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Everything posted by heightsgtltd

  1. We too were bummed that some of the best places were either closed, or not convenient to get to this trip!! Sorry you had a mixed experience at Franco but that rings true with our meal. I am surprised you enjoyed Nello but maybe you had a better night there than we did. On one of our last days, we had perhaps the best meal of the entire trip. Very simple good food that was very close to our hotel. It's called Trattoria Serghei, and is on a small side street right off of Augstus Righi about 2 blocks off of Independenza. It's been in business for about 45 years, brother and sister run the room, and mom is in the back cooking as she has been forever. The quality of the food here was amazing, and the prices were way cheaper than almost anywhere else we went in Bologna. I highly recommend this place for food, service and feel. We also thoroughly enjoyed the gelato we had at two places. Sorbetteria Castiglione and I believe the other place was called Moroni. Some of the best we have ever tasted. I dont think I mentioned this, but we also did a pasta cooking class with a wonderful woman and her daughter in their apt. that was one of the highlights of the entire trip. www.bluone.com is their website and it was a memorable experience on a number of levels. With the disclaimer that we were unable to go to Marco Fadiga in bologna and some places outside of Bologna that are supposed to be good (e.g., Imola) I have to say that the food overall in Bologna was not so great. The people at the cooking school were loathe to recommend any places which should have been a tip off.. That being said, we had a great trip overall and want to come back to the area though next time will probably stay and eat outside of Bologna.. I'll add more recommendations as they come to me..
  2. Well I can happily say that Caminetto D'Oro did not disappoint for lunch. We kept it simple, and they had great tagliatelle Bolognese. Not to mention, the service was very cordial and professional. I can highly recommend this and I am glad to see that it has held up from other people's experiences!! I think we are going to try and go to Melloncello this evening.
  3. WEll we spent the day in Ravenna which was great and had a late lunch at Ca de Ven which was good, but Nello was average to below average last night.. The artichike mushroom and truffle salad was ok, but it went downhill quickly from there. Everything was in a heavy sauce, the veal was like something I could get at a corner deli in Manhattan only not as good. I have to say, we have been very disappointed with the food here. Again, we are not expecting cutting edge cuisine, just good traditional meals which we havent really found for the most part. I'll check out some of the suggestions that you guys have made, thanks!
  4. We've only been here about 24 hours but I have two things to report. The restaurant in the wonderful hotel we are staying in (I portici) was just ok. We were exhausted and didnt want to stray too far from the place and it was Christmas eve. It was more on the contemporary side, and in our opinion too expensive for the quality. We ate lunch at Franco Rossi today and that was also expensive and not particularly good. I had heard that food had taken something of a downturn in Bologna but I am hopeful that we will have better experiences once we go to some of the more highly recommended places. We are supposed to go to Montegrappa Da Nello this evening and will report back with a review... Caminetto d'oro has been closed for the past two days but I think will open tomorrow.
  5. Thought I'd bump this thread. My wife and I will also be in Bologna over Christmas and New Years I am unclear as to what will be closed and what will be open when it comes to restaurants. We are particularly excited about having simple great food there as we get opportunities to have cutting edge stuff in NYC
  6. We had the 12 course and they were very generous so I think its the style of the restaurant. Regarding the wine, I dont remember exactly, but we did a half bottle and then some by the glass. I think there were wines in the 12-20 per glass range and then obviously much more but dont quote me on that
  7. I really enjoyed the meals I had a Gilt when he was cooking there. It was progressive, but still tasted really good.
  8. Probably closer to Alinea than Le Bernardin, but again, not really comparable to either. The restaurant was not full, but I don't think they're taking reservations for the full dining room yet (I think they've only opened a little more than half of the 20 or so tables). I'm not sure whether it will be insanely difficult to get in or not. My sense is that it won't be that hard to get in until you start seeing more MSM coverage of the restaurant. Once the Chicago Magazines Phil Vettels of the world start coming out with their reviews, this could become a very difficult reservation (not Schwa difficult, but probably about the same as Alinea). ← Yeah when we were there, they told us that they were only operating at about 50% capacity as they get up to speed.
  9. There is most definitely a "modern" aesthetic at a lot of these restaurants that can come across as a bit cold to those who don't like that style. However, I found the staff at L2O were very warm and friendly. In my experience traveling through Europe and going to similar level restaurants, there were a good number of places that had a similar design aesthetic.
