mitchell Altholz (formerly Chef owner of Jocelyne's of Maplewood.) He came to my table and I told him I was having a group of six men scheduled for dinner and was bringing a vertical of Chateau Neuf Du Pape - Beaucastel. The years were 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, and 1995. He said he would put together a special menu for the wine selection. We stepped out of the limo at 7:00 PM and were escourted to a dining area just behind the main dining room. Set up on a table were six carafes each noted with a year to match the wines. Our table was set up with six wine glasses across the top of each setting. The wines were expertly decanted over a lit candle and served to each of us oldest to newest right to left. Chef Altholz had printed menus at each setting. First Course---Country Game Pate', Cumberland Sauce and Celery Root. Second Course---Rabbit Crepinette, Sunchoke and Truffle Salad, Black Garlic Sauce. Third Course---Squab with Sauteed Foie Gras, Napa Cabbage, Smoked Bacon, Black Truffle Sauce. Fourth Course---Dijon Crusted Rack of Lamb, Baby Vegetables, Potato Gratin, Rosemary Jus. Chef Altholz came to the table and personally went through each dish as served. We finished with a cheese platter and dessert. Everything was perfect. Wine, food, atmosphere. And --- the table service was impeccable. Three hours of attention detail!! I cannot say enough about this evening. As we were leaving the General Manager came over and thanked us. He hoped we would spread the word. This is a BYO worth exploring. Viejo
  16. PicnicChef You asked, "But....how was the Lalande?" Well, it was good. But, I think it needed an hour of "air" time to open up more. Have about 7 more to find out. So, on the positive side to Cafe Panache I can say they have a great wine list!! Viejo
  17. Well, went there last night. The place was very busy, a positive in the current financial environment. The updated restaurant was a positive compared to the old space. But in the end, for me anyway, is --- first the food and second the service and third the space. Since there was nothing offered in this forum for what should be a well visited restaurant, I am going to assume that hot dogs and hole in the wall places rule over this level of dining. Before I get plastered with comments, I love hot dogs and hole in the wall places. So, based on the lack of commentary I went to Panache with an open mind but not too hopeful. Service first. The Zagat write up is baloney, and no offense to baloney lovers either. Our waitress, in my humble opinion, was poorly trained and should not be at a restaurant of this caliber. Without going into details, never in all of the many times I have dined with one of my friends at the table have I seen him snap at wait staff. This was a first, and we are talking about a laid back easy going under control guy. Food second. I brought a 1989 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from my cellar. I opened and decanted it myself, as soon as I arrived, to give as much breathing time as is possible. Based on my wine I chose Filet Mignon ravioli as my appetizer and a venison loin dish. Three pieces of venison came with soft polenta, mushrooms, and a reduction sauce. Three at the table ordered the same dish. My three pieces were cooked perfectly, but were tough. My wife said two of three were tough, one piece she left on the plate as inedible. My friend said all of his were tender and enjoyable. Two people ordered salmon. Both said was good. One asked when he placed his order that potato be served with the dish. The dish came without potato. He had to re-ask and get the potato specially delivered. The last dish was seared scallops which I tasted and found plain and boring. Lastly. When we sat down at 6:30, I asked the waitress when she expected to turn the table. She said we are ok to about 9:00--9:30. At 8:30 the maitre d was begging us to give up the table. My wife and I are borderline as to whether we would return. One other couple said they would not. The last couple gave no opinion as of now. My Zagats shows this restaurant with a food rating of 28 of 30. Having eaten in 14 restaurants in the 27 and 26 rating groups, I can say 28 is much too high. Thanks Viejo
