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Vadouvan

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  1. Lets start with the usual disclaimers that no one is being slammed for liking food that others may not like since EG has gotten oversensitive post 2006, we do taste things differently but the one place in all of cuisine where you cannot hide behind perception, smoke and mirrors is broth. There also is the issue with Pho of what I call the "cost per satisfaction index" which relates to how much you pay for food vs how hot and filling it is based on a reasonable amount of deliciousness. Reasonable amounts of deliciousness however do not provide transcendent meals and pho properly made should make you close your eyes and feel like you are in a street market in Hue. Went to Pho Saigon last night with 5 people and ordered all the reference Vietnamese soups. We all reached the same conclusions. Was it decent food. Yes. Was it delicious. somewhat. Is it anywhere as good as the same soups at Cafe Diem. NOT remotely by *ANY* stretch of the imagination. Here is why. The food is very sanitized meaning the soul of Vietnam is absent from it. The Pho Ga at Saigon is made with boneless skinless chicken breast which is just simply unacceptable for Vietnamese food. The pho ga at diem while a slight pain in the ass to eat is 10 times more delicious due to leaving the chicken on the bone and including thigh meat. This is IMHO the best soup in the city period. The Bon bo Hue was just not even bon bo hue, not spicy, no pork broth, no fresh ham hock, no depth of flavor. Pho Bo was just OK, muddled flavors, no clarity. Pho dac biet which typically has a ton of umami just had no life in it. The best broth at Saigon is actually the chicken soup broth but the BSCB kills the soup. Again the food is not bad food, it just isn't really Vietnamese to the degree that a concerted effort has been made to tune it towards western sensibilities. The people at Diem barely speak English but if you make an effort to meet them halfway by googling the soups and find out which is which, you can simply order by numbers. Pho Bo Pho Ga Pho Dac Biet Bon Bo Hue It is all on the web. Katie Loeb you can have your blood cubes replaced by beef short rib cubes at diem. Cafe Diem still rules is flavor is the reason you like Pho.
  2. Sorry. The Prime Rib is in no way the best steakhouse in the country. That is just way too bold a statement, most people can easily pick 5 places in 5 seconds that are better. All the Craft, CUT and BLT places are better and those are not even the best.
  3. The restaurant has "Issues". ?????????????? It has been open for (count 4) FOUR days.
  4. Katie I would not even focus on who inspired what if the product is good. I went for lunch at 2pm with 3 people yesterday and while food operations should not be judged by one visit, the burgers were terrible and the experience and effort to go get them was just pointless. 2 of us ordered regular burgers, 1 veggie burger. All 3 were super dry though medium was requested. The most annoying things were both beef burgers were split in half I assume to check the internal temperature which is the most unforgivable move in hamburger cooking. In addition to that we waited 21 minutes for the food with 8 people in line, even worse the 7 people who came behind us got the food first. Upon being asked why, the gentleman at the counter said that since they cook the veggie burgers to order, orders with veggie burgers take longer while the beef burgers are precooked. The French fries were not good at all, I am not sure I completely agree with Holly that they should hand cut them based on space, there are good Frozen fries on the market, these just were not them. At one point one of us had to run back to the car to stop us getting a ticket while parked on 6th street. At the end of the day, the burger was not good, the fries were not good, you risk a $45 ticket unless you park 3 blocks away and walk and pay almost $10 each for slow-fast food. I am not quite sure why you would not just walk into any Mcdonalds where at least based on yesterday the food is way better.
