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johnder

PDT (Please Don't Tell) -- St. Marks Place.

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I wasn't aware that M&R is a sweet vermouth.  that clarifies things.

To clarify further, M&R Bianco is a different product than M&R Extra Dry. The sweeter Bianco became available in the U.S. (again?) in the past year or so. Note that it's featured in a few of the fabulous cocktails on Death & Co's menu (notably the Rojo Bianco).

Christopher

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great spot

i had one cocktail with some friends tho - and there was way too much bitters in this thing - like probably 10 shakes.  i couldn't even taste the fruit or the alcohol.

goes to show you......

just because they are ambitious and claim to do all the trendy things (ice cubes, fresh juice, gins, classic cocktails, bitters)...doesn't mean the execution is flawless..  i guess they are imitators?

I think I remember you from the picture in your blog. Weren't you in Monday evening sitting at the bar? I believe you introduced yourself as a Mixologist and a friend of "Crif's" then seeing our cordial bottles asked for all 12 syrups, 6 bitters, orange flower water and olive brine mixed in a glass with 2 oz of liquor of my choice.

hehe i don't normally introduce me as a mixologist - that was someone else.

i do wine sales now, ex line cook/sommelier.

i probably should have sat at the bar - took a while to get drinks, i sat at the bar with my boyfriend at brandy library a few days ago and it was great.

i know "recipes" say 2 shakes of bitters - but we all know that when you are slammed and in a rush - your food/drink doesn't always come out as flawless as you wanted it too. i probably should have sent it back but i don't know - i didn't want to cause a scene - it was late.

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Wow I just reread this thread and I want to make myself perfectly clear.

First of all - I would never ever introduce myself as a "mixologist." I hate that word. I do. I know some great restaurant bartenders who've worked at three star level or higher on this island and they are great at what they do, they charm, they have a repetoire of phenominal cocktails, they provide great service- but they would never, EVER, call themsevles that. Is a mixologist creative? Or are they reading Dale Degroff and Gary Regan and pulling stuff out of there. How many people really have original ideas anymore? And considering this whole cocktail movement going on right now - I belive these "mixologists" are just simply returning to the CLASSICS - recipes that were created 100 years ago.

A chef can spend his life's work honing his craft- being able to finally call himself a Chef. How long does a mixologist? Seriously.

Alright. This is probably a grand statement. Yes, I make grand statements for effect. I'm a sales guy. I'm loud, and I'm extroverted.

The drink I had - was definitely not the Pisco Sour. Whatever it was - there were too much bitters.

I know this because

I have been working in restaurants for over 10 years now - usually as a captain. I have a very sensitive stomach and I'm lactose intolerant - and my waiter drink of choice, during service, is club soda and bitters. So effectively I have been drinking club soda and bitters for years and years and years - I like the taste - and it settles my stomach so I don't have to run to the toilet at a bad time.

That being said - I REALLY know exactly what bitters tastes like. Also - I love cocktails. I love this whole cocktail thing. Like a lot of people, I was drinking gin & tonics and makers mark things for a while - but I've got really turned on to this whole cocktail movement. Big ice cubes, fresh juices, bitters, syrups, rums, ryes, gins, bring it on! I love it.

But that drink at PDT had too much bitters.

You're right, I probably shouldn't have said that they are so ambitious and imitators. That was for effect. A flawless execution? Well you have a very optimistic view of how things get done in bars and restaurants! You think your Halibut at Le Bernardin is flawlessly executed every time? From my point of view - nothing is ever flawless, nothing is ever "perfectly" cooked, is it - if you ask most chefs? Rather, if a line cook says to a chef "this pork chop is perfectly cooked" - I'm sure a million chefs would find a million different things wrong with it.

We say things for effect - "this cocktail is perfect." But what is a perfect cocktail - one at the right temperature - with the right balance of sweet, sour, bitter, and booze - that you taste and its just freaking delicious? Perhaps. What is a perfect wine? A DRC 1961? A Mugnier Musigny 2005? Who knows? Who cares?

Anyway - But I can tell you this - I have never had a cocktail that was anything but delicious at Pegu, Flatiron, or Brandy Library. And THIS cocktail at PDT had too much bitters.

