Jump to content


eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    was New York City (Requiescat in Pace)

Recent Profile Visitors

3,416 profile views
  1. Chinese food, preferably in Chinatown, although that Chinatown could be in Queens as well as Manhattan. I'm not a fan of take out food. Stir fries suffer ignoble damage. (Put good pizza in cardboard box and it suffers in terms of taste and texture as well.) Appetizing, as a noun. Basically smoked fish and non-meat NYC Jewish specialties. Barney Greengrass on the upper west side and Russ and Daughters on the lower east side. In both cases, it's always been take out for me, Barney Greengrass serves tables. The great Jewish traditions of bread baking have all gone downhill. There's little to be found in the way of great bagels or rye breads. Kossar's still makes bialys worth seeking out. Fortunately other bakeries have sprung up and overall, bread in NY can be great. Top of the line dining, French or otherwise. Daniel, le Bernardin, etc. Younger talent. Blue Hill, WD-50, etc.
  2. As has already been pointed out, Ruhlman has his own blog now, but since following his blog on megnut.com I've been making it a point to check it out regularly. Ruhlman and Bourdain are frequent commentors there and it's an interesting site on its own.
  3. Bux

    Sincerest Form

    Pete Wells explores the mysterious world of kitchen spies, copycat chefs and copyright lawyers who might, one day soon, change the way we eat. -- Pete Wells in Food&Wine. Cantu is going to great lengths to protect his intellecutal property. EGullet gets significant mention in Pete Wells' article. First about a charge of plagiarism thread and then about Steven Shaw's hopes to convene a summit meeting with some of the smartest people in the food world to hammer out a workable model for copyrighting food. Yesterday (Oct. 10) posting on her megnut.com, Meg Hourihan said Shaw's suggestions sounded "down-right frightening." This morning, Tony Bourdain had another take on the matter. He said "Shaw's comments reflect a shocking degree of self-importance and detachment from the real world of cooking."
  4. I read an advance copy a few months ago. I imaging it's basically the same as published minus most of the typos. It's as much a book about Business as it is about the Restaurant business and as such may require some skimming by those only interested in the restaurant aspect. Note that it's published as a business book and some less than astute booksellers may neglect to put some copies in the food aisle. Business is not my forte or interest and I found it dragged a bit later on in the book, but only for a while. I've always been a fan of Danny's, yet I've never completely agreed with his philosophy as I understood it. I'll endure less than perfectly hospitable service for great food and not return to a restaurant where the service surpasses the quality of the food. Still, all other things being close to equal, hospitality counts, and it counts more with the general public, than it does with me. Still, truly inhospitable service has driven me from returning to certain restaurants and excellent service has persuaded me to give the food another chance. To an extent, restaurants are like other retail stores and services. There were some key parts I noted, but unfortunately, I passed those notes on to someone else who was going to read the book after she lent it to me. The one intersting thing about Danny and the USHG, is that they're moving on to "haut-er" cuisine with The Modern and the new chef at Eleven Madison Park. I expect more of that with Mike Anthony at Gramercy Tavern, although I expect that with its high popularity ratings with current diners, he's going to have to make changes slowly. The new menu isn't scheduled for implementation until January.
  5. It's easy to get around in a city like NY. Most of us rather enjoy an excuse to eat in someone else's neighborhood just for the change in scenery. We'll do it on no excuse at all, or make one up. I live in SoHo and have met upper east siders on the upper west side for dinner and the upper west side is hardly a destination neighborhood for dining. I've been known to reserve a table in advance in Paris at neighborhood restaurants about as remote from my hotel as possible. I'm not alone. At one such restaurant, I ran across some fellow Americans who managed to find my restaurant in spite of the fact they spoke very little French and didn't understand much of what they said themselves, let alone what the waiter said. To make it worse, they didn't understand the basic food and send back dishes they ordered in ignorance. Just because a restaurant makes the a of best restaurants in a neighborhood, or best neighborhood restaurants, in a magazine and thereby attracts outsiders, doesn't make it a destination restaurant to my way of thinking.
  6. I now the difference between a destination restaurant and a tourist trap, but I don't know that I could articulate the difference in a way that would make sense to someone who wasn't a dedicated gastronome. There are restaurants in every capital city in the world that are world famous and a destination for the rich and famous as well as the tourist, but many of them don't make my wish list.
  7. Do most people dress up to go there? If a restaurant is enough of a special occasion place for people to dress up for the purpose of going there, I don't think it's a neighborhood restaurant. ← Spain, which not all that long ago I thought of as a stuffy country with a stuffy population, has become very casual. You can still find the old set in suits with their wives dripping in gold jewelry, but the new restaurants, even those with two and three stars, expecially outside Madrid, can attract a very casual crowd. ElBulli is seven kilometers to the east of a beach resort. It's not uncommon to see men in shirtsleeves, particulalry in summer.
  8. Bux

