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babern38

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Everything posted by babern38

  1. babern38

    The NY Ultra-Luxe Websites

    On a recent trip to New York, i found restaurants websites crucial to deciding where we would dine. Of course I also referred to eGullet, Zagat's, etc. but they do not provide you with menus. Since my fiancee is a vegetarian, I really appreciate a restaurant with a website that offers menu selections so I can see if she would be happy eating there. I really liked Daniel Bouluud's website, but was frustrated by the lack of info on Vongerichten's site. I don't necessarily care how fancy the websites are, I'm just expecting some info on what type of food is offered, possible prices, and a few pictures to entice me and give me some understanding of what type of restaurant to expect upon visiting.
  2. Great job on the website! I think it is one of the best restaurant websites I've visited. It shows just enough, but not too much. I didn't think it was possible, but I am even more excited for my upcoming December 29th visit. I was also wondering if anything has become of the audio spotlight that had been discussed previously? I knew there were some difficulties due to the composition of hard surfaces in the room, so has the idea been scrapped? I was interested to see how it would be used.
  3. Does anyone have any comments on either Arthur Clay's or Cafe de France in St. Louis?
  4. I'm curious, I have never heard any mention of a cheese cart or mignardises or parting gifts being served at Alinea. Am I correct in thinking that these things are not done there?
  5. babern38

    Matsumoto - Chicago

    Is it just me or are the porous wooden chopsticks easier to eat with? I tend to have trouble getting enough friction to grasp slippery foods with the shiny plastic sticks given out at P.F. Chang's etc.
  6. I was wondering if anyone here is a vegetarian who has dined at Alinea and done the Tour. I am hoping to go with my vegetarian fiancee and while I know they are accomodating to such needs, I was wondering how the quality/inventiveness/etc. holds up to their meat-containing dishes.
  7. babern38

    Gramercy Tavern

    I was wondering if anyone has had the sea urchin ragout I mentioned above and/or if they have a similar recipe so that I may recreate that dreamy dish at home. Thanks
  8. babern38

    Babbo

    I had one thing to add to my previous review. More of a question really, but is the bread at Babbo supposed to be soooo tough? Perhaps this is a traditional preparation/recipe, but it made it difficult to enjoy as crumbs would fly everywher when trying to pull off a bite.
  9. babern38

    Gramercy Tavern

    Ate at Gramercy's main dining room for the first time friday night with my mother and fiancee. I didn't know what to expect of the restaurant, but we all loved the homey decoration that was done for fall. The colors were beautiful. I had planned on doing the seven course tasting menu, but upon arriving there at 6pm and sitting down with the menu, no one, myself included, felt hungry enough for such a venture. Also my fiancee (a vegetarian) was hesitant about some of the offerings on the vegetarian tasting menu. She has an aversion to fennel and celery, of which were items for two of the dishes. I'm sure they would have exchanged such items, but we all decided on the three course menu instead. amuse: we were offered a crostini with a garbanzo bean puree on one end and a green(pesto-like) sauce on the other. Good, but didn't really spark my imagination or get me ready for anything special to come. First course: My mother had a sea scallop dish which she enjoyed, but I can't remember any specific details. My fiancee had a simple salad I had a sea urchin ragout. This was one of the best things I ate in our couple day trip to New York. Imagine taking the melted butter you dip lopster in, concentrating to ultra-mega-tasty butter to be a broth-like sauce of tasty sea urchin, lobster and crap meat chunks. Phenomenol. I would hae eaten an entire bowl of this although my gall bladder would probably be no more. Also, my scale probably thanks me for not doing so. Second course: my mother had Roasted Monkfish with Pancetta, Wax Beans, Beets, grapes and Chervil. She thought this was very good, but not as good as my main course. I had roasted sirloin of beef that was excellently prepared. It came with bone marrow (my first and definitely not my last experience with bone marrow). It was awesome. I don't remember what accompanied this dish, but I assure you I used the bread to clean up every drop of anything left on the plate. My fiancee had a mushroom tarte tatin. It was good, not great and I really love mushrooms. It just seemed a little dry to me. Dessert: We didn't have anything extraordinary. I had the collection of ice creams, my fiancee had the colleciton of sorbets and my mom had a cake of some sort. All tasty and a nice end to an enjoyable meal. While we enjoyed everything, I feel the price of this three course meal ($76) is a bit too steep for what we got. I definitley think the value would be in the 7 course tasting menu($80-95).
  10. babern38

