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vivin

Sam Mason's Tailor has Arrived

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So we stopped by here on Saturday night after Back Forty for drinks and dessert. It'd been about a month since I'd last been in...Tailor seems to be really maturing as a restaurant.

the menu has grown (gotta return for the tasting menu soon), the bar has filled out, the list of cocktails and house infusions is larger (and very polished).

our dessert of pork belly was as good as the first time I tried it.

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I'm looking forward to trying it for myself later this month now that some of the initial opening hype and jitters are past. I have great faith in both Sam and Francis' abilities.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I think it was a big mistake to draw so much attention to themselves, and then to open with the menu in such a fragmentary state, which left a number of the early reviewers underwhelmed. The question now is whether Bruni and Platt are still giving the restaurant time, or if they've more-or-less formed their impressions based on the beta-version, which really wasn't ready to be reviewed.

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I think it was a big mistake to draw so much attention to themselves, and then to open with the menu in such a fragmentary state, which left a number of the early reviewers underwhelmed. The question now is whether Bruni and Platt are still giving the restaurant time, or if they've more-or-less formed their impressions based on the beta-version, which really wasn't ready to be reviewed.

Yes, but even early visitors, like myself, was able to read p-o-t-e-n-t-i-a-l into the operation. I can't say that I left gushing, or wanting to rush back, but I did see more than just a faint glimpse of hope for Tailor. On this forum, at least, it seemed that most of the (early) disappointment/disagreement over the restaurant wasn't with the food as much as with the volume and the threads.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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Letting everyone know that this weekend they introduced several new dishes on the menu on both the salty and sweet side.

Salty include an octopus dish, and a monkfish dish. And on the sweet side a french toast dish among others.

So definitely worth checking out.

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Yes, but even early visitors, like myself, was able to read p-o-t-e-n-t-i-a-l into the operation.  I can't say that I left gushing, or wanting to rush back, but I did see more than just a faint glimpse of hope for Tailor.  On this forum, at least, it seemed that most of the (early) disappointment/disagreement over the restaurant wasn't with the food as much as with the volume and the threads.

Oh, I saw potential too. But I'm not sure whether the pro reviewers take that into account. Most of the time, they seem to review what the restaurant is, not what it could be. Usually, "not gushing or wanting to rush back" translates to a one-star review (or its equivalent).
Edited by oakapple (log)

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Yes, but even early visitors, like myself, was able to read p-o-t-e-n-t-i-a-l into the operation.  I can't say that I left gushing, or wanting to rush back, but I did see more than just a faint glimpse of hope for Tailor.  On this forum, at least, it seemed that most of the (early) disappointment/disagreement over the restaurant wasn't with the food as much as with the volume and the threads.

Oh, I saw potential too. But I'm not sure whether the pro reviewers take that into account. Most of the time, they seem to review what the restaurant is, not what it could be. Usually, "not gushing or wanting to rush back" translates to a one-star review (or its equivalent).

Yes, well, the truly sad thing is that (in my opinion) a "pro reviewer" really should know better than to do any formal reviewing before the first month or two of the restaurant's opening. Every restaurant should be allowed some time to get up to speed.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Agreed. Didn't there used to be at least an unsaid three month grace period for the Times before a new restaurant was reviewed? Maybe I'm living in the 80s. It's unfair. They're taking crawling babies and dragging them to compete in the NYC marathon.


stay tasty.

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Agreed. Didn't there used to be at least an unsaid three month grace period for the Times before a new restaurant was reviewed? Maybe I'm living in the 80s.  It's unfair. They're taking crawling babies and dragging them to compete in the NYC marathon.

there still is. Bruni has reviewed exactly one restaurant inside of three months (it'd been open more like 2.5 months).

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Perhaps the review came out within the 3-month time frame, but I know for a fact that he's been eating at recently opened restaurants that haven't reached its quarter-year milestone just yet.


stay tasty.

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Perhaps the review came out within the 3-month time frame, but I know for a fact that he's been eating at recently opened restaurants that haven't reached its quarter-year milestone just yet.