  5. This is why they call them "no win" situations. In cases like this, everyone is best served if they just follow rules. Everyone would also be better off if someone made a reasonable compromise. Restaurant while not obligated could have shown concern without breaking any laws. Guests could have taken it upon themselves to find the quickest remedy. Conventional wisdom say's... If you went to a neighborhood restaurant with your dog, you clearly live within walking distance. If at said restaurant the situation under discussion here happened, if I was the diner I would ask the waiter to put a hold on the food, send my wife or girlfriend into the restaurant while I walk the dog home and walk right back for dinner. If I was the restaurant owner, I would pre-emptively suggest the same thing. Show's enough concern, everybody is happy. Asking patrons to vote is not only absurd but intrusive. Who wants their dinner interrupted to vote as to whether pets can come in ? What if you are allergic to pet dander. Pets are cute but it's a lifestyle choice people make at some risk of adjusting access to certain places. You cannot be angry if an apartment building denies you entry if they have a no pet policy. Other diners did not help them suggest they get a pet. Would it be different if it was a patron smoking outside (even though smoking is now banned). End of story.
  6. Well my intent is certainly not to disparage Mr Brescd, indeed I can see how I myself would have higher expectations of Oceannaire thanks to the excellent window dressing they are engaged in. It's like the emperors new red lobster I mean c'mon all the condiments are on a lazy susan on your table. only hookers in Amsterdam do a better job of window dressing. Katie is correct, there is no reason why quality has to be dependent on "high-end", in fact I find most high end places to be offering diminishing returns because there is so much flourish, the food does not get better, it's just more expensive to cover costs. Real estate is the biggest issue, realtors/property owners in places like nyc see the specific economics of restaurants as opposed to other retail. Even the new Northern liberties Mall is being cleverly marketed as "the piazza" and thus using that to justify an absurd $35 per foot. with that kind of rent, aint no fish but a filet-o-feesh in Philadelphia.
  7. Retail mail order is always a rip off. Restaurants buy wholesale but you are right, it's kind of absurd to pay more than it is to have it cooked at the restaurant to cook it yourself.
  8. Since you specifically asked...... Your Expectations are inconsistent with the kind of places you are going to. You should go to better restaurants and consider starting to avoid soulless national chain restaurants.
  9. Jeff, David. I believe you are talking about the "Deckle" ? At the volume they deal with, they probably just have the Ribeyes butchered without the fat cap. Most good steakhouses have custom butchering wholesale deals to reduce waste. This would make sense since they buy the meat from Allen Brothers. Allen Bros does sell the Deckle on it's own since they figured out they can make a bunch of money from it. It is amazing csv. Lets meet up and do a tasting next week. Here it is.... Deckle Steak -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- David agreed, UTrust is the best steakhouse in Philly, nothing comes close except perhaps Barclay Prime. Best meat,Best sides. The NY strip and Ribeyes are definitely the best of those cuts in the city.
  10. Funny Dave, when I read it I immediately thought of the dinner I had at Fontainbleau last week as the name is similar to the owner of Hakkasan. Fontainbleau I tried the confit at fork last night, it was quite good. PM me, I need your e-mail.
  11. Yes TF is a very good chef. Ellen "Yin" is the Owner.
  12. Vadouvan

    Chifa

    Agreed Phil. Had a Pisco Sour there this weekend with Doc Sconzo. I think we both agreed it was very watered down, not enough pisco or lime or sugar and way too much egg white. Serendipitously enough Doc and I agreed the best Pisco we ever tasted in north America was at the Peruvian pavillion at the Fancy food show in Javits last summer. I think tropical drinks don't do so well in philly restaurants in general because restaurant groups start to quantify them to meet Bar cost percentages. Cost efficient maximized drinks are very different from solid cocktails. Same reason for those glycemic index havoc wreaking drinks at alma de cuba. I am going to have to agree with Mrs Brescd, piscos were no bueno. The food looks absolutely fabulous though, I am looking forward to dinner there later this week.
  13. Reading the Butcher and Singer Review last week, Mr Laban mentioned at the end that he would be reviewing a restaurant called SOUL in chestnut hill. Google reveals this : SOUL Restaurant But upon further search parameters, I found another link. Seems the principals of this restaurant are in a major network TV reality cooking show hosted by non other than Marco Pierre White starting this spring on NBC. Marco is one of the best chefs ever which means this is huge, Gordon Ramsay used to work for MPW. The link is Here. This ought to be interesting. The best cookbook ever was White Heat.
