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Everything posted by Mayur

  1. That is almost completely false with reference to serious cocktail bars in NY. Seriously. You have no clue what you are talking about. ← "Almost"?
  2. Pongal and Devi are both excellent options, and I totally spaced those. For that matter, you can piece together a very nice vegetarian meal at Tabla: The Bread Bar has plenty of vegetarian dishes, and the upstairs restaurant will do a vegetarian tasting that my father claims is one of his favorites.
  3. Negronis work just fine with Luxardo Bitter; it's what I use to make 'em. (Actually, being a cheap bastard, I sub Luxardo bitter for Campari in practically everything.)
  4. On a herbal note: What about a Last Word? Anyone try that?
  5. Hm. Do you mean vegetarian-friendly, actually vegetarian "cuisine," or food from a vegetarian culture? I personally despite "vegetarian food" (as opposed to good food that happens not to have meat, fish, or eggs in it), but if you absolutely must, I would go a slight bit out of Manhattan to Four-Course Vegan in Williamsburg. Matteo is a great chef and the semi-clandestine nature of the place should impress your date. Plus it's BYO, so you can tote along fancy wine. Otherwise, Blossom is IMO the best of the crop of vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Manhattan (again IMO). I hit Counter every once in a while, but it's vastly inconsistent to the point where meals there can actually involve ruder service and more awful food than feature at a Rue Mouffetard tourist trap. If you want good vegetarian food, I'd recommend South Indian at Saravanaas (26th & Lex), though it's not really a date place. If you can spring for it, almost every high-end restaurant in NY (notable exceptions include Masa, Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Par, Ko, Tailor, and probably a few others) will do a wonderful vegetarian meal given advance notice. My favorite performers in this space have been Per Se, Jean-Georges, WD-50, Annisa, Perry Street, Blue Hill, and Gramercy Tavern, in roughly that order. Of course, you're probably not taking someone out to a $300+ meal on a first date, so let's step down a bit on the price scale. Here, you have pretty much free reign. Otto and Lupa both feature large vegetarian selections (although Otto isn't what I'd call a good date place unless you're there on an off night, sitting at the bar, and don't mind the scene), and most other Italian restaurants are likewise strong in this regard (the notable exception being Babbo). "Seasonal ingredient" places like Back Forty are strong in this regard as well. In fact, pretty much other than Allen & Delancey, Babbo, Bar Boulud, the Momofukus, or the Spotted Pig, I think you'll do well at the restaurants that get good "buzz" here.
  6. Mayur


    Elettaria actually has two Kold-Draft machines. Wow. "Bartenders over-shake and serve drinks with small cubes" makes it seem like Sutton walked into an alternate universe bar. Or are we assuming that crushed ice now equates to "small cubes"? This is the sort of review text that actually makes me quite angry; it reminds me of how Mimi Sheraton used to review Indian restaurants. Lots of counter-factual statements, even when praising places.
  7. Just something that appears to have slipped under the radar of these boards: Death and Co. has been running a Bartender Exchange program, sending its own fabulous staff out to various cities while bringing in expert drink-masters from those cities. The last was Kirk Estopinal from the Violet Hour in Chicago; the latest is Thomas Waugh from Alembic in San Francisco. Soon to come will be Charles from the Lonsdale in London. It's really worth noting these exchanges and taking advantage of them to sample different bartending styles, different ingredients, and different cocktail-making philosophies. I was at D&Co earlier this evening (though not for long, as I wanted to hit PDT and say hi to donbert and johnder!) and had the chance to sample some of Thomas's concoctions; I'll be heading back for a more extensive sampling tomorrow or Wednesday. In addition to porting along his own menu, as well as some custom ingredients, Thomas really outdid himself in putting together some fabulous cocktails. In any event: For those of you unlikely to make a trip to Chicago, SF, London, or wherever, it's a good idea to keep an eye open for these sorts of things!
  8. Mayur