  10. Right, but to offer this for dinner suggests that business is not what it should be. The next step would be brunch!
  11. ← Ulterior, this is really surprising. Atelier is one of my favorite places in NYC, but it's not known for being affordable.
  12. Hey Ulterior, The regular menu was not as good as the grand tasting. From what I remember, some of the pastas were good, and some of the roasted meats were good, but there were hits and misses in contrast to the tasting.
  13. I'll try and write a more detailed review when I have some time as we are heading back to NYC today. The meal at L2O last night was nothing short of amazing. I would put it in the top 5 meals I have ever eaten. We did the 12 course tasting menu, and from the moment we entered the restaurant, the experience was sublime. The service is outstanding. Everyone is intelligent, knowledgeable and a pleasure to interact with. As you can see from the photos above, the space is really modern and clean. You dont feel like you are on top of other diners. The staff strike the difficult balance between being there when you want to, and disappearing when you want that too. As previously mentioned, the wine list is excellent. There are reasonably priced choices in both half and full bottle sizes. The sommelier really knew his stuff, and our waiter had more than a working knowledge of the ingredients for each dish. As for the food, where do I begin. It was really exceptional. There was not a single dud, or even something that wasn't great at any point in the meal. This was the antithesis to our Alinea experience. Chef Gras is definitely pushing the envelope but in a way that allows you to be anchored to food that really tastes great. My wife and I who have eaten at great places throughout the world, enjoyed flavors and textures that were brand new to us. The tasting menu was ingeniously planned, and had a real flow to the courses. I'll try to write more later about specific dishes, but this is a place that is not to be missed!
  14. I concur that the degree that Achatz goes to regarding experimentation greatly exceeds what Humm is doing. However on multiple meals at EMP I have enjoyed food that used techniques that did push the boundaries and qualifies for experimentation. My point is that others including Humm, do experiment and do not need to further complicate matters with apparatuses. They let the food speak for itself. At times my meal at Alinea felt like installation art without purpose. Incidentally, our tour was quite similar to Ronnie's judging by the photos. Great photos Ronnie! I'll write more about this in the proper thread, but my meal at L2O last night qualified as one of the best I have ever eaten. Chef Gras used interesting innovative techniques, some that reminded me of things that Achatz is doing but in contrast everything tasted really good. It is a different type of restaurant to be sure, but I enjoyed flavors and textures that I had never eaten before which I'd say were pushing the envelope.
  15. We are headed to L2O tonight for dinner but I would be happy to tell you more about my thoughts. Regarding the level of control, I am not convinced that forward-thinking or more experimental cuisine also requires experimental plating, utensils, etc. To me, that seems more theatrics than anything else. In other words, you dont need to give up control to eat food that pushes the envelope, but you do if that food is being served in a way that requires instruction and at times potentially dangerous metal sticks. One of my favorite restaurants in NYC, 11 Madison Park has dishes that in some ways are as experimental as what Achatz does, but atr served with more conventional utensils. I also became fatigued at having discussions, not about ingredients, but about how to eat foods at every single course. I dont mind instructions regarding the direction to eat something on a plate, but it just got ridiculous after a while. Lastly, the servers were somewhat smug about their instructions as if I should feel privileged to be told. I have heard some people say that it is part of the "show," but it just made me not want to play. I thought the Yuba, White Asparagus, Spring garlic, hot potato and truffle explosion were standouts. One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that the seasoning was way off for some dishes. This was true for the Lobster and Wagyu especially which could have been better. That is not acceptable at this level of restaurant. As far as misses, the Sorrel and Chocolate desserts were pretty bad, as were the short rib, ice fish and chicken skin. Other dishes ranged from just ok, to mediocre. In reading over the menu again now, I am reminded of the unevenness of the meal. Curious to hear if others share some of my sentiments.
  16. As unpopular as this may be, I need to voice a dissenting opinion. I am from NYC here in Chicago on vacation and had dinner the other night at Alinea. My wife and I have eaten at restaurants all over the world, both traditional and experimental so we are not strangers to stretching ourselves when it comes to food. I am a fan of less traditional techniques so this was a meal that I was really looking forward to. While we found the experience at Alinea to be interesting and at times fun, we both came away ultimately unimpressed and disappointed. We had the tour 24 course tasting menu, which may be one of the reasons that we came away unimpressed. There were a few dishes that were memorable, but nothing was really fabulous in the way that great food can taste. Perhaps with fewer courses, there is less of an opportunity for misteps. I understand that the intention is to challenge diners, but in my opinion you need some anchors within that framework that do the opposite to be successful. There were no moments in the meal that were not challenges. Even the desserts had way too many competing flavors that were inharmonious at best. We also didnt appreciate the level of control that is exerted over the diners (e.g., constant instructions on how to eat things, vessels that cant be put down, warnings about orbs that can explode all over your clothing if you are not careful). The novelty of the apparatuses that ranged from benign, to somewhat hostile and potentially dangerous wore off after the first couple of courses. Lastly, the bread was really terrible. This was a surprise as I had not heard negative reviews before, but it was laughably bad.. I am glad that we had an opportunity to eat there, but we were really expecting a more positive experience.
