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babern38

SHO Shaun Hergatt

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I haven't seen any posts about SHO Shaun Hergatt's place in the financial district, but after a recent meal there I must say that needs to be changed. I actually found out about this place while perusing opentable.com and was intrigued by the amazing photos on its website. After several failed attempts to go a friend and I finally made it last Tuesday and had a fantastic meal.

We settled on the 3 course $79 option which is a bargain in that it included an initial plate of three small bites, amuse, appetizer, main, dessert, then mignardises.

the initial offering consisted of a plate of two bite size pieces and a small shot glass. first was a duck pate on a cracker. second was a very tangy cube of goat cheese sandwiched between two tomato flavored crisps. The shot glass contained a very potent and somewhat salty lobster bisque (though it was almost more of a creamy pate consistency) with a thin layer of gelee(forgot the flavor) and caviar on top. And of course the later was served with miniature mother of pearl spoons.

the amuse was a quarter inch thick slice of scallop sashimi served on a cucumber with a slightly tangy dressing that I have since forgotten as I didn't take notes, though it was quite pleasant. It was served in a giant clam shell.

for appetizers I had Red Chili and Coconut Milk Glazed Quail Shiitake Duxelle, Wilted Tetragonia that was beautifully presented consisting of the legs/thigh, the breast which was stuffed with foie, a quail egg, and a duxelle of mushrooms on the side. My date had ordered the hiramasa (scallop sashimi) which was quite nice, though it was unfortunate the amuse had also been scallop though flavored differently.

Our mains consisted of a fabulously cooked muscovy duck breast with a side of seared foie atop a hibiscus gelee and a beautiful presentation of a thai pepper dusted beef tenderloin. I'm not even sure how to describe this other than it was a perfect dark colored cylinder of extremely tender beef with a large disc of (potato?) atop with I what I believe to be a slice of beef cheek on top.

Desserts were equally appealing in flavor and presentation. We had a dessert called a citrus palette and a java chocolate dish of some sort.

After this we were served with a large bowl of chocolate truffles, passion fruit gelees, macaroons, and fig financiers.

While I'm not sure there are many reasons to venture down to the financial district at night time unless you live there, SHO is definitely a reason to take the trip.

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We've been to SHO Shaun Hergatt only once (blog post here), but based on that visit, I'd say this is the best luxury restaurant to have opened in New York since Corton. When we dined there, the three-course prix fixe at dinner was just $69. I gather it has gone up to $79, but even at that price, it is the least expensive restaurant in its peer group. When you count the blizzard of amuses and petits-fours that come with a meal here, it is indeed a bargain.

The restaurant is part of the Setai, a high-end condo a block away from the stock exchange that is still under construction. It was clearly planned before the recession. Having said that, there are many ways the owners could have dialed down the concept, and it's to their credit that they have stuck to their guns—at least for now.

I am rooting for this place to succeed, but it cannot be denied that it has multiple strikes against it. It's named for a chef no one in New York has heard of, and it's in a neighborhood that's not known for fine dining. The latter concern is mostly psychological. With most of the city's subway lines crossing nearby, practically all of Manhattan and much of Brooklyn is no more than 30-40 minutes away. People in this town go to much greater inconveniences to reach lesser restaurants.

The restaurant also opens in a town with few critics capable of appreciating what it's doing. At the Times, Pete Wells relegated SHO to Dining Briefs, complaining that it wasn't greenmarket driven, and that "Mr. Hergatt’s favorite purveyor seems to be Federal Express." Had he noticed that critical darling Michael White is doing the same thing at Marea? At New York, the bumbling Adam Platt awarded three stars for the food, but subtracted one "for the location and the décor," apparently because he doesn't like Wall Street and the place is too fancy for him.

But the vast majority of non-pro reviews I've seen have been positive, so there is hope for this place.


Edited by oakapple (log)

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It was $69 when I went last week, and the website (now updated to have the fall menu too, featuring "New York State Squab", heh) still says $69, so any price bump must have been very recent.

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Based on babern's description, it sounds like this is a fusion restaurant. Would you compare the resulting taste to any other New York restaurant of the present or past?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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You have to remember that Chef Hergatt comes from Australia, where Asian fusion comes more naturally than it does to people in this hemisphere.

