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Everything posted by gastrodamus

  1. yes, degus is dinner only. the 3-course prix fixe at l'ecole is a great lunch option if you haven't been. for thai, sripraphai in woodside is probably the best option. try the pork leg w/mustard greens if you go. in manhattan, wondee siam I has a fantastic secret menu. favorites are mieng ka na (dried pork salad w/chinese broccoli leaves), watercress w/crispy pork and pork kra prao (order w/a fried egg). wondee siam II has similar off-the-menu items but not the same. saha thai is relatively unknown but chef nong is incredibly nice and will make off-the-menu kra prao (don't forget the egg) upon request. her fragrant beef noodle soup is also excellent. i haven't been to rhong tiam yet but have heard good things.
  2. as pan wrote, degus doesn't have a site and neither does kyo ya. both of these restaurants are easy to miss from the sidewalk. kyo ya is unmarked besides a little wooden "open" sign on its wrought iron gate that leads you downstairs.
  3. kyo ya is a standout for kaseiki. artful presentation, unique flavors and good sake list. it's a tranquil dining experience. i always recommend kurobuta kakuni (pork belly), ebi shinjo (shrimp mousse balls, rice crackers) and yuba & uni in the mix. i checked in on degustation a couple of weeks ago and it's solid as ever. the 5-course tasting for $50 is still the best deal in town IMO. prune is great for dinner though it's famous for its brunch. bone marrow, sweetbreads, razorclams and head-on shrimp are musts.
  4. went last night. love the space. between my friend and me, we sampled four cocktails: italian inquisition (reposado, punt e mes vermouth, averna and xocolatl mole bitters), mexicano (can't remember but i'm guessing reposado, punt e mes, club soda), selena fizz (blanco elderflower, grapefruit, lime, soda, egg white) and the pilot punch (blanco, jalapeño, cucumber, lime, garnished with mint). all four were well-executed, italian inquisition and mexicano being my favorites. even at a glance, the menu separates itself from the rest of the cocktail scene, which obviously means it'll be perpetually mobbed. even so, i hope ravi and phil won't allow standing, especially since they'll be serving food. agree 100%.
  5. we waited 5 mins for a two top at 9pm so def less crowded. i agree the pig tails were spectacular. the duck tongue and bone marrow were my next favorite. my friend and i found some of the dishes too salty, especially the escargot/smoked bacon. the broccoli rabe/soppresata pizza was nothing special but fairly priced. overall i felt our check was very reasonable for the amount of plates and cocktails/wines we ordered. anyone know if they're going to keep the name now that they're operating six days a week? forgot to ask.
  6. i sent my friend there last wed night and she said the same exact thing. she wasn't impressed with the quality of the brisket and eye of round. she however thought the broth and the noodles were good. she didn't particularly enjoy the roast pork sandwich either. disappointing to hear but i still plan on going back since my previous visits have been good.
  7. i second bar boulud. gilles verot's fromage de tete is the finest in the city. if you want variety, the degustation de charcuterie is a good start. EG members' photos of BB if you scroll down.
  8. tried the pho over the wknd and i completely agree with the quality. you def get what you pay for here. i was a bit reluctant to meddle with the broth by adding lime juice and sriracha. noodles were perfectly cooked on my visit. according to tuan, an choi may be offering tendon and tripe down the road. i really enjoyed the roast pork banh mi as well, but as bryanZ says, the pho/banh mi meal is a lot of food in one sitting.
  9. trestle on tenth is solid if your son and his fiance are adventurous diners, especially if they're open to prune. fried duck neck and short ribs on polenta are musts. great beer selection, approachable wine list. they also started serving breakfast though i've yet to try. very fair prices. cookshop down the street is still good as well. west village is a quick cab ride away but i feel like that list of recos could go on endlessly.
  10. i'm a fan of both tasty hand pulled noodles and super taste, though i don't particularly love the beef slices in the hot & spicy soup. unfortunately you can't really see the noodle man in action in either locations, though at tasty hand pulled, you can hear him slapping the dough; not as obscene as it sounds. if you're in the mood for chow mein, both congee locations have good seafood versions. kings seafood (39 e. broadway, 2nd fl) does it well also. xiao la jiao (little pepper) in flushing has the best dan dan noodles IMO. i also second pan's reco for grand sichuan, but the lex ave branch isn't as good as the others. szechuan gourmet is another goto. not to switch countries, but if you haven't tried the korean kalguksu (literally knife noodles), arirang opened a new location in ktown. the hand-made dough is cut with a knife to form the noodles. you can also get it w/sujebi, which is hand-torn dough. the thick broth has a nice umami flavor w/o using too much, if any, MSG. well, at least i didn't tweak afterwards. a single order is enough for two. the restaurant is kind of tough to find so look for this sign from the sidewalk. the menu is translated so no need to be intimidated. arirang - 32 w 32nd, 3rd fl.
