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robyn

Which Did You Like Better? Corton or EMP?

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Which Blue Hill are you referring to? I assume Stone Barns, in which case I think that would be a great plan.

I may be mistaken, but I think Saturday lunch at Jean-Georges is actually at Nougatine and different from the weekday lunch. It has been a while since I did a Saturday lunch there.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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Which Blue Hill are you referring to? I assume Stone Barns, in which case I think that would be a great plan.

I may be mistaken, but I think Saturday lunch at Jean-Georges is actually at Nougatine and different from the weekday lunch. It has been a while since I did a Saturday lunch there.

I am talking about the Blue Hill "outpost" in Manhattan. And the main dining room at JG is now open for lunch on Saturday. Robyn

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I am up to my eyeballs in paperwork - and a quick search didn't turn up any comments you had made here about Blue Hill.  In a nutshell - why didn't you like it?

I am thinking it would be like the New York equivalent of Bacchanalia in Atlanta - and similar places I have dined at elsewhere.  Robyn

I don't like Blue Hill personally because I personally find the food bland, and also they sous vide things sometimes in a way that, to me, makes them texturally unpleasant. I'm not saying they sous vide everything, or that they sous vide too much (they don't use that technique more than many places); rather that, to me, their (mis)use of it symbolizes what I don't like about the food at Blue Hill. I, personally, find it more virtuous than good.

BUT mine is such a distinct minority opinion that I would never push it. Rather, I think Blue Hill is a restaurant you have to try.

Also, the staff there is as sweet as can be. Everytime I'm there, I have an excellent time -- except for the food.

PS -- I'm talking about the original NYC location (as I assume you are, since I can't believe your foreshortened timeframe would permit a schlepp up to Westchester).


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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Sneakeater - From what you say - it would be interesting. When you deal with a place like Bacchanalia - well it is southern cooking - like I do at home. Except with a lot more competence and much better ingredients. Hard to get anything - including veggies - that isn't cooked up with at least a little fat back or ham hocks or the like. IOW - it's far from bland. OTOH - I eat at all too many restaurants which commit the crime of oversalting (I like all kinds of herbs and spices and flavorings in food - but if all I can taste is salt - yuck IMO).

If the service is pleasant - that is a big plus. At least I know if I don't care for the food - I will have been treated nicely. In fact - I sometimes think my impressions of food at a restaurant are very much colored by the service. Really good service can improve an otherwise lackluster meal - and bad service can ruin a great one. Robyn

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Robyn it seems like you really like Farm to Table , that being the case I would make a stop at Telepan, pristine ingredients , allowed to speak for themselves. And much better food than Blue Hill in my opinion

Sneakeater - From what you say - it would be interesting. When you deal with a place like Bacchanalia - well it is southern cooking - like I do at home. Except with a lot more competence and much better ingredients. Hard to get anything - including veggies - that isn't cooked up with at least a little fat back or ham hocks or the like. IOW - it's far from bland. OTOH - I eat at all too many restaurants which commit the crime of oversalting (I like all kinds of herbs and spices and flavorings in food - but if all I can taste is salt - yuck IMO).

If the service is pleasant - that is a big plus. At least I know if I don't care for the food - I will have been treated nicely. In fact - I sometimes think my impressions of food at a restaurant are very much colored by the service. Really good service can improve an otherwise lackluster meal - and bad service can ruin a great one. Robyn

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I did a little research on Blue Hill and Telepan - including looking at pictures of food - which I don't usually do. And I can understand Sneakeater's point. The food at Blue Hill seems - for lack of a better word "unadorned". Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with this. One of the best dishes I ever had was an appetizer of fresh raw English garden peas in the shell at Anchor & Hope (gastropub in London). When you live in Florida - "fresh" peas are weeks old - without a hint of sweetness. If one were blind-folded - it would be easy to confuse them with potatoes. OTOH - the peas at A&H were a 4 buck appetizer. Blue Hill operates at a much higher price point.

Telepan food is more "adorned" - and therefore probably less bland. I'll tell you that one thing I didn't like about Telepan is I ran across articles about complaints made by servers about tips - the lawsuit - and the ultimate settlement of most of the lawsuit (although a small part of it apparently remains pending - one server refused to settle). Now I have zero idea whether any of the allegations in the lawsuit (management taking part of servers' tips and servers being charged when customers use credit cards) are true - but I had not heard before of this kind of mickey-mouse stuff happening in higher end NY restaurants (it happens here where I live with some frequency - we'll run across servers we used to see in other restaurants - ask them why they left - and this is a frequent reason). No one would ever accuse me of being a liberal - but fair is fair when it comes to how an employer treats employees IMO. Anyway - these articles left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended).

Anyway - I have to sit and think about this one. One problem is Friday night is a horrible night to go out anywhere - and getting a cab at dinner time in New York on a Friday night tends to be a PITA (and a bigger PITA if it's raining). Perhaps I'll do a geographical search and see what's within walking distance of the hotel.