    Babbo

    Well, I had a much more thorough review written up, until my new kitten stepped on the keyboard somehow erasing everything..... Here is the short of the meal I had saturday night with my parents and fiancee. First, my mother was very glad we were seated upstairs as the noise and crowd would have been to much to be able to hear our own conversation. We should also mention that everyone at the table commented on how tiny the bathroom was. I don't know how a larger person could fit. My fiancee is a size 0 and still found it tiny. But we don't go to restaurants for the bathrooms (initially at least), but for the food. Antipasti: I had the Grilled Octopus with “Borlotti Marinati” and Spicy Limoncello Vinaigrette. I really enjoyed the dense, meaty, grilled texture and taste of the octopus, although I didn't expect it to be as spicy as it was. It required several gulps of water after each bite. Still, a very nice start to the meal. My mother had the Five Autumn Vegetable Salad with Goat’s Milk Ricotta and Pumpkin Seed Oil which she said she enjoyed very much, yet I never tasted it. My fiancee had the Neci con Funghi Misti. I though this tasted good, but was not much different than other mushrooms in pastry dishes I've had at lesser known restaurants. My fiancee said she enjoyed the accompanying cabbage more. Primi: My mother had the Gocchi with braised oxtail. This was awesome. The Gnocchi were dense enough, yet still felt light and fluffy. The sauce with the oxtail was very rich, meaty, and delightful My fiancee had the Pumpkin “Lune” with Sage and Amaretti. The amaretti cookie was shaved over the dish. She loved this, as did I. I had ordered Fernando’s Pyramids with “Passato di Pomodoro” off the tasting menu, not really knowing what to expect, only that it was frequently enjoyed by fellow eGulleters. They were very good and I would eat them anytime, but did not seem as special as many had mentioned. My mom made a comparison to Chef Boyardee ravioli, which I thought was terrible, but I can see where she is coming from My dad ordered the Beef Cheek Ravioli at my beckoning. This was awesome and my favorite pasta of the night. It reminded my a lot of Beef stroganoff. I loved the triangular shaped ravioli and really enjoyed the filling. Although upon coming home, I looked at my copy of the Babbo cookbook which says they use squab livers for the filling, so I am a bit confused as to what I truly ate. This was very rich, savory, and delicious. Secondi: My fiancee had the Garganelli with “Funghi Trifolati" for her main course, being a vegetarian, which was good (especially the mushrooms). my mother had the Grilled Guinea Hen with Pumpkin Fregula and Black Olive Vinaigrette which she said was excellent, but she was way to full at this point to finish or enjoy fully. My dad and I split the Deconstructed Ossobuco for Two with Saffron Orzo, Cavolo Nero and Chestnut Gremolata. The giant presentation before they split the dishes was awesome and intimidating as was the individual plates. The meat fell of the bone, the accompanying bone marrow was a delighful treat, and the cheesy saffron orzo was very delicious. I wish I hadn't been so full so I could have savored every single bite on my plate. Dolce: my father had the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Orange Sauce and Hazelnut Gelato which he enjoyed, but made few remarks on. My mother had the gelatto and sorbet assortment which is always fun to have so many different tastes. The green apple sorbet was the absolute best. I would love to get a gallon of that stuff. My fiancee and I had the Sacchiaciata "something" can't remember the name. This was a big triangle of brioche, that had concord grapes crushed into the top and served with a vanilla honey ice cream. The was very reminiscent of a bread budding, although the flavors of the concord grapes were nice and strong, there needed to be more in the bread than there were. After a few bites, we were left with a lot of plain tasting brioche. Summary: I think I enjoyed the experience more than the rest of my family and while everyone enjoyed the food, I'm not sure it fully lived up to our high expectations. I would definitely go back, especially to try some of the more radical and interesting pasta dishes.
  11. babern38