  11. ha. burger wars, as well as the quest for the perfect slice, will never be over. i think an choi has served pho here and there, but it will be on the menu for sure this weekend according to tuan. it too comes with a premium price tag so i'm hoping it'll be noticeably higher quality than the other manhattan options.
  12. as the banh mi battle replaces the tired burger wars, an choi seems to be the strongest contender amongst the newcomers and higher quality than the old standbys. the classic banh mi is excellent. tuan, the principal owner, says the pate is made in-house and while the headcheese is sourced from brooklyn, he'd like to make that as well. the ingredients are well-balanced. most places tend to overstuff the banh mi with pickled carrots and daikon, pummeling the pate flavor. here all the ingredients are discernible. the baguette has a nice crust that gives easily, but i'm not sure who bakes the bread. i also ordered a side of roasted pork belly with crispy, chewy skin, a recipe tuan picked up during his trip to saigon if i recall correctly. amazing flavor and texture. i'm getting the sandwich version next time. at $6.50-8.00 range, it's steeper than the classic banh mi joints but slightly less than baoguette and hanco (and what ssam used to charge for the 3 terrine). value is a huge part of the banh mi appeal, but an choi is definitely worth the extra $2. the space fits the neighborhood, the staff is gregarious and the sandwich is served on a real, non-disposable plate! most importantly, it's a superior banh mi. as quality sandwich shops become more relevant this year, i recommend putting an choi high on the list.
  13. despite the online reviews, nha trang centre is far better than nha trang one on baxter. i'm thinking the reco from your community board meant the one on centre. for starters, the cha gio is made properly and this place has the crunch and the chewiness down better than others in manhattan. the pho is overall very good with quality cuts, flavorful broth and well-cooked noodles. the thai basil wasn't the prettiest but the lettuce leaves and mint were fresh. def worth a visit.
  14. i didn't think much of pho viet huong but i've only tried it once. a friend recommended that as well so i really should go back. i've had nha trang one on baxter but not nha trang on centre. i was tweaking on MSG after dining at the former. i have jury duty on monday so i might have to duck in before heading back to work. thx for the reco.
  15. funny pic. tu do moved across the street to 102 bowery. i'm guessing that the yellow sign states just that – except not in english. i tried their pho and cha gio last week. the cha gio was soggy and the rice paper lacked that crunch and chewiness. the veges are fresh but they serve lemon instead of lime. the pho was topped with good cuts of brisket and eye of round. tripe is the same as elsewhere. what really got my attention was its flavorful broth, so remarkable i went back last night. the broth wasn't as good and the eye of round came out clumped together, fully cooked on the outside and deep maroon in the center. obviously not thawed. the brisket was tough and had that reflective green film on the surface. my friend and i ended up not finishing our pho, which never happens. we also tried the banh xeo stuffed mostly with bean sprouts, two slivers of pork and three over-boiled shrimp. it's no doyers. in the end you didn't miss much. i also tried the classic banh mi at baoguette recently. the baguette itself is as good as paris bakery but the pickled carrots were too pronounced and buried the pate and terrine flavor. i feel i've had better for less at banh mi saigon bakery, saigon banh mi and even nicky's, but i went right before they closed. the bun bo hue broth had a beige hue and the meat toppings were underwhelming but pork feet may be too hardcore for kips bay. it was still tasty however. the two staff members were really nice and gave us free papaya salad, summer rolls and coffee. i still plan on returning but during lunch time.