    Armagnac, cognac, or single-malt neat, in that order. If I have to make an actual cocktail, it's likely to be a Vieux Carre of some kind, or perhaps an old-fashioned. Despite the name, the Last Word rarely crops up as the final dram of the evening, since it's a bit too sharp and citrus-forward for that.
  9. I can't imagine that they wouldn't have used a vacuum sealer if they're actually calling the thing "sous vide." Chang is pretty big on honoring traditional culinary terminology; his entire operation is practically a siren song to the line guys.
  10. You're *always* better off sitting at the bar, whether you're at PDT, D&Co, Pegu, or any of the top cocktail bars. The fact that there are 3 of you makes this *possible* rather than a necessity. I'd definitely do that if you're okay with the fact of not having a guaranteed table (or admit). As Bryan said, just go early for pre-dinner cocktails.
  11. Nah, more like Stoli cosmos... Of course, I wasn't referring to an actual use of black pepper, but the front-of-the-tongue "bite" that the botanicals convey. (Sadly, I do find Tanqueray somewhat over-bitter, and I've never really liked it. I understand that I'm different from most of the cocktail community in that regard.) Lavender doesn't really explain it; I'm wondering whether some of the missing botanicals provide a balance I'm used to that isn't here, meaning the gin strains in an unusual direction for me, taste-wise. Thanks for the recommendations, guys! I'll have to wait until I'm home to make any of these (no violette, food-ish ingredients, or even decent citrus available, beyond the 1 lime I stretched to make the aviation/hemingway).
  12. Yes it is. But it costs $14.99 a bottle at Warehouse around the corner, and it IMO is absolutely the equal of ye name brand (artificial color notwithstanding).
  13. eje, you suck! You California people and your easy-to-get spirits! Breaks the heart... London Dry Gin: Beefeater, Broker's, Boodle's, currently a bottle of Aviation that I'm learning to hate. I'm cheap, and I hate Tanqueray. What more to say? Dutch Style Gin: Amsterdams Oude (the BEST!), Genevieve although I have only one bottle and can't wait to get more (this stuff is the spirit sensation of the year). Vodka: None unless for housemade infusions, in which case Stoli 100. Bourbon: None though Buffalo Trace makes it in (and out!) for parties at $17.99/750. Rye: Rittenhouse Bonded or Wild Turkey 101 (TBH I never use it, preferring...) Apple Brandy: Laird's Bonded (my go-to spirit for anything whiskey-related); if we're talking *serious* brandy, it's Coeur de Lion '61 or '77 as needed. Rum: Zacapa 23 (this is what actually gets drunk) plus Flor de Cana Extra Dry, Inner Circle Green, Lemon Hart Demerara 151, Appleton V/X, Pusser's, Haus Alpenz Arrack van Oosten.. Cachaca: Mãe de Ouro Tequila: Herradura Silver, flavor-of-the-day (currently Chinaco) reposado (if I could afford it, I'd go Partida on everything, but price performance is tricky) Eau-De-Vie: Maraska slivovitz, Zwack barack palinka, HA blume marillen, some nameless quetsch Scotch: Oh god. One of the too-many bottles I have lying around; umpteen JW vertical tasting samples, the entire island of Islay, etc. Whatever fits fancy. If I had to actually pay for it: Famous Grouse. I may be the only person in the cocktail community to be underwhelmed by Compass Box. Brandy: Another "oh god," but at minimum: Maison Surenne Petit, Pierre Ferrand Ambre, and hopefully something decent by Darroze. Aquavit: Krogstad. Absinthe & Absinthe-a-like: Herbsaint, Henri Bardouin, Verte/Blanche de Fougerolles (you actually load up on all those, Erik?) Liqueurs: Maison Prunier orange brandy (subs for cointreau, GM, etc), R&W apricot, R&W pear, homemade violette, Benedictine, Green and Yellow Chartreuse, Velvet Falernum, Bols Creme de Cacao, St Germain, Luxardo maraschino, chambord, St Elizabeth's allspice dram, Drambuie Bitters: Bittermens (mole, grapefruit, curo 13), Angostura, All the Fee's Bitters, Regan's Orange, all the Bitter Truth Bitters, Peychaud's Vermouths etc: Noilly Prat dry, Vya sweet, Martelleti "classico," Carpano Antica Formula, Punt e Mes, Cocchi Americano, Lillet Blanc, Dubonnet Rouge, homemade "Kina lillet" and "Noilly Prat ambre" analogues Other Bitter and Herbal Stuff: Amer Picon (homemade), Averna Amaro Siciliano, Luxardo bitter, Ramazzotti Amaro, Strega, Suze Syrups: Monin Lavender; house-made ginger, lemon, lime, raspberry, sour cherry; house-made grenadine; (friend's) house-made Thai basil (an almost perfect Chartreuse analogue)
  14. Gentle Gulletarians, I bought a bottle of Aviation gin this evening. I'd been holding off due to mixed reports (and a terrible tasting), but I figured what the heck. I've tried everything I could make with this baby, and failed to come up with anything decent. Granted, I've had a limited bar to work with (not at home at the moment). Any suggestions on what might work? So far: -Straight tasting (black pepper and nothing else; you think Tanqueray tastes bitter/acrid?) -The Martini (ick; too black-peppery to be believed) -The Improved Holland Gin Cock-Tail (wrong; pepper + sugar just bad) -The Aviation minus violette (hey, I said I wasn't home!) (not great, too sharp) -The Hemingway Daiquiri variant (traditional proportions with gin instead of rum; the best of the lot, but still pretty awful) -The Elder Fashion (fuggetaboutit)
  15. I think you just won eGullet... or the Spirits and Cocktails forum, at least. FWIW, I agree with the Alchemist 100%. It actually annoys me to no end that I have to stock so much rum (along the spectrum from hooch to ambrosia) as I do. But the marginal return at each point is unparalleled.
  16. So lately with the St Elizabeth's (and I'm actually thinking that we need a new topic for it): Rum Old-Fashioned (kinda) 2 oz. dark rum (used Zacapa 23 yr and Santa Teresa 1976 to equal success) 1/2 oz St Elizabeth's 1/4 oz simple 1/4 oz mezcal 1 dash Regan's 2 dashes chocolate bitters (Bittermens) Stir with cracked ice, and strain into old-fashioned glass with ice (I use the huge-ass nearly-the-size-of-the-glass cube popular at numerous bars around here). Flame orange peel.
  17. (Confession: When the Old Bay Rum was available from the J Peterman catalog, I ordered some and ended up droppering it, bitters-style, into cocktails.)
  18. The St. Elizabeth's (as with homemade pimento dram) makes a nice benedictine substitute in a vieux carre. It also works nicely if you sub it in for half the usual mezcal in a jovencourt daiquiri or oaxaca old-fashioned.
  19. That's interesting! Is there not at least a standard pour for Serious Cocktail Bar-type establishments?
  20. Mayur


