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babern38

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Everything posted by babern38

  1. Hello, My wife and I are going to Paris the first week of December and looking for some advice on choosing 2-3 upscale michelin 2-3 star meals. There are so many to choose from and we would like some recommendations that may include both very excellent traditional french as well as very modern cuisine. We have not been to Paris in many years. Any thoughts on any of the numerous alain ducasse places? guy savoy? L'arpege? L'ambroisie? Le Cinq? to name a few I'd been looking at. is the alain ducasse restaurant in the eiffel tower too touristy? the view looks spectacular but not sure about the quality of the menu. we are also open to lunch suggestions. thanks.
  2. babern38

    Eleven Madison Park

    I'm very excited about going to EMP for dinner this saturday. I have seen the video of them using hot tongs to open wine bottles on youtube and I was wondering if they do this for all wine bottles ordered or just special bottles. Thanks
  3. I've eaten at B&B two times in the past 4-5 years and always had a good meal. I like Babbo, and thought the food was just as good (even some same dishes) and the atmosphere is better without the louder rock music atmosphere.
  4. So, I realize these two restaurants are completely different, but I've come across them a few times and despite varying reviews I feel compelled to try them. I have yet to meet anyone with personal experience at either of these places and was hoping someone here might shed a little light and opinion. Russian food is something I've always enjoyed but probably only seek out once a year. While Russian Tea Room has a fond place in my heart, the touristy nature of it and other places like Firebird make them less appealing. Some of the pictures of the food at 21 grams looked wonderful and I like the pictures of the resaurant's esthetic. Some of the sushi roll combinations seem inventive and unique to me. i.e. everything bagel I look forward to any suggestions or comments.
  5. I like German/Austrian food, but find myself eating it only a few times a year. One reason for this is probably the relatively few (at least that I know of) restaurants in the city serving such fare. I've really enjoyed every meal I've had at Wallse, Heidelberg, Currywurst, and Seasonal weinbar. I actually just visited Heidelberg for the first time a few weeks ago and am sad I hadn't gone sooner. The Rouladen was exceptional. I was hoping people may offer a few other suggestions of this relatively sparse ethnic cuisine so that I can up my frequency.
  6. babern38

    Gilt and Adour closing!!!!

    I am utterly crestfallen at the news that Adour has closed and Gilt will be closing this Saturday. These were two of our favorite restaurants where we've had some memorable experiences. We ate at Gilt the night we got engaged and were later married at the Palace. Apparently Michael Richard is the new chef taking over the space. While info is pretty scarce right now it seems like they plan on keeping the Gilt dining room more formal and modern while putting a more casual bistro in the Villard room next door that was primarily a private event space. I absolutely love the decor of the dining room at Gilt. I've seen pictures from when Le cirque was there and notice they didn't change the mural or wood work, etc. Does anyone know if they can't because of some historical protection given the location as the archiodese residence?
  7. babern38

    Jungsik -

    My wife and I had our first trip to Jungsik this Saturday and had an amazing meal. The 7+course tasting menu was fantastically conceived in progression, ingredients, and flavors. I feel they had an excellent balance of french and korean influences with a keen eye for presentation. A standout dish was the sea urchin served with crispy quinoa and squid ink rice with shredded cabbage and I think tomatoes if I recall. My wife nailed the description of both the presentation invoking that of taco salad as well as the flavors echoing that dish but with the seawater taste of uni instead of ground beef. I rarely find myself enjoying Uni, but the uniqueness and new but familiar idea of this dish made it a winner. I also must give praise to one of the most tender and well prepared pieces of wagyu I've ever had. I've always wanted to like Kimchi, but there is something about the bitter/pungentness that prevents my true enjoyment of it. I wonder now if it has something to do with the cabbage, because the plate was sauced with the brilliant red kimchi sauch around the wagyu adding wonderful contrast and spicy flavor to the mouthwatering beef. Service was also extremely friendly, making sure to congratulate us on our anniversary in both person, as well as the custom printed menu and plating of a dessert course. Our only real marginal/negative comment would be that the dining room itself, while very clean and minimalist, was a bit cold and could greatly benefit from one or two pieces of wall art. I have not heard much about Jungsik from my foodie friends or on message boards, but given our wonderful experience felt it necessary to encourage those looking for a new fine dining experience to check it out. I struggle to think of any other korean based restaurant anywhere near this level.
  8. babern38

    The Stage Deli has closed

    I think the Stage Deli was probably the first place my parents took me to when visiting new york for the first time at age 8. I remember the sandwich as big as my head. Now I live in the city and its sad to see it go. Wish I ha known it was closing so I could have gone one more time and paid my respects.
  9. babern38

    Bohemian

    I just learned about the "secret/private" restaurant Bohemian. I searched through the forum and found no threads or mention of it. I was wondering if anyone here has been and what they thought of the experience. Any hints on how to get a res?
  10. babern38

    Corton (Formerly Montrachet)

    I'm glad to hear the recent positive review above. I was a fan of Liebrandt' food when he was at gilt but must say I was rather disappointed in my only visit to corton several years ago. I was wondering what other people have experienced lately and if its time for another try.
  11. babern38

    SHO is no more!?!

    do you or anyone else have any info regarding his next business venture?
  12. babern38

    SHO is no more!?!