P.S. - I got the tin lined pots. HAHA. And one copper/stainless fry pan. All Mauviel - from Bridge Kitchenware actually - talked to Steven Bridge (I believe) - and he's got insane deals when you physically walk in the store - not the ones on the web. Will post pics.

And stay tuned for me WD 50 blog review on my 9 course tasting followed by 5 course dessert tasting!!!

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Do you remember which cocktail you had? I am pretty sure I mixed your drinks that night, so I am just curious.

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i can't remember.

i was sitting at a table of 3, me and a guy from work and his girlfriend. we had only one or two rounds - the other drinks were great. but my first drink there was a disappointment - i will definitely try it again.

this was back around probably june 21st or so, i think it was a thursday because i had work the next day

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. . . I hate that word [mixologist].  I do.  I know some great restaurant bartenders who've worked at three star level or higher on this island and they are great at what they do, they charm, they have a repetoire of phenominal cocktails, they provide great service- but they would never, EVER, call themsevles that.

"Mixologist" is just a word to describe a bartender who is experienced and skilled in making cocktails, as opposed to the more common "beer, shots and the occasional G&T" bartender. Some people in the business like the word, some don't.

Is a mixologist creative?  Or are they reading Dale Degroff and Gary Regan and pulling stuff out of there.  How many people really have original ideas anymore?  And considering this whole cocktail movement going on right now - I belive these "mixologists" are just simply returning to the CLASSICS - recipes that were created 100 years ago.

It all depends on what you consider "creative" and "orginal." Is there anything strikingly original about Alain Ducasse's work? I would argue that the creative output of people like Audrey Saunders and Dale DeGroff is every bit as original as Alain Ducasse. As for whether they're returning to the classics, that's a more nuanced issue. If by "returning to the classics" you're suggesting that they're simply repeating drinks invented by someone else and found in a dusty old tome, you are not correct. Of course they are familiar with the history and the tradition, and many of the drinks they make may be classics, but even a brief glance at the cocktail menus of leading NYC bars demonstrates that they are continuing to grow the craft and create new cocktails. If by "returning to the classics" you mean that they are returning to the classic tradition of crafting a cocktail rather than continuing the newer path of "3 fruit-flavored vodkas shaken up with 4 different fruit-flavored liqueurs, two different citrus juices and the ubiquitous splashes of cranberry juice and sour mix" mixology, then I would agree.

A chef can spend his life's work honing his craft- being able to finally call himself a Chef.  How long does a mixologist?  Seriously.

Seriously, that is a ridiculous statement. A "chef" is simply the boss of a professional kitchen. Once you run a professional kitchen, you're a chef. Basta. The guy who runs the kitchen at The Modern is a chef... so is the guy who runs the kitchen at Carmine's. And plenty of people attain that "title" at a relatively young age and after relatively few years of experience. Returning to Alain Ducasse again, as good an example as any, he begain in the culinary field in 1972 and had his first "chef" gig in 1980. So, after 8 years and at the tender age of 24, Alain Ducasse was a "chef." Four years later (for a total of only 12 years in the business) he was awarded 2 Michelin stars.

A good example of a young up-and-coming cocktail designer would be Phil Ward, currently head bartender at Death & Co. Phil takes his craft very seriously. I'm not sure how long he's been bartending, but it's got to be at least 8 years. Since I've known him he's worked several years at Flatiron Lounge with Julie Reiner and around a year and a half at Pegu Club with Audrey Saunders, learning and growing with people at the very top of the cocktails world today. If he continues to improve and grow and explore his options, there's no reason he shouldn't have his own place and be considered one of the elite figures in the cocktails world by the time he's put in 12 years.

The drink I had - was definitely not the Pisco Sour.  Whatever it was - there were too much bitters.

I think people are having a difficult time believing that you got a drink with too much bitters, especially for the bitters aficionado you claim to be, for several reasons: First, knowing the skill and expertise of the PDT bartenders this seems unlikely, especially considering that none of their drinks call for more than two dashes. Second, it is possible that a drink with the proper amount of bitters had too much bitters for your taste. Third, there isn't much to suggest that you have a level of cocktail expertise which enables you to distinguish between "too much bitters for me" and "too much bitters for this drink" (especially considering your original estimation of "probably 10 shakes" of bitters).