I can't speak for Bruni, but I know that professional restaurant critics will often scope out a fledgling in order to get a more accurate sense of "how far the restaurant has come" by the time the formal reviewing process begins. There are restaurants who need a year to get into the "marathon," and those who only need a couple/few months. I would think/hope that those who can manage to ramp up and shave off the rough edges quicker, are more highly esteemed, in the end.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Perhaps the review came out within the 3-month time frame, but I know for a fact that he's been eating at recently opened restaurants that haven't reached its quarter-year milestone just yet.

Since he doesn't disclose his dining diary, we don't have a sense (and probably never will) to what extent those early visits color his view. Bruni has, on multiple occasions, reviewed restaurants after less than three months, but that's not the norm, and among major critics he is usually the last to weigh in. Of course, a review after exactly three months will necessarily be based on multiple visits inside of that window.

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Perhaps the review came out within the 3-month time frame, but I know for a fact that he's been eating at recently opened restaurants that haven't reached its quarter-year milestone just yet.

so do I. of course he does. heck, he writes diner's journal entries about it. so?

edit: actually, I can think of two occasions where the review came just inside of three months. someone once claimed here that Bruni reviewed the Modern right after it opened but this turned out not to be true.


Edited by Nathan (log)

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For those that were saying they had trouble finding the restaurant, I went by recently and noticed they already put up the "525" numbers on the door and sometime in the near future they will have a sign up.


Edited by Gabe Quiros (log)

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what's absurdly amusing about that review is Platt's affection for the Bazooka...which tells you everything you need to know about his lack of taste (at least when it comes to cocktails).

the Bazooka is a joke, the first ironic cocktail. it's intended to be insipidly sweet and schlocky...that's why it's the one vodka drink on the menu. and he loved it.

he seemed to liked the food that he had. (he was spotted once and sat at the bar with his wife)

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I do remember, however, that there was never enough food on my plate

That's the last line from Platt's review. Funny thing is that if he didn't like the food, (he actually said he did), I don't get this line. If he did like it as he said he did when commenting on specific dishes, I don't really understand the panning of the restaurant.

I also couldn't tell from the article whether he is one of the "city’s grizzled, increasingly nostalgic band of restaurant critics" that looked forward to the arrival of a chef like Trabocchi (from his review of Fiamma in the same article) or one of the "younger, well-heeled diners" for whom "the appetite for showy auteur cooking has declined".

FWIW, I will be dining at both Fiamma and Tailor very soon and will report back on both.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I do remember, however, that there was never enough food on my plate

That's the last line from Platt's review. Funny thing is that if he didn't like the food, (he actually said he did), I don't get this line. If he did like it as he said he did when commenting on specific dishes, I don't really understand the panning of the restaurant.

As I saw it, Platt was complaining about the overall incoherence of the concept, which is a reasonable objection. Like most critical judgments, it's not provably correct or incorrect.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Platt hardly ever gives three stars or higher. He gives three stars less often than Bruni. In fact, I can't remember Platt's last three-bagger. So with two being his practical maximum, an awful lot of decent places get one star.

I also couldn't tell from the article whether he is one of the "city’s grizzled, increasingly nostalgic band of restaurant critics".....

Unfortunately, Platt's reviews are full of reminders of how bored he is with the job.
Edited by oakapple (log)

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FWIW, I will be dining at both Fiamma and Tailor very soon and will report back on both.

for me both were unimpressive

Edited by docsconz to fix formatting

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FWIW, I will be dining at both Fiamma and Tailor very soon and will report back on both.

for me both were unimpressive

Different strokes for different folks. :smile: I enjoyed both very, very much!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I arrived at Tailor with my wife and two of my sons this past Saturday night at 7PM for our dinner reservation to find the restaurant half empty. I began to wonder if Bruni's tepid review really carried that much weight. I should have realized where we were and that it was simply still very, very early. By the time we ere midway through our meal the restaurant was full and humming!

