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Everything posted by sickchangeup

  1. Look forward to trying Kings Seafood - has anyone else been? ← here are some photos from king's to give you a better idea. a couple of tips. arriving before noon usually guarantees you a seat in the main dining room, and ordering specialty items from the main table requires patience on the weekends but well worth it. ← Those are great, and definitely look really good, thanks!
  2. That's a really good price. After checking the super pricey Citarella last week (12.99/lb for large, 9.99/lb for small), I checked the Lobster Place (still pricey, but much less so) and it was 7.99 a pound, all sizes (he said come Wednesday for the big boys). Pretty insane price for the middle of Manhattan at a high endish food place.
  3. sickchangeup

    Dinner! 2008

    Man I wish I could take pictures like you! That seafood looks beautiful and the photos show that really well.
  4. I agree with almost everything you wrote. In a vaccum, I'll take JG - in reality, I'll take JG, but it's much closer. Convenience/location is a heck of a thing :-) (although the Saturday lunch thing sways it all waaay back to JG again). One thing: I ordered one app and three entrees and was charged $28x2. You mentioned them charging $20 for an extra entree? This wasn't my experience. And yeah, I didn't have a shot at finish all that fennel, but too much of anything easily left uneaten didn't strike me as a complaint :-)
  5. sickchangeup

    Dinner! 2008

    The lobster was held at 141 until it was cooked through at that temp, which corresponds to medium if you are doing steak. So no part of it ever got above that temperature. The heart of the tail was indeed quite meaty, the mushy front part that looks more translucent wasn't great, but I think that's due to the tail having been frozen, and that part took the brunt of it. The middle at 141 was delightfully cooked, you could slice a solid piece through yet it remained tender. It was definitely fully cooked at that temperature. The flavor was also quite concentrated by the "in the bag" cooking. I'm happy with this temperature going forward, I'm only going to change the size and cut of the tail, not the temperature in the future.
  6. If the dim sum in Manhattan's Chinatown were better, I wouldn't want to pay CB prices either. But you know what? It's all pretty lousy down there, and I for one definitely appreciate the higher quality ingredients, including a very nice tea selection. As for service, it hasn't ever been great, but I do think the pretentiousness has dropped over time. There are only a couple of waiters who are great, and one hostess who is very friendly with us, but the rest have always just been ok - so despite service being good for me when I go, I wouldn't count that as a big plus in general for them. I think it just has to do with how you were brought up. My wife grew up with traditional style chinatown (not NY) dim sum, which is cheap, served in huge rooms with minimal fuss and decor. It took her a long time to get adjusted to the "faux imperial" vibe, better ingredients and (principally) higher prices at CB. Myself, I didn't grow up with dim sum and don't mind paying $30-$40/pp (we order a lot) given the clearly higher quality ingredients and craftsmanship involved. Initially my wife did mind it, and I'm still not sure she would want to take her family there if they visited, cause their initial reaction would likely be similar to hers. The funny thing is that this old/new school distinction exists in Hong Kong as well, to a far greater degree. The tourist guides still point you to the old school, no frills, cheaper ingredients/prices dim sum main stay of the city (mostly populated by older locals and tourists - a weird mix) while I've found myself far far more attracted to the newer, fancier and pricier places in town.
  7. sickchangeup