Anyway - thanks for all this input. Robyn

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I'd go with Blue Hill over Telepan.

Look at it this way: it's a consensus choice for one of the top restaurants in New York.

They do a style of cooking that I don't like (and you hit the nail right on the head for the reasons). But they do it as well as it's done around here. (Actually, that's a bit of a misstatement: what they do is really unique.)

Maybe you won't like it (as I don't). But given its distinguished reputation, it's worth at least trying.

(In part, I'm being selfish here. If you don't like it, I won't be the ONLY contrary opinion around here when Blue Hill's praises get sung.)


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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I did a little research on Blue Hill and Telepan - including looking at pictures of food - which I don't usually do.  And I can understand Sneakeater's point.  The food at Blue Hill seems - for lack of a better word "unadorned".  Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with this.  One of the best dishes I ever had was an appetizer of fresh raw English garden peas in the shell at Anchor & Hope (gastropub in London).  When you live in Florida - "fresh" peas are weeks old - without a hint of sweetness.  If one were blind-folded - it would be easy to confuse them with potatoes.  OTOH - the peas at A&H were a 4 buck appetizer.  Blue Hill operates at a much higher price point.

Telepan food is more "adorned" - and therefore probably less bland.  I'll tell you that one thing I didn't like about Telepan is I ran across articles about complaints made by servers about tips - the lawsuit - and the ultimate settlement of most of the lawsuit (although a small part of it apparently remains pending - one server refused to settle).  Now I have zero idea whether any of the allegations in the lawsuit (management taking part of servers' tips and servers being charged when customers use credit cards) are true - but I had not heard before of this kind of mickey-mouse stuff happening in higher end NY restaurants (it happens here where I live with some frequency - we'll run across servers we used to see in other restaurants - ask them why they left - and this is a frequent reason).  No one would ever accuse me of being a liberal - but fair is fair when it comes to how an employer treats employees IMO.  Anyway - these articles left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended).

Anyway - I have to sit and think about this one.  One problem is Friday night is a horrible night to go out anywhere - and getting a cab at dinner time in New York on a Friday night tends to be a PITA (and a bigger PITA if it's raining).  Perhaps I'll do a geographical search and see what's within walking distance of the hotel.

Anyway - thanks for all this input.  Robyn

At the risk of being boring and predictable, I'm going to agree with Sneak yet again. I would definitely choose Blue Hill over Telepan.

Let me preface this first by saying that I haven't eaten at the Manhattan Blue Hill in a few years, and that most of my meals at the NYC location took place before he opened Stone Barns, so Barber was probably present more often in the city. (It's worth noting that the NYC location isn't, therefore, an "outpost" in the formal sense, as it predates Stone Barns.) My impressions of it are based on old information. That said, based on the meals I've had at both places, I found Blue Hill to be not only better than Telepan, but a whole level above it in terms of the cooking. While we were making judgements based on small degrees of difference when debating EMP versus Corton, I didn't find Telepan to be even in the same league as any of the others we've talked about. The food, while satisfactory, was fairly boring in terms of flavor (which is more important than adornment) and seemed similar to stuff I've had at dozens of other places. And while Blue Hill certainly isn't wildly innovative, it used to be known as one of the places in town that first adopted "new" techniques (e.g. sous vide, and also early use of foams before they became widely known outside of Spain). The comparison of how much each place "adorns" their food didn't really correlate with how interesting and complex the flavors were. And as Sneak says, it's a highly regarded destination.

I'm not sure if the reasons are the same, but like Sneak, I wouldn't call farm-to-table/localvore my favorite genre of restaurant. But the ones that really disappoint me are the ones that hide behind the virtues of the localvore theme while proffering food that is low on taste and interest. For that reason, I found Telepan to be decent but dull (and really don't get the rave reviews of Cookshop AT ALL). For the record, I thought my meals at Bacchanalia were spectacular, so I'd say I can certainly appreciate the style when done really well. And unlike Sneak (just so you know we're not the same person, I really did like my meals years ago at Blue Hill, though I had a dud of a recent visit to Stone Barns.

Net result: another vote for Blue Hill as your new stop.

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Okay I will concede the differences in Telepan and Blue Hill, I still believe Telepan outshines the Manhattan version of Stone Barns. But enough of that how about Gramercy or Mas . These are definitely more farm to tableish. I think both of those kitchens can produce tremendous meals.

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I like Mas, but Gramercy operates at a higher level...just as Blue Hill operates at a higher level than Telepan.

The thing that is surprisingly "high level" at Mas is the price point. While it's not (as Oakapple points out) operating at the quality level of some of the other suggestions proffered, the prices are higher than pretty much any of the others when ordering a la carte. It always seemed inappropriately priced to me.

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I'd go with Blue Hill over Telepan.

Wholeheartedly agree. I visit Telepan due to its proximity to Lincoln Center, not otherwise. Some of what I've had there is very good, but it's not Blue Hill.