The menu has been expanded and is now divided into three sections: Small Plate, Large Plate and Sweet.

This being Tailor, a restaurant known for its cocktails, we decided to go that route instead of wine. I started with a Crumble - brown butter rum, pink clove and scrumpy. It was served on a rock, a single, massive, perfectly square ice cube. Though I never did ascertain what "scrumpy" is, the drink was quite tasty without being overtly sweet. This was my weekend for brown butter, as I had enjoeyed it in a savory and a dessert the night prior at Fiamma. Over the course of the evenin I also got to try a Violet Fizz - Gin, lemon, lime, cream, egg white, and creme de violet; a Bohemio - Tequila, Becherovka and naranja agria; as well as a South Central - Rum, creme de Caco and mole. All were quite good, though I could not discern any mole component to the South Central. The bar also made a nonalcoholic Fevertree Ginger for my 8yo that was quite delicious and enjoyed very much by him.

One again we were presented with the option of letting the chef cook for us. My wife was wary of too much food, our 8yo would only be able to eat so much and our other son and I had ramen at Mitsuwa market in Edgewater for lunch that had not yet fully cleared so we asked to limit the number of dishes to a reasonable level.

The lighting was low and suboptimal for non-flash photography, so I apologize for the barely acceptable quality of the photos.

gallery_8158_5434_14350.jpggallery_8158_5434_38484.jpggallery_8158_5434_29198.jpg

Chorizo Cured Kampachi, Sweet Potato Cream, Potato Granola A great example of the Catalan concept of contemporary Mar y Montaña or "surf and turf" this marriage of terrestrial pork and maritime kampachi worked beautifully for all of us but the 8yo who found the fish a bit too challenging. He did enjoy the sweet potato cream and potato granola, however. These elements added both flavor and textural contrast to this dish. The balance of the chorizo was perfect as it was discernible without smothering the more delicate kampachi.

gallery_8158_5434_40662.jpg

Foie Gras, Peanut Butter, Cocoa, Pear Once again, my 8yo was challenged by this dish as he was a little put off by the funny-tasting "peanut butter" or what he thought was peanut butter, but which was in fact the foie gras. It wasn't that the foie tasted like peanut butter - it was most definitely tasting like foie gras and good foie gras at that - but it was texturally similar in his mind to peanut butter with foie gras previously being outside his realm of experience. The dish worked well without any one ingredient dominating or overshadowing the foie gras.

gallery_8158_5434_24749.jpg

Coriander fried Sweetbreads, Citrus Puree, Salsify, White Beer. Now my 8yo was starting to warm up with his first ever sweetbreads, a dish that he and the rest of the table loved despite the fact that he couldn't quite place the texture. The white beer was the dollop on top of the sweetbread. I believe that it was a Hefeweizen or wheat beer. The combination of the Hefeweizen with the coriander of the sweetbreads was reminiscent of a Gose beer, a German wheat beer with coriander added to it.

gallery_8158_5434_59928.jpg

Monkfish, barley Risotto, Fennel, fried Herbs. The 8yo liked, but didn't finish this fine dish. My wife , who was sitting next to him, didn't complain as she finished what he didn't in addition to her own. I might, be ordinarily she never does that!

gallery_8158_5434_14760.jpggallery_8158_5434_37150.jpg

Pork Belly, Miso Butterscotch, Artichoke

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Root Beer Short Ribs, White Beans, Candied Red Carrots

All the dishes were served in the small plate format and we each got every dish up to the meat course when two of us got the pork belly and the other two got the short ribs. I was served the short ribs, while my wife received the pork belly. The 8yo got the short ribs, which he wanted from first looking at the menu. he loved them as did I, but being that my wife is not a huge fan of pork belly, she and I traded after I had had a taste of the short ribs. Both of thee dishes really rocked. There was just enough root beer flavor in the ribs to to prove its presence without being cloying. I would be happy to eat either dish with regularity.