  16. dined at the new location last night. first thing i noticed was the unmistakable smell of truffle oil from the egg toast; a good start. overall, the quality of the dishes is very comparable to the LES location. i only got to try the tagliatelle w/lamb ragu off of the new pasta menu, which was excellent despite its resemblance to linguine. one of the servers (sommelier?) informed us that this is the only pasta that is fatto in casa. she also said that the pinci is virtually identical to bar milano's though i didn't get to try. if anyone misses the baked polenta, it's back on the menu w/chickpeas. ours wasn't quite as crunchy on the outside as i remember it but still delicious. the wine list is slightly varied than the original location but just as approachable and extensive. unlike LES, this location has a cocktail list, which i unfortunately didn't peruse. the interior is what everyone predicted; somewhere between bar milano and the original 'inoteca. the dentons were in front of the house and joe stopped by our table to give us a warm welcome. they're taking reservations for the first week or so and for parties of 6+ afterwards. we were walk-ins around 8:30 but were seated right away despite the bustling dining room and bar. it appeared to be at capacity around 9:00. and yes, they're open until 3am and eater reports lunch and delivery will begin next month. except for a slight lapse between our first and second dishes, everything went smoothly for us with no noticeable opening jitters. while i'll miss bar milano, inoteca is such a welcomed format change and a much-needed spot in "gramurray bay" neighborhood. i think it's going to perform extremely well.
  17. i'm willing to guess that they didn't check out all the hole-in-the-walls as some of these restaurants seem more upscale. as long as we're venturing outside of manhattan, pho cho lon in sunset park (8th ave & 56th) is also excellent for pho, long bo (beef soup w/omasas, stomach), bo nhung dam (beef fondue w/rice paper) and sua hot ga (soda w/yolk & condensed milk).
  18. i recently started a quest for the best pho as well. pho bang is still the best for tai chin nam gan sach IMO. the cuts, especially the tendons and eye of round, are always good here. i find the gap between cong ly and the next best pretty sizeable. my current rankings for tai chin nam gan sach are: 1. pho bang on mott (always consistent) also the best cha gio, banh tap appetizer and bun bo hue 2. cong ly (i've been served cha gio that was foul but my recent visit was solid. they seem to serve the freshest veges) 3. thai son (frog legs w/special french butter is excellent as well) 4. pho grand (eye of round is too thick) 5. pho so 1 (noodles were too bloated and mushy. in fact all the other dishes beside cha gio were overcooked or undercooked) 6. xe lua (decent pho. cha gio is not made properly) 7. pho viet huong (decent. nuoc cham and sriracha are watered-down, which is unacceptable) 8. nha trang one (good toppings but the broth had too much MSG and/or sugar) here are pho photos from most of the above spots. i'm still trying other places, though last 4-5 times have been pho bang. not to side track but doyers still has the best chao tom (shrimp paste wrapped around sugar cane) and banh xeo (fried crepe stuffed w/shrimp, pork, sprouts). i highly recommend those dishes if you haven't tried. depending on the day, they won't make the banh xeo so call ahead. i've never had the pho at doyers but my friend tells me it's not that great.
  19. offering pastas under $15 is a smart move. do you know if it'll be open until 3am?
  20. your favorite dish has one of the most brilliant presentations as well. my first is the grated frozen foie over lychee, riesline gelee and pine-nut brittle at ko. a close second is the rice cracker crusted asparagus, jamon serrano, chorizo and poached egg topped with cheese foam at degustation. both of these dishes rebooted my brain. i'm sure watching the chefs assemble these dishes has a lot to do with it.
  21. just remembered sorella is closed sundays.
  22. i had a fantastic dinner at perbacco in east village for around $50 including wine. i think they're back to no reservations but try to snag the communal table. bar-bo-ne, also in east vill, has a $35 pasta tasting menu and they take reservations. sorella is also excellent but it's in chinatown. i second others' recommendation for frankie's spuntino (recently expanded) and 'inoteca (large wine selection in $35-45 range). falai, lupa and hearth are doable for $50 but it means you'll be compromising on what you order.
  23. crumble at tailor and new york flip at little branch.
  24. sasha recently extended white star's menu to serve cocktails supposedly comparable to m&h/little branch. wondering if it'll be michael from little branch mixing the cocktails as he's manned the bar in the past. fyi, m&h is closed until the 22nd, or at least that's when they're taking resys again. if you haven't heard, there's a paid membership policy that went into effect last november. however the site now lists the resy ph#, and i don't know what that means to the members vs non-members. you may already have heard about apotheke in ctown, a french apothecary themed speakeasy. the scene and the noise level are the exact opposite of m&h. anyone serious about their cocktail may not appreciate the gimmicky herb-infused drinks. having said that, the bartenders seem knowledgeable and owner albert trummer puts on an impressive fire show at the end of the night. it's worth checking out but i'm not rushing to return.
  25. the little owl would be my choice but not at 5:15. you really can't go wrong with either menus so it's more about the atmosphere, the reservation time and the cuisine you prefer. if you're not a fan of cramped dining rooms and looking for a more refined dining experience, go with hearth. but if you prefer casual and cozy, go with little owl.
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