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Sam Mason's Tailor has Arrived


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OTOH, when I try cocktail pairings, I literally have to be carried out of the room from dinner.

I actually asked for a cocktail pairing with the 8-course tasting the last time I ate at Tailor. Eben did something like one cocktail for every 2 courses or so, so it wasn't absurd, but it was more liquor than I think the wine pairing would have been. The time before that, I had the wine pairing, which was okay but not spectacular; on the other hand, that was something like a year ago, so things (plus my tastes in wine) may have changed. I preferred my memory of the cocktail pairing to my memory of the wine pairing.
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Thanks for your replies. I decided to go the rather boring route of starting with a cocktail (which I loved) with a bottle of cabernet sauv. with dinner. We really enjoyed our meal there - a few new items on the menu since I was there earlier this year. Was a little surprised it was not full on a Saturday night though.

cheers

whiskey

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  • 2 months later...
Well that's a damn shame. Now I'm really glad I had a chance to go in March. Great cocktails, great meal. Here's hoping everyone involved lands on their feet.

After a particularly awkward conversation with the reservationist ("so I heard you went bankrupt... "), I believe they're going to be staying open for the time being. Although I wouldn't blame him if I were never allowed to go there again.
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My understanding is that they are very much planning on staying in business, but that this was a necessary step. I certainly hope that they do and the fresh start does them good.

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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My understanding is that they are very much planning on staying in business, but that this was a necessary step. I certainly hope that they do and the fresh start does them good.

That's a shame I really hope they stay open. I just took my parents last week to show them an example of the type of food I would like to cook in the future. We loved the meal and the cocktails we're out of this world. I was hoping to stage there as well.

My food and ideas CookDiegoCook

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  • 4 weeks later...
My understanding is that they are very much planning on staying in business, but that this was a necessary step. I certainly hope that they do and the fresh start does them good.

That's a shame I really hope they stay open. I just took my parents last week to show them an example of the type of food I would like to cook in the future. We loved the meal and the cocktails we're out of this world. I was hoping to stage there as well.

Just visited Tailor on Wednesday for the first time in a few months. Drinks (rhubarb gimlet and raspberry whip) were very good as usual, and the food doesn't seem to have slipped at all. They've continued the more traditional starters and mains approach, as opposed to the one size small plates they started with.

We began with seared red snapper/watermelon/olive/ramps, which was very nice, and crescent duck/spaghetti squash/mushroom broth, which had a great umami quality without being overly rich. We then followed up with cocoa gnocchi/butternut-parmesan puree, which was surprisingly chocolcatey, and waylon braised brisket/parsnip puree/burnt carrots/orange, which was really rich, and had aspects of real homey comfort food, despite the modern appearance. Prices were a little steeper than I remembered, but that may just be my error in recall.

We were there late (after 10:30), and there was only one other table present. It seemed totally dead, which is sad, and I had the impression it hadn't been much more crowded at prime time. Let's hope they make it through chapter 11 and get some buzz again. NY really needs Tailor to round out its dining scene...there's really nothing else that fills the same niche. Still, all signs still point to NY being more conservative than we might guess in terms of accepting modern/molecular cuisine. Fingers crossed.

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  Let's hope they make it through chapter 11 and get some buzz again.  NY really needs Tailor to round out its dining scene...there's really nothing else that fills the same niche. 

I dont get what niche they are filling. You already have pretentious cocktail bars. You already have forward thinking restaurant like WD50 that has this type of food but, not done poorly.

This place was a disaster from the start. If the chef wasn't so "cool", who would care about this place. This place is a joke on every level.

Edited by ChefSlade (log)
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  Let's hope they make it through chapter 11 and get some buzz again.  NY really needs Tailor to round out its dining scene...there's really nothing else that fills the same niche. 

I dont get what niche they are filling. You already have pretentious cocktail bars. You already have forward thinking restaurant like WD50 that has this type of food but, not done poorly.

This place was a disaster from the start. If the chef wasn't so "cool", who would care about this place. This place is a joke on every level.

Actually, the path to success is usually paved by copying what other people are already doing. That's why NYC has so many formula steakhouses, formula trattorias, formula sushi bars, and so forth.