    Dinner! 2008

    A Goohickant! Sweet!! Holiday dinner at the sickchangeup household: Butter Poached Lobster Tail Sous-Vide @141, Russet & Caramelized Spanish Onion Rosti, Roasted Asparagus, Poached Egg, (melted butter off-screen!) I got one 10 ounce tail and one 8 ounce tail (pictured), but even 8 ounces turned out to be a bit too much food. I think next time, 8 ounce tails, then trimming off that protruding translucent/white part poking out the "front" will make for a better presentation. At Per Se they manage to somehow curl up the tail, I might try to pull that off next time, makes for a beautiful looking plate. The famous "No Knead" bread. Easy as pie to make, looks like a million bucks, makes the place smell nice... but requires salt & butter for good flavor.
  8. So wait. In the oven, low and slow. And then you blasted it in the oven at 500? And then torched it to finish? I'm not sure what step you took in between it being 122 after 2:45 and it being 125->130 before torching. That is one very nicely marbled piece of meat! I'm especially happy to see the "calotte" remain medium rare, that very frequently winds up more cooked than the rest. Very nice! As far as aging, I've found that upto 30, maybe 40 days you get a pretty consistent effect in the meat, but that after say 50 days or so, it really matters how/where/what is going on with the aging. Which is to say that a 65 day aged steak from Primehouse here in the city was dense and sour, whereas a 60 day aged steak from Craftsteak was very beefy and a little funky, but neither dense nor sour. The first was quite challenging for a newbie at the table, whereas the second was less so. A few steaks in the 50 day range varied similarly from barely affected to slightly challenging.
  9. Daily fresh good bread is what I find to be the hardest thing to find (a whole chain makes their living off this!) - or at least breads that you can only get in that one good sandwich shop. Options like onion rolls, egg bread, fresh/soft pumpernickel, sourdough loaves, rosemary ciabatta's, ficcelle's even something simple like whole wheat rolls & hoagie rolls are nice. Near my work, there is a place that makes a lot of their own meats (brisket, roast beef, turkey, various chickens etc..), slices all the meats to order, has a ton of cheeses to choose from, veggies of all kinds... but their breads are cheap and they suck. So I eat there a lot less often than I would otherwise. Worth noting that if they didn't slice to order, I would never eat there, I really like that they slice to order. So good or unique breads would be my guess as to your hardest challenge, since you aren't going to make your own, and presumably will have the same sources of bread as all the other places in your area. A popular mom and pop type shop near me also does really well showcasing their fresh roasted turkey every day (customers get to choose white/dark or both) and herbal mayo combo, that alone attracts a ton of people to eat there (they have good bread too).
  10. Took advantage of the day off to stop by EMP for lunch today. The menu is up on their website, although there was a change or two here and there. I inquired if I could add courses, and was told "certainly". Given that the menu is divided between appetizer and entree, I asked if it mattered whether I added one or the other, "no difference at all". Great! First off, apologies for the quality of the photos - they were taken on a blackberry storm. Octopus Salad with Avocado, Fennel and Satsuma Tangerine This dish was really great. The octopus was incredibly tender and intense, guessing this was wrapped up and cooked sous-vide. You can see the "roll" on the left there, a bunch of tentacles rolled up somehow and sliced horizontally. Great start. Next was the lobster roll (no photo posted), which frankly was a miss. The lobster, while exquisite when tasted, was buried under too much brioche bread and wrapped up in lettuce. It's always dangerous when a restaurant dives into the lobster or burger pool, cause the bar is set so high - I've eaten plenty at Mary's Fish Camp and Pearl Oyster Bar (my #1), and this didn't live up. The pommes were delicious though. Seafood Chowder with Potatoes, Leeks and Chorizo The piece of black bass in the middle there is really quite stunning. This was another simply delicious dish. You can spot a couple nantucket bay scallops at the top and a piece of squid on the right. Very satisfying. I finished with the boudin blanc (no photo posted) which was huge, this was another slam dunk. The seckel pear is red wine poached, and once again, all the flavors were really in sync. Cheese Course This was served compliments of the house, and was very good. The piece on the top is a goat's milk cheese (didn't catch the name), beneath that is a swiss gruyere, and beneath that is a pistachio-fig bar. On the right is a delicious Roquefort "butter", and it came with fruit & nut bread. For dessert I ordered the souffle in an attempt to let them hang themselves at the end by serving some sort of bastard cake version. Instead they brought out a beautifully fluffy and elegantly risen souffle, the real deal! The passion fruit get's poured into the middle at serving, which is a first for me (usually they leave whatever sauce on the side for you to help yourself). To be fair, this was just a good souffle, but I was pretty excited none the less. Service was fantastic as well, it was a slow day and the staff were definitely able to focus (and did) better on everyone. Supposedly things got a little crazy right before their break (they were closed 24/25), as the waiter said the place was packed to the gills. Was happy to catch the place on a quiet day. In a continued search for why this place didn't "star", I can really only take fault with the decor, which seems badly dated. The leaves painted around and the rest of the detailing on the wood around the room look amateurish and the walls/ceiling look a little faded, the room could use a little freshening up I think. But that's a pretty minor complaint given the bounty of light flooding into the room. Oh, and yes - the bill for the food was $28x2 :-)
