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flinflon28

Corton (Formerly Montrachet)

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We ate at Corton this past weekend and it was some if the best food I have ever had. "From the garden" warm salad and Violet Hill egg to start and the squab and turbot as mains. Broiche and white chocolate for dessert. It was stunningly beautiful food with real substance. I found it to be the perfect marriage of creativity and nourishment. I cannot recommend Corton enough!

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Couldn't agree more with Mussina: my meal at Corton last Tuesday turned out not only to be the perfect way to celebrate the Inauguration, but a superb way to dispell the gloom of the oncoming year. This was overall one of the best meals (and general experiences) I've had in memory. Not that our choices really matter, but in case anyone cares:

Overall many foams... lots of Japanese ingredients I'd never heard of.

Teeny gougeres and somethingorother squash genois, the latter all but evaporates on your tongue, just amazing.

Amuse: foie gras chantilly under another squash foam topped with a tissue thin toasted lacey brioche round

Aunt: veggies and fruits, all individually cooked (geez, what a bitch that must be), me: foie gras with beet gelee.

Aunt: the beef , me: lamb three ways with a side of cukes and lamb in eetsy cubes. The neck rocked.

Aunt: the chocolate dessert, soft in the center, interesting spice, can't remember what, probably something Japanese. Me: cheeses, all fine, none really killer tho maybe I'm too much of an afficiando at this point, and putting in two gruyeres seemed uninspired.

Whole array of bonbons and mignardises and stuff, and lighter than air shortbread cookies to go

Killer bottle: Dom Deux Anes L'enclos 05. Total with tip came to $130. GO NOW.


Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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Was the restaurant doing an ok business? I am afraid that half the restaurants I am looking at for a trip in May will be out of business by the time I get there. Robyn

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Was the restaurant doing an ok business?  I am afraid that half the restaurants I am looking at for a trip in May will be out of business by the time I get there.  Robyn

Corton seems to be the "hot" restaurant right now. Not the easiest reservation although I think it is easier to snag a first seating (6:00 p.m.) table. If food this good (at a fairly reasonable price point all things considered) can't survive this economy, god help us all!!

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I guess I do need to go back there after my okay time before.

Two things I must remember: don't go alone and don't get the tasting menu.

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Silly question here: can you sit at "the bar" and order food off the menu?

They give you a bowl of popcorn, but that's it. The bar is small (and frankly not that comfortable), and intended only as a brief stopover for patrons not yet seated. People at the restaurant have twice told me that the seats were going to be replaced, but as of 2 weeks ago it had not happened yet.

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My recent meal at Corton was simply the best ever.

Check pictures on flickr


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Great pics, thanks for sharing!


2317/5000

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My wife and I just did the tasting menu at Corton the other night along with the wine pairing. It seemed fairly hard to get a res the week before - mine was the only one available on open table for the next 30 days. That said when we entered the restaurant near 6pm there was no one else there for the next 30 minutes or so. It was actually kind of nice that way. They do reserve "some reservations on some days" i was told that are not put on open table.

After reviewing the all posts about Corton here, I was surprised I had one dish that was basically very similar - in Brian's dinner back in Oct 2008. The Uni with Konbu gelee and cauliflower creme with sancho pepper leaf and a jalapeno oil w/ the edible but tasteless gold leaf as well. This was the second course, however. the first of which was a Fois gras w/ cauliflower puree that was gelled along with evoo and salt.

The cauliflower on the first and second courses struck me as odd at first - moreover it was the cauliflower creme in the second that was so devoid of the cauliflower taste I thought it strange to even mention it. It was used basically as a slightly flavored fat, to balance the overall dish. It was an attempt to continue flavors from one dish to the next that was reoccurring, although considering it wasn't done continually throughout the whole meal, was perhaps an unnecessary addition.

Chef Paul is a master at balancing. He takes an artfully gestault point of view that continued throughout the night with thoughtful, inspired combinations. Take for instance a sous vide Ocean Trout(they love this technique with proteins - and who can blame them with Paul's food in fits very well). Not knowing what an Ocean Trout was, I will say it is very similar to a mild arctic char or salmon. The fish was served mid-rare overtop butter fried clams, spinach leaves, a dark green curry ramp sauce, a lighter banana avocado puree w. crisp skin and some tempura like thing I couldn't quite place.