    TRU - Chicago

    Sorry for the delay, but I finally managed to retrieve a copy of our menu from my parent's house. Just to recap, my father and I had the Chef Tramonto's collection, my mother hand the Grand collection, and my fiancee had the vegetable collection. After being seated in proper, synchronized fashion, a waiter brought over four, rather large spoons, with large curled handles that were filled with a a sweet corn panna cotta, vidalia onion marmalade, and a single kernel of popcorn. This was quite enjoyable even considering my rather lackluster desire for onions. Grand Amuse: Next was the Grand Amuse-Bouche, of which I can barely remember the descriptions well enough to do them justice. We were presented with one large square plate, divided into four smaller squares each containing four seperate "little bites". I remember something invoving peaut butter, a glass of melon water, and two other extremely interesting and tasty bites. - This was accompanied by a Rene Geoffroy Rose Brut NV Caviar: Next was the amazing and very enjoyable, famous caviar staircase. My father and I shared one that had the iranian osetra at the top, while my mother had her own that had the "next step down" for the top stair. It might have been sevruga, but can't rememer. This was my first time having caviar and I am now in love. - This was paired with Alan McCorindale Pinot Gris WWaipara Valley 2004 For my fiancee, instead of caviar, she was presented with a stack of three black bento boxes, that were revealed to reveal 3 distinct items, ranging from a salad, a terrine of some sort, and a dish with cous cous. I remeber carrot foam as a side to one of the dishes. I must admit I was a bit nervous about my fiancee at TRU as she is can be a rather picky eater who is afraid to try new things, but she raved over everything in those boxes. 3rd course: -Next consisted of seared yellow fin tuna, tapenade, potato confit, carmellini beans, and shaved radish for my mother. My parent aren't much for sushi or only barely seared fish, but I though this was some of the best yellow fin I've ever had. -I was given chilled peeky toe crab & apple salad, that the water then proceeded to pour a little of apple-lemon verbena water into the bowl, as well as micro lemon-basil, and mint paint (whatever that is). I've never had crab paired with apple flavors before and I was delighted at the crispness of the entire dish that really brought out the flavor and textures of the crab. -My father was given a deconstructed wagyu beef tartare, caper berries, white anchovy, quail egg, consomme gelee. I don't blame him for disliking the anchovy on his plate (as I also have not acquired that taste) but my taste of this dish was also delightful. The beef was excellent although I found little other flavors, which may have been the point. -My fiancee received salad of raw & cooked summer vegetables, baby lettuce, roasted lemon vinaigrette. - these dishes were paired with either a Radsheim Estate Riesling Georg Breuer Rheingau 2003, or a Sancerre Pinot Rose Lucien Crochet 2004. 4th Course: Foie Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, peach & basil marmalade, Fried tarragon, duck jus for my father - Excellent Hudson Valley , steel-cut oats, blueberry compote, aged maple syrup - for my mother - also very good Foie Gras, Brioche French Toast, banana chutney, chocolate sauce - Orgasmic! I would take the time to eat breakfast everyday if it was like this. When it was being described, I had no idea how it could go together, especially when the waiter poured the hot chocoloate syrup on and around the dish at the table. The rich, buttery, and fruit tastes will haunt my palate through all lesser meals. My fiancee received potato gnocchi, basil & tomato marmalade, with fried heirloom tomato. I think this might have been her favorite dish of the night. - these dishes were paired with either a Waterford Estate Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosh 2004, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos Chateau Pajoz 1999, Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee Burgenland 2003. I was extremely delighted to be the one receiving the Tokaji as I have only had this at one other restaurant and had a heck of a time trying to find bottles on-line. This paired exceptionally well with my foie gras breakfast extravaganza. 5th course: -Potato-Leek Soup, crispy bacon - don't remember trying this one. -Curried Cauliflower Cappuccino, buttermilk cracker - this was mine and enjoyed it immensely even though I have never considered myself a curry fan. I can't help but compare it to Lipton's chicken noodle soup powders with curry flavoring however. Still wonderful though -carrot ginger soup, carrot salad, orange dust Porcinin mushroom cappuccino, parmesan tuile - This was my fiancee's and I would definitely find it difficult not to request this on a next visit. I would drink this the rest of my life. YUM!! - paired with Pinot Blanc Cuvee Balthazar Lucien Albrect 2003 6th course - -Roasted Nova Scotia Halibut, Israeli Couscous, Marcona ALmonds, lemon confit - grilled swordfish, escargot, fingerling potatoes, olives, white anchovy, herb-butter emulsion - seared ahi tuna, bacon, squash & cauliflower ragout, cauliflower cream, beef jus - This was amazing tuna that I was surprised to see how well it went with the beef jus. Awesome - ragout of summer vegetables, spiced carrot puree - paired with torbreck viognier/marsanne/roussanne Barossa 2004 7th course: -Beef rossini, wild mushrooms, summer