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Everything posted by Mayur

  1. I would disagree with almost all of that, based on my own sample set. Now, I know everyone's sample set differs, but... 1) People don't *choose* to pay Manhattan rents because they're foodies. If only this were the case! People move to Brooklyn in large part because they want actual. living. space. It's awfully hard to get that in Manhattan. Almost all the Brooklynites I know care a great deal about food; many of them grew up in Manhattan. 2) Even assuming that Franny's, DiFara's, or Totonno's actually *qualified* as restaurants that are somehow overlooked by Brooklynites (they're not IME; they're just mobbed by Manhattanites), I've never found it to be the case that Brooklynites overlook ethnic or out-of-the-way restaurants... at all. EDIT: Man what?
  2. Mayur

    Quality Meats

    Ah. Well, I think the friend to whom I just recommended the place will want to bring his own nonetheless, in that case. Thanks!
  3. Mayur

    Quality Meats

    Hmm. You mean that you tipped the server $10 extra in lieu of, or in addition to, corkage? Also, would you say this is a good BYO place due to a less-than-stellar wine list, or that the selections are perfectly fine but that it may be worth toting along a "showcase wine"?
  4. D&Co. does have non-alcoholic specialty cocktails, though... although I imagine, given the overlap in staff, that Pegu could do them too. As to food: L'Atelier de JR is probably a good choice, although even as light diners, you may need to watch the bill a little.
  5. Mayur


    Yes. My father (who is a vegetarian) and I had an excellent meal there a couple of weeks ago. The atmosphere, as always, was quite pleasant. I very much like the intimate scale of the place; it's a big contrast to splashy places like, say, Del Posto. Crowd was the usual soigne UES bunch, (although there was a high percentage of very pretty young Italians and Croatians; hmm.) Did the chef's tasting ($74 "and up," although the waiter didn't ask us whether we wanted to spend more, which IMO was an excellent service decision, since we weren't made to feel like cheapskates for not spending above this). Wine service was extremely professional, if a little... er, enthusiastic. The wine steward was very knowledgeable and steered me well through the list, responding to all my questions without missing a beat. The final wine settled upon (we had only one bottle, a Teroldego which had been on my short list, though it moved from my #3 to #1 choice at the steward's suggestion) was excellent. The wine steward was a bit fulsome about the wine's characteristics, the history of the grower, and so on, but in a friendly way that wasn't *particularly* intrusive. Food was excellent. Even given the limited palette of a purely vegetarian meal, the chef performed admirably. The amuses (a minature fennel-and-pear salad, a little roasted-beet tartare-looking dish, and some simple but beautifully-seasoned mashed chickpeas) were superb; the pastas (lots of these!) were IMHO better than those at, say, Fiamma (and only a shade below those at Babbo), and the secondi (various combinations of sauteed gnocchi, chard, and a wonderfully lemony-parsley-ish baked ricotta dish) were excellent, although I imagine I'd have enjoyed a meat dish more. (Those being plated just next to us at the center table looked divine.) Lidia was there, which may have made a difference, although she was at the center of the bar talking to various guests throughout our entire dinner.
  6. Mayur


