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Everything posted by ellenost

  1. I can vouch for the no preference in reservations at Momofuku Ko. Just tried this morning, and I was shut out (again).
  2. This to me comes about as close to zero value added as possible. No help with reservations, no extra food, no special food, no special treatment other than a smile and conversation. Which isn't to say it isn't worth eating at Momofuku Ko ten, twelve or more times. It just means that what you get for your investment is simply that number of meals at Momofuku Ko. You don't get anything more of notable value, as you would at most restaurants at that price point. ← I like to think of dining at Momofuku Ko as excellent value since I'm dining at a restaurant that serves creative and delicious cuisine. I love the fact that Ko's menu is always changing. There are a number of restaurants that simply never change their menu (or change it very infrequently), that the continually changing menu makes frequent visits to Ko very valuable to me.
  3. If Alex is open, definitely try it (it's my favorite restauarant in LV). I wasn't particularly thrilled with The Mansion. I dined there the night after Alex, and it couldn't hold a candle to Alex. I did love Le Cirque at the Bellagio (even though I'm not a big fan of the NYC version of Le Cirque).
  4. I've been a regular at Momofuku Ko (about a dozen times in the past year), and while I don't receive any special/extra/free courses, there is definitely a recognition/friendliness factor from the staff. For instance, if the chefs have changed a course, they sometimes ask me whether I like it. I brought my sister with me for the first time, and the staff was very welcoming to her. I've also been a regular at Aureole during the past six years. It will be interesting to see whether my "status" will change in their new location. They've recently changed chefs (Christopher Lee took over at the end of 2008). The prior two chefs were always very friendly to me and my sister (they would come down from the kitchen and chat with us); many times we would receive extra courses. The sommelier also changed two years ago. The former sommelier became like a brother to us; we would sometimes receive complimentary tastings for special occasions. I've just learned that Aureole's long-time maitre d' has left; he also was "family" to us, and we always looked forward to seeing him. To me, he was the "heart" of Aureole, and he will definitely be missed. I think we saw the new maitre d' at Aureole's preview cocktail party last week--the "warmth" factor was almost frozen. I imagine (or hope) that when I return to Aureole after they re-open in a few weeks, I will be treated nicely, but I know it will take a while to regain my "regular status". I guess the moral of the story is that one's regular status depends on the constancy of the staff.
  5. Correction: the cold broth was dashi.
  6. I just had another fabulous dinner at Ko last night. Finally I had the famous deep fried short ribs--they were marvelous and deserve their fame. I've never had short ribs that were so soft and flavorful. Usually the short ribs that I've had tend to be stringy, chewy and overdone. Not the short ribs at Ko: they were rosy and was nicely marbled with a bit of fat to give it the great taste. I was sitting where the chef was slicing all of the short ribs, and they all looked gorgeous. They were truly melt in your mouth good. I think someone has posted that the short ribs are first cooked sous vide before the deep frying. I'm tempted to try to get another reservation soon in hopes of trying them again. Good news on the wine front: Ko is now serving wines by the glass. They have a good selection covering sparkling, whites and reds. I had a 2 glasses of a delicious German Riesling that went very well with all of the courses. Ko now is offering only one wine pairing at dinner; I think the price is $95. I've had the wine pairings, and while the choices are excellent, it is too much wine for me. I like the idea that I can choose wines by the glass. I might actually branch out and try wines other than Riesling and Champagne. All of the other courses were wonderful too. A few favorites of mine remain: the shaved foie gras torchon with the pinenut brittle, lychee and Riesling gelee; the soft boiled egg with Hackleback caviar, mini potato chips and onion; the fluke with the buttermilk and poppyseeds; the cream cheese coated guava sorbet; and the funnel cake with the black sesame ice cream (although I do wish they would change the ice cream--they had awhile back a wonderful apple sorbet). A few new dishes included a cold broth (sorry that I can't remember -- mirin(?)) with the sweetest peas and uni; soft shell crabs (and I normally don't even like soft shell crabs); tempura fried shrimp; and a nice scallop dish.
  7. Now it will be more difficult to obtain a reservation.
  8. Just returned from our visit to Charleston, and Charleston is definitely a great food city! Great dinners at Magnolias (fried green tomatoes, scallops with bacon cream and balsamic vinegar, fried shrimp, house made potato chips with crumbled blue cheese, beef filets); Peninsula Grill (lobster and corn soup and grilled shrimp--coconut cake was fine--I'm not a coconut cake fan); Jestines (fried chicken was dry and overfried); Diana's (delicious steak panini with parmesan/truffle fries); Charleston Grill (excellent foie gras over waffle with huckleberry sauce and cream, shrimp and scallops were great, curry icecream was superb!); very good breakfasts at Joseph's on Meeting Street (omelettes and beignets).
  9. Sorry to inform you, but unfortunately Ko doesn't have wines by the glass. They used to have some nice offerings in the half bottle range, but I was there yesterday for lunch, and my half bottle choices (Prum Riesling and a Gerwertz) have been eliminated. I ordered a full bottle of Riesling and drank what I wanted (still less than the $95 pairing).
  10. I'm going to Charleston for the first time next week. I have reservations at both Peninsula Grill and Charleston Grill. Looking for two dinner/lunch suggestions for the rest of the days (total 5). Also, I'm looking for breakfast recommendations that are within walking distance from the French Quarter Inn (we won't have a car). We're staying during the week, so we won't be able to have Sunday brunch. Thanks for your recommendations.
  11. I recently had a great dinner at Aureole with Chef Christopher Lee at the helm. He's doing great things at Aureole. I have another dinner planned at Aureole in a few weeks. I'll report back.
  12. ellenost


