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Everything posted by Mayur

  1. Babbo really won't give solo diners the tasting menu? That seems odd.
  2. Mayur


    To add: While Brian and Lynette will not be 'tending here all the time, I did have a quality experience thanks to the other bartenders present, who were charming, courteous, and competent. (Alexander Day, from Death & Co and Tailor, will be here Tuesdays starting next week.) I went off list just as a test, and got a well-made old fashioned (with rum, of course) from Ryan. They also have two (count 'em) Kold-Draft machines, which means they're loaded for high volume, despite the somewhat sparse back bar.
  3. See nymag listing HERE. I stopped in here last night for friends & family. It was a pleasure to run into fellow eGers johnder, weinoo, and donbert, and to sample some fine cocktails, courtesy of dapper drinksman Brian Miller (Pegu, Death & Co) and the lovely Lynette Marrero (Freeman's, Drinks at 6). The space is quite attractive, and features an insanely fabulous and tricked out open kitchen. (Not so sure about the weird glass-door partitions, though.) There were only passed hors d'oeuvres for the moment, so it's too early to comment on the food (the octopus, which will appear in modified form on the menu, was tasty, though). As Brian's yellow Hawaiian shirt would have suggested to the casual observer, the cocktail list is largely dominated by tiki drinks, which are a welcome revival in my book. The list is built around a relatively sweet palette for my tastes, but the drinks I had were expertly balanced to the point where I didn't mind (which says a lot given my predilection for bitter/sour cocktails). I've had a number of these before; it was a pleasure to see that the ones I was trying for the first time measured up. The mai tai (with both agricole and dark rums) was quite lovely, with enough nuttiness from the orgeat and properly-crushed ice to cut the sweetness. The Electric Ladyland, with Alto de Carmen Pisco (Lynette gave me a little to try), rose jam, lime, and champagne, was pretty fabulous. My favorite drink is probably the opaka raka (Junipero, lime, simple, mole bitters plus something else I'm forgetting); definitely off the sweet palette. The zombie punch, which seemed to the the most popular beverage going, was... well, deadly, but a really lovely mix of flavors that maintained a surprising degree of distinctness; the different rums, lime, and absinthe kicks all came through sharply and clearly. I have to say that, given the vast window opening onto 8th Street, the seductively-sweet cocktail list, and the semi-canteen style dining room, this place is in danger of being a victim of its own success. I can only imagine that the bar may generate cattle-pen dynamics on weekends. Still, as long as there's a seat at the bar...
  4. Mayur


    Then there's xtabantun. All sorts of weird stuff south of the border.
  5. Mayur


    I gotta wonder, though. After all, tequila costs a packet.
  6. Mayur


    Hey, Cabo Wabo reposado is a pretty good deal at $39! (Comparatively speaking, that is...)
  7. I got the impression that he's making the orange bitters linked to above-thread, which use this technique. Correct?
  8. Everclear is probably the right way to go, since it grants maximal compound extraction and doesn't lend its flavor. But it depends on the type of bitters. A particular spirit can contribute a lot to the flavor, so I'd use what you think would match.
  9. Mayur


    But, as Sam notes, it's still insanely expensive. Moreover, I haven't seen any good deals on tequila, whereas one can often find great deals on single-malt (I've found Lagavulin 16 for as little ads $40, and Highland Park bottlings for a lot below retail). My problem is that I really, really like tequila-based cocktails, and adapting them to other spirits is pretty much impossible. Likewise with mezcal; hence the dropping $60 on a bottle of Los Amantes Joven. But yeah; I don't understand why tequila and mezcal are so darn expensive.
  10. Mayur

    Montague St.

