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Everything posted by Mister_Cutlets

  1. Mister_Cutlets


    You know, as far as I can tell, there's only one NY mainstream restaurant critic who is an active Egullet member. Me! So how come I'm never included in these review roundups? Here's a quote from my Newsday review: For main courses we went for the most substantial on the menu. I knew by now that Pace was expert in light and delicate dishes. But how would they do with braciole di cinghiale (stuffed, rolled wild boar) and agnolotti piedmontese (big pasta envelopes stuffed with pork and veal)? As it turned out, beautifully. The agnolotti were rich but mild, with an unassertive, meaty fullness that was perfectly complemented by the dressing of butter, sage, lemon, and a little parmesan. I thought the edges of the agnolotti might have been a little too al dente – I had been looking forward to them more or less disintegrating, and they required a little chewing around the edges. But the rolled boar was a home run. Tender and faintly gamy, it comes stuffed with salami, chopped eggs, black olives, and little studs of garlic, and served on a bed of creamy polenta. But it’s the boar itself that is so striking: a loin pounded flat, rolled around the soft stuffing, and slow-cooked until nearly falling apart. It was a perfect winter dish, and a million miles aesthetically from the light-as-air sashimi that began the meal. Josh
  2. I've been told that the thing to get there is the whole roast baby lamb (presumably for a large party.) Are there other kinds of roast lamb that are good?
  3. I agree with Steven, about the level that is put out by the best restaurants. It's not just the stooges jumping out of the woodwork to replace your napkin; it's that there is a whole elaborate social construction set up that isn't present with casual contemporary service, despite the casual earnestness and even occasional flirtatiousness of the staff. And I think that what makes this worth wanting for a lot of people is not the "luxury" of it in any passive sense. Rather, it's that it requires much more of you, and brings out faculties unexercised in lesser places. It takes a lot of energy to eat dinner at a place like Daniel. Part of it, as with psychotherapy, is owing to the cost; but also you have to look right, order intelligently, not come off as boorish or whatever (my own vice is to bully and pontificate, when not fretting at the cost.) The point is that you not a passive vessel at a meal like that. Like most things worth doing, it calls forth some of your better qualities. As for Babbo, I just don't like the food that much. Lupa is a better restaurant all around. The food is ongepatchke: overly fussy, overly seasoned (all those chiles) and over conceptualized. I'd much rather eat the stuff Mario cooks on his TV show. Italian food is not meant to be three-star dining; the elevated dining experience, haute cuisine, is a french art. It's like trying to have a japanese tea ceremony with greek diner coffee service. Nothing could be better than a great pasta, just as nothing could be better than a hot roll with butter or a perfect plum. "A cow is a very good animal in the field, but we turn her out of a garden." -- Johnson Mr. Cutlets
  4. I agree about Snake River Farms. Their kobuta pork is also superb...Anyway, thanks to everyone for the help. The story appeared in today's Newsday.Mr. Cutlets
  5. Also -- has anyone here seen the real Kobe beef, with its reverse image marbling, here in NYC? Josh
  6. No, I am just looking for places other than Lobel's that carry it. I can't believe you would accuse a man as commited to meat as MISTER CUTLETS of stinting on cost.
  7. I ate there the other night. As a peccorino fanatic, I longed to try the eponymous dish. It was really amazing, even aside from the presentation. The cheese is almost like a sauce, and with the parsley and the pepper, really makes a beautiful dish. I wish the pepper wasn't so coarse though; the big peppercorn chunks overwhelm the palate too often. Monkfish was terrific too, as was the mozzarella caprese. Standard-issue stuff, I know, but rarely do you get it with smartly prepared and of such high quality at these prices. Go if you get the chance. Josh
  8. Does anyone here know of any sources for either American Wagyu beef, or actual Kobe beef from Japan? I've gotten it in the past from Lobel's, and some restaurant purveyors, but I would like some good retail sources in the NYC / long island area. Also, have any guleteers ever had a great wagyu experience in NYC restaurants? I don't suppose anyone here has ever had it in Japan? Your Friend, Mr. Cutlets
  9. I like Nebraska a lot, and I'll find out what the deal is with the downtown closing. Unlike Steven, I like the peppers in oil, the side dishes, and the bartenders, who are mostly ex-strippers, and all the more likable for it...all the food at Nebraska is of the very highest quality. I really think it's underrated, and am grateful to Steven for turning me on to it. Josh
  10. I wonder if, in lieu of this pseudo-bresse chicken, there is a farm somewhere upstate that provides this kind of chicken. Or maybe one of those caribbean poultry ranches in Queens. I can say that the organic birds sold at the Union Square greenmarket don't hold a candle to the prodigious poultry of old Europe. Mr. Cutlets