    completely agree on bouley's food being one of my formative fine-dining experiences. (other than jl palladin at watergate) my 1st real big deal meal was bouley about 15 years ago. i'm planning on having lunch at the new iteration tomorrow but this thread has me worried. any words of hope, or should i head elsewhere while downtown? ← I had a great dinner at the new Bouley in February. Food was delicious and service was very attentive. New decor is exquisite. Definitely do not change your lunch plans. Only thing else that I can add is that I am jealous (wish I was going). Hope you have a wonderful time. Please report back about your lunch.
  13. Thanks for your report. I'd love to hear about the menus/dishes you had at each restaurant. Were the dining rooms at Alex and Le Cirque reasonably full of diners? Certainly the economy is hurting all the restaurants in Las Vegas and the rumors over the demise of Bar Charlie and Restaurant Charlie have been circulating for some time. But one element of the high-end Las Vegas restaurant trade that aids in their survival during these tough economic times is the hotel money that backs them up. Many of these places are "lost-leaders" that don't generate enough revenue on their own to stay open-even in good times. Yet part of the "mirage" if you will, of a hotel like The Palazzo is to have a restaurant row of expensive, stylish, restaurants like Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie. And yes, even with only two customers, and sagging revenues from gaming, some executives will tell you that it still makes sense for the Palazzo "brand" to keep supporting these restaurants. ← Of the three restaurants, Le Cirque was the most full (probably about 80%). At Le Cirque I had the seared foie gras appetizer, the duck breast entree and the floating islands for dessert. Service was very attentive. At Alex (my favorite restaurant), I was offered two different amuses with four tastings each, followed by another amuse of fluke with ossetra caviar. My first course were the scallops (highly recommended by my captain) that were delicious, followed by the duck breast that was even better than that at Le Cirque since it was paired with foie gras. My dessert was a strawberry tasting which went well with my dinner. The sommelier paired wines for my courses that were perfect choices. Service was perfect. At Bar Charlie, I chose the 8 course menu that offered very generous sized courses. The first few were more sashimi styled and I thought I might be hungry at the end. I was wrong; the courses progressed in size, and by the time I reached the final savory course of pork belly, I was too full to make much of a dent. Everything was delicious. My favorites included all of the sashimi style dishes of tuna, snapper and trout. The chef said that Chef Trotter is opeing a new restaurant in NYC styled after the restaurants in Las Vegas. I think they'll do much better in NYC. Since there were only two diners, service was very attentive. For a change of pace, I went to BLT Burger and had a great burger (the BLT Burger) that was perfectly pink. I had the sweet potato fries that were great. Finished by the coffee milkshake with chocolate syrup and oreos. All I can say is "Yummy".
  14. I've just returned from a short vacation in Las Vegas. Dinner highlights were: Alex (naturally), Le Cirque, and Bar Charlie. All were delicious! Depressed economy is definitely noticed: only 2 diners at Bar Charlie the entire evening. All of these restaurants serve delicious and creative food; service is excellent also at all of them. My most favorite of the three is Alex.
  15. ellenost


    The food board community is overwhelmingly skewed towards less expensive places (sort of like the world in general). A place like Corton, with Liebrandt at the helm, naturally gets attention. But it's telling that most people wouldn't even know the chef's name at Gilt, unless they look it up. Gilt may be doing great stuff (I had a very nice meal there under Chef Lee), but it has flown under the radar since Paul left. ← Chef Lee is now at my favorite restaurant, Aureole, doing great things there too.
  16. ellenost