The whole dish was delightful and pleasing. Very well balanced. But what exactly was I eating. I had to know. I couldn't place anything. It just tasted... good. After tasting each component separately, as I would throughout the meal - the result of which was a truly enjoyable pacing that was significantly slower than my normal eating so much so that my wife who usually finishes after me was always first by several minutes - I finally could nail down the flavors. But it was beyond difficult. The ramp sauce doesn't taste like ramps, it tastes of green curry that is reigned in - balanced ! - by butter and pickled onion and something sweet. If someone serves me ramps, as it is spring and they are just barely here, I would ordinarily want to taste ramps. But the part is in play for the whole here. The avocado puree is sweetened with banana but isn't so strong of a flavor that it meddles with everything else - it is the fat and the sweetness that balance out the rest of the dish. The skin and tempura thing add salt, the clams, more salt, more fat etc...

The result as I have said, is always pleasing and delicious. However I will say that it is mostly at the sacrifice of the ingredients themselves. Rarely throughout the meal was any one ingredient the star or allowed to hit the high note that would soar above the pleasingly compressed balance. Chef Paul tends is a sweet and sour chef. His love of asian food is obvious. It is perfectly incorporated. His food, based on this experience, is always sweeter than most chefs tend to be comfortable with. He balances this with acid and a bit more salt than others with his talent and experience. To my taste I found it pleasing, as I tend to cook more this way myself. The only possible complain I could see was that his over-manipulation of ingredients might give pause to some purists like Thomas Keller, Sean Brock, others who love to let the produce largely speak for itself. There are many such purists indeed, and should be well appreciated, but I do hope that there is room for chefs such as Paul as well. In his hands, a heavy hand is still a reliable one.

One of our bonus courses seemed to prove this without a doubt. It is a salad he is "known for" our waiter informed us. It was probably the best salad I've ever had. Thinly sliced raw produce abounded, sitting alongside the requisite "balancing act" of some quickly blanched vegetables, pear poached with yuzu, sweet potato puree that tasted of white wine and a brilliant egg plant puree that i am at pains to recreate.

Cheers, Paul. You rock.

P.S. all but two of my wines were white which I normally would have minded more had not the selections been so well done. the first two (one of which was sake) were not as memorable but it got better and better along the way. also the service and knowledge of the staff was very refreshing, all the more so after having finished working in a place where the staff didn't know shit about our food.

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FOR A $500 PLUS DINNER THEY COULD AT LEAST CALL YOU A CAB.

I tried very hard to find an excellent restaurant for my husband's birthday dinner in New York tonight. After reading a lot - I chose Corton. The restaurant was like many we have dined at recently. OK - but not great. Nothing sang. Overpriced for what and where it was. Nothing glam about it either. The people next to us were New Yorkers who were condo president types in south Florida. Think of Jerry Seinfeld's father in the TV series.

And there was a big aggravation factor. The cab from our midtown hotel couldn't find the restaurant - and after a $20+ cab fare - left us 3 blocks away. It's a good thing I have good maps - some familiarity with downtown - and a great sense of direction. Otherwise - we would have wandered around in the rain for 20 minutes instead of taking a a 10 minute walk. Of course - this was not the restaurant's fault. But on the way home - after spending over $500 for 2 people - instead of the restaurant calling us a cab (which we requested - it was still raining) - they said to go to 6th Avenue and we would probably find one there. They said to come back to the restaurant if we couldn't find a cab. It is lucky that I still had my sense of direction - and knew that 6th Avenue was Avenue of the Americas (which is what the signs read) - and that we got a cab in 5 minutes (we could easily have waited 20 in the rain). Even in Paris - where cabs are as scarce as hen's teeth - no self-respecting high end restaurant would dump its customers out on the street at 11 pm - especially in the rain.

I am especially aggravated about this because my husband has MS. He wears a big leg brace to stand up. And - especially after a long day walking around a city - his walking isn't that stable. I'm glad he didn't fall down and hurt himself. Robyn

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Overpriced for what and where it was.

I actually think Corton is under-priced for what and where it is.

However, the taxi incident is indefensible. Any restaurant on that level should call a cab for you without a second thought.