Tailor, on the other hand, did not copy anything. There's WD~50 DNA in its lineage, and there are other serious cocktail bars, but Tailor went its own way, and yeah, they made some mistakes. The Tailor of today is considerably different, and considerably improved over the concept that Mason opened with.

Obviously you have to like this type of food and cocktails, and it's clear the poster does not. The same kind of comments were made about WD~50 when it opened. But assuming you're open to this type of cuisine, Tailor is unique and important.

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Unique, important and bad. I like this style of food when executed well. I like Alinea, Moto, Corton, and Pierre Garngie. I dislike this place and P*ong.

It's not that I don't get what he is trying to do, it's just bad.

Edited by ChefSlade (log)
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Unique, important and bad. I like this style of food when executed well. I like Alinea, Moto, Corton, and Pierre Garngie. I dislike this place and P*ong. 

It's not that I don't get what he is trying to do, it's just bad.

Except it isn't, and I've read a ton of reviews of this place, besides visiting myself several times. Corton isn't the same genre.
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Unique, important and bad. I like this style of food when executed well. I like Alinea, Moto, Corton, and Pierre Garngie. I dislike this place and P*ong. 

It's not that I don't get what he is trying to do, it's just bad.

There are a number of posters in this thread who disagree with you regarding the quality of the food at Tailor. For what it's worth (not all that much), I actually prefer the food at Tailor to that at wd~50. It seems a bit inappropriate to dismiss a restaurant as "bad" offhand when your view is against the consensus, though. Edited by taion (log)
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I was there on a Friday night several weeks ago. We walked in as a party of 4 around 8:30pm. The host wasn't sure he would be able to accomodate us which we thought a bit odd (the dining room was only 20% full). But sure enough, when we left after 10pm, the entire place was full.

I agree with taion that the food at Tailor is better than WD-50 (it's much better now than when it first opened), and I agree with oakapple that the drinks have their own niche (fat washing! solids!).

Edited by kathryn (log)
"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure
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Unique, important and bad. I like this style of food when executed well. I like Alinea, Moto, Corton, and Pierre Garngie. I dislike this place and P*ong. 

It's not that I don't get what he is trying to do, it's just bad.

Except it isn't, and I've read a ton of reviews of this place, besides visiting myself several times. Corton isn't the same genre.

I have to concur with Oakapple and Taion. I've been a number of times [not sure how many visits the dissenter(s) have made], and had numerous interesting, tasty and worthwhile dishes that were unlike anything you can get anywhere else in the city. Even if the food weren't the most delicious, I think one could argue that the restaurant was worth having around just because it does things no one else does, but I don't think you even have to get to that argument, since in my experience the food DOES taste good in addition to being innovative.

Edited by LPShanet (log)
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  Let's hope they make it through chapter 11 and get some buzz again.  NY really needs Tailor to round out its dining scene...there's really nothing else that fills the same niche. 

I dont get what niche they are filling. You already have pretentious cocktail bars. You already have forward thinking restaurant like WD50 that has this type of food but, not done poorly.

This place was a disaster from the start. If the chef wasn't so "cool", who would care about this place. This place is a joke on every level.

With all due respect, it sounds like you had a specific bad experience that has left you with a chip on your shoulder about Tailor. The argument that the presence of WD-50 makes this restaurant unnecessary is a weak one. Even if they were similar (which I don't find them to be), since when is already having a restaurant in a particular genre a reason for closing that genre to others? Should we only have one Mexican restaurant in the city? Only one Italian? There are no other casual restaurants that serve this style of cuisine in NY. In fact, it would be tough to name another one on the whole East Coast. In my experience, they've always been friendly and helpful, even when the place was packed, so I didn't notice pretense from any of the people involved. And Sam Mason shouldn't be judged for his tattoos...he's always been friendly and never condescending in any way in my dealings with him. The real disaster was how long it took to open the place, which must have cost them a lot of money.

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With all due respect, it sounds like you had a specific bad experience that has left you with a chip on your shoulder about Tailor.
I have just noticed that ChefSlade is new to eG, so I would extend the benefit of the doubt. The original comment was inelegantly put, but obviously he was saying that his own experience was negative. It's usually not a good idea to make a declarative statement about something that, in fact, is a perception based on a limited experience. Even a pro critic like Bruni, who generally gathers a much larger sample than we do, hedges his bets: "The duck was overcooked when I had it," rather than, "This restaurant can't cook duck."
The real disaster was how long it took to open the place, which must have cost them a lot of money.