    I know this is news from last month but didn't see it up for discussion here. I just found out that Shaun Hergatt left SHO and the restaurant will now be known as The Exchange. I loved this restaurant and I'm surprised this happened after gaining the two Michelin Stars. The place was also usually busy on my visits for dinner. Hopefully he will be quick in opening a new place in the city as it seems he intends to.
  13. babern38

    Graham Elliot

    I'm sad to admit that last friday I had one of the least pleasurable "fine dining" experiences ever at Graham Elliot. I've had the pleasure of eating chef Bowles' food at Avenues and a few years ago at Graham Elliot, so I was greatly looking forward to my return visit with my family. We did the chef's tasting ~15 courses. Honestly, I can't remember a single stand out dish. If I had to pick a color to describe the overall feel, taste, and color palette used during this meal I'd have to go with beige....or gray. I'm often a positive person and can find some good in most things, but am really struggling here to describe this meal. All the typical ingredients of a large format tasting were there (caviar, foie, wagyu) but simply displayed poorly. The presentations were all very similar and uninspired. Most were brought out on the same large plate and the course plated on the plate edge/rim leaving a broad, open canvas of white/beige plate. Unique for one or two courses, but not 5-6. Also there was an average of 10-15 minutes between courses. We had explained that we only had about 3.5 hours to eat and were repeatedly told by our waiter that he was pushing the kitchen. In the end the meal took about 4 hours. One dish, featuring some meat or mushroom on the plates rim was served with heated pine branches on the plate for aroma......all too reminiscent of an alinea dish that was far more impressive given the amount of branches placed before the diner. This just seemed underwhelming and like an uninspired and half hearted attempt. The carrot cake consisted of a dry, beige cake with a quenelle of ice cream and shaved raw carrots. I remember having a similar dish elsewhere that I really enjoyed due to the combination of flavors and that the carrots had at least been lightly cooked and seasoned with nutmeg and brown sugar. In this dish, the ice cream was the only enjoyable ingredient. They even managed to make the tenderloin center a muted shade of red. Perhaps it was purposeful that they are attempting to make every dish like the mossy terrariums throughout the restaurant. I won't belabor the point, but just wanted to share my dissatisfaction and disappointment. At least our wine was comped without any statements by us (or maybe simply forgotten to be billed). I understand restaurants can have an off night, but a friday night with a half full restaurant seems like a strange time for this to happen, but from my impression this was not a one night thing.
  14. I was hoping someone may offer some suggestions of places serving more unusual game on their menus on a regular basis. I'm looking for elk, venison, kangaroo, etc. I've heard about Resto and been interested in trying it, but their group dining is really the only option to get them to offer more exotic items. Thanks.
  15. Hello again, I'm trying to plan a dinner for my work group of about 10-15 people and was hoping you guys could provide some recs for places that we would be able to dine a la carte and preferably have a private room with no extra charge. Also, feel that most people would want to stay under 70 a person. Hudson clearwater was the one place I've been wanting to go to and know of with a private room. Any other ideas? Thanks
  16. I'm so disappointed in Alinea's change to the ticketing reservation system. I've had the wonderful opportunity to dine at Alinea maybe 4-5times since its opening and have never had an issue with a reservation in the past, but I've been planning a trip to Chicago at the end of september and I find the lack of info on when September ticket sales will go on sale disappointing. Its much harder to be by a computer to purchase tickets at a specific time compared to a simple phone call. I completely understand from a business model and the need to cut down on people making reservations to "hold" them for potential clients and such, but it makes it more difficult for loyal, repeat customers to enjoy this fabulous experience.
  17. I've been racking my brain trying to come up with ideas and thought I'd turn to my friends at egullet for some suggestions. I'm having a small, bachelor party in december and am looking for some suggestions of places that evoke a very "refined and manly" feel. I have in my head something like the 21 club but can't go there since thats where the rehearsal dinner will be. I'm thinking "mad men" in my head. Someplace that seems fitting for a small group of men in suits. A place that seems like cigar smoke should hang in the air (if smoking were permitted in NYC) and leathered wingbacks were placed by a fireplace. I look forward to your suggestions. Any comments on The Lamb's club or Minetta Tavern? I haven't been to either but feel like they may be similar to what I'm looking for Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
  18. babern38