truggle, foie gras-beef jus - this was my mother and probably my favorite dish for this course. I'm lucky she was getting full and started passing me larger portions. - Millbrook farms Venison Saddle, summer fruits & vegetables, red wine pepper sauce. - I remember this was my fathers. It had the meat in the center with deconstructed flavors spread around the plate. I thought it was good, but not as good as my mothers. - Espresso -roasted quail, salad of hazelnuts, cippolini onions & figs, sauce Aigre-Doux - while enjoyable, this might have been my least favorite dish of the night., especially when compared to my mother's. I enjoyed the taste of the quail, but the sides weren't very appealing to my palate. I also have find it difficult to eat meat off such little bones in a civilized, non-clumsy manner in such a nice restaurant. - Gemelli Pasta, black trumpet mushrooms, english peas, truffle pesto and parmesan - I take it back, this was my fiancee's most favorite dish. - paired with either a Kista Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2003, Finca Villacreces Reserva Ribera del Duero 2000, or Apaltagua Carmenere Frial Colchagua Valley 2002. I remember really enjoying all of these heavier wines with their respective dishes, unfortunately I can't remeber what went with what now, but they paired excellently, not to strong, but helped enhance the flavors of the food, 8th course: - My father and I shared our collection of Cow, goat, and sheeps' milk cheeses with our table as well as our Pouilly Fume Pur Sang D. Dagueneau 2003. I have only been to a handful of restaurants with cheese carts and know very little about cheese, but do know that I enjoy the complexities and varieities of flavors that may be produced immensely. I think part of the enjoyment comes from the detailed descriptions and regions of where the cheeses you are eating have come from and what it takes to make them so wonderful. 9th course: Gale;s dessert collection. The exact desserts weren't written explciitly, but I remember my fiancee and I received plates that had some sort of mixed berry cobbler on one side which was delicious and then the worlds best cake/ice cream/gellato half circle thingy. It melted in my mouth like ice cream, but still had some sort of cake texture. I don't know what gale does to do this, but it was by far one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. I can't remember what my mother and father received, but they also agreed at the amzing tast of the half circle cake. I think my mother received some sort of chocolate cake, which was good for her, but was too chocolatey for me. 10th course: mignardises and lollipops. I remeber having a house-made cinnamon and vanilla lollipop as well as a brownie with gold leaf topping. The rest of the family also had severalother amazing, intricate little mignardises. 11th course: while dealing with the bill, we were presented with another little tray of various chocolates. 12th course: while leaving, we were given a little gift containing two little breakfast cakes (can't remember the name now) but the little tag said they take 2 days to make. I found out they were worth the time to make them the next morning. Summary: I kind of rushed through this review, as there is way to much to cover, especially without notes and this far after the experience, but a few statements can still be made. I am 24 and have been priviledged to eat in many nice restaurants around the world, but only recently have I become interested in true gastronomy and gained the desire to refine my palate and knowledge concerning wine and how one should pair wine with food. Thanks to TRU, I now have the highest standard of which to compare other restaurants. I would like to mention, that while my palate is young, I have never appreciated paired wines with food as much as I did at TRU. Normally, I find the wine is too overpowering, dry, etc. and find myself reaching for the water to cleanse my palate so that I can enjoy the next bite. At TRU, the wine only heightened the taste and dining experience.
  12. My family and I are going to new york in 4 weeks and I am in charge of planning meals. I have already made a few decisions, but would like your suggestions to fill in the missing spots. Comments on my current selections are also welcome. My parents and I will eat anything (while my parents don't really like sushi/rare Tuna) and my fiancee is a vegetarian (no meat, fish, or animal broths, but dairy is ok). We are staying at the Waldorf Astoria, so it would be nice to stay within a 15min cab ride radius. Thursday: We fly in Thursday evening and are planning to eat at a diner: Any suggestions? I've heard about Katz's, and have previously eaten at the Stage and New York Delis. Friday: Lunch: Tao - I'm sure there will be many comments on this choice, but I've always wanted to go here. Dinner: Gramercy Tavern. Reservations already made for 6:00 Saturday: Lunch: ? I was thinking about DB Bistro Moderne, but think this might be too much considering our dinner plans. Dinner: Babbo - Reservations made for 5:30 - I started calling one month in advance right when they opened and still got busy signals for 30 min!! Sunday: I think we are flying out early that morning or early afternoon, so a nice, quick brunch rec would be nice. Also, my fiancee and I would appreciate recommendations for a nice place to go in the evening for a drink or music. She really likes Jazz and I would like to take her to a jazz club. Any recommendations? All help is appreciated.
  13. babern38