    Per Se

    There's availability on OpenTable for a party of 2 at 9:00 tonight at Per Se. (Never thought I'd see that--must be a sign of the times).
  17. Without any hesitation, I recommend Alex at the Wynn. (I'm from NYC, and am returning to LV in three weeks, and the first reservation I made is for Alex (my third visit)). Robuchon is vastly overrated; so much so that last year I dined at Alex one evening, and Robuchon the next evening, and Robuchon was almost forgettable--except for the bill!. By the way, I class SF as one of best places for dining!
  18. ellenost

    Per Se

    It seems to be a special menu; I just checked the Per Se website and they list the menu for yesterday that is the traditional 9 course. How much was this special menu? Do you need to request it in advance? Looks wonderful (although the regular 9 course menu did have some things that weren't on your menu that also sounded wonderful (rack of lamb and the duck breast). I'm glad you all had a good time!
  19. ellenost

    Per Se

    I've noticed the same thing too on OpenTable for a few restaurants. From other postings I am certain that if you call Per Se directly they can accommodate a solo diner. It may be a "quirk" in the OpenTable system that some restaurants don't permit a party of one reservation.
  20. ellenost


    I just had a wonderful dinner at Aureole. Chris Lee is the new chef (formerly from Gilt). His cuisine is tremendously creative and delicious. Two amuses started off the dinner. My favorite was the fried oyster with mushroom veloute. My appetizer was an unexpected choice for me: Poached Farm Egg with White Corn Grits, Porcini Mushroom, Prosciutto Di Parma. The flavors worked very well together. The grits were very creamy. My entree was another unusual selection for me: Australian Venison Tenderloin Sweet Potato Puree, Macadamia Nuts, Spiced Chocolate Sauce and Pomegranate. All of the separate components sounded so "yummy" that I had to try this dish. I'm very pleased to report that the dish worked brilliantly! I could taste the individual flavors, yet they worked in true harmony with each other. The venison itself was soft and very flavorful, and not at all gamey. My dessert was the Meyer Lemon Chiffon with Frozen Sheep's Milk Yogurt, and Citrus sections. This was a winner for me since it was so refreshing and light. Service was impeccable: attentive and warm. I look forward to many return visits. They move to their new location across from Bryant Park in mid-May.
  21. ellenost


    How many visits is this based on? ← At least half dozen visits to each restaurant.
  22. ellenost


    I am not sure what you're comparing it to, because Bouley currently is offering fewer choices than any comparable restaurant, and no one yet has suggested it is better than all of the comparable restaurants—JG or LeB, for instance. ← I've dined at both JG and Le Bernardin, and can easily recommend Bouley over both JG and Le Bernardin. I've always found both the decor and service a bit frosty at both JG and Le Bernardin. Food is also better at Bouley.
  23. ellenost


    Actually, there may have been more. The Chef's tasting menu looked so delicious that I really didn't pay that much attention to the "a la carte" menu. There were at least 6.
  24. Brilliant report! Thanks a million for posting your very detailed description of the courses. It sounds so good, I'll treat my sister to this dinner!
  25. I had the Eleven last Friday: hors d'ourvres (5) gateau of salmon, caviar, and (I think) creme fraiche w/ little crepes spheres of chevre and beet juice (the former in OO, the latter in a vinaigrette) ceviche of fruits du mer in Tsatsuma dressing, w/ tarragon and blood orange caviars mille-feuille of foie gras, chicken, black truffle; mushroom brioche Coconut poached turbot w/Madras curry shellfish nage, peanuts, ginger Orange-butter-poached lobster, crustacean sabayon, pures of celery and Meyer lemon Sous vide pheasant breast, verjus jus, riesling poached grapes, granola, celery root (I think) puree Beef tenderloin w/glazed shortribs, jerusalem artichoke (shaved, pureed, red-wine-poached, and one other way), guanciale tuile, bordelaise sauce cheese cart Miso sorbet, shiso foam, pineapple puffed rice Chocolate cake w/gianduia mousse and espresso sponge; hazelnut ice cream and praline mignardises (7) That tracks the shorter tasting menu pretty closely, though there are a few items that aren't anywhere on the menu. On the whole, I thought it was a very impressive performance. The turbot was particularly good, and the constrast between the flesh and skin of the pheasant was spectacular. Service was first-rate. ← Sounds wonderful! My sister has been promising me a visit to EMP. With this menu, I think I'll let her.
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