  11. The wait on a Sunday night at 7pm for 2 was just over an hour. When we left around 9 things were probably worse, or at least as bad at they were from 7-8. The place is still kicking ass, can't be too long until expansion occurs somewhere in that area right? Tried both the pork buns (while waiting at the bar) and the chicken buns. Both come with mayo (guessing kewpie) and cabbage leaves, which I far prefer to the pickle/hoisin combination. Pork was the best. The "almond tofu" dessert was also incredibly good, we ordered a second one as soon as we tasted the first.
  12. They were on the bar menu today at Ippudo. We didn't try them, but if anyone wants to try them, they are currently on the menu.
  13. It was pretty awful today. Dehydrated tangerine slice with lime gelee. Literally bad, it tasted like the tangerine juice had turned. The other two were the same, and very good as usual. Same, the change from cod to halibut was announced at the start of the meal. We had a 2:30pm reservation, and I was able to appreciate the renovation in a new way (for me) as a result. With the winter months, it starts getting dark around 3:30, so I was able to see a very solid progression in the 2-2.5 hours we dined. When it's lunch time, and 100% daylight, the room is white and silver, very wintery (even in the summer). But as it starts getting dark, the gold off the chandelier sconces start becoming more pronounced, and as it moves to dark, that golden color starts to flood the ceiling as well. When we left, it was a pretty different room, shimmering with gold rather than silver and dark out, which I felt was a very nice touch. Moderator's Note: A new Jean Georges and Nougatine topic, starting in January, 2009, may be found by clicking here.
  14. Chris - thanks. I searched around, and found that code L8FAV28 at checkout from the jardenstore.com website knocks it down from 99.99 to 59.99. I followed this link from amazon: http://www.foodsaver.com/Product.aspx?id=s&cid=0&pid=443 Mine is on it's way, $60 is hard to beat!
  15. That strikes me as an awfully literal—even anal-retentive—reason to disqualify Craft, assuming one agrees that it's "about the best ingredients cooked perfectly." ← Here, I'll add one of these to the sentence I wrote above in an effort to downgrade from anal-retentive back to just being awfully literal: Although come to think of it, Peter Luger goes the "best ingredients, perfectly cooked, nothing arrives on your plate ever" route to receive their Star and isn't "disqualified" for that reason alone, so presumably Craft isn't being docked solely for their approach.
  16. That distinction is an important point/question to raise, and in the case of Craft, the answer IMO is no. Craft is about the best ingredients, cooked perfectly, then (to simplify) put in a staub dish and plopped into the middle of the table. Taken literally, nothing arrives on your plate, ever. Compare that, with say... something insanely french like the Bocuse D'or dishes. It's assumed that the best ingredients cooked perfectly is simply where you must begin in order to even have a spot on the field, but to end there and just plop down the ingredients on the table at that point without further ado seems puzzling at best from that perspective. I love the place myself, but it's not worth breaking out the town bell (in the original spirit of the Michellin Guides) and crying "Over here! They know how to source and prepare their ingredients properly! You've got to see this!" Or compare what it takes to get to "what's on the plate" when you see perfectly roasted scallops in a staub dish on the one hand, and the now popular blog entries of "I spent 10 hours cooking, and only made 1 skimpy dish" that you get when people cook food from Per Se & Alinea on the other.
  17. *raises insane hand* I routinely ask the butcher to grind up aged steaks that they cut right off the sub-primals. I don't get $40+/lb meat often enough that I pass up eating it in steak form (if I did, I would), but for the upto $20/lb meats that I can find around me, I regularly ask them to grind it up. I usually go at least 50% aged sirloin before adding in strip or ribeye, depending mainly on what's tangy-er that day. 25-30% fat, 2 passes, then run home and cook it (to stay topical to the thread - cough) Part of my justification (apart from loving burgers, and eating them mostly without addons) is that there are so many steps involved in technique to crank out a great home burger, that I feel I owe it to myself to start out with the best meat I can find.
  18. Given your menu: Classic Jumbo Shrimp cocktail. I only suggest this cause a) It's VERY opulent (assuming big enough shrimp) and b) is made ahead of time. Take jumbo-extra-colossal shrimp, brine for a couple of hours in salt and a little sugar, broil on both sides then chill. You would need U10 shrimp for this, U6 if you have big eaters. Serve with a slice of lemon and store bought cocktail sauce with fresh horseradish mixed in.
  19. Just checked Citarella, an expensive Gourmet foodstore in Manhattan: "large" live Maine lobsters: $12.99/lb "small" live Maine lobsters: $9.99/lb Guessing that means that a 1.5lb lobster goes for $15, while a 3lb lobster goes for $39.
  20. This is my current "goto" easy dessert: http://aveceric.com/2008/08/08/raspberry-clafouti/ I can literally make it after dinner, especially with a little mis-en-place, or an extra hand, although not even that is necessary. I've made it probably 5-6 times. I've used stone fruits and berries, most recently lightly cooked cranberries with some sugar and oj. Raw berries are fine, I just cooked the cranberries to remove the tartness. Also, be more careful if you make a single large batch, the cooking and cooking time is much trickier, since this is somewhat like a super easy souffle in a way. I think individual is the way to go.
  21. sickchangeup