  11. I may have finally found the perfect method of ordering and eating a DiFara's pizza. Normally, I don't mind standing around waiting 20 minutes for Dom to notice me, and then waiting another 40 or so for my pie to come out (I only order whole square pies.) But it's too much to then wait 20 minutes for the pie to properly cool off; esp. in the heat of the place in summer. So I ordered a slice (one happened to be available) and the pie, and then walked up to Orchard on Coney Island Avenue. I spent half an hour or so or so there shopping for fruit, then went back and my pizza was coming right out of the oven. I got it to go, opened the lid, put it in the back seat of my car, and drove to a shady spot. By the time I was hope I got to eat it. I got to see the Master at work, got to get great fruit, got to eat the pizza the way it was supposed to be, and had great fruit for dessert. That's my MO from here on in. Josh
  12. If you really want pelmeni, get off your ass and go out to Gravesend, to Russian Ravioli on Avenue U, or to the M&I Market on Brighton Beach Avenue (the B train.) The former restaurant, by the way, is great, and the pelmeni and vareniki are both out of this world. Mr. Cutlets
  13. I'll have to dissent from the kudos being posted here. I think the NY Burger Co. produces a flavorless, overcooked, bland, and pointless burger. It's only 85% lean, not 80%, and so overcooked that it hardly even matters. It doesn't taste like anything at all...although I'm told that they are reducing the grill heat. But I ordered a medium-rare burger and ate it with Mel Coleman, and I still couldn't summon up any enthusiasm. Go to Shake Shack, go to Joe Jr's, go to Molly's, go to Blue 9: even go to Houston's. But don't waste a centimeter of precious intestinal space on these hockey pucks. Vitriolically, Mr. Cutlets
  14. Maybe some of you have equipment that is not exactly professional, but is generally only seen in pro kitchens. It's hard to believe that everyone on Egullet is working with apartment ranges, toaster ovens, and foreman grills. At the very least, I would think somebody out there would have a double basket deep-fryer. Josh
  15. This is all great stuff! Bring it on...if you're illegal, I'll just keep you anonymous. Josh
  16. That's a good story! I could use it if you were in NYC at the time... yrs, Josh
  17. It was really great after ingesting a lot of heavy, spicy barbecue at the block party. I need to go there after Blue Smoke, I think. I actually had lunch recently at 11 Madison Park, and was a little disappointed. Admittedly, I was on a date and so didn't order particularly lustily, but the four things I tried were all very nondescript and pedestrian. But the custard afterwards was awesome! Amazing to eat vanilla custard without either dip or jimmies. A first for me. Josh
  18. I'm doing a story on New Yorkers who have real restaurant equipment in their homes. Do you guys know anyone who does? Crazy Legs Conti, the competitive eater, for instance, has a short-order griddle in his apartment so he can cook grilled cheese sandwiches and other foods en masse. Other things might include bar equipment, a legit smoker, big spits, restauarant broilers, walk-in freezers, stuff like that. I don't think it would include regular luxury items like subzero refrigerators and viking stoves. Anyway, if you know anyone who has this kind of setup, either post it here if contact me. I think this could be a really cool story, and inspire people to get serious with their cooking lives. Just the other day I was at a Caja China party, and the feeling of bliss and accomplishment was palpable. your pal, Mr. Cutlets
  19. I reviewed the restaurant friday in Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-fdnotes38...0,6716793.story here's the text: V Steakhouse 10 Columbus Circle Upper West Side 212 823 9500 Jean-Georges Vongerichten might be the most influential chef in the world: he did as much as anyone in the world to pioneer the current wave of global fusion cookery, and he arguably does it as well as it can be done. His brilliant innovations, like the use of herbal and vegetable oils in place of butter and cream, put the final nail in the coffin of traditional French cooking; and his restaurant empire, which spans the world, has made his name one to conjure with from China to Peru. But can he make a steak? It’s far from a no-brainer. V Steakhouse, Vongerichten’s latest creation, reflects something of a dilemma for the great chef. Everything about his style is cerebral, refined, austere; while everything about steakhouses is elemental, instinctive, and infantile. The great steak house makes a man feel like an infant, frolicking in a paradise of buttery hash browns and charred beef fat. I took it for granted that Vongerichten would seek to elevate the basic chop-house vocabulary; the only question was whether this Pygmalion treatment would take. As it happens, it did. There are some tensions left unresolved at the end of the day, and it’s hard for a steakhouse devotee to give up his or her prejudices entirely. But V Steakhouse is a great restaurant, whose food entirely lives up to the illustrious name of its creator. The room itself is gorgeous, with commanding views of Central Park South and exquisitely sculpted art-nouveau trees to canopy the room. And of course the service is faultless, with