Telepan food is more "adorned" - and therefore probably less bland.  I'll tell you that one thing I didn't like about Telepan is I ran across articles about complaints made by servers about tips - the lawsuit - and the ultimate settlement of most of the lawsuit (although a small part of it apparently remains pending - one server refused to settle).  Now I have zero idea whether any of the allegations in the lawsuit (management taking part of servers' tips and servers being charged when customers use credit cards) are true - but I had not heard before of this kind of mickey-mouse stuff happening in higher end NY restaurants (it happens here where I live with some frequency - we'll run across servers we used to see in other restaurants - ask them why they left - and this is a frequent reason).  No one would ever accuse me of being a liberal - but fair is fair when it comes to how an employer treats employees IMO.  Anyway - these articles left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended).

Being sued and settling the lawsuit does not mean they are guilty of the alleged conduct. There are plenty of good reasons to settle a lawsuit. There have been similar allegations at several NY restaurants; I personally have no idea to what extent they may be accurate, but I would be careful about accepting that as truth.

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Okay I will concede the differences in Telepan and Blue Hill, I still believe Telepan outshines the Manhattan version of Stone Barns. But enough of that how about Gramercy or Mas . These are definitely more farm to tableish. I think both of those kitchens can produce tremendous meals.

I read about both - and don't disagree. But I kind of started with the idea of going to Blue Hill - and I think I'll stick with it. I am perhaps late in terms of its being new. But it apparently hasn't worsened with age. I didn't get to Chez Panisse for the first time until a couple of years ago - and whether it was better or worse than it was 15 years ago - it was pretty darn good. Robyn

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For the record, I thought my meals at Bacchanalia were spectacular, so I'd say I can certainly appreciate the style when done really well...

I agree with you about Bacchanalia. It is not only one of the best restaurants in the south (I live about 5 hours south of Atlanta and try to get there once a year or so) - but certainly near the top of "best of kind" in the US. FWIW - the last time I was in Atlanta there was a new local (skinny) magazine devoted to locavore restaurants/food in the area. I suspect it has hit the dust (as have many magazines recently) - but it showed that people in the south take their local stuff pretty seriously. Robyn

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...Being sued and settling the lawsuit does not mean they are guilty of the alleged conduct.  There are plenty of good reasons to settle a lawsuit.  There have been similar allegations at several NY restaurants; I personally have no idea to what extent they may be accurate, but I would be careful about accepting that as truth.

As a retired lawyer - I agree that allegations and settlements aren't proof of anything. Still - where there is smoke - there is usually at least a bit of smoldering brush. Robyn

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I don't remember:  have you been to WD-50, robyn?

No I have not. I have to tell you that I made the dumbest mistake in the world in this regard. My husband hates the idea of molecular gastronomy. And the first time I took him to such a place - it was an extraordinarly mediocre one where the meal was pretty bad. Mea culpa - I should have started at the world class level. And now - getting him to go to another would be like getting a mule to move if he didn't want to move. I can say however - that even if the food were great - the Fat Duck kind of thing - like using ipods for the Sound of the Sea - would be a total non-starter for him - if for no other reason than he hates using ear buds with his ipod :wink: .

I think my best chance of ever dragging him into another MG place would be in Spain - if we ever go there again. Because he speaks excellent Spanish and likes to practice. Robyn

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It's much more conservative than that. No headphones. Promise.

Tell your husband it's a steakhouse. He won't know till he gets there.

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It's much more conservative than that.  No headphones.  Promise.

Tell your husband it's a steakhouse.  He won't know till he gets there.

If I tell him it's a steakhouse - he definitely won't go! We aren't big beef eaters - perhaps a steak cooked on the grill maybe once a month in grilling season. He's not conservative when it comes to food. We have eaten some pretty strange things during the course of our travels - and the only rule of thumb he has is if it tastes good - he likes it - e.g., he's a big fan of offal. Perhaps the only 2 exceptions are he doesn't like food that is very sweet - and he doesn't like to "work" for his food (like peeling shrimp and boning fish). He just doesn't like weird for the sake of weird (why freeze dry and pulverize a perfectly good sweetbread and turn it into a smoothie :smile: ?) - and that is the impression he has of MG restaurants. FWIW - it took both of us a while to get used to the Japanese food concept of texture without much taste (and - even when we got used to it - we didn't much care for it - particularly with regard to certain textures). Robyn

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Just an update. We are doing pretty much ok on our reservations. L'Atelier Wednesday night - Corton (for my husband's birthday) Thursday night. Blue Hill was a problem. Closed Friday night for a private party. Didn't make sense to "juggle" things (we'll be tired Wednesday and want to dine in the hotel that night - and I didn't feel like hassling with Corton on a Friday night). Saturday and Sunday we have lunch plans with friends. So we changed the Friday night reservation to Felidia. We've dined there before - and liked it a lot. And it is an easy walk to the hotel (no Friday night hassles with cabs). So Blue Hill will have to wait for another trip. Robyn

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