Notwithstanding the foregoing, of course it isn't impossible that your drink had too much bitters in it. That's not the point. It would be interesting to know what cocktail you had. Some cocktails are supposed to be bitter. PDT has an Aperol cocktail on the menu, for example, and it would be silly to order, say, a "Death in the Gulf Stream" and complain that it had too much bitters in it. Considering that you can remember that the cocktail had fruit juice and a spirit, and considering that you remember the drink well enough to know that it had "too much bitters," it seems like you ought to be able to remember enough details about the drink (what kind of spirit, what kind of fruit juice, what kind of glass, etc.) for us to get a reasonably good idea of what drink you were having.

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Any updates on lines/needs for reservations. I was thinking of checking PDT out relatively early on Thursday evening (somewhere between 7pm and 10pm) with one or two friends. Will I have trouble getting in?

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IIRC, you should call the day of at 3pm or close to it. If I'm wrong, I'm sure one of the eGulleteers who gets behind the wood there can correct me!

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nope.

you can certainly try to make a res. but even when they say they're full on the res line (they'll sometimes tell you this)...they'll still virtually always have seats for a couple people at the bar or sometimes at a table. so although it doesn't hurt to call..if they don't have a res...just show up. every time I've been there so far was sans a reservation..and at peak times.

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The deal for reservations is pretty simple. The bar, (14 seats) is first come, first serve, no reservations. The tables, 32 seats are reservation only for which reservations are taken starting 3pm that day.

If you don't have a reservation and want to come, you can call ahead and ask about the space at the bar and if there are any seats.

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Thanks for the info. Ill try and make reservations, and if that doesnt work, Ill swing by. Am trying to fit a first swilling at Setagaya in, in any event, so Im going to be in the neighborhood already.

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bondgirl & I went to PDT a couple of weeks ago, and I had a great experience there. Tried the Aperol Sprizz as well as Negroni, and both were well balanced, delicious drinks. It was a pleasure to sit at the bar and watch the drinks being made and chat with the bartender. We were there early enough in the evening that chatting was a possibility -- by the time we left every seat was full and the bartender of course was quite busy.

My only comment is that the food in no way measures up to the quality of the drinks -- all that's on the menu is Crif dogs & fries! It's fun to have cottage fries with a perfect Negroni, but it kind of shatters the experience, quickly brings you back down to earth. They need to Pegu up the menu a bit.

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after a few cocktails I can't think of anything better to wash it down with than a hot dog or burger. and the kitchen is the Crif Dogs kitchen anyway


Edited by Nathan (log)

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And there are plenty of other eating options within a few blocks in any direction...that avocado/bacon dog, however, soaks up a fair amount of booze :smile: !!

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I had the opportunity to sample a few drinks at PDT earlier this week. I really can't say enough about this place. As I've admitted in every cocktail-related thread I've ever posted in, my knowledge of serious cocktails is severely lacking. Despite this, I still think I can adequately comment on the way a bar feels and runs.

I stopped by at PDT pretty early on a Monday evening so getting in wasn't a problem. It's probably not cool to admit this, but I was so psyched about going through the phone booth. Seriously, so cool. My companion was perhaps even more pleased than I was about the entrance and overall feel of the place. The glowing bar itself makes for particularly striking drink presentations.

Although the names of the drinks themselves escape me at the present, all four items I tried were top notch. That johnder and donbert were such excellent hosts from behind the bar made for an even better and more interactive experience. In my limited exposure, my favorite part about the cocktail experience is working with the bartender to find a drink that suits me personal tastes and mood. It's quite like working with a sommelier, just less pretentious and usually more fun. For this reason, hitting up a serious cocktail bar at a off-hour is a great time to learn a little something while also enjoying great drinks in a laid back setting.

I also had a Good Morning Dog--I was a couple drinks into my evening by this point--and thought it was tasty. Fine-dining perhaps not, but I'm certainly not above eating a well-crafted hot dog while enjoying an excellent cocktail. I know there was early talk of other menu items in the first post, so perhaps these additions will come. I know I'd love to see both lobster rolls and sliders in that cool space.

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Good to see this thread bumped. I went there as well for the first time this weekend (Saturday night, early) and enjoyed myself quite a bit. I went with my girlfriend and we made reservations that day, calling around 3:30. When I first stepped into the phone booth I was a little nervous considering the wall that doubled as a door was quite solid. Everything I'd read about the entrance led me to believe it would just kind of open up, lol. Turns out you have to pick up the phone and get buzzed in, which makes sense.

