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Everything posted by mogsob

  1. have you ever had a burger at the Corner Bistro? some might suggest that "a mess" is exactly what a burger *should* turn into. no -- that would be meatloaf Of all the over-hyped, over-rated things in NYC, the Corner Bistro burger has got to be pretty close to the top of the list. Right up there with John's pizza, S&W steak, Carnegie Deli pastrami, and Aureole. CB uses crap meat, and crap in means crap out. The burgers at Wollensky's Grill are very good. Elyse reminds me that Landmark Tavern is also good, as is McHales. I love JG Melon, but perhaps I am too lost in memories of my youth to judge it objectively. 21 is expense-account, but fun.
  2. Can one of you locals please inform me of the distinction between "high" and "gamey"?
  3. You can't compare Astrance to Pre Catalan. It's like comparing the Musée Jacquemart-Andre to the Marmottan. Yes, they are both museums and they both have fab art collections, but they are entirely different from each other (and DO see both). I like Pre Catalan. There was a time a few years back that some thought it would get its third star. That never happened. The room itself is lovely -- one of the best, if not THE best, in Paris. That said, it is dull to the extreme -- no buzz, no excitement, no nothing. The food, as many have said is good, but nothing I've ate there really stands out in my mind at present. That said, if you want a grand dining experience, you can get that a Pre Catalan. You can't at Astrance.
  4. I passed by both Julien (which is being renovated) and Vielle Enseigne this weekend. Both looked very nice and the menu at Vieele Enseigne looked fab. I heartily recommend Au Fer Rouge (in Colmar), where I ate one of the great meals of my life last Sunday.
  5. Perfectly put. KK is exactly like Starbuck -- commerically reliable mediocrity, wrapped in attractive packaging.
  6. I ate a rather nice lunch at Perseverance, a gastropub on Lamb's Conduit Street -- perhaps a 10 minute walk away. The Sutton Arms is around the corner from the Barbican tube stop -- 20 minutes from Bloomsbury if you time it right!
  7. My Chinese friends say Mr. Peng reminds them of their mothers. That can only be a good thing -- I suspect it is a cultural difference that rubs some the wrong way (different notions of hospitality). A good Hunan story: I love to tell the story about the second time I went to Hunan. The first time I went, the table next to me had this amazing (looking and smelling) noodle dish (no puns, Simon ). So the next time we went back, I asked Mr. Peng for a noodle dish. "Spaghetti?" he asked. "No, noodles." I replied. "OK, spaghetti!" he said as he walked off. Halfway through our meal, he stops by and says: "Don't worry. Spaghetti on its way. Tomato sauce, right?" Needless to say, we got neither the spaghetti nor the noodle dish. Well, I told that story to some friends, who decided to have a bit of fun with Mr. Peng, and asked him for "spaghetti." They got the noodle dish. And they said it was fantastic.
  8. Ah, Mr. Peng. He must like me; last time, we got a whole duck and a whole fish on top of the usual 10-15 course parade.
  9. I have to try and grit my teeth as Mogsob constantly sings the praises of Hunan as I realize I am in a minority of one in disliking this restaurant. But WONG KEI? I'm sorry. The place is crap. It serves relentlessly perfunctory food on plastic plates delivered by bad tempered and downright rude waiters in cramped and uncomfortable surroundings. The only good thing you can say about it is its cheap. If you're a student, or the sort of person who enjoys queuing up to be told to piss off by bouncers at nightclubs you might enjoy it. Went to Wong Kei once with a Chinese friend . . . we got a different menu and good food. Not great, but very good value for the money. Went back myself, and it was crap.
  10. Rather an extreme claim, but actually, not unreasonable. Dinner there is an annual event I share with an American friend when he comes over. With their superb tea, wine is quite superfluous. Do you think that 35 pounds isn't accurante? Seriously, for the price I can't think of a better restaurant in London than Hunan. BTW, John I owe you big time for the Chez Gramond recommendation on your site. We've been several times now -- truly one of the last of a dying breed.
  11. Oh, god. NO!! I'm not sure what you call "moderate", but you should at least get some good food for your money. Here are a few suggestions: 1. Try some of the better gastropubs around. The Perseverance is in Bloomsbury and is pretty good. You can find a list of those on the Square Meal website. The Havelock Tavern, The Anglesea Arms, The Stutton Arms are some of the better known joints. 2. Hunan. Without wine, you will spend about 35 pounds per person. It will be your best meal in London. 3. Made in Italy/Pizza Metro. Either will do. Best pizza outside of Italy. 4. Avoid Harrods. If you must do tea, pony up and go to Brown's Hotel. 5. Wong Kei is good, but make sure you go with someone who speaks Chinese! 6. Hakkasan is very good, but also trendy and loud. Go for early dim sum.
  12. mogsob

    Tomoe sushi

    Whatever Tomoe serves, it's not sushi. First of all, their fish is poorly cut. Their selection stinks. And their rice is pedestrian. If all sushi took was to slap a huge piece of incredibly fresh fish on some sticky rice, then there would be no art involved. A waste of time, in my book.
  13. Ironic that Ramsay's cuisine is so unlike Ramsay the man.
  14. For a chain, KK is pretty good, but nowhere near great. I prefer cake donuts to these glazed sugary things (but not DD's version - ugh), so that may be part of it. The best donuts I've had are at the Doughnut Plant in NYC (Grand St on the LES) -- now those are truly great! Besides, I can't believe that HOT NOW thing will make it here, as Londoners can't even be bothered to wait to have a sandwich made to order.
  15. mogsob

