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  1. foodhunter


    agreed, I've actually been waiting for the reduced wine list to be published for some time now. I finally thought to check this week and was surprised to see most of the bottles that I cared about increased in price (in most cases, dramatically increased by 50-70%). perhaps there's a subsection of this list that saw the 30% price reduction. but with the new higher prices on their trophy wines, Cru's list went from being interesting and fairly-priced (albeit expensive) to egregious. By comparison, Veritas still has their 25% off deal -- on top of an already fairly-priced list, that's where I'll be spending my wine dollars.
  2. unfortunately that's just not common practice here in new york, as far as I can tell. given your husband's condition and your request, they might have suggested calling a car service. it wouldn't have been much more than the $20 in cab fare it cost you to come from midtown.
  3. This is a common reaction when one returns to a restaurant where one has such fond recollections, especially if the menu hasn't changed all that much.Also, if you went last night, probably half the staff had been up partying till 4:00 a.m. after Chang won the JB award. I'm not suggesting that your disappointing experience was defensible, especially at a $100 cost, but you probably didn't catch them at their best. ← actually i don't think i had particularly fond memories of my first visit either, i took ko for what it was. i enjoyed the dishes to the extent that i was able to eat those items that i couldn't get at ssam bar (or some approximation thereof). and i chose to return primarily for those dishes -- the fluke in buttermilk and the kimchee consomme in particular. the second visit was disappointing for a number of reasons. - first, my dinner companion and i (and, it seemed, the entire restaurant) were no longer being given different dishes with certain courses. that happened to be something we valued. which leads to my second reason... - it was somewhat fairly priced at $85, but i'm a seller at $100. i take another contributor's point to heart, that ko could raise prices to $250 and beyond and still pack the seats. but i won't be in one of them. $100 puts this menu in a different psychological category. it exceeds the cost of the basic prix fixe at a number of three and four star restaurants in the city. sure, ko serves far more dishes than your average 3 or 4 course meal. but... - ko is also a highly uncomfortable restaurant to dine at. the blast of heat from the stoves over the course of a 2+ hour meal was an interesting experience a month ago, when it was much cooler in the city. but walking into the restaurant from 90 degree heat on this last visit, and being greeted by the same climate in the restaurant was not at all appealing. degustation just a few blocks away has the same setup but manages to keep patrons comfortable. and yes, those stools at ko really suck. - finally, i get the whole argument behind chang's low opinion of waiters and waitresses. in fact i think i agreed with it when i read that new yorker piece and that alan richman interview. but it wasn't until i dined at ko that i realized why you have a front of the house staff in the first place. it's to insulate you from all the negative energy behind the counter at ko. once again, i have to draw the comparison to degustation -- wes genovart is there cooking every night for a full house but still manages to crack a smile once in a while. these guys were like angry stone gargoyles all night long. the food at ko is good, but not that good. the funny thing is, i actually like the wait staff at both ssam bar and ko. they're nice, friendly people. too bad they're marginalized at both places. i tried to tip well at ko, but also tried to forget the fact that i was probably tipping the wrong people. i can't buy the excuse that my less than stellar experience that night was because the chang crew was out partying post james beard awards. that may be true (neither chang nor serpico were there cooking), but in the end it's a $100 meal. if you want to charge the big boy prices, you have to live up to them. if boulud was out till 4am doing tequila shots after getting the big prize, i don't think he would leave the C team to bang out the requisite number of covers the following day. for the money, i'd rather go to ssam bar. food is on par in terms of creativity and execution if not the ingredients utilized. seating is more comfortable, and i can actually drink wine (the heat at ko makes it impossible to enjoy more than the first few sips of any wine, after which it gets too warm). of course, they will definitely continue to fill those seats even after the inevitable price increases that I'm sure are coming. it's a pretty sweet gig actually, the three guys behind the counter served a full house on both our visits but never seemed to break a sweat. they spent as much time checking messages on their cellphones as they did cooking and serving customers. chang's definitely a commercial genius. he's found a way to take away the basic amenities of even the most generic restaurant experience while simultaneously charging as much or more than establishments that pride themselves on making those same customers happy. it's the food of course, and that's why i'll keep going to ssam. but here's one less person that'll be madly clicking at little check marks at 10am every morning.
  4. Just returned from another meal at Ko, the last one was about a month ago. I have to say I was rather disappointed this time around. They've raised the price from $85 to $100 for a meal, and somehow it feels as if things have gone downhill since my last visit. The same dishes were served, but this time no differentation between my companion and I. And maybe it was due to overly lofty expectations, but Ko failed to deliver this time around. The chefs were even more morose and introverted than usual. The waitresses were their usual exuberant selves, but they couldn't make up for the dour faces manning the stoves. The food seemed a little less exciting, though I'm sure that the loss of novelty played a role in my assessment of this most recent visit. But I can't help but wonder ,what justified the $15 price increase? The price of oil? Perhaps. Hubris? More likely. It's a slippery slope towards overexposure and blatant commercialism. With the awards and accolades and reviews, this crew is certainly suspecitble to both. Which is, for me, quite sad.
  5. foodhunter