    [CHI] L.2O - Laurent Gras

    While I don't feel quite up to writing a lengthy review at this point, I still feel it is my duty to share with everyone my recent amazing experience at L2O. Long story short, last Saturday my girlfriend and I had dinner in one of the tatami rooms. First the experience of being in such a secluded room with a kimono clad server was an entirely new and enticing experience. This combined with an amazing array of unique, delicious, and sometimes surprising dishes proved to be one of my top 5 meals of all time. From this one meal I must account at least 2-3 top 5 dishes of the year. Of particular note was the combination of seared foie, Hamachi, and Mojama. I had never even considered pairing fish with foie before, but this dish opened my eyes. Given my recent experience I'm surprised there isn't more discussion on this board about this great addition to Chicago restaurants.
  19. babern38

    Ria vs TRU vs Avenues

    I am visiting Chicago later this month and its been awhile since visiting with the intention of dining anywhere besides Alinea and I was hoping the respected opinions of eGulleteers could lend me their advice in my struggle to choos between Ria, TRU, and Avenues for a nice two person dinner on saturday. Of note, I visited avenues under chef bowels and dined solo at the counter. It was a fun experience and think my gf would also enjoy the interactivity of the counter. I have a special place in my heart for Tru as it is probably responsible for turning me into a foodie and searching out other amazing restaurants on this planet. While, I have been there a few times in the past, my date has not. Has the food or service withstood the test of time in the last 2 years or so? Ria would be the newcomer. any opinions would be greatly welcome.
  20. babern38

    Daniel

    So my family flew in a few weeks ago and as usual I was in charge of selecting the venue for a nice, long family meal. I always pick places with tasting menus and hopefully ones that will be interesting and exciting enough to spur conversation and have unobtrusive service. Previous visits to SHO, per se, and Gilt are extremely memorable while Corton left much to be desired. Nevertheless, I had been looking for an excuse to go to Daniel. While I have enjoyed chef Bouluud's many other restaurant's in the city Daniel had never really appealed to me in the past, but once they were promoted to 3 michelin stars and I read a flattering review someplace, my interest was piqued. Rather than do my usual course by course evaluation I think I'll simply state the various disappointing factors and the one or two positives. First, we were warmly welcomed and promptly seated at 8:30. I was surprised how loud the room was. Yes it was packed on a friday night and the room's expansiveness lends itself to reverberation, but EMP has just a large space and remember it feeling much more muted and austere in the sound department. Another related problem is that the sound level made it even more difficult to hear the servers who all seemed to maintain very thick accents. It also didn't help that the servers seemed to care less about the food they were putting out, merely quickly spouting out the major ingredients in the various tasting menu dishes they delivered in a very abrupt and "unproud" manner. The sommelier was also extremely difficult to engage in any conversation when I asked questions about varietals or regions I was interested to hear more about. As far as the food, I remember it being technically sound, with only one standout lobster ravioli dish, but felt most dishes lacked creativity and heart. Nothing really wow'd the table. except for the cue ball size and shaped spheres of ice in some of our cocktails with real orchids frozen within. That was probably the most intriguing thing of the night. I think I'll stop there, but finish with saying that sometimes I really wonder how restaurants are graded/judged. Having been to many other restaurants to provide comparison, I found Daniel to be far from the other three and even two micehlin star places I've been too and while I'm glad that I can now check it off my to do list, I can't help but wish we had gone somewhere else.
  21. babern38