  17. well I have a res tonight at L20, and being from NYC, I have eaten at Bernardin a bunch of times. Bernardin is very traditional, it seems the only comparison to L2O would be the use of seafood as a main ingredient. IMHO, Bernardin is good, but not great. Daniel Hume at 11 Madison Park does fish as good or better, and the overall meal and experience there is almost peerless. To throw more logs on the fire, I ate the other night at Alinea and left unimpressed and disappointed. I know I am in the minority when it comes to this belief, but while interesting, it was not the be all and end all by any means. I feel this way for a variety of reasons. I am however really looking forward to L20, as I have eaten Chef Gras' food at Peacock Alley in NY and it was exceptional.
  18. Atwood Cafe is right in the hotel, and it's very good indeed. There are lots of other good places in the area, including Vivere and Trattoria No. 10 for Italian food, and Pizano's on Madison for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Neither one sixtyblue nor North Pond is open for lunch (although North Pond is open for Sunday brunch). Both of the Bayless restaurants are open for lunch during the week, and Frontera Grill is open for Saturday brunch. If you're looking for a contemporary American restaurant near downtown open for lunch during the week, in addition to Atwood Cafe in the hotel, I suggest Blackbird. Incidentally, I have eaten at both one sixtyblue and North Pond within the past six months. Both were excellent, my two favorite casual fine dining restaurants in the city. If I had to describe them, one sixtyblue continues to serve the very best food of any such restaurant, in a classy contemporary setting; North Pond serves excellent food in an exquisite, unique setting in the middle of Lincoln Park. ← Thanks for the tips! I will try to work some in for lunch. I now have reservations at Nort Pond and at the soon to open L2o which I couldnt pass up. Laurent Gras is an AMAZING chef. His work at Peacock Alley in NYC was seriously some of the best cooking going on in NYC, and the restaurant was a sleeper. Many didnt know about him or how good it was. I am only going to be in Chicago from Thursday night through Monday morning...looks like it is going to be a jam packed food fest
  19. Peter, you are right - it does appear that Chef Gras (and his team) are sparing no expenses. I look forward to hearing about the opening. u.e. ← I am heading out to Chicago at the end of may, now I have a resy at Alinea, North Pond and L2o I was a huge fan of his cooking in NYC at Peacock Alley. It was a sleeper restaurant.
  20. While I haven't done TKC yet, I have eaten there in the past couple months as a "regular" diner and was not impressed in the least. I hope it is better than what I experienced.
  21. Thanks for your reply. The trip will be end of May. What's the story with Schwa?
  22. Bump! Hey guys, While I have read the thread, I am a NYC egulleter checking in with one of the obligatory where to eat posts.. I have a res at Alinea (really excited) and am curious about brunch/lunch dining options near Hotel Burnham where we will be staying. Having read the thread, I am thinking of checking out Onesixtyblue and/or North Pond at some point (e.g., lunch or dinner) and hopefully one of the Bayless restaurants as well. Thanks in advance for any recos, and if there are any new places that are worth checking out that havent been mentioned recently please post em up Thanks in advance!
  23. heightsgtltd


    How did you respond? ← I forgot to add that this was on our way out after we had paid the check and left the table. I gave him a funny look and said "Nothing was amazing, but there were a few things that we really liked." I then within earshot of both he and another "captain," proclaimed that I really dislike insincerity and if I really didn't like the meal they would have heard something that they weren't bargaining for.
  24. Portions were not too large, about what you'd expect for a tasting menu. didn't feel overstuffed or too full. We are actually heading back tonight to celebrate a family member's birthday. I will update on how the regular menu is...
  25. heightsgtltd


    We ate here about 1 week ago. The food was pretty good, but the dishes felt a bit dated as did the decor. Service was good for the most part, but we were asked by one of the captains in the most insincere way possible, "what was the most amazing part of your meal."
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