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BryanZ

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  1. BryanZ

    Maialino

    Dropped into Maialino last night for an early dinner. Even about a month out, all I could get was a 5:45 reservation. Place is very, very popular. The dining room isn't so cramped that it feels oppressively loud, however, so that's a plus. I will say that I wasn't so enamored with the design as others. To me, it felt a bit generic, a bit Restoration Hardware, kind of like Gramercy Tavern meets Irving Mill, with a bit of Italy thrown in for good measure. We were nearly half an hour late for our reservation due to traffic, but after calling to let them know we'd be delayed they were more th
  2. I think the real question to ask is if it is "worth it" to go anywhere else.
  3. I believe in serendipity. Surely, the realist in me concedes that daily life is ripe with troubles more likely overcome by deliberate action than by nothing but fortunate happenstance. This truth aside, those rare, unlikely events that lead one to feel that he leads a charmed life, for perhaps just a few hours, resonate deeply with me. Where a restaurant can embody and promote this feeling of felicity is the very essence of exemplary hospitality. A strange opening to the recap of my meal last night at Alinea, I admit. But, as with so many meals where great food is pretty much a given, cont
  4. Sam Sifton's first review is up, here. His first review is of DBGB, and though I don't necessarily agree with the rating, I will say it's a pretty well-written review. And surely this was out of Sifton's control, but the leading picture just makes me smile. It's as if it ushers in a new, happier time for both restaurants and their patrons.
  5. I had no idea there was a section. Totally makes sense.
  6. BryanZ

    Aldea

    I finally made it to dinner here and loved my meal. This is an exciting, refreshing restaurant, one that feels both of-the-times but is far from formulaic. I'll also go out on a limb and say this is the first contemporary Iberian restaurant to succeed in Manhattan in recent memory. Yeah, I went there. The only others that come to mind were Ureña and Suba. Both of those tanked. Boqueria, Txikito, Tia Pol, those are all glorified tapas/pintxos spots. Someone correct me if I'm way off base here. I think Mendes has an absolute home run here. This is ambitious food. No burgers, no American
  7. We can easily enough agree to disagree on that. I found no difference in spirit or length of meal, or anything else appreciable for that matter between the 8 course menu at LeB and the 11 course at EMP. All things equal, I prefer to try 11 things vs. 8 things, sure. But they both seemed the same in style to me - "here is our best, enjoy!" ← Until you see the table next to yours getting 13 or more dishes, some of which are not on the menu... But I do agree with you on the point of the 8 vs. 11 having no effect on the overall merit a restaurant is likely to garner from me. To answer my
  8. What's the difference? (I'm not arguing here, I'm just curious what you find the distinguishing point.) Is it the length, which you cite above as allowing for more creativity and variety? Coming from another angle, have you had a 10+ course meal that didn't feel "extended/VIP" to you? ← I guess it's largely an intangible thing. I hate to rely on that crutch, but I think a bit part of it is service style along with the number of courses. Take, for instance, canapes at Daniel or the trio of amuses at JG. They're fine, but aren't as elegant as the canapes you get at Per Se, EMP, or any nu
  9. But of course in the same piece Achatz admits that even his original system has its flaws now that he's doing more and more cutting edge stuff (i.e., tabletop plating). Some people will inevitably get more for certain reasons. I'm talking about the experience that's offered/listed on the menu.
  10. Without throwing too much fuel on the fire, I find the listed menu at Per Se to fall under the extended/VIP-style that the Gourmand at EMP offers. I do not think the longer menus, as listed, at the other four-stars qualify. That's the point I was trying to make. What these restaurants can do for VIPs/regulars/or those who arrange for a special meal from the chef beforehand isn't really my concern in this case.
  11. BryanZ

    Zuni Cafe

    I believe that's 3/4 tsp per pound. At least that's what the recipes online say.
  12. Just so we're clear my recent meal at Manresa was certainly more interesting and eye-opening than my meal here. I, too, think it's one of the best restaurants in the country, just not on the same level as the grand dining temples with regards to room, service polish, and other niceties. I think a Michelin inspector would agree with me here. I'm not willing to come down on which meal was tastier, though. Both put consistently excellent to extraordinary food on the plate. EMP, however, was certainly the much more refined dining experience across the board. That's no slight to Manresa. At al
  13. Yes, part of me certainly appreciates the fine-dining formula, but I guess I want to see it executed or embraced at the highest level so it doesn't feel tired, amateur, or even formulaic in the derogatory sense of that word. Somewhere like Daniel, a great restaurant to be sure, or any of the restaurants you mention embody luxury and all that but, to me, fall well short of EMP. In that sense there is something kind of intangible, a four-star feeling of sorts. I think EMP now gives off this feeling. What makes me recommend it so highly goes beyond this, however, in that I think they offer wha
  14. It is possible for the first time diner to experience the tasting menus at both Jean Georges and Le Bernardin. In my opinion the experiences at both these restaurants is far superior than that at EMP ← Oh surely, but that's not the point I'm making. I think there's a some kind of fundamental divide between your typical 6-8 course tasting menu and those that run over 12-courses*. I think there's a certain intricacy and feeling of luxurious discovery that one gets over so many courses that holds a lot of value for me. In this same vein, EMP seems to offer many of those little extras that
  15. Indeed, I do believe that the "other" four stars can put out such a meal, but it's not on offer for those who simply stroll through the door. While I think I dine quite well, I'm not in a position to be a true regular at any of those spots. A visit every six months to EMP is about my peak. With that said, I think that EMP and Per Se are the only restaurants that offer this refined and lengthy a dining experience to the first time diner. I, too, have only been served sparkling wine cocktails in flutes in restaurants. Indeed, the coupe seems to be more popular in Serious Cocktail Bars, but i
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