    Guinness on tap

    I think the point was quite clearly explained in the first post. It obviously has little interest for those who don't enjoy Guinness, so what is the point of your interruption? The point is -- Guinness is pretty easy to find. It's pretty hard to find a bar that doesn't serve it. More to the point, you can just look for the nearest Irish place, which is a bit easier than pulling up a page in eGullet. Now if you created a list of where to get real Engish cask ales or great Belgian beers in the States, that would be very useful.
  16. The smog should be so thick that time of year you can just lean out of your car and cut yourself a slice.
  17. and why do we think that is? cost? habit? cultural/societal standards? because they were given the chance and there was no meaningful push for a compromise? My guess is that it is fear compounded by poor business sense. After the law banning smoking in most restaurants went into effect a few years ago, I was at one of my regular haunts when a diner lit a cigarette. The staff, instead of asking her to put out her cigarette, brought over an ashtray. Then, as expected, she turned to exhale, and blew her smoke directly at us. I called over our waiter and said that smoking was now illegal in restaurants and would they tell the smoker to put out her cigarette. They said she was a regular and didn't want to offend her. Once again, it was a restaurant failing to compromise and accomodating soley the smoker at the expense of the majority nonsmokers. So I said either they make her put out her cigarette, or I was leaving immediately and, in addition to not paying my bill, I would swear out an affidavit at the local police station reporting the violation. Needless to say, the staff quickly resolved the issue. And as the smoker in question headed for the freezing cold outdoors to finish her smoke, I could only smile and laugh as she glared at me.
  18. No. Just like restaurant/bar owners: 1. Can't serve every type of food they want. 2. Can't serve every kind of alcohol they want. 3. Can't play music at any volume they want. 4. Can't provide any kind of entertainment they want. 5. Can't serve as much alcohol to certain patrons as they want. I've spent a good part of my career defending minority rights, but the plain fact is that smoking is different. The exercise of your right to smoke tobacco directly affects third parties, many of whom do not like tobacco smoke. The truth is that restaurant owners brought this on themselves. Instead of acting pro-actively to accommodate non-smokers in a meaningful way, they bent over backwards to accommodate the smoking minority. They could have put in ventillation systems themselves, or created truly separate smoking spaces. The problem is that restaurant owners frequently violated the laws, allowed regulars to smoke and tried to cut corners wherever possible. Nonsmokers finally had enough, and now we have a Mayor who respect our voice.
  19. mogsob

    Guinness on tap

    What exactly is the point of this thread? Guinness is not exactly the most difficult beer to find. It's also about as inspiring a stout as Bud is a lager.
  20. mogsob

    Guinness on tap

    Well, you can tell that bartender that he's full of it. There are several pubs I can think of in London (the Coach & Horses in Wellington St being the most centrally located), that get the real stuff from Dublin. BTW, did you fine Texan explain how long it took to import his casks, and how they were stored? Just interested to know how the yeast survived the transatlantic voyage.
  21. Wait a sec. If it can only "almost hold a candle to Brother Jimmy's", why on earth would you ever go back?
  22. mogsob


    Page Six is the foremost gossip column.
  23. mogsob

    Summer beer

    We can get most Belgian Wits here in the USA. Not just "Dead" ones: Wittekerke, Troublette, Blanche de Bruges, Blanche de Bruxelles, ertvelds wit, Joseph Spelt, Florisgaarden. There are also many US produced Wits that are bottle conditioned: Allagash, Bells Oberon, Boulevard, Victory Whirlwind to name but a few Gueuze is available all over the world. We can get Cantillon, Drei Fonteinen, Oude Beersel (even though they are no longer brewing). All good. Girardin, Lindemans, Boon and Belle Vue are also available right here in Virginia. Where? I've never seen any of those beers in a bar in the US in my life. Must have missed a few as I reeled from the statement that Labatts was good beer.
  24. mogsob

    Summer beer

    Every last beer listed above is dead, and the vast majority are tasteless lagers produced by multinationals. Pathetic. It's the equivalent of saying that the ultimate in barbeque is the McRib. And this includes the piss-water known as Molson and Labatts. The Canadians do make some good beer, but their major brewers suck. Some of the Belgian wit beers are good, but they only export the dead versions. A good lambic is perfect in the summer (nice and sour), but you can only find those in and around Brussels. The best summer brew in my opinion is Fuller's Summer Ale. Made with the same hops that go into Czech lager, the beer has the taste notes of a great pilsner, but the depth of flavor that only a real ale can deliver. Available now in all Fuller's pubs.
  25. Actually, there are laws on the books concerning the volume of music (routinely ignored, but should be enforced for the same reasons a smoking ban is a good idea). Steak, however, harms only those that eat it. The distinction here is CHOICE. If someone else smokes, nonsmokers have no choice but to inhale second hand smoke. If someone plays music at harmful levels, you have no choice but to endure it. But if someone orders a steak, the vegetarian at the table doesn't have to eat it. Now I can here the response -- nonsmokers can choose not to eat out. That is simply not an option for many people, who commonly do deals and conduct business in restaurants, not to mention the fact that restaurants/bars/clubs form an essential part of the social fabric of the city. The tyrrany of the minority smokers has endured for far too long.
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