    Trip to New York - Food advice

    I was wondering if anyone has been to The Cupping Room. I found this on the net and thought it might be a nice, little laid back place for a late breakfast on saturday. Any thoughts? I was also wondering about people's opinion of doing breakfast at Town.
  14. babern38

    Trip to New York - Food advice

    Thank you for the replies. I had looked at Devi and Madras Cafe, but my parents and fiancee aren't too fond of indian/thai cuisine. Awhile ago I had seen pictures of Tao and was allured by the decor as well as the relatively vast menu. There were enough vegetable salads/dumplings/desserts that my fiancee would like. We have a thing about fortune cookies (as her engagement ring was in a silver fortune cookie) and I would love to see their stuffed giant fortune cookie dessert. Aquavit and Balthazar are two possibilites. Unfortunately our plane is leaving Sunday morning at 11 so a leisurely breakfast is probably out of the question, but i do appreciate the suggestions of a late breakfast before babbo. I'm also guessing that with a 5:30 res at Babbo we would be done in time to catch a 10pm show at B.B. king's place if we decide to go there. Although that Pengu club looks tempting. Perhaps we could go there on friday night. How long should we plan for big tasting menu at Gramercy friday with 6pm reservations? P.S. to answer the previous question. We would prefer to go to a jazz club more for the acoustics and atmospere. Dinner is not really desired for the jazz club, just drinks.
  15. babern38

    Circe or Zin in Kansas City

    Along with this thread, I would like to comment on Le Fou Frog. I had gone there a couple years ago and thought it was wonderful. I remember that was where I had my first glass of Tokaji and have been in love since. I was wondering how 40 sardines compared to this place?
  16. babern38