  18. Hi All Went last night to David Drake for a 9th Anniversary dinner. First, was a little put off by the neighborhood. But once inside I found the place very charming. We were put at a tiny table for two in a room set with three tables. Only one other ended up being occupied. My wife found the room too cold and with the nearby door to the outside opening and closing a lot last night it was a problem. We made our reservation through OpenTable. Open Table allows for notes to be sent to the restaurant. Advised them that this was a wedding anniversary and I wanted it to be a special evening and that my wife is allergic to peanuts. To which Brian Maher GM replied, "Your allergy concerns will be noted and your server will alert the kitchen. as well as guide you to appropriate selections not containing any peanut products." Well, I could have just walked in from the street. Even when I asked about the 100 points I was to earn from Open Table they were clueless. All of this would be unimportant because to me the important thing is the food first and service second. Our waiter, Bob S. according to the check, never introduced himself. Discussed water and menu changes, and I told waiter to select wine by the glass for each of my dishes. Wife and I both picked the same appetizer, "SALAD OF WARM DUCK CONFIT bitter greens, horseradish dressing, sliced baby beets $13". Wife felt it lacked something. I felt it was good, plenty of duck, nice balance of flavors, would have liked a little more dressing tossed in, but not an exceptional dish. Matched wine was a slightly sweet Reisling, a pretty good balance to the bitterness of the greens. For my Main I chose, "SEARED SEA SCALLOPS AND PORK BELLY braised leek, saffron potato, sauce romesco $29". Found the scallops too lightly seared to develop flavor, but was cooked properly to retain moistness. Pork belly was done perfectly, crispy, and a good play to the scallop. But found the romesco sauce much too tomato(y) and not even a hint of saffron was detected. The Brully chosen by the waiter was also a very good choice. My wifes Main was "BARRAMUNDI FILET celery root and cauliflower purée, roasted portabello, vincotto reduction $26". My wife liked the dish but again felt it was not exceptional. She gave me a taste. Loved the perfectly crispy skin and moist fish flesh underneath, but agreed there was no wow factor to the dish. The waiters choice of Cornu Bourgogne Rouge worked well with the flavors. Wife ordered for dessert, "SWEET LIME RISOTTO tropical salsa, coconut sorbet, thai basil." $10. We both agreed this was the hit of the evening. Very creative with outstanding latin flavors. Risotto perfectly cooked just a hair past al dente in a lime flavored cream. I ordered a Cappucino. $6. Found it wimpy watery. Found the staff, Waiter - Did his job well but needs to personalize his service with the customer a little more, develop a "Table Side" manner to steal from the old Dr adage. The two Mexican bus people, dressed in crisp white uniforms, were perfect. They performed their duties very professionally. A young lady originally from California also helped with clearing duties. She had a perfect personallity for dealing with the public. I found her charming and cute, and reminded me of our brat number two who waited tables in Philadelphia. Lastly, I e-mailed this was an anniverary. Asked that this be a special night. We exchanged cards at the table and had them on display. Nothing!! Not even a congratulations. All in all, not a destination to return to. Viejo
  19. Thanks Cook456 But, I guess you are proving my point. Viejo
  20. BPsklar Thanks for the reply. 172 hits on my question. Cafe Panache is #15 on Zagats most popular; score of 28 of 30 in Zagats Top Food Ratings and only one comment from this food forum. Kind of bothers me. tsure Cannot comment on Panache as have not been there for a long time and when I was I was not impressed at all. I can say that the Saddle River Inn, a BYO, in Saddle River consistantly delivers a top meal. Food 27 0f 30. I also ate in July at Varka (fish restaurant)in Ramsey around the corner from Panache and had a very enjoyable dining experience. Food 25 of 30. Will do a short report later in January. Hope there is some detailed recent commentary. Viejo
  21. Hi Still Enjoy Derek's Culinary Casual http://www.dereks-sarasota.com Viejo
  22. Hi Heard there is a new chef and some other changes. If you have been since the change I would like some opinions. Am planning to go in January. Thanks Viejo
  23. Hi All The restaurant is open for business. Viejo
  24. As of today sign still says opening soon. Parking lot repaved and lines are in. Looks like they may have a liquor license. Touch up painting going on outside. Viejo
  25. Hi By "in this area" do you mean, a geographical location or do you mean style of food? Thanks Viejo
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