gallery_8158_5434_50236.jpg

Pretzel Ice Cream with Beer Foam When this dish was placed in front of me and described, I was unimpressed and not particularly looking forward to it as it appeared to be rather mundane. Then I tasted it. This was an absolutely extraordinary dessert and my favorite course of the night and one of the most memorable dishes of the year for me. The balance of salt, sweet and bitter was absolutely perfect. The ice cream contained pretzel dust, giving it body and added texture. The flavors were spot on accurate, but presented in such a format that could not be duplicated by simply eating and drinking the constituent products regardless of their quality. Beer and pretzels have never nor could ever taste this good to me. This was clearly an outstanding case of synergy and what creative cooking is all about. BTW, the 8yo loved it as well. So did the others.

gallery_8158_5434_34758.jpg

Caramelized Apple, Cumin Ice Cream, Preserved Plum This was another dessert enjoyed by everyone at the table.

gallery_8158_5434_43160.jpg

Soft Chocolate, Sesame Ice Cream, Mole Not knowing when the meal progression would end, my eldest son surmised that it wouldn't be until we were served chocolate. He was correct as this lovely dessert finished the meal.

At the end of the meal we were invited back into the kitchen to see Chefs Mason and Derby. I was also very happy to finally have the opportunity to meet eGullet Society Member and recent elBulli alumnus, Gabe Quiros, who has very recently started occasionally working in the kitchen of Tailor.

We had a great time at Tailor. Not all the food is for everyone as the example my 8yo son illustrates. Nevertheless, he enjoyed much more than he didn't. The music was a plus to this family as we all really enjoyed the eclectic mix that was played seemlessly segueing one into another. I love the space and the service, especially our principle server (unfortunately I did not catch her name), was extremely knowledgeable and well informed, however, there were a couple of things that annoyed me slightly. The first is one that would not be a factor for most people and in fact would probably be a plus for most - the lighting for non-flash photography was terrible! That might be intentional :laugh: The second, also a minor point, but one I don't really understand, was the obsessive desire to remove the bread plates from the table, whether there was still bread on them or not. Of course, they did not remove them until we gave permission to do so, but being asked every five minutes or so it seemed, though initially amusing, was ultimately distracting and annoying. We finally gave them up well before dessert just to be done with the requests. The bread, BTW was very good.

I am looking forward to my next visit.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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A pertinent post of mine from the pre-opening Tailor topic back in March.

This is one restaurant opening that I am anxiously awaiting. I have confidence that Sam and his crew will pull off a full menu that is fun, interesting and delicious. I still feel that along with many others, that what created problems for Varietal was that it was not a unified restaurant. It tried to have something for everybody, but rather than pleasing everybody the perceived discordance created confusion and some level of dissatisfaction for most. Some liked the desserts and not the savories and others the opposite. If people are not crazy about part of a meal it will effect their perception of the whole meal. I do not see that happening at Tailor as I think the vision is pretty unified based upon what I know of the players and what I have read.

The place hasn't opened yet. Whatever our levels of expectation though, we should wait until it does and try it before pre-judging it a success or a failure. That being said, I agree that Bruni's track record makes it unlikely that he will be very favorable towards the restaurant, but with this restaurant, I am not sure that it will even matter. I think that because of the people involved and the location that it might be able to withstand a Bruni pan so long as it satisfies its core constituency. OTOH, a rave from Bruni could send it over the top.

From another post a short time later:

One of the reasons why I don't think that this restaurant is a stretch is that Sam has a lot of experience with savories and has blurred the distinctions between savory and dessert for some time and does so as well as anyone. What I stated above though is that it will be Bruni-proof so long as it satisfies its core constituency. Its location is ideal for that. The rest has to come from Sam and his crew. Frankly, I would be very surprised if they aren't able to satisfy their core even if it is difficult to extend beyond it at this point in time. I'm looking forward to it.

I believe this to be the case now more than ever.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Went to Tailor twice last week. Enjoyed both times. I have now been 4 times. This restaurant is getting better and better.

The French Toast from WD is back. The Olive dessert was the best on the last trip.

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