    Babbo

    I made reservations for Babbo today for October 15th. I began calling promptly at ten (when they open), but continued to receive a busy signal until 10:30!! I finally got through and secured a 5:30 spot. I also questioned about the possibility of the whole table doing the pasta tasting menu, but with my fiancee receiving a vegetarian pasta tasting. The reservationist made it clear that the whole table would then need to have a vegetarian pasta tasting I can understand that they want the whole table to do the tasting, so everyone is served at the same time and so they can make the correct amounts of pasta in bulk, but I would think such an accomodation would be possible. I am planning on calling back and inquire about the possibility of 2 of us doing the vegetarian and the other 2 doing the regular tasting. I have read on this forum that they won't do the pasta tasting for only one person, so perhaps they would make this special arrangement for 2 people. Oh well, perhaps the whole family will just have to order different dishes and share.
  17. babern38

    Per Se

    service charge meaning tip?
  18. babern38

    Russian Tea Room to close

    I had the pleasure of dining at the RTR a few months before it closed. I loved it and was sad to learn of its closing. I was just wondering if anyone has any information about what became of all the artifacts of this restaurant. i.e. the tiffany stained glass, giant acrylic bears, $20,000 african zebra wood panels, etc. It was a beautifully audacious place that had importnant history and food that I really enjoyed.
  19. babern38

    Circe or Zin in Kansas City

    I never came across that restaurant when doing my on-line research. I pulled up the website and it looks great. It looks like a great tasting menu. You can't beat 7 courses for 70 dollars and only$20 extra for wine. Have you eaten there? How was the food?
  20. babern38

    Per Se

    The last mention on this board about prices at Per Se was that all menus had been bumped up to $175. I just looked at the website and it says that the 5-course, 9-course veggie, and the 9-course chefs menus are all $210. Those prices seem to be getting steeper by the month. I find it hard to believe that a vegetarian course can command the same prices as meat, foie, caviar dishes. For those of you that have dined there, do you think this restaurant is above other restaurants charging $135 for 7-9 courses? When it comes to meals like this, money is fairly well spent, but i'm wondering why there is such a discrepancy from other restaurants such as Daniel, etc.
  21. babern38

    Babbo

    I've been looking over this thread and did not see much mention of vegetarian dishes. I am considering going to Babbo with my parents and vegetarian fiancee in a month and would like some more info on options for a vegetarian. She is fine with dairy, just not meat, fish, or animal based broths. I appreciate the info anyone can offer.
  22. babern38

    Chamonix

    I was there last march and stayed at the Hameau Albert 1er. We had dinner at the Albert 1er Degustation Restaurant and it changed the way I think about food. It was my first experience with french, degustation dining and I loved every minute of every dish specially prepared to look and taste amazing. I remember it was very expensive, especially when the exchange rate was so terrible, but still worth it. The wine list and cellar were also quite impressive.
  23. A couple pages back, someone was asking about an "audio spotlight" I was never able to discern from this brief discussion what this was exactly. I can generate a general idea, but it may not be correct. Would someone please explain what this is and how it intends to be incorporated at Alinea. Thanks
  24. babern38

    TRU - Chicago

    2 years ago I was fortunate to have my first gastronomic degustation experience at the Albert 1er Restaurant in Chamonix, France. It was a totally new way of experiencing food. The numerous, petite courses, prepared with intricacy and amazing flavors. Well, since that experience I have been looking forward to visiting another restaurant of such caliber. Luckily, I came across an article featuring TRU about a year ago and was fortunate enough to dine there this weekend. While I have been to many countries and dined in many well-known restaurants, TRU has to be my favorite. I had done my research and all the statements regarding the amazing service are dead on. I marveled at the servers pouring water in unison around the table as well as serving the table in pairs. My father and I both decided on Chef Tramonto's collection, my mother had the Grand menu, and my fiancee had a specially prepared vegetarian menu. It was all wonderful and I won't go into details now as I don't have the menu in front of me, but I would like to say that my fiancee was a bit hesitant at the surroundings and food descriptions were way beyond her usual comfort level, but after the first amazing bite, she felt right at home. Simply put, TRU is home things should always be done. By the way, they were offering the special tomato menu when we were there and it looked amazing, but for my first TRU experience I wanted the traditional Tramonto experience.
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