Sam made a few other mistakes. There was a long feature on Grub Street that breathlessly chronicled the restaurant's birth, which made Mason look foolish. He also opened with a small-plates format (since changed), which left some diners feeling like they were paying an awful lot for just a few bites.
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Unique, important and bad. I like this style of food when executed well. I like Alinea, Moto, Corton, and Pierre Garngie. I dislike this place and P*ong. 

It's not that I don't get what he is trying to do, it's just bad.

I think that when most of us have something negative to say we at least provide detail about what happened or what we didn't like. I would never encourage someone to not be honest about their experiences, but really think that we should take seriously the fact that people's livelihoods are affected by things like reviews and posts. This restaurant already has its share of well-publicized problems due to the economy. So let's not be so glib. You have something negative to say, give some supporting facts. "Disaster," "bad" and "joke" are neither substantive nor helpful.

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I feel his style of cooking reminds me of Richard Blais. Though Blais is a lot more hackey and his food most of the time is down right horrible. I feel like they are more in love with the process than the final outcome. Yes it's amazing to make a ribbon of mustard but, in the end, it's just mustard in a different form. Basic skills like a fish stock for the stew tastes like tap water. Get that down first before you start making mustard crisps.

I get that he is also pushing flavor pairings. Yes, it's cool to throw ice cream in a fish or banana puree to something in theory. But, if it doesnt work, I don't care how neat it sounds.

WD50 is so much more ahead of this place, I dont even know if it's worth discussing.

I have been to Tailor three times and might have liked a handful of dishes. I went the first month, then a few months later and then recently. But we are talking liked, not, overly enjoyed. One being a pork belly dish with caramel sauce. There are many other places to get pork belly before here.

I understand what you guys are saying with me just making blanket statements.. But, I am allowed to dislike some place . If someone says they like a place or a dish was good, are people this critical normally?

Edited by ChefSlade (log)
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Without sounding too offensive, he can use a pep talk from Robert Downey Jr. When Downey spoke to Stiller in Tropic Thunder,"You went full retard, man... never go full retard." When WD50 opened, they went full retard. But eventually, they pulled back the attitude and the food it tasedi amazing. Foie gras filled with the beet juice, fried mayo cubes, just wonderful, wonderful dishes.. They used the style to improve upon things and create wonderful flavors and textures.

I think he is more bashing us in the face with technique and combinations for the sake of it.

Again, this is one persons opinion and I am very outnumbered. Not one person on this board dislikes this place?

Edited by ChefSlade (log)
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I think he is more bashing us in the face with technique and combinations for the sake of it. 

Again, this is one persons opinion and I am very outnumbered.  Not one person on this board dislikes this place?

I wouldn't say I disliked the place on my visit I just thought it was nothing special. I read the menu prior to going and was excited about some of the interesting flavor combinations that were listed on the menu. However, everything I had the night I went (including the pork belly with butterscotch) was just bland and uninteresting. Sure he used some cool techniques but unlike at places like Alinea and WD-50 it didn't enhance the flavors of the ingredients rather it dulled and subdued them.

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I went last night for a few cocktails.

Rhubarb Gimlet was just about perfect. Just enough rhubarb to get a slight, vegetal finish. The grassyness really improved the twang of the gin. I could have drank several more.

Raspberry Whip was right up my alley as well, although I think some people would complain it was too sweet. I like sweeter drinks though, and there was a healthy note of licorice that really gave it an interesting finish.

I also tried the olive cured trout, which I loved. Olive, marjoram, cherry and marcona almond; its obviously a balls-out dish. I like to actually taste what is written on the menu, as supposed to just getting a hint or a whisper, so it was totally successful for me.

Basically everything I tried was right up my alley, as it has been on every visit. I will say however that my server was oddly negative, telling me things like "our selection of whites is really pathetic right now". Seems like a strange selling point...

I would definitely recommend popping by for the Rhubarb Gimlet though, before the season ends. Its a superlative cocktail.

Edited by Sethro (log)
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