an army of alert functionaries ready to leap to attention at the slightest glance. But a steakhouse must be judged on its steak. I ordered the top of the line item on the menu, a $60 wagyu sirloin from Texas’ Yama ranch. Wagyu is the ultra-juicy breed of cattle from which Kobe steak is made; old-timers will recognize it as looking and tasting like American prime beef did twenty or thirty years ago, when red meat was still an absolute value in American culture. Wagyu steak shouldn’t be called Kobe, which is the result of diabolical techniques practiced only in Japan; but it’s profoundly rich, tender, juicy, and bursting with bovine flavor all the same. The only fault I found with it was that it lacked the rugged char imparted by steakhouse broilers; V uses a custom Hearthcraft brick oven, powered by gas and lump charcoal. It did an incredible job on the D’Artagnan veal chop ($38), a delicate, almost immature piece of meat whose outer surface was beautifully crisped and flavored by the oven. But a steak the Yama wagyu requires rougher treatment. The side dishes and appetizers were one area I thought uneven. None of the various potato dishes, such as the tempura-battered “fripps” ($6) or the potato and truffle croquettes ($6), were better than great hash browns; and the creamed spinach ($6), carefully sauteed leaves served atop an elegant custard, was neither challenging in the way so many of Vongerichten’s side dishes, nor as gratifying as the original. Vongerichten should just let himself go: the braised celery hearts ($6), poached in beef fat and then sprinkled with fried garlic, celery leaves and a little olive oil and soy sauce, is better than any creamed spinach I ever ate. Desserts followed the same script. The chocolate layer cake ($10) was delicious but uninteresting, and felt a little perfunctory. But the berry soup ($8), a masterpiece, was pure Vongerichten: a bowl of perfect strawberries, pitted cherries, blackberries, and razzberries with a dollop of creme fraiche on top, to which is added, with a servile flourish, a bracing elixir of lemon juice, lemongrass, basil, mint, and a little Tahitian vanilla bean. The taste was strange and striking, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere; it made me remember how great Vongerichten restaurants are in their own celestial sphere. The great man has tried to touch the soil here; but V steakhouse is at its best when unfettered by convention.
  20. I was there all day today, and had hoped to run into Steven and some of my other egullet friends, such as Kirk and Jamie. Maybe tomorrow! I did, however, get to spend a lot of time talking to Mike Mills, Paul Kirk, Kenny Callaghan, and other pit guys. The crowds are insane. Go early and avoid the fate. But if you have to stand in line, I would say that the RUB NYC brisket is best in show. If you miss it, though, don't feel bad: they're opening a restaurant in New York that will immediately reduce everyone else in town to obsolescence. signed, Mister Cutlets
  21. Irwin, you sound like you're in the meat trade. Also a Luger loyalist. I believe everything you say about Luger's buying practices, and even wrote about them in worshipful tones in my book. But what I and other people are eating at the restaurant seems to speak otherwise. And you have to believe your tastebuds, or where would you be? Also, I stand by my statements about Luger's cooking techniques: they routinely slice up steaks right out of the broiler, and routinely flash them under the salamander before sending them to the table. I don't think that's the best way to cook a great steak. Josh
  22. How wrong you are, Steven. Did you ever eat the bone-in rib steak at Sammys? Or the veal chop? The meat there has been impeccably high every time I have ever eaten there. I don't think that's a very nice thing to say about Sammys. They have given us a lot of pleasure over the years, and I've never had a disappointing meal there...of course, I'm not going in with the mystique of meat bearing down on my shoulders. Josh
  23. I love Wo Hop. It's like a museum diorama of new york working class chinese circa 1974. All cops and firemen, and you know they like to eat. Ribs are Wo Hop's best, but I would also recommend the spicy salt pork chops (although I will say I've never had one I didn't like -- anywhere.) The place next door, Hop Kee, is almost the same restaurant in many ways. I discovered Peking Pork Chops, spicy salt squid, and Hop Kee Steak there. Lots of clams in black bean sauce too. Make me a boy again! Note: edited for spelling
  24. Do I sound like I'm kidding? This is New York. If you want to be the best steakhouse, you have to bring your A-game. Luger's second-best might be top of the pops in Sheboygan, but that doesn't play in the Enn-Why-See. Sorry to burst your bubble. Caustically, Mr. Cutlets
  25. I don't think so. A sub-par Luger steak is no better than what you would get in a 2nd-tier steakhouse like Smith and Wollensky or The Strip House. Possibly worse, given the practice of slicing the hapless thing up, or even worse, flashing it in the salamander before bringing it out, which they do all the time at Luger. Sparks is the place. Other places better than an imperfect luger steak include: Sammy's Roumanian, Nebraska, Beacon, Les Halles, and numerous others. Josh
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