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Everything posted by Pan

  1. We happened upon this place when the cafeteria at the Musee Rodin ran out of food completely and we had to find a place that was still open at what ultimately turned out to be 3:20 or 3:30 P.M. Here's the info: 30, rue du Bac Paris (7e) Tel.: 01 42 61 22 37 The slogan in the topic description is also from their business card. The room is a beautiful Beaux-Arts ballroom with brass railings and crystal chandeliers. Their lunch special was inexpensive and a very good value. You get kir or cardinale with the meal. We enjoyed their gazpacho very much, and their magret de canard cooked with morello cherries was really tasty. I forget what dessert was. We went a second time on our return trip to Paris, showing up at a normal lunch time. I enjoyed the food that time, as well, but the other three members of my family were convinced that the food had been better the first time, so they reasoned that it might be better to show up off-hours, when the kitchen can devote itself to you completely. Regardless, it is a very pleasant restaurant. No Michelin listing, though it seems to me that they probably deserve a bib for value.
  2. Pan

    Jing Fong

    I've never had dinner at Jing Fong, only dim sum. A Chinatown resident I know said their dinner was very good but expensive. Was it expensive? That's lousy about the tip-stealing, but I'm not really that suprised.
  3. No comment on Brixton. I have yet to have the pleasure of visiting London (or any other part of the U.K.). But the South Bronx is mostly Hispanic (at least the parts I know), and Harlem is gentrifying. I know blacks, whites, and Japanese who live in Harlem. They tell me rents are becoming expensive there, too. I think you have to look outside of Manhattan for ghettos that are nearly fully black. Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, probably.
  4. Maybe that's because you live in the East Village. I see way more interracial couples of all types here than on the Upper West Side, for example. I forget where you lived before. P.S. I've mentioned my last girlfriend a number of times. She's a chocolate-skinned Torontonian originally from Guyana and of Indo-Caribbean background. I am pretty light-skinned, even for a white (for those who aren't members of the KKK, et al., and consider Jews members of the so-called "white race"). No-one ever made any kind of racial remark when I walked hand-in-hand with my ex-girlfriend, for what it's worth.
  5. Heck, I dimly remember when it was 20 cents (I was 5 and didn't get charged at that point), and I more clearly remember a fare of 35 cents, which lasted a few years. I measure inflation by looking at the rises in subway fares! The last increase was from $1.25 to $1.50. You're right; it was $1.10 _years ago_. P.S. My parents remember when it was a nickle.
  6. I now realize that I was thinking of Semur when I wrote that Saulieu was a "lovely little town." To get to Semur, one drives on a bridge over a stream, past fortifications with a crack in them, and there's a wonderful cathedral on the hill in the centre-ville. We went off the Autoroute to stop at Semur on our way to Dijon and went off to visit Saulieu on the day we drove in stages from Autun to Orleans. We did indeed visit the basilica of Saint Andoche in Saulieu. It was in the process of being restored but was nevertheless open for visits. Here's a link to a fine page (in French) about the basilica: Saint -Andoche. There's a second page, too; just press "Page suivante" at the bottom of the page.
  7. Thanks for the info, Bux. I do recall discussions of Brenner's book. We stopped in Saulieu. Lovely little town!! But we didn't stay there, and it sounds like we may have missed an opportunity for a fine meal there, except that my father undoubtedly wouldn't have been thrilled. :| (That's a sort of smirk there.)
  8. I didn't visit any winemakers, nor did I stay in Chablis; we were staying in Auxerre when we made our first trip to Vignaud and stopping for dinner to break up a long trip from Autun to Orleans the second time. This wasn't a vinicultural trip, but an artistic trip. We were there to see Romanesque and Gothic churches with great tympana and such-like.
  9. It's Italian. Now, THAT is funny. Before looking at it, I was thinking exactly the same thing: It's Italian. And I think the rest of the thread so far has covered the details well. Frankly, I'm not disturbed by the formality, but I like the more informal Italian restaurants a great deal. Informality in Italy only goes so far, however. Italians dress very nicely; even those who wear jeans carefully press them. And just look at the clothes people wear for the nightly passeggiata! I think we can chalk most of these differences up to cultural differences. Americans are generally more informal and want faster service; Italians in the regions I've been to (from Campagna to Tuscany, but mostly in Tuscany and Umbria) tend to be more demonstrative than either the French generally or the Americans, but love to linger over their meals, joking with their friends; French people are generally more restrained than either Italians or Americans (except when watching soccer games in bars, etc.) and have more formal etiquette than either Americans or Italians, but share with their Italian neighbors the custom of a relaxed pace for meals. Anyway, that's my oversimplified summary. But not all Americans are so informal, either. I discussed this a little yesterday evening with Nina and Brooklyn Eats. They both think it's inappropriate not to really dress up to go to the opera (I guess this was covered in some earlier thread); I say that, as a musician, when I go to a concert, I'm off duty and don't feel like dressing as if I were performing. But I'm getting off topic here...