    The meal I posted about was on a weeknight. Oy. The fact that the menu hasn't changed substantially in quite a while may well have inspired the kitchen to phone-it-in. It shouln't be that way in such a place, though. In a three star restaurant, the dishes should come out twinkling every time. ← Oy indeed.Actually, I was referring to the service with that "star" comment; the food has generally been of a consistent (and high) quality in my visits there. Perhaps it's slipped since I was there last (Oct '06). Thoughts? (And yes, u_e: The pasta tasting is, er, substantial... but then again, so's everything, at least calorie-wise. I guess Mario's out to make the world as large as he is.)
  7. Three, I'd say yes. But I'd have a hard time going with less than four (the price difference is $12), and for four courses, the portions are (at least the times I've been), substantial, especially considering that Chef Humm's cuisine is on the robust side. That said, I should probably revise my statement. (In other words, I don't know what I was saying earlier!) The gourmand tasting ranges from nine (including dessert) to eleven courses, and at the high end (as with the menu on menupages right now), I can believe that it is really an overwhelming amount of food. When I was there last week, there were nine courses in total, and it was plenty of food, but by no means overwhelming. Also, as I noted myself earlier on this thread, the mains on the tasting menu are the same size as the a la carte portions, so what was I thinking anyway? [EDIT: I'm also willing to believe that my experience at EMP differs radically from those of the posters on this thread. I've only been once for lunch and once for dinner, and it's possible the kitchen just wasn't performing to the standard suggested by the menu and other posters.]
  8. This I don't understand. The seasonal tasting at EMP is precisely eight dollars less than the winter menu or chef's tasting at Jean-Georges. The wine lists are comparably priced (and, in fact, when I was at JG last night, I noted identical bottles for identical prices). [EDIT: On crack re: a la carte portions. Please disregard.]
  9. Chalk me up as a dissenter on EMP (although, when everyone else is so convinced, I must just have had bad experiences). It was good; very good. The mains were pretty darn close to perfect. But my overall experience, at least, has been a clear head below JG, Per Se, or Daniel. Some of the food, IMHO, is just kinda boring. (Actually, I feel this way about some of the dishes at Per Se too [and cooking from the FL cookbook for that matter]; Keller's techniques of refinement can result in bland food.) The Four Story Hill poularde is worth the trip alone. But has a meal there ever been the equivalent of what I've had at JG (or at any of my favorite "top-tier" restaurants in their prime)? Sadly, no. (Also, the room sucks. Sorry, but I feel that it's far too cavernous and uncomfortable for the level of cuisine being flogged.)
  10. Mayur