    Hey! What's the matter with the area directly below 14th Street?
  11. Mayur


    Okay, I'm going to bump this thread for the simple reason that it already has the most concise title for my purposes. What I want to do is resurrect ('cause it seems to have gone fallow for a while) the mezcal discussion: Which brands do people like? What's the difference between joven and reposado for cocktail purposes? What sorts of cocktails people are making with mezcal (besides the excellent ones I've had at Death & Co!). Speaking of D&Co drinks: Made myself a Jovencourt daiquiri using 2 oz. Barbancourt white rum, juice of half a lime, a splash of agave nectar, and a Los Amantes Joven rinse. Will probably try something next for which I'd normally use a tiny dose of smoky Islay whisky. Any further suggestions?
  12. John is, of course, leaving out the other ceramically-clad cocktail, his Beachcomber, which I had last night (and which, sadly, seems slightly more weather-appropriate at the moment... damn climate change!). A lovely slender white thing with a hula dancer on it. Nonetheless, the contents outshine their vessel...PDT does appear to have one truly definable advantage over every other bar in the city (and, actually, every other bar I've ever visited): Their glasses are really, REALLY cold. I don't know whether they just have a spectacularly good glass chiller, or what. But it makes for a nice drink!
  13. Me too! I probably could have managed two or three had it not been for calorie guilt. As it is, the Chrysanthemum Cocktail I had to chase it down was a real winner and a perfect bridge to dinner. And I had the pleasure of seeing John (albeit briefly) on his night off! Every trip I make reminds me that despite its existing high level, PDT continues to improve in consistency of execution and in quality of trappings (that glass chiller is a monster; I don't think I've ever had an old-fashioned-style cocktail that was presented that cold). I have less tendency to go off menu than at D&Co, though that may be just a quirk of how I order there.
  14. Exactly. Momofuku (either Noodle Bar of Ssam) doesn't produce anything remotely resembling any Asian "fusion" food that I've eaten in KL, Singapore, or the like, unless I missed the restaurant that served ten kinds of artisanal bacon, oysters with kimchi mignonette, or an old-school sauteed skate with Old Bay. It's a very distinct, very personal style of cuisine. Other than the fact that it's run by a chef of Asian origin and features some Asian ingredients, it's not the kind of food that you seem to think it is.
  15. Yeah; I'd say that a giant heap of restaurants falls outside the "classic cuisine prepared perfectly" sphere. Heck, Per Se does given Keller's repeated forays into whimsy; JG definitely does with spicing and ingredients, and even the Modern (and Atelier before it) showcase more innovative takes on haute cuisine. Paris is full of these sorts of restaurants (L'Astrance, Le Cinq, etc.).
  16. You are an inspiration, Andy! Tonight it was the "tequila sunrise":2 oz. anejo tequila 1 tsp grapefruit syrup 1/2 tsp maraschino 1 dash absinthe 3 dashes aromatic bitters (Bitter Truth, though Angostura would have done just as fine) Stirred and strained into coupe; floated sparkling red (a Malbec, in this case). This is a beautiful cocktail; the color division (red just barely bleeding down into the perfect gold of the base) is perfect, and the flavor quite nice. Very, very woody.
  17. That probably explains why I vastly prefer a house-made arrack punch to the Flaggpunsch. Arrack is already too far on the sugarcane-funk scale for my tastes; add in the Neisson and you'll get what my good friend cdh calls the "rhong" in rhum.
  18. Not to disagree with the master here, but IME, a drink like the C.R.#2 is somewhat dependent on quality of shake and ice for its tastiness, wouldn't you say? (I made a few last night for guests using 2"x2"x4" chunks, and it was a revelation.) A French 75 might be easier... *especially* if daisy can convince other folks to tote along the champagne. After all, you can bottle the gin, lemon, and simple, drop some ice in and give it a hard shake or two (no, not *that* hard shake!) and it's good to go into glasses. Even better might be to substitute in some grenadine for the simple in your French 75. You would then have a Gin Daisy Variant , but with champagne instead of soda.
  19. I haven't had the Menu Gourmand in its last couple of iterations; the one currently featured seems much more attractive to me than the two I've had. On my last visits, I switched to asking chef Humm to assemble a meal out of four courses (plus the amuses and mignardises that the kitchen sent out), and I found that superior to the previous two visits on which I did the Gourmand.(Aside: As to Bouley: I've found that the kitchen really works to amaze if you just give over control of your meal to them, which is why I recommend the menu spontanée over the 5- and 7- course menu offerings. But as you said, I seem to be in the minority on a number of fronts here. ) David: Given your stated preference, I might consider just doing as I did if you're unwilling to commit to the blowout that is the Menu Gourmand, and asking the chef to assemble you something nice. The 5-course at Bouley is, as Bryan said, a nice introduction to the kitchen's "greatest hits," and I would *not* commit to the menu spontanée if you or your S.O. have light appetites. Also, as Bryan said, EMP is easily as formal as Bouley these days, both in terms of setting and service, so be prepared. I'm not fond of the room myself, but at that hour, it may be a bit more convivial than I've experienced it (I've generally sat down to eat around 8:30-8:45, and the restaurant seems to empty a bit earlier than its counterparts at this level).
  20. Depending on how much of a blowout you do at EMP (the gourmand menu, for instance, although I actually prefer ordering a la carte there), your meal may not wrap up before 9-something, actually... As to killing time between: Well, IMO, nothing is more romantic than an arm-in-arm walk (you could just head along Madison Park and up 5th Ave), should the weather hold! You could even weave through Central Park's southern end. If you'd prefer to perch somewhere, there's always the Library Bar at the Hudson Hotel (which is good for an after-dinner drink, provided you don't actually ask them to mix you a cocktail; just stick with a decent brandy, whisky, port, or the like). I'm not a fan of the Time-Warner Center, but the bar at the Mandarin Oriental does have a nice view of the park, and might make sense for a drink prior to heading over to the show. If you're a cocktail person, the only vaguely decent destination near you post-dinner would be the Flatiron Lounge (19th btw 5th & 6th Aves), but it's not what I consider "romantic" and it will royally suck on a Friday at 9-10 PM. [EDIT: It'll be interesting to hear your take on dinner. I am a giant fan of Bouley, but I differ greatly with several other posters on these forums in that respect. My personal recommendation there is to go with the menu spontanée, which has yielded for me some of my favorite meals in NYC, even within the past couple of years.]