Edited by oakapple (log)

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Guess I should say something about the food. Here I have the benefit of UE's Flickr pictures of his meal at Corton (which he hasn't yet written up in his blog). We had many of the same courses - but the size and presentation were - in many cases - different (I don't usually dine with a camera - but this is one case where I wish I did). Perhaps he was lucky to be there during the Beard awards week - when many other chefs were in the restaurant as customers.

I'll note that I don't normally do tasting menus (too much food) - but I had late breakfast - no lunch - and was hungry. I had no problem with the size of the meal. For example - our fish course - rouget (which I thought was probably the best course) had a piece of rouget - cooked properly - about the size of my thumb (and I don't have big hands).

The presentation of the squab didn't resemble his at all. And - IMO the squab breast was terribly undercooked (or maybe not cooked at all). It did have a little piece of fat wrapped around it - but that didn't seem cooked either - and therefore didn't infuse the squab with any flavor. Squab "sushi" as it were. I found it inedible (most of the other food was ok to good - just kind of underwhelming considering my expectations).

Now maybe I just don't "get it". One of my cooking projects the last month has been working with "little birds" (I happen to like them a lot - and D'Artagnan has been having good sales). And a blood red squab breast isn't my idea of a good way to cook a squab breast. Just my opinion.

One other quibble. We were a two-top with a four-top to my left. And to serve the four-top next to us - the servers had to squeeze between the two tables. Now as attractive as these servers were - I didn't appreciate constant views of their posteriors. After a course or two - we actually moved our table as far away from the other table as we could. Made us much too close to the two-top to our right. But since the servers didn't have to squeeze in between the tables to serve the other two-top - it didn't really matter. I realize Manhattan real estate is expensive - but restaurant tables should be arranged so servers can service their tables unobtrusively. Robyn

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My husband wanted to add his 2 cents. He thought the dining room was ugly - and that very little thought seemed to be given to its design. Now we both like contemporary spaces. For example - we really liked the design at Blackbird in Chicago (another "white space" - but much better done in both of our opinions). The design here was a "miss" in our opinion. He also thought the bathrooms were very awkward to use.

Finally - he had the wine pairings (I didn't). He thought the wine pairing (for $85 - there is a more expensive pairing at $140) was a great value - although one of the wines (served with the fish) was too sweet for the course (might have worked better with the cheese or dessert course). But - in general - the wines were good and the pours were generous.

I had a gin and tonic (Plymouth gin - which I like) and Q Tonic (the trendy tonic right now). Not a great pour of gin. I had 2 glasses of champagne ($25 each). Wasn't familiar with the label - but it was pretty good (reminded me of Veuve gold label). A glass of it was included in the $85 wine tasting. Robyn

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Robyn, how do you prefer squab to be cooked? I prefer mine more on the rare side of medium rare. I would bet that it was cooked sous vide leaving a uniform color throughout. Was the fat lardo? Photos do come in handy :wink:

The taxi story is inexcusable, but out of curiosity, who did you ask?

I haven't been to Corton since the fall. What is the current charge for the tasting menu?


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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Guess I should say something about the food.  Here I have the benefit of UE's Flickr pictures of his meal at Corton (which he hasn't yet written up in his blog).  We had many of the same courses - but the size and presentation were - in many cases - different (I don't usually dine with a camera - but this is one case where I wish I did).  Perhaps he was lucky to be there during the Beard awards week - when many other chefs were in the restaurant as customers.

I'll note that I don't normally do tasting menus (too much food) - but I had late breakfast - no lunch - and was hungry.  I had no problem with the size of the meal.  For example - our fish course - rouget (which I thought was probably the best course) had a piece of rouget - cooked properly -  about the size of my thumb (and I don't have big hands).

The presentation of the squab didn't resemble his at all.  And - IMO the squab breast was terribly undercooked (or maybe not cooked at all).  It did have a little piece of fat wrapped around it - but that didn't seem cooked either - and therefore didn't infuse the squab with any flavor.  Squab "sushi" as it were.  I found it inedible (most of the other food was ok to good - just kind of underwhelming considering my expectations).

Now maybe I just don't "get it".  One of my cooking projects the last month has been working with "little birds" (I happen to like them a lot - and D'Artagnan has been having good sales).  And a blood red squab breast isn't my idea of a good way to cook a squab breast.  Just my opinion.