    Shanghai Cafe

    Had a quick lunch there. We thought the xiao long bao had thick wrappers--a little too thick. On the other hand, none of them broke between steamer and mouth. In fact, they could be treated rather roughly without fear of breaking. I don't find that a plus. The Shanghai noodle soup was quite a bit different from that served at Joe's Ginger which used to be right across the street, but now gone. It was more like my favorite Shanghai Noodles. Joe's' was mostly noodles, chopped cabbage, pork and broth. Shanghai Cafe had pork, a few shrimp, vegetables, mushrooms and very al dente noodles. Both versions were good, but if pressed, I'd pick Shanghai Cafe. Mrs. B thought the broth was richer at Joe's. It was hardly enough food to make us come to much of a conclusion about the restaurant, but I suspect it will be at least good enough not to make me miss Joe's Ginger--that, and the fact that Joe's Ginger had gone to hell on the last visit. At least I can now surmise that the chef was reassigned to the new Joe's down (or up?) the street from Joe's Shanghai and a few blocks further south of Canal. I live north of Canal and am always looking for places north of Canal. Service was cold and perfunctory at best. The check arrived without my asking. Tea comes in a water glass. Six guys can't come in and order just a noodle dish--there's a three dollar minimum per person! Three dollars a person! Pork xiao long bao are four bucks. With crab, they'll set you back another two dollars, actually I think it's $5.95 and thus won't qualify as a meal for two. The soup wasn't much more. It's hard to fault the service at those prices, although the staff at Joe's Ginger had become very friendly. Come to think of it, they were rather reserved the last time we ate there. It was as if they knew they were going to serve unacceptable food. It seemed more like 21st century Hong Kong than a throwback to any Chinese restaurant style in New York to me, although I judge that by other restaurant opening in NY. I was in Hong Kong once and that was back in the 90's. At any rate, it seems typical of a new Chinatown style that's an abrupt change from the one I first became familiar with in the early 60's. I miss the wood paneled Chinese restaurants that were already going out of style then. I don't miss the red and gold dragon interiors that are still around. I miss the second floor and basement dives I knew well. I found Shanghai Cafe far more hospitable and comfortable, at least for lunch, than a description of pink, blue, green and yellow neon behind plastic diffuser panels might suggest. Table are a bit small, but I imaging rents in the area are going up along with the new luxury condos. Something has to give. Either it's the price or the table size. I guess the food could also be an alternative. Small tables could be a good sign. I've always assumed it's proper, or rather expected, for one to eat the fat when having pork belly. At Grand Sichuan, I recall being asked if I want fatty pork (belly) or lean pork in a dish at least once. I've had cubes of very fatty pork belly in western restaurants as well, including with cassoulet at Payard on the upper east side and at Blue Hill more than once. Blue Hill is known for more delicate food and I'm not sure that pork belly has ever appeared on the menu. Think unrendered lard and it might stick in your throat. Think savory ice cream, smooth and rich. On the other hand, I don't play a doctor, even on the internet, and I'm not telling you to eat a lot of it though it's not the killer fat some make it out to be.
  9. I have been disappointed by my one meal in the Bar room at the modern and thoroughly satisfied by two meals in The Modern dining room. One was a dinner some time ago and the other was a lunch very recently. The meal at the bar room might not have even brought me back, had I not had Kreuther's food at Atelier when he was chef there. It may be that the menu in the bar room is less interesting or less accomplished.
  10. Define "fine meal." It shouldn't need dessert any more than it needs any other course, but there's a reason most fine restaurants have fine pastry chefs and I think most diners think of a fine meal as a series of fine courses, nicely served. As for Blue Hill, I tend to agree with Dave H. Blue Hill is my favorite restaurant in NYC and a contender for best restauurant in the city, but then again I was remarkable impressed with my one dinner at the French Laundry. By the way, Blue Hill, does not, I believe, have a resident pastry chef.
  11. What's the opposite of classical--romantic? expressionistic? or do you need Greek columns? The design of The Modern stikes me as very classic, although perhaps there's some drama in the proportions of it's very high ceiling in relation to the floor space. In spite of the exciting proportions, I find the space quite sedate, or at least the restaurant is sedate, perhaps the bar is less so, but that's probably true at every restaurant I can think of. I've been in the restaurant at both lunch and dinner. I probably prefer lunch because of the view to the garden and the natural llight, although with less natural light, the room is probably more sedate at dinner.
  12. Bux

    Shanghai Cafe

    Is this place that old?
  13. What kind of a New Yorker are you? New Yorkers complain about everything and anything. What's to understand? However, a fine meal without a fine dessert is simply defective in my opinion.
  14. This seems like a totally subjective decision you need to make for yourself, but may I ask how great a part the food plays in your overall "fine dining" experience? I know there's only so much classical elegance I can eat. The Modern far surpasses my subjective need for an elegant setting. It really is an elegant setting and I like its style, but the design of a restaurant almost always plays second fiddle by a long shot to the food for me. Then again, as at many fine restaurants, the best food may be on the most expensive menu or the a la carte menu.
  15. Indeed, Michelin rather precisely defines its stars in terms of "destination." A three star restaurant is "worth a special journey." A two star restaurant is "worth a detour." A one star restaurant is very good in its category and "worth a stop on your journey." Of course this tends to apply to country restaurants and motorists. The aspect of special journey and detour manifest themselves a bit differently in an urban city and a subway or taxi ride for pizza may be no longer than one to Daniel, le Bernardin or Per Se. I've often wondered if one might classify urban restaurants on the basis of how far in advance you'd be willing to plan and reserve ahead. A good film may be finer art than a bad opera, but the movie theater is less of a destination than the opera house, it that's of any use in this discussion. It also strikes me that a destination restaurant might be one for which the average diner is willing to change his clothes and dress for the occasion, although perhaps no one dresses up specially for anything these days. We will bog down in semantics as Sneakeater suggests and clearly one man's idea of destination is not anothers. Too may members can't seem to get over their subjective view and look at a subject related to food objectively. They know too well what they like. There are great hamburgers and great pizzas, but neither qualilfy for me as a destination. Nevertheless, as a traveler, I have gone dozens of miles out of my way and altered an itinerary for a local specialty. A proto hamburger might be a destination for a European visitor to NY just as Katz's (not a destination restaurant, imo) is a destination for visitors to NYC. That said, does devoting a day to getting to and eating in a place that serves "authentic" paella make the target a destination restaurant?
  • Create New...