    I agree Mark's sentiments over Nathan's. The menu is more impressive than the execution. ← IMX service pace varies *wildly* depending on the night. My experiences at Babbo have been about a "star" better on a weeknight than on a weekend.
  11. All *strongly* IMO/IMX, of course, and with the clear assumption that we're talking opportunity cost rather than anything being substandard in the general sense: The foie gras terrine and the cod were IMX not up to some of their counterparts on the a la carte menu. Nor was the chocolate tart even *close* to the best of the desserts (my vote going to the lemon napoleon followed by the fig tart, although the dacquoise made a strong showing). (Part of my dissatisfaction with the chocolate tart may be that it paled by comparison with a similar offering at Atelier, Mr. Kreuther's last restaurant.) [EDIT: &*(&&@# eGullet nested quotes!]
  12. If it's a choice between Babbo and Del Posto, FWIW, I'd go with Babbo all the way. Unless you really, really can't stand rock music. Babbo's cuisine, IMX, is more thoroughly respectful of ingredients, consistent, wholeheartedly delicious, and much, much better value for money than Del Posto. I find the service perfectly in line with a fine dining experience. The room certainly is more packed and louder than Del Posto's (although, as with many American restaurants, this often is simply a matter of who's sitting near you!), but it's by no means uncomfortable IMX. [EDIT: A la carte or maybe pasta tasting for Babbo: Pasta tasting for an untraditional blowout, a la carte to at least pay lip service to traditional Italian meal distribution and pacing. Again, you miss out on some of the best stuff if you do the regular tasting.]
  13. IMX, the tasting menu at EMP basically features main-sized portions for the meat courses anyway, so you *are* talking a lot of food. Pig away!
  14. 1. The Modern 2. WD-50 3. L'Atelier de Robuchon I would list Bouley (possibly at #1), but it didn't make the list because IMX, consistency and quality have been down since Upstairs at Bouley opened. [That said, I seem to have had an inexplicably better experience at Bouley than the recent(ish) reviewers; neither the little room next to the Bakery, nor the shift to Danube's room, nor the shift back to somewhat expanded quarters, seem to have generated dining experiences (for me) that were all that much below the Duane Street restaurant.] As for ordering style: The Modern: I'd be split between a la carte and seasonal (though not chef's) tasting, having done both and had a fabulous meal each way. Three courses is definitely "enough" in the sense that you'll receive a good idea of what the kitchen is doing; having the ability to choose in general is nice, as there aren't clear winners on this menu! The additional variety offered and the sheer opulence and creativity of some of the seasonal tasting-menu-only dishes add to its appeal, but it is a) a *lot* of food and b) expensive. The chef's tasting I'd skip, since it features one or two of the less exciting dishes on the menu and is somewhat restrictive (usually bypassing the best desserts, especially). WD-50: Tasting, for the simple fact that larger doses of Wylie's creativity are always welcome and the tasting menu is thoughtfully composed, paced, and chosen with an eye to creating a tightly-themed and harmonious dining experience. That said, if I were going more than once in a month, as I often have, I might switch to a la carte at WD-50; the tasting menu is sometimes repetitious. L'Atelier: A la carte all the way. IMX, it's not the sort of place where ordering a tasting menu really gives you all that carefully composed and structured a dining experience, the plates are small anyway (and sharing-friendly, which heightens the appeal of a la carte!), and the cuisine in general seems more about picking and choosing than enjoying a long, composed meal. (Also the pricing is weird!) All that said, if you decide to go to Masa, I'd do that! [EDIT: Wow, nonsensical first sentence! Woohoo!]
  15. IMX, Milk and Honey isn't worth it if you spend much time in NY; the branch here is just as good, if not better, and there are better places to hit in London. If you want classic hotel bar, I'd recommend Claridge's or the Dorchester over the American Bar. While I have fond memories of drinking far too much with Russian mobsters there about a decade ago, IMHO it's not the equal of those places, which, especially in the case of Claridge's, boast plenty of history. Matchbar, IMHO, is too sceney and slightly overrated; I'd say the best on that list are One Aldwych and the Lonsdale (especially the latter). The Lonsdale and Trailer Happiness actually make for a very nice one-two bar-hopping combo. Next time I'm at Pegu, I'll ask Elliott (a recent hire from the London bar scene) if he's got any specific recs. [EDIT: One thing to keep in mind is that drinks are EXPENSIVE in London. Not sure if the NYT mentions this, but expect to pay at least $20 a drink at the listed places, $30-ish at the hotel bars.]
  16. Darn' straight. I fail to see how it's sharp practice to double-book and decide where you're going... on proper notice. It seems pretty obvious that the OP is planning to cancel his reservation with a day or two to spare; how is this a big deal? It seems rather logical that in NYC, if a restaurant actually has to turn down reservations because you've snagged a table, then they'll also have the cancellation pool to have someone who'll fill those seats if you cancel the reserv. Besides, there are always walk-ins, and I'm sure (especially given the economics of those places, as Vadouvan pointed out) that any of the above-listed restos gets plenty of those. [EDIT, and FWIW, Kittichai all the way.]
  17. Prune and 'inoteca get *lots* of play on eGullet, IMX; 'ino less so, but that may be on the "nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded" principle.
  18. It's not so much "region" as street food. The hot dog or pizza slice analogy is a good one.And I can't figure out what region Sripraphai is from anyway. Everyone I've talked to who works there says they're from Bangkok, which doesn't really answer much, since it's the capital. The food seems most similar to the stuff I got in Chiang Mai, though. IMX, it can be good if executed well. Try the version at Holy Basil, on 2nd Avenue between 9th and 10th. Charlie Trotter's in Chicago serves a good one, too [EDIT: fixed quotes.]
  19. I think that a) once the hubbub dies down and b) once they open the downstairs, it'll be a whole lot better.