    Ria vs TRU vs Avenues

    do any of you know if scott tyree is still the sommelier at TRU? Of my many fine dining experiences in the last 8 years or so he remains my favorite I've encountered so far and one of the primary reasons I have such fond memories of TRU. He consistently presented me with unique and surprising beverage picks in the past and I feel his pairings not only "go with" a dish but enhance it adding more depth and complexity to the entire experience. So far I'm holding a res at Ria, but am still bouncing back and forth on all three options. what to do what to do?
  22. Just got back from vacation in Chicago and my fourth visit to Alinea (first for my gf). As always it was a marvelous experience but wanted to comment on a few components of my most recent experience. First, this was my first time being seated downstairs. While the room is pleasant and doesn't affect the experience there's just something about it that seemed less....."impressive or nice". Perhaps it just feels a little more constrained or that you know you are sharing the floor with entryway and kitchen. Upstairs has a much more separate feel and will be sure to humbly request a seat there for future visits. second, this is the first time I have been since they've done away with the option of a tour or tasting menu. I don't mind that there is no longer a choice of menu, as I'd prefer to do the tour regardles, especially being with a first timer, but it seems the menu is being streamlined and shortened to be a merger of both tour and tasting. I can understand how this makes sense business-wise in that it improves flow of customers through the night and speeds up service, but I couldn't help but feel like this time was shorter than my previous visits. Not necessarily "rushed", but not as indulgent and excessive. For example, my last two tours were 25-27 courses with some courses having multiple parts over 4+ hours while this menu was only 21 courses (3-3.5 hours) and the first 3 courses were single bites brought out all at once. These three bites were announced as being a sample from chef Achatz' new bar/restaurant venture featuring alcoholic bites. While they were interesting and nice, I did not find them as impressive as some of the other opening courses in the past and would have preferred these "solid cocktails" to have been paired alongside another dish like a cocktail pairing. Maybe it just speaks of my love for alinea that I want my meals there to never end third, I would like to comment on a new dish I had not had before or seen mentioned here but was one of our favorites of the night. It was a dish consisting of Halibut along with around 8-9 other flavor components including gelee, noodle, crunchy puffs, and poweders and foam. However, everything on the plate was beige to white with the idea being to throw off your senses. My gf and I were instructed to try and guess the many flavors now that achatz had chopped and screwed with their colors and textures. this was a fun game and am proud to say we did quite well getting close to 80% correct. However, I was said when I heard neighboring tables receiving this dish and were not invited to the guessing game but heard waiters mentioning the dishes components. Just as feedback I think all customers should benefit from this intriguing guessing game of a dish. Great fun. All in all it was still the best dining/restaurant experience I can imagine. I continue to envy all you close enough to Chicago who are able to visit more than once a year or so.
  23. babern38

    Best Steak

    Quality Meats has been my favorite steak house for awhile and always been consistent with service, food, and the occasional celebrity. I recently celebrated my 30th BDAY there with the rack of lamb and a BYObottle of opus one which was one of the best meals I can think of. Old Homestead has the best and biggest prime rib I've ever seen, but it seems a little more old traiditional than what you were looking for.
  24. babern38

    SHO Shaun Hergatt

    I haven't seen any posts about SHO Shaun Hergatt's place in the financial district, but after a recent meal there I must say that needs to be changed. I actually found out about this place while perusing opentable.com and was intrigued by the amazing photos on its website. After several failed attempts to go a friend and I finally made it last Tuesday and had a fantastic meal. We settled on the 3 course $79 option which is a bargain in that it included an initial plate of three small bites, amuse, appetizer, main, dessert, then mignardises. the initial offering consisted of a plate of two bite size pieces and a small shot glass. first was a duck pate on a cracker. second was a very tangy cube of goat cheese sandwiched between two tomato flavored crisps. The shot glass contained a very potent and somewhat salty lobster bisque (though it was almost more of a creamy pate consistency) with a thin layer of gelee(forgot the flavor) and caviar on top. And of course the later was served with miniature mother of pearl spoons. the amuse was a quarter inch thick slice of scallop sashimi served on a cucumber with a slightly tangy dressing that I have since forgotten as I didn't take notes, though it was quite pleasant. It was served in a giant clam shell. for appetizers I had Red Chili and Coconut Milk Glazed Quail Shiitake Duxelle, Wilted Tetragonia that was beautifully presented consisting of the legs/thigh, the breast which was stuffed with foie, a quail egg, and a duxelle of mushrooms on the side. My date had ordered the hiramasa (scallop sashimi) which was quite nice, though it was unfortunate the amuse had also been scallop though flavored differently. Our mains consisted of a fabulously cooked muscovy duck breast with a side of seared foie atop a hibiscus gelee and a beautiful presentation of a thai pepper dusted beef tenderloin. I'm not even sure how to describe this other than it was a perfect dark colored cylinder of extremely tender beef with a large disc of (potato?) atop with I what I believe to be a slice of beef cheek on top. Desserts were equally appealing in flavor and presentation. We had a dessert called a citrus palette and a java chocolate dish of some sort. After this we were served with a large bowl of chocolate truffles, passion fruit gelees, macaroons, and fig financiers. While I'm not sure there are many reasons to venture down to the financial district at night time unless you live there, SHO is definitely a reason to take the trip.
  25. I was wondering if someone could give me an idea or comment on the current price range at l'atelier in NYC. The only menu with prices I can find online is a bit outdated. I am a huge fan for l'atelier in vegas and think its quite a bargain, but I'm not sure I can justify $30-40 for small size plates and appetizers (as listed on the older menu I found). Thanks
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