  10. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times? No, not quite. Rather, it was a wonderful time and then a very disappointing time. My parents, brother and I went to Michel Vignaud at the Hostellerie des Clos in Chablis (Rue Jules-Rathier, Tel. 03 86 42 17 11) twice, about 6 days apart last June. The restaurant was given one star by Michelin and 16 of 20 in Gault Millau. Our first meal there was splendid, and we couldn't figure out why it hadn't been awarded more stars by Michelin. My brother and mother thought it was better than Grand Vefour; I thought Grand Vefour (the food but especially the overall decor and choreography of the service) was superior, but not drastically so. My brother and mother and I split only on whether the restaurant deserved 3 or 2 stars. My mother got the lobster salad as an appetizer, and this was at least as good as the lobster salad at Grand Vefour, if not better. I got probably the best green salad with mushrooms and hazelnut oil imaginable (though the lobster salad was better than my green salad!). My brother had a salad with foie gras, IIRC, which was very good. My mother got a terrific magret de canard cooked with kir, just a great dish, perfectly cooked. My brother and I enjoyed a fruity modestly-priced white Chablis (much better than the typical California Chablis, of course) that had been recommended by our friendly sommelier. (We were impressed that he hadn't tried to sell more expensive Chablis, but chose as his favorite one of the less expensive ones.) The cheese course was good and quite worthwhile, though distinctly inferior to the wonders at Grand Vefour, and I forget what the dessert was, though I liked it at the time, nor do I remember every dish everyone ate. I do remember that excellent pates de fruit were brought to us. But the other thing was that it was a lovely, relaxed, rustic location, and the service was also relaxed, though attentive. On our return visit, things were drastically different. The mushrooms in the lobster salad were full of water as if they had just come out of the bottom of a basin, the rest of the food was clearly inferior to the first meal we had there, and the service was disorganized. We sent the salad back. They comped us for the salad and made a different one for us, but it was still inferior to the first time. My brother inquired at the front desk of the hotel, and was told that all the line chefs were absent that day. I don't know much about the functioning of a restaurant's kitchen, but my brother explained that, while the sous chef prepares whatever can be prepared in advance in the morning (marinades, stocks, and certain other kinds of sauces, e.g.), the line chefs are the people who actually cook everything to order and compose salads. (Perhaps those of you who are more knowledgeable about the inner workings of this type of kitchen would like to comment further and correct anything I wrote that's incorrect.) So if all the regular line chefs were off, it's no wonder that nothing functioned properly. So the conclusion we came to is that the greatness of a restaurant may depend as much or more on great line chefs than on the chef whom the restaurant is named for. We also had to wonder whether the one Michelin star Vignaud got reflects an average between the restaurant's 2-3-star days and no-star days.
  11. Gnocco has one fabulous dessert: A chestnut cheesecake, IIRC. Otherwise, the food is good but I got the idea on a couple of visits for dinner that nothing else compares to that chestnut dessert. The one meal I had a couple of years ago or so at I Coppi was wonderful. I've also had only one meal so far at Il Bagatto, and it was very good. I went to lunch at Il Covo del Est once (it's on the northeast corner of 13 St.), and it was _very_ salty and not worth going back to. Have you tried Col Legno, Lavagna, or East Post? I think both are good, though I much prefer the sedate ambiance at Col Legno (yes, it's a little salty, too). I'm looking forward to whenever the next time is that I go back to Lavagna. I've had meals ranging from solidly good to excellent there.
  12. Complaining about a dish or throwing the complainer out? In either case, I suppose style counts heavily. I was reacting to throwing someone out for complaining about a dish, but I take your point. If someone ranted and raved and yelled strings of obscenities and threatened to come back with a .44 and shoot the whole crew, that would change things a bit.
  13. GJ: Please fill me in. I'm quite suprised to hear that they threw you out for complaining about a dish. That sounds like highly unprofessional behavior. Beachfan: Seconded on Miracle Grill. I haven't been there for several months, but I like their brunch very much and recommend it to most people other than those from California or the Southwest.
  14. Pan