    Dinner! 2008

    How did you cook it? Time and temp - any seasonings in the bag? How did it turn out?
  22. I've cooked meat from both Otomanelli and now Florence. I think they are both great butcher shops, and in fact it's where I go for my meat. But having said that they don't compare to Lobell's on either quality or price - both of which are a lot higher at Lobell's. The one thing that irks me about Florence is that they really claim the meat you are buying is prime, when I don't see how it could be. Dry Aged Prime Shell Steak just doesn't go for $17/lb, and the marbling isn't at the prime level (it's very high quality marbling for choice however). At Otomanelli my guy at least semi-admitted it wasn't, saying they just try to get the best meat they can for the by the pound prices they offer, saying sometimes it's choice, other times it's prime. That to me is sound reasoning, and I appreciated it far more than being told the meat I was buying for $17/lb without sensational marbling was prime beef. It's a minor quibble, doesn't keep me from shopping there, cause it's still nice to measure your steak off a primal and have them cut it like they do at Florence. And you are getting good value for what you're paying, which matters far more than what the label says. But if marbling is your thing and price is no object, these two don't hang with Lobell's IMO. I'll have to give Jeffrey a shot next time I saunter over to Shopsin's for a meal.
  23. Any chance you could take a stab at which four places? That would be great to find them, at whatever price.
  24. How thick/long is this thing? Does you butcher have a vacuum sealer? My instinct when seeing a) Low and Slow and b) Seeing the 100% beautifully uniform red center (i.e. not like a bullseye pattern/degrade of greys to red) on sous-vided steak is that it would make one hell of a prime rib. The main concern is if you want to cook it whole, where can it fit.
  25. Yeah, I did that. 1.75" 21 day age boneless shell steak. 3 hours @131F in S-V. Then finished by following FG's method of medium heat, and going fat strip first. This I just left on for as long as I felt it was needed, since it wasn't really cooking the steak any. Then I switched to the presentation side, but didn't go the full 10 minutes cause I was worried about overcooking. I actually brushed the pan and steak with avocado oil first before throwing knobs of butter into the pan and basting at medium-high heat. On the second side, I only left it a minute or so, removing it cause I didn't want to move beyond the medium rare. Worked beautifully, although I'm not a good photog: The steak out of the pan, resting. On the plate. Takes about a minute for the meat to turn red, was worried when I first cut into the meat cause it was brown. But after oxygen get's to it, it goes rosey. I feel I can actually leave the steak in the pan for a little longer next time, cause I gave the meat a long enough rest out of the bag that it was fine to push it a little harder than I did, for an even nicer crust. I'm pretty certain I'll be going this route in the future, assuming I have 3+ hours to do it of course. I'm not one to allow myself to eat the fat rim, but if I was (or if I snuck a bite)... man, that fat is (theoretically) good eats after SV, the third through fifth pieces above show it quite nicely.
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