  20. [EDIT: Or anything else, for that matter! Heh heh heh...] It's inconsistent, crowd-wise. Part of the issue is the same problem that places like Prune or Tomoe have; it's just so small that either they're full, or they're not. There's no "bustling" or semi-busy" middle point. Since I live two blocks away, if I'm hanging out with a friend I usually just walk by and see if a) someone I know is tending bar and b) how packed they are. It's ranged from walk in right away (on a Friday, no less) to wait forever and a day (on a Sunday, no less). In the latter case, I don't bother with the waitlist at all.
  21. IMHO, and just off the top of my head: -The Red Cat -The Harrison -Barbuto -Cookshop -Five Points -Inside That's sticking to the modern, vaguely Italian/New American, ingredients-focused model. I'd say Five Points and Inside may or may not be as good as (or better than) Hearth on a given night, but they are also significantly cheaper. I wold argue that in terms of food quality, you could do Supper as well, but service and crowds (especially crowds!) are... well, just not fun at Supper. IMHO, Hearth gets a bum rap not because of overall quality, but because its trend has been downward rather than even or upward. (Also because, as you point out, it is *not* cheap.) I live in the neighborhood, and I've been there quite often (my father was a fan), but the food just doesn't seem to shine the way it did 2 years ago.
  22. Those are all great suggestions in my book. Blaue Gans also is lovely, as is Landmarc in the same neighborhood. Both are readily doable at your price point. On the meta-issue of opinion, though: This *is* food we're talking about. There's good food, and bad food. There are people who get paid a lot of money to talk about what might constitute better and worse food quality, and some of them even aren't shills. I think that we have to be a bit comfortable expressing, *and contradicting*, opinions on what's good and not necessarily so good in the NY food scene. Putting down posters is unacceptable, but putting down opinions is another.
  23. In my experience - it's more like a full star or more at the top. Michelin doesn't seem to demand as much from US restaurants in terms of things like wine service - or even service - as it does from European restaurants. Our "wine server" at Per Se would have been laughed out of Europe (ditto with the "wine server" at JG). OTOH - ADNY was perfectly fine. Europeans would never tolerate going to a place like Per Se 20 minutes early and standing around waiting in a mall for the doors to open (very uncivilized). Robyn P.S. But I'll let you know. I'm going to a new country - Germany - this spring. Will see how some of its 3 stars stack up against 3 stars in the US. ← This sort of thing makes me absolutely, positively thrilled with joy. Please, please spread this meme so that I can actually eat out at my NYC faves in peace.FWIW, I disagree with this assessment completely. While I found Per Se lacking, it was by the standards of restaurants in general, and actually by the standards that Keller himself had been stating for the resto. Compared to dining experiences in Europe? Certainly not lacking. More to the point, the places I actually *like* (JG, Bouley, etc.) stack up quite nicely against their Parisian equivalents in my most recent experience. JG probably rates a shade below L'Astrance in terms of overall food and service quality, but not too far below. And don't get me started on places like Gordon Ramsay RHR, the Fat Duck, et cetera. I can say with certainty that in my highly biased opinion, those restos don't score at all against the best in NYC.
  24. Hmm. Is this allergy thing really such a problem? I dated someone for years who was deadly (and I mean DEADLY) allergic to shrimp, crab, and lobster and never had a problem eating any kind of Asian food. What constitutes a short ride? Keep in mind that in NYC, you're never that far from anywhere. However, if you have to stay within spitting distance of the Waldorf, I'd recommend Tintol (a tapas bar over in on W. 46th), B/X (a Belgian brasserie on 43rd Street between 6th and 7th Aves), or Grand Sichuan on W. 50th (although the last is "a kind of Asian," so somewhat tricky for you). Personally, I'd recommend at least a tiny jaunt downtown. If you must stay away from seafood, Saravanaas (on Lexington and 26th) is South Indian vegetarian of excellent caliber (at least according to this South Indian). The Bread Bar at Tabla does not appear to be doing a V-Day menu (I think Tabla proper is), so you could probably eat there, and food and service are excellent and well within your price point. Away from Midtown (if only for change of pace) would be my recommendation. Barbuto on Washington Street; the Little Owl on Bedford; Tia Pol on 10th Avenue btw 22nd and 23rd Street, or possibly the Red Cat on 10th Avenue btw 23rd and 24th Street. All of those are on the West Side, so travel is easy and cheap. Lunchtime I'd share with the sararimen at Aburiya Kinnosuke (45th btw 2nd and 3rd Sts). Or, if you'd rather a lunchtime blowout, head ten blocks north of the Westin to Jean-Georges, which will get you (IMHO) the best food in the city for about $50. For dinner, I'd suggest Wolfgang's. You should hit at least one NYC steakhouse, and you can just barely get out of there at around $70 a head with at least one glass of wine per person. Does breakfast have to be fancy? If so, you may have a problem; most of the proper cafes I know of (Cupcake, City Bakery, etc.) are downtown-ish.Dinner is a question of how much. If it must be non-Asian (sigh), I'd suggest Casa Mono on 17th and Irving Place. (Bar Jamon is too much of a crowding nightmare to be believed, IMO.) If Asian, you may want to consider 15 East, which is between Union Square West and 5th Avenue on 15th Street. Tocqueville is another excellent option, but strains the price range unless you drink *nothing*. For drinks after: A Saturday night in that neighborhood is hellish, I'm afraid. The best I can suggest is to make a reservation at the Gramercy (they take reservs for drinks) and just head there, although even that takes you somewhat out of the neighborhood. Or you could head down to the East Village. The Blue Owl (2nd Ave btw 12th and 13th Sts) serves pretty good drinks, and isn't too bad even on a weekend. For a quite civilized option (at least later-ish), there's Bar Veloce on 2nd Avenue btw 11th and 12th Streets. Good luck! [EDIT: Make reservations NOW! All of the above places (except the bars) take reservs, and it's just a good idea to have these things booked for a business trip.]
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