One other quibble.  We were a two-top with a four-top to my left.  And to serve the four-top next to us - the servers had to squeeze between the two tables.  Now as attractive as these servers were - I didn't appreciate constant views of their posteriors.  After a course or two - we actually moved our table as far away from the other table as we could.  Made us much too close to the two-top to our right.  But since the servers didn't have to squeeze in between the tables to serve the other two-top - it didn't really matter.  I realize Manhattan real estate is expensive - but restaurant tables should be arranged so servers can service their tables unobtrusively.  Robyn

Agreed with the sentiments expressed by you and others on the lack of taxi service. It's interesting that you make this point.

We were the last ones out the door the night I was in. And it was raining. And it was cold.

I can't recall whether or not we asked for a taxi (I'm almost certain that we had not, since I had planned on walking back to the place I was staying until we realized, after exiting the restaurant, that it was raining). But we did have to walk a block or two to find hail a cab. Given that it was raining, I do remember it odd that the restaurant had not offered to call, or mentioned it at the close of our service.

But, as we did not ask, and I had hoped to walk (even if there was a light rain, I could have used the jaunt), I really didn't think much of it.


“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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Guess I should say something about the food.  Here I have the benefit of UE's Flickr pictures of his meal at Corton (which he hasn't yet written up in his blog).  We had many of the same courses - but the size and presentation were - in many cases - different (I don't usually dine with a camera - but this is one case where I wish I did).  Perhaps he was lucky to be there during the Beard awards week - when many other chefs were in the restaurant as customers.

I'll note that I don't normally do tasting menus (too much food) - but I had late breakfast - no lunch - and was hungry.  I had no problem with the size of the meal.  For example - our fish course - rouget (which I thought was probably the best course) had a piece of rouget - cooked properly -  about the size of my thumb (and I don't have big hands).

The presentation of the squab didn't resemble his at all.  And - IMO the squab breast was terribly undercooked (or maybe not cooked at all).  It did have a little piece of fat wrapped around it - but that didn't seem cooked either - and therefore didn't infuse the squab with any flavor.  Squab "sushi" as it were.  I found it inedible (most of the other food was ok to good - just kind of underwhelming considering my expectations).

Now maybe I just don't "get it".  One of my cooking projects the last month has been working with "little birds" (I happen to like them a lot - and D'Artagnan has been having good sales).  And a blood red squab breast isn't my idea of a good way to cook a squab breast.  Just my opinion.

One other quibble.  We were a two-top with a four-top to my left.  And to serve the four-top next to us - the servers had to squeeze between the two tables.  Now as attractive as these servers were - I didn't appreciate constant views of their posteriors.  After a course or two - we actually moved our table as far away from the other table as we could.  Made us much too close to the two-top to our right.  But since the servers didn't have to squeeze in between the tables to serve the other two-top - it didn't really matter.  I realize Manhattan real estate is expensive - but restaurant tables should be arranged so servers can service their tables unobtrusively.  Robyn

I'm sorry to hear that your experience at Corton was disappointing. A few notes (which I hope to gather and put into a more coherent blog post in the next millenia):

1. I'm not sure people who deride restaurant photography and photographers should benefit from the fruits of our labor, Robyn. But I don't take photographs to be stingy, rather, to share. I'm glad you got good use out of them. :wink:

2. I'm waiting to see how you answer docsconz's inquiry above on your cooking preferences with squab. That might explain your comments. Like docsconz, I prefer my squab on the rarer side. The lardo wrapped around my squab was quite thick, and rather white, which is why I was so surprised it yielded with little trouble. I do not think that the lardo on my squab was undercooked (or not cooked at all, as you suggest).

3. Service for us was spotless. But, as you noted, I was at Corton on a big night. No less than five nationally-known chefs were in the house (at different tables). As well, I spied a number of non-chef food industry personalities about. There really was no room for error that night, which probably explains why...

4. Our wine was fantastic. As far as I know, the pairing we were charged for was the lesser of the two (I had not been aware that the wine pairing was two-tiered). However, I suspect, given the labels that were poured, they might have just "upgraded" our wine service.