    Note also the presence of some interesting bitters and infusions on the cocktail menu. There are both mole and elemakule ("old man" bitters), and some cardamom-tea-infused bourbon, rose jam, and other neat stuff. Took a peek at the food tonight, though sadly not a tasting per se (I accidentally crashed chef's F&F) and man, does it look good. Had bites of the pig's feet, the crab resala (a take on what is normally a sort of dry shrimp-masala dish), and the "saag paneer" (spinach and ricotta gnocchi) courtesy of the nice people next to me at the bar. Quotation marks aside, the saag paneer is highly delicious. This is a configuration I'll be trying at home; the idea of forming the fresh cheese and spinach into little dumplings is just brilliant, and these are better than anything I've had outside of home or an NYT 3-star. The pig's feet are... well, better than anything I ate at Hakata Tonton, which should be saying a lot. The resala is made with a turmeric-onion soubise (plus herbs) in lieu of a traditional masala, and it was the one disappointing taste of the three, in part because it had all the oiliness one expects of this kind of dish when served traditionally, without a serious spice kick. Ironically, it was the spiciest-looking of the three, but had the least kick. Both the pig's foot and the saag paneer-gnocchi were *loaded* with flavor. This looks to be some tasty food. Prices actually looked pretty mild (the entrees are all low-$20s). It is certainly a much better showcase for chef Nawab's cooking, and features far more exciting dishes, than did EU.
  21. Mayur


    Note that I completely screwed up the cocktail attributions; the list is about evenly split (in terms of design) between Brian and Lynette. Edited my original post to reflect this. Sadly, unlike my blog, I don't fact-check my eG posts very well!
  22. johnder and donbert are far more capable of answering that question than I, but in general, the earlier the better. If you get there at 6, a prime spot at the bar is pretty likely. Also, if it's just you (or you and a friend), calling a little beforehand will give you an idea of availability at the bar.
  23. Mayur


    Yeah; Brian mentioned something about directing servers to limit customers to two of those, and I think even that might be overestimating the average customer's tolerance!
  24. Mayur


    Yeah; it'll take someone more "inside" than I to give a first peek at the food (I don't even know if they've done any trial dinners yet), or else we'll have to wait for the actual opening.
  25. Mayur


    The chef, Akhtar Nawab (formerly of Craftbar and EU) is South Asian, and it looks like they'll have some sorta-kinda-Indian dishes on the menu, so it makes sense.
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