  14. Sir. That's quite simple. First of all, since zagat is an aggregate review, it is only as important as the frame of reference of the reviewers. The problem thus becomes the reviewers exposure to said cuisine based on authencity. The authencity argument never gets traction because it's been difficult for those who have expectations of authenticity to explain the concept of western-dilution of ethnic food without coming of as elitists or labeling naysayers as Philistines. It is however a legitimate argument, the message just needs to be crafted carefully. First of all, if you go out to eat at the Olive Garden and you enjoy your Penne Arrabiata, fantastiic. No one should be able to tell you under any circumstances that you did not enjoy your Penne. YOU can not however say "Olive Garden makes the best Penne Arrabiata" because you take your opinion outside of personal satisfaction and opinion into the public domain where it's shot down quickly. Now that is a fairly benign example, the same argument get's much more complicated based on the level of saturation and familiarity of said cuisine within the American context. Say we move the argument to Indian or Thai, now it's a bit harder to tell someone who says Buddakan or China Grill makes the best Pad Thai or Tiffin makes the best Indian food that they are barely scratching the surface of a clue. On the Buddakan issue, virtually all western interpretations of Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese Food are 30% sweeter than non-western versions. Certainly enough to change the flavor completely without even getting into acidity or tartness. Tiffin is even more complicated. The benefit-value index with Tiffin has a lot to do with delivery. If you are starving and anyone delivers passable to mediocre Indian food to you reasonably warm and you have a microwave, have never eaten Indian food in India, London or Murray Hill, you will be pretty happy. It's not that the food is bad, it's Not bad. It's just barely Indian as far as depth of flavor. Now obviously I am not professing everybody fly to India, Thailand or Japan so they can claim to know what the real deal is, all I am saying is that it explains why an aggregate review like Zagat is useless for people with expectations of authenticity such as yourself if the reviewers are under the impression that what they are eaten is authentic. Even a simple thing as Pho Dac Biet or Bon Bo Hue, people rave ad nauseum about vietnam,pho-cali, vietnam palace, all 3 places are like beef flavored water with noodles in comparison to Cafe Diem in South Philly. All but 1. However I will be there wed night. Matsugen at JG's Website Correct. You don't get anything you are not paying for. While restaurant week is a good deal, it's basically a cost effective banquet from the restaurant's perspective. You only truly experience a place when you cough up your dinars when it isn't restaurant week. Again there are fabulously delicious restaurants with no michelin stars, all those probably no stars because of comparative ambition. Batali's place Casa Mono still makes the most compelling case for tapas in America's reviewed cities so far and it has no stars. Perhaps Tinto would then need to be compared to The Jaleos in DC, Bethesda and Arlington. Not consistent with Starr's volumetrics as far as revenue. As for Casino Developers, no reason to. They can just fund and build it and lease to operators while taking percentages off the top rather than deal with the day to day BS. That's what Vegas did with Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon.
  15. Your immediate thought is correct sir. This perhaps is better effectively explained by elimination instead of selection. There are multiple reasons not to go to places like Table 31,Butcher and Singer, LBF, Lacroix, Fountain, Del Frisco, Palm, Capital Grille, Susanna Foo. I agree with Buckethead's Boring conclusion of Table 31's food. If it was not owned by Perrier, it would not quite be on the radar screen as much as it is. Although you have basically answered your own question, if I were in your shoes, the only 3 choices in Philly would be : Barclay Prime Morimoto Vetri Barclay Prime does not actually sell any kobe beef. They still do have the two best steaks in the city which would be the Gachot/Gachot Ribeye and the Australian Tajima New York Strip. Also best sides and sauces of any Steakhouse in Philly. The Seafood dishes are also not steakhouse afterthoughts as you see virtually everywhere else. Morimoto I would go for the most expensive Omakase with wine pairings and restrictions. By restrictions I mean give them restrictions. I usually say Omakase-no sushi-no items on the menu. Vetri on the other hand you can drink yourself silly with Gajas and Sassicaias in addition to the very good food. Yup Vetri it is.
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