5. The cooking was fantastic as well. There was not a single execution flaw as far as I was concerned.

6. Robyn, you had been concerned (above) with statements by other posters about the aggressive seasoning. Did you encounter any? If I had one gripe (actually, I had two, but I'll get to the second one later) about this meal, it was that a few of the initial bites (amuses bouches) were notably salty. I wouldn't describe them as "inedibly salty," rather "uncomfortably salty." Thankfully, that issue resolved itself once the main dishes began arriving.

7. Second gripe: the second dessert - a hollowed out financier filled with two kinds of cream was utterly pointless. That was the only throw-away dish of the evening, in my opinion.

8. Liebrandt's training at Pierre Gagnaire is evident.

9. Spatial concerns. Our three-top was seated at a freestanding four-top. I think I would have been less happy at one of the banquette tables, either as a four or as a deuce.

10. Aesthetics: To each his/her own. I did not hate it. I did not love it. Pea green is not a wonderful color to me. But I have to say that the use of pea green here was not harmful. As far as the sterility of the white walls, I would disagree with you only because I found the relief flora and fauna motif, with occasional dots of peachy leaves, poetic. Now, the lighting, on the other hand - especially from a photographer's standpoint - was a disaster. Incandescence, fluorescence, and the pea green glow ensured that I had a challenge in getting decent images.

11. I will only reach back to your Blackbird reference to make this point with regard to Corton: where as Blackbird trades simplicity and sleekness for LOUD, Corton trades not-wonderful upholstery and plaster egg-shell walls for normal. No, Corton is not quiet, necessarily. But it is not loud either. I suppose with such a small dining room, it really couldn't get that loud (although the festive group in the house during my meal did get quite boisterous during a few moments).

12. Bathrooms. Yes, awkwardly situated, though once inside, I did not find them awkward to use. However, I am probably not physically limited in the same ways as your husband is.

13. Do you know if Liebrandt was in on the night you visited?

Edited: to correct multiple crimes against grammar. Please forgive me for any orphans left behind.


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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I can't recall whether or not we asked for a taxi (I'm almost certain that we had not, since I had planned on walking back to the place I was staying until we realized, after exiting the restaurant, that it was raining).  But we did have to walk a block or two to find hail a cab.  Given that it was raining, I do remember it odd that the restaurant had not offered to call, or mentioned it at the close of our service.

As someone mentioned on Eater, you can't "call" cabs in New York. A restaurant can call a liveried car service if it has the phone number of one -- more expensive than a cab, and often it takes a long time for one to come if you don't schedule it in advance -- or it can send a staff member out onto the street to hail one (which is something no one, I think, would reasonably expect).

But in New York, unlike in other cities, regular taxicab services don't have telephone numbers you can telephone to have a cab come. They don't work that way. You HAVE to hail them on the street.

I've been eating in restaurants in New York for thirty some years and I've NEVER had a car called for me -- or even thought of it as a possiblity. (I HAVE done so in other cities.) It just doesn't work that way here (probably because, unlike in most other cities, there are so many cruising cabs here) (although the system breaks down when it's raining).


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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Although everything you say about cabs in manhattan is true, I do think that a restaurant should, under certain circumstances,(a guest with special needs, as in this instance) ensure that their guest arrives home safely.

I would very much like to eat at Corton: Unfortunately, I have read too many reviews, similar to robyn's, that underscore that the front of the house and service in general at Corton is less than it should be at a restaurant of Corton's reputation.

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I can't recall whether or not we asked for a taxi (I'm almost certain that we had not, since I had planned on walking back to the place I was staying until we realized, after exiting the restaurant, that it was raining).  But we did have to walk a block or two to find hail a cab.  Given that it was raining, I do remember it odd that the restaurant had not offered to call, or mentioned it at the close of our service.

As someone mentioned on Eater, you can't "call" cabs in New York. A restaurant can call a liveried car service if it has the phone number of one -- more expensive than a cab, and often it takes a long time for one to come if you don't schedule it in advance -- or it can send a staff member out onto the street to hail one (which is something no one, I think, would reasonably expect).

But in New York, unlike in other cities, regular taxicab services don't have telephone numbers you can telephone to have a cab come. They don't work that way. You HAVE to hail them on the street.

I've been eating in restaurants in New York for thirty some years and I've NEVER had a car called for me -- or even thought of it as a possiblity. (I HAVE done so in other cities.) It just doesn't work that way here (probably because, unlike in most other cities, there are so many cruising cabs here) (although the system breaks down when it's raining).