  21. Someone really should sig that.
  22. I find that both places are doing increasingly better at providing responsive, nuanced table service, especially if you're known to the staff. Interesting that you find D&Co less crowded, Bryan. I experience the opposite, actually; if I can hit PDT "off hours," there's usually a spot or two at the bar, whereas this is not necessarily the case at D&Co even if I get there at 7 or so (though this may be due to D&Co's early cutoff and fans' desires to get in early so that they can last a while...)
  23. The buffet is not required at all; it's just notable for how absurdly cheap is for food at that level. (As raji said, it's a full-on blowout at Chola for a $15 buffet!) In fact, based on what I saw of the menus at the different restaurants, and what I imagine the crowd at a place like Mithaas would be like in the evenings, the sheer cultural experience might be far more interesting (if a bit pricier) in the evenings.As I noted above, what you're really getting IMO by traveling to Edison is a cultural experience as much as (or more than) a foodie one. I can make pretty much any great, authentic, Indian food experience I'd like by combining Kababish, Tangra, Dimple, Rajbhog, Saraavanas, Chola, Devi, and Tabla; and only about half of those are more than 15 minutes away by public transportation from my place. However, the overall impact of being in Edison's malls, shops, and restaurants is unique enough to be worth the trip. No, Edison's not all that easy to get to, and in fact my earlier debate with FG on this still holds. It's fine for me, but difficult for anyone without a car. However, is the experience worth it on the level of traveling to Maryland for a proper crab feast, or Tennessee for great barbecue? Yes, and it is considerably less distance. Having just eaten there, I will say that the best ramen is a heck of a lot better than the second best (if by the second best we're talking Setagaya). Plus Mitsuwa isn't exactly that much of a schlep. I wouldn't go every weekend, but I'd definitely consider getting there once a month.
  24. That's a good opener to this dialogue. Let me add in the final part for this (I've been laid up with a bad back and unable to type the last couple of days): So, in between hot dogs (Jimmy Buff) and hamburgers (White Manna), we took a trip to northern NJ, a few minutes across the Hudson from NY, to do some supermarket shopping at the area's premier Korean and Japanese stores, respectively: Super H Mart and Mitsuwa. Plenty has been posted about Mitsuwa already, and I think that raji probably will have more valuable things to say about it than I will. Though I've been there numerous times, I went on this visit with an eye to the really impressive and/or unique elements. First off would be the ramen. Santouka is (as I've agreed in the past) far and away the best available in the NYC area. I would hop the Mitsuwa bus just for some noodles and charsiu. Second is the tremendous sake/shochu selection. Coming from NY, it's always refreshing to see wine available alongside grocery items, but Mitsuwa's two enormous aisles of sake really take the cake. The selection at certain liquor places in NY may be more carefully made and better "curated" by the store staff, but the sheer variety and some of the middle-tier prices really can't be beaten. Now, for Super H Mart: I have been here before, but not for long enough to really take a look around, and on this trip, I was impressed. The mall in which this store is located is pretty much exactly like a Seoul-sprawl shopping center, down to the slightly weird dead-ends, random golf tech and clothing stores, and the heavy-on-Christian-tracts bookstore. The store itself is amazing. Aisles upon aisles of fresh seafood, meat, seaweed and kelp, hot pepper paste, etc. A huge kimchi station at which two women work rapid-fire bagging pickled vegetables of all sorts. A rice-cake press that looks like something out of Willy Wonka's factory. And masses more stuff; plus some seriously good prices. Nor, AFAIK, is there anything approaching this level in Flushing, at least not under one roof. I'll certainly never go to the 32nd St Han Ah Reum again. In terms of price, quality, and uniqueness, Super H definitely meets the "get thee to Jersey" criteria *except* that I couldn't imagine going without a car. (And unlike Mitsuwa, there's no real way to travel there otherwise.) Along with the Edison experience, Super H was definitely the sort of thing that I'd say is worth a road trip, and it shares with Edison the same distinguishing factor: Uniqueness of experience and environment, specifically the setting of a self-contained, suburban, aspirational and robust immigrant community that is very different from New York's immigrant enclaves. Super H, as with the restaurants and stores in Edison, makes more of a stab at being truly upscale (much of the (often organic) produce and dairy items wouldn't be out of place in a Wholefoods) in Queens or Manhattan, but more to the point, it's simultaneously more "American" and more Korean than its Manhattan/Queens counterparts. So, in summary, I'd say that the NJ experience overall was definitely worth it. I wouldn't necessarily push people to go for the "unique eats," but I *would* heavily endorse going for the sheer immersion in communities and community resources like the Mehtani restaurants or Super H Mart. Those are experiences that you can't get in NYC, and for me, they reach beyond the scale of a tasty fast-food burger or hot dog and into the "worth a day and distance to explore" category.
  25. I think the demand's there in LA. A close Angelena friend of mine who's become a cocktail fan is constantly on the lookout for new places that know their craft, and she's got a wide circle of friends in studios and the professional sector who feel the same. LA fashion often echoes NY fashion, and cocktail bars have been the rage here for some time; it'd surprise me if there wasn't at least one M&H-style (or maybe Flatiron-style) place opening in LA in the near future.
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