The space is small but very nice, the ceiling is quite low and adds to the whole secret closet feel of the joint. We each had 3 different cocktails, all of which were impeccably made and delicious. I had a Pisco Sour, Solstice (applejack, rye...), and a El Puente (odd mix including mescal) while my girlfriend had a Trident, Reverend Palmer, and another drink I forgot the name of, it had Crème de Violette, Gin, egg white, and something else…

After the first drink we ordered 2 chili dogs and waffle fries and I have to say, what at first seemed pretty incongruous turned out to be pretty spectacular. Sitting in a beautiful place, sipping delicious cocktails, and munching on chili dogs? Yeah it works, trust me.

Only possibly knock was the music (total mish mash, didn't really fit the overall atmosphere of the place, but perhaps this is their way of distinguishing themselves, or concessions made due to the neighborhood they're in?…like sure we make cocktails as good as any other place in the city but listen to popular music and serve hotdogs….) it looked to be piped from an ipod, hopefully it changes from bartender to bartender….

Speaking of which while a total pro (all of our cocktails were perfectly made, including the Pisco Sour, no easy feat) he was reluctant to really strike up a conversation and seemed a little too austere for my money. One thing of note though, he did make a drink I'd never seen/heard about called a "Flame of Love Martini" or something like that. Not sure exactly what went into it but before pouring the drink he flamed a lemon peel into the empty glasses, and then after he poured it in he flamed another 3 or 4 more lemon peels, for each drink! I'd never seen anything like it. Tiny explosion after tiny explosion. ….he said the drink was allegedly invented for Dean Martin.

Anyway great place looking forward to the next visit.


Edited by Scotttos (log)

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yup....the Flame of Love was repopularized awhile back by Dale DeGroff. you'll find a full writeup in his The Craft of the Cocktail.

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I had a Pisco Sour, Solstice (applejack, rye...), and a El Puente (odd mix including mescal) while my girlfriend had a Trident, Reverend Palmer, and another drink I forgot the name of, it had Crème de Violette, Gin, egg white, and something else…

I believe the two drinks highlighted were created by johnder and donbert!

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I had a Pisco Sour, Solstice (applejack, rye...), and a El Puente (odd mix including mescal) while my girlfriend had a Trident, Reverend Palmer, and another drink I forgot the name of, it had Crème de Violette, Gin, egg white, and something else…

I believe the two drinks highlighted were created by johnder and donbert!

ya? both wonderful drinks :smile: my girlfriend couldn't get enough of the reverend palmer, she's not typically a whiskey fan but she just loved this cocktail.

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The Solstice is deep and manly. At least to my tastes.

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I had a Pisco Sour, Solstice (applejack, rye...), and a El Puente (odd mix including mescal) while my girlfriend had a Trident, Reverend Palmer, and another drink I forgot the name of, it had Crème de Violette, Gin, egg white, and something else…

I believe the two drinks highlighted were created by johnder and donbert!

ya? both wonderful drinks :smile: my girlfriend couldn't get enough of the reverend palmer, she's not typically a whiskey fan but she just loved this cocktail.

Most people aren't whiskey fans per se (I wasn't), but when those types of spirits (and I believe the Reverend uses bourbon) are used by some of the best bartenders in the city, they make for some mighty fine drinks!

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yup....the Flame of Love was repopularized awhile back by Dale DeGroff.  you'll find a full writeup in his The Craft of the Cocktail.

dude i dont know who's more of a dork, you or me?

we should get drunk some time

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Was back at PDT yesterday evening. Tried all sorts of drinks and really enjoyed myself. My only criticism is that some of the experience is lost without sitting at the bar itself. There's less of an opportunity for customization and the waiters/waitresses don't know as much about the drinks as the bartenders themselves. Not that this is necessarily PDT specific, but more a general observation. If going with a group of three or less, do try to sit at the bar. Still, I love this place. The day I don't find walking into the phone booth cool is the day I officially become old and will forfeit my soul.

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This is one of the things that is the hardest to deal with. I was lucky to have cocktail waitress that would sit for my 50 hour class. It is best to sit at the bar and see the show. If more people came into the bar and say on the dizzy side of the stick the first time most people would not complain when the drinks take a while. They are doing such great things at PDT that it is a shame that anyone walks away not on top of the world.

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