Your point is a good one, which is why I was wondering who she asked. Ideally, that should have been explained to her. They dropped the ball on this with the lack of an explanation. Of course, there could have been any number of reasons why the ball was dropped, but it was dropped.


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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Robyn, how do you prefer squab to be cooked? I prefer mine more on the rare side of medium rare. I would bet that it was cooked sous vide leaving a uniform color throughout. Was the fat lardo? Photos do come in handy :wink:

The taxi story is inexcusable, but out of curiosity, who did you ask?

I haven't been to Corton since the fall. What is the current charge for the tasting menu?

The current charge for the tasting menu is $125. We asked a person who I think was the maitre d' for a cab. I think the fat was lardo. Not sure - but it looked the same as the fat in EU's pictures. I don't feel at liberty to share his Flickr link - but perhaps he will post it here.

I personally think that part of the appeal of small birds is decent cooking combined with crispy skin - and a suitable saucing. On my part - I use everything from a port reduction to a fowl based au jus with things like various kinds of mushrooms. A piece of fat could be a nice substitute for crispy skin - but not when it is basically uncooked (or cooked sous vide - although I don't recall ever having any kind of fat cooked sous vide). The point is to get something crisp with extracted fat to add flavor. At least in my book.

As for all the talk about cabs in New York - I look at it this way. I am spending about $1000 for a 24 hour day/night in a hotel room. When I need a cab - the person in charge of cabs will - if necessary - go up and down the block - and on the cross streets and avenues to get cabs for hotel guests. That is kind of par for the course. Even in midtown where it's relatively easy to get cabs. (Although an extra tip on top of the norm is appropriate for extraordinary service - like getting a cab in heavy rain right before theater time.) If I am paying $500 for a 2/3 hour dinner in a part of town that is basically deserted at 11 pm - I'd expect a restaurant to make the same effort. If I am going to pay Four Seasons like tabs - I expect Four Seasons like service. And you have to keep in mind that I have been in New York many times - am American and speak perfect English. I don't know how many tourists from how many different countries who don't speak good English I've encountered in the last few days. If a place wants to be "tourist friendly" (which New York needs to be to thrive economically) - you don't let tourists fend for themselves on West Broadway downtown near midnight. Robyn

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I can't recall whether or not we asked for a taxi (I'm almost certain that we had not, since I had planned on walking back to the place I was staying until we realized, after exiting the restaurant, that it was raining).  But we did have to walk a block or two to find hail a cab.  Given that it was raining, I do remember it odd that the restaurant had not offered to call, or mentioned it at the close of our service.

As someone mentioned on Eater, you can't "call" cabs in New York. A restaurant can call a liveried car service if it has the phone number of one -- more expensive than a cab, and often it takes a long time for one to come if you don't schedule it in advance -- or it can send a staff member out onto the street to hail one (which is something no one, I think, would reasonably expect).

But in New York, unlike in other cities, regular taxicab services don't have telephone numbers you can telephone to have a cab come. They don't work that way. You HAVE to hail them on the street.

I've been eating in restaurants in New York for thirty some years and I've NEVER had a car called for me -- or even thought of it as a possiblity. (I HAVE done so in other cities.) It just doesn't work that way here (probably because, unlike in most other cities, there are so many cruising cabs here) (although the system breaks down when it's raining).

Well, there you go. Thanks Sneakeater. I did not know that about the cab system in New York. I have never asked for a cab to be called, I suppose largely because I prefer to walk, if not all the way home, at least I know I'm capable of walking to a place where cabs are available.


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)

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I'm sorry to hear that your experience at Corton was disappointing.  A few notes (which I hope to gather and put into a more coherent blog post in the next millenia):

1. I'm not sure people who deride restaurant photography and photographers should benefit from the fruits of our labor, Robyn.  But I don't take photographs to be stingy, rather, to share.  I'm glad you got good use out of them.  :wink:

2. I'm waiting to see how you answer docsconz's inquiry above on your cooking preferences with squab.  That might explain your comments.  Like docsconz, I prefer my squab on the rarer side.  The lardo wrapped around my squab was quite thick, and rather white, which is why I was so surprised it yielded with little trouble.  I do not think that the lardo on my squab was undercooked (or not cooked at all, as you suggest).