    Glad you liked it, Bux. I've got more posts coming, some about restaurants that have Michelin stars or/and mentions in Gault Millau.
  15. I went to Kiev late one night when I was ill, awake, and hungry. Not to put too fine a point on it, it sucked! Pasty, watery, tasteless potato pierogis! I'll never go there again. At this point, I think that Kiev is inferior to Veselka, and I'm not high on Veselka.
  16. Pan


    I live in the East Village, and Yasube has to outclass all Japanese restaurants in this neigborhood that charge anything near their prices by a country mile. I'll give you an example: I went to Jeollado about a year ago, I believe (maybe it was two years ago; I don't remember). It's a Korean/Japanese place that also seems to style itself a specialist in sushi. I thought their Korean food was pretty good though not consistently amazing, and I tried some sashimi that my ex-girlfriend loved - tuna IIRC. She thought it was great. (Another friend of mine also ordered sashimi that she thought was great, by the way.) It was unfishy but tasted like nothing, just texture. I didn't mind it but I was unimpressed and remarked that perhaps it was like wasting pearls on swine. And though it was dinner and not lunch, the bill had to have been close to $40/person.
  17. Looks like 3rd St. and 6th Av. I wonder if that's the one that's actually east of 6 Av. on the south side of 3 St. that I've liked and thought might be called Ali's.
  18. Pan


    That's "laksa," Stefany (though I can't answer for how a non-Malaysian place might misspell it). Asam laksa has fish and shrimp paste (belacan) in it, but no shrimp. Just out of curiosity, what ingredients could you pick out in Shopsin's version of laksa? Did it have tamarind or lime juice in it? Was it full of hot pepper? Did it have coconut milk in it? (asam laksa doesn't) Was it very salty? What vegetables were in it? Any cucumber slices? Any pineapple slices? Any fish? Was it very fatty? And what type of cuisine does Shopsin's say it cooks?
  19. I'm not sure I'm glad I read those inspection reports. Most of my favorite Chinatown places were cited for vermin.
  20. Sure. Greater NY Noodletown (its current name, I think) may not be quite as good as it used to be, but I still like it and go there at less-crowded times for some items I like and find to be more or less comfort food. My standby noodle soup there is beef muscle (shrimp) wonton, which I sometimes get with the Chinese greens (Chinese broccoli) and oyster sauce side dish. I've had various other noodle soups. Beef stew is tasty but a bit rich (fatty); the fish dumplings are good; the shrimp dumplings are good, and they used to make a beef muscle/shrimp dumpling combination for me, but I've given up on getting it anymore; the tripe is just OK; and it's been so long since I've had duck or any other noodle soup that I don't remember it, except for the seaweed soup, which I thought was fine but haven't been really interested in trying a second time. The ginger/scallion lo mein are worth mentioning. I like them a lot and sometimes have them instead of a noodle soup and get a side order of beef muscle, tripe, soy sauce chicken, or duck on the side (I have to be pretty hungry for that). If you want fast service, go to Bo Ky on Bayard between Mott and Mulberry, which serves a nice variety of noodle soups, though of a different cuisine (Chao Zhou) than the Hong Kong style at NY Noodletown. There's also a Chao Zhou restaurant on the west side of Mott St. near Grand. I had a good meal there 2 or 3 months ago, but I don't remember its name. I don't know why, but Chao Zhou restaurants in Chinatown give menus in Chinese, English, and Vietnamese, or at least those two do.
  21. Pan

    Il Cortile

    Look here for another thread on this restaurant.
  22. I decided several months ago never to go to Bereket again. I used to like their Doner Kebab sandwiches, but they started consistently making them extremely salty. I've concluded that their food is inferior to garden-variety felafel-and-shawarma places in the neighborhood, let alone really good ones further west (Mamoul's and that one - I think Ali's - on 3 St. just east of 6 Av.). It's a shame.
  23. Kum Gang San. It's a fun restaurant, specializing in kalbi and bulbogi (meat you grill at the table yourselves). But to be honest, I'm not knowledgeable enough about Korean food yet to know the difference between kalbi and bulgogi.
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