    Bar Q

    agree with nathan's commentary, also after one visit a few weeks ago.. unagi fritters were as bad as described, tuna ribs were pathetic. i actually did not hate the pork wing and even enjoyed the do-it-yourself pork bun. also found the wine list rather interesting. but portion sizes were laughably small and yes, the amateurish service seemed to be a deeper problem than simply matter of a new restaurant getting its legs.
  6. what happened to the 10:00+ resi slots at Ko? only see 9:15 latest now.
  7. Is it really Crossabaw pork? I assumed that was a misspelling on the menu.
  8. The purported backdoor I was referring to was not for someone ITB, it was for a big spending regular. I have no problem with that per se, just with the whole "democratic" approach to dining that still seems to have room for a little bit of favoritism.
  9. How does being up at 10am clicking a mouse any different than you getting on the phone at 10am and hitting redial for an hour to get through to Babbo? It's the same methodology, just a different technology. The big different is there are back doors into Babbo. Calling someone you know, showing up at 10am to speak to the reservationist in person. Ko doesn't (or say they don't) have any back doors. Everyone treated equally. First come first serve (assuming you have a computer) ← Would it change the course of this discussion at all if it were discovered that back doors did exist at Momo Ko for regulars? I have heard there are, at least for their first week. But as I don't have any concrete information on this, may be best to leave it as a hypothetical.
  10. foodhunter


    Was here on Saturday and had a great time. Love this space, and the tiki drinks were brilliant. Actually quite nice to be sipping a mai tai in the midst of a New York winter. Was quite impressed with the service -- from hostess to sommelier -- considering they've been open just four days. Unfortunately the food was the one part I found lacking. Most selections looked good on paper but arrived either over or under seasoned (mostly over). Had the crab, pig's feet, lamb sausage, wild boar and sag paneer. Portions are small, more Craftbar than EU. I found myself wishing Akhtar would bring more of the latter than the former to Elettaria. That being said I would definitely go back, probably on a weekday. I figured a couple rounds at the bar, then take another stab at the menu when the place has had some time to settle down and the kitchen really starts humming. I'm confident it will get better.
  11. There is mass confusion concerning omakase outside of the Japan - it's really something that is lost/confused in translation. Chef's tasting is a bit different because it doesn't really change per person - a true omakase should. True to it's meaning, ordering omakase means you should get a guided tour of what's good and in season at that sushiya. Pricing should always be ($xx AND UP) - the price of an omakase is just a minimum, and it would only cost you that if you only want as many pieces as included in whatever the "stock" omakase is that day. And this is if you don't give the chef more information as to what you like and dislike or want to try that day. I've written about omakase ad nauseum in other threads. Either way, sitting at a table is not the best way to order omakase because your interface to the sushi chefs is your waiter. They can't see your face or mouth or general disposition, and this would explain the disconnect. Get your money's worth and sit at the bar. BUT, you've been there 10 times already! If you're resigned to a table, tell them what you like and don't like, and as long as you don't get the waiter in training, they should be able to assemble a great omakase for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omakase ← raji, to clarify, I've been to 15 east numerous times and have always sat at the sushi bar. masa seems to know my sushi preferences quite well, and we've discussed some of his more unique offerings on numerous occasions. my original question was more along the lines of what the various terminology on 15 east's menu refer to. ultimately what i'm looking for is exactly what you describe, an omakase meal that is tailor-made to my tastes and incorporating what is best that evening. when it comes to the sushi and sashimi portions of the meal, the 'chef's tasting' at 15 east deliver on that front. but i also get a lot of the kitchen stuff that i'm usually not too impressed with. so again, i'm trying to figure out how to communicate this to the staff. a previous post suggested ordering a sashimi plate and the sushi chef's tasting menu.. perhaps that is the way to go?
  12. Here's a question regarding 15 East's omakase (perhaps still relevant to this thread as it may be a general question regarding omakase at sushi restaurants that also have a number of hot kitchen items on the menu). Have been to 15 East probably close to 10 times since it's opened. Have always requested the omakase, or simply said 'yes' when our waiter asked if the chef should assemble our meal that evening. In the past, I always believed Masa put the line-up together, whether it be sushi bar or kitchen items. In the beginning, these were very creatively done, usually something new in the 'hot' category and often items not found on the menu. On my last few visits, it became apparent that the waiter was putting the omakase together -- i.e., selecting what came out of the kitchen and simply signaling Masa when it was time for the sushi bar to put out the next course (the sashimi platter or octupus, for example). And on my most recent visit, our waiter seemed overwhelmed at the idea of the chef's tasting menu altogether. They were slammed with customers that night, and it felt like the dishes were selected at random. And even on occasions when I've my best meals at 15 East (at the sushi bar), I've witnessed a haphazard approach to assembling the omakase for other tables in the dining room (based on the discussions I would overhear between the waiters and Masa). So I guess my question is one of terminology. At 15 East, is the omakase the same thing as the chef's tasting? According to the menu, it all seems to be the same price ($120). Should I be asking for the omakase and specifying that it only be of items from the sushi bar? My impression is there is another chef at work in the kitchen, and I've always been somewhat disappointed with the dishes that have come out of there (with the exception of Hideji Asanuma's soba).
  13. Why do you say the Beard House dinners are boring and rarely good? I've only been to one, featuring Elizabeth Karmel from Hill Country. I wasn't tremendously impressed, but chalked it up to theme (as pecan pie isn't really meant to be eaten as tartlets, and BBQ on a ceramic plate just looks plain wrong). I've considered attending more of the dinners to see what it's really all about, so I'm curious what you think.
  14. When did they start opening at 6pm? I hope that isn't temporary, as I found the 7pm opening time slightly late on certain occasions.
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