3. Service for us was spotless.  But, as you noted, I was at Corton on a big night.  No less than five nationally-known chefs were in the house (at different tables).  As well, I spied a number of non-chef food industry personalities about.  There really was no room for error that night, which probably explains why...

4. Our wine was fantastic.  As far as I know, the pairing we were charged for was the lesser of the two (I had not been aware that the wine pairing was two-tiered).  However, I suspect, given the labels that were poured, they might have just "upgraded" our wine service.

5. The cooking was fantastic as well.  There was not a single execution flaw as far as I was concerned.

6. Robyn, you had been concerned (above) with statements by other posters about the aggressive seasoning.  Did you encounter any?  If I had one gripe (actually, I had two, but I'll get to the second one later) about this meal, it was that a few of the initial bites (amuses bouches) were notably salty.  I wouldn't describe them as "inedibly salty," rather "uncomfortably salty." Thankfully, that issue resolved itself once the main dishes began arriving.

7. Second gripe: the second dessert - a hollowed out financier filled with two kinds of cream was utterly pointless.  That was the only throw-away dish of the evening, in my opinion.

8. Liebrandt's training at Pierre Gagnaire is evident. 

9. Spatial concerns.  Our three-top was seated at a freestanding four-top.  I think I would have been less happy at one of the banquette tables, either as a four or as a deuce. 

10. Aesthetics: To each his/her own.  I did not hate it.  I did not love it.  Pea green is not a wonderful color to me.  But I have to say that the use of pea green here was not harmful.  As far as the sterility of the white walls, I would disagree with you only because I found the relief flora and fauna motif, with occasional dots of peachy leaves, poetic.  Now, the lighting, on the other hand - especially from a photographer's standpoint - was a disaster.  Incandescence, fluorescence, and the pea green glow ensured that I had a challenge in getting decent images.

11. I will only reach back to your Blackbird reference to make this point with regard to Corton: where as Blackbird trades simplicity and sleekness for LOUD, Corton trades not-wonderful upholstery and plaster egg-shell walls for normal.  No, Corton is not quiet, necessarily.  But it is not loud either.  I suppose with such a small dining room, it really couldn't get that loud (although the festive group in the house during my meal did get quite boisterous during a few moments). 

12. Bathrooms.  Yes, awkwardly situated, though once inside, I did not find them awkward to use.  However, I am probably not physically limited in the same ways as your husband is. 

13. Do you know if Liebrandt was in on the night you visited?

Edited: to correct multiple crimes against grammar.  Please forgive me for any orphans left behind.

Lots of questions. Will try my best to answer. I like to eat and prepare squab rare - not raw. But there should be a "crisp" element to it. Skin could provide that. Fat could as well. But my fat looked like yours - kind of like a piece of raw white bacon.

I had no problems with the service. Except for servers trying to squeeze between tables. The designers' fault - not theirs.

I spoke with a food and beverage person at the Four Seasons today. He said he had dined with others in his business at Corton and had experiences similar to yours. OTOH - he said I was perhaps the 5th FS guest to make comments like the ones I made. So the restaurant is perhaps a "two class" airline. Unfortunate in a city that depends so much on tourists and tourism.

The $140 wine pairing was described to us as a "Burgundy experience" with higher priced wines. I'm no wine expert. So I guess you can ask yourself whether you had higher class Burgundies - and relatively expensive wines.

The food was not oversalted. Perhaps that was because - in light of previous comments here - I asked that the kitchen prepare the food normally - but not add extra salt before serving dishes. We would add extra if necessary (and it wasn't necessary).

The desserts were really dreary (and I love desserts). Is there even a pastry chef in the house? I just tried a bit of the (I guess it was a) cookie we were sent home with. A notch above airline food. They could take a clue from Cafe Boulud (where the 2 desserts on the $24 lunch menu today were really excellent).

I don't know who was in the kitchen. The owner was in residence and bestowed his large presence on a limited number of tables (none in our immediate vicinty). Quite unlike Europe - where the chef/owner usually makes grand rounds at the end of service to exchange a few pleasantries (even if everyone has to struggle with language differences).

I'm really tired - will try to get a chance to write more tomorrow. Robyn

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