I don't think there's been anything comparable in New York to date.

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A chef friend of mine suggested that I try out SHO Shaun Hergatt shortly after it opened, and I must say I enjoyed my dinner immensely. I wrote a review on my blog (link here). Plush surroundings, food expertly prepared if a bit dated, and an attentive wait staff. If it weren't located in FiDi I would certainly visit the place more often. Chef Hergatt also turned out to be a very pleasant and amiable man; he listened to my comments about the food and thanked me for my suggestions.


Edited by The Food Doc (log)

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I don't really buy into the notion of "dated" food. Exactly when does a good idea become a bad one? Some of the best dishes are timeless classics, assuming they're executed well. And if they're not executed well, the fault is in the preparation, not the idea itself. Of course, some ideas are bad to begin with, but I don't quite get the notion that a formerly good idea has a sell-by date.

Hergatt's food, whatever era it dates from, is something no one else in town is doing. He clearly didn't take a marketing survey before drawing up the menu, or we'd have had the city's 83rd farm-to-table restaurant.


Edited by oakapple (log)

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you are correct. it was a typo. the 3-course was $69. I had a second visit this saturday and was just as wonderful as the first even though the initial canapes were the same (the amuse was different). They had actual changed a handful of things on the menu in the last 5 days and some of the new dishes I had were just as delicious. I'm glad to see it got one star right off the bat. well deserved. I did not get to meet chef hargett myself, but he visited the table next to us as they apparently had a problem with some dish. He seemed extremely pleasant and I overheard him state how he'd love to hear details of his patrons concerns since he really wants to make everything perfect. he seems quite commited and hopefully he will do well.

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When I had dinner there a few months ago, I asked the chef about that. He claims that SHO is short for Shaun, his first name. Take it for what it's worth.

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The restaurant is on my short list of new places to try in NYC, but I have to say, I don't think the name of the restaurant adds to its appeal in anyway. If he wanted an eponymous restaurant and simply called it SHO or Hergatt, I think it would have worked better. Good restaurants have failed for lesser reasons.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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I guess it's possible to get used to any restaurant name. I no longer cringe when saying "Per Se," at least not most of the time. But these sorts of naming gaffes really shake my faith in my fellow man. I mean, who was sitting around in the executive offices of this major development saying, "Hey, you know what would be a great name for a restaurant? SHO Shaun Hergatt!" And nobody said, "That name sucks"? They all just said, "Great name! We love it!"?

I guess maybe the same people who came up with "eGullet."


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Well, based on the recommendations from this board I decided to take the plunge downtown and try this place. I was really impressed even considering the high expectations I had coming into the experience. They are now doing a tasting menu which is what I opted for last night. It consisted of

Salad of Autumn Figs (An addition to the printed menu) which had great flavors, the feta contrasting nicely with the sweet figs.

Hand Picked Peekytoe Crab - I really liked the composition of the Peekytoe Crab with the piece of uni that was on top.

Slow Poached Egg - My captain asked me my opinion of this dish (maybe it's one of their signatures) and while I really liked it, it seemed to be pretty close, in my mind at least, to the egg dish at Ko. That said, the brioche crouton that came underneath the egg made a great combination with the egg.

Roasted Maine Lobster - I had mixed feelings about this dish going in as I remembered reading that it was overcooked on some members' prior visits. However, the lobster I was presented was perfectly cooked and went very well with the polenta. This turned out to be my second favorite dish.

New York State Squab - This was my favorite dish of the night in large part because of the duck rillete parcel that accompanied the dish.

The dessert was the java-chocolate cake I wasn't a huge fan of. It was good just not a memorable dessert. On the whole, I really enjoyed this restaurant in all aspects including the wine selection (the sommelier put together a great pairing that I can't really remember right now), and the service which in my opinion was near perfect. Also, I have to give mention to the truffle butter which had a much more intense truffle flavor then I was expecting. I would have eaten the whole pat if I hadn't stopped myself.

As far as the reviews go, I can't believe this restaurant has been relegated to the dining briefs section. I don't understand how the Standard Grill can receive a full review at the same time as this gets a brief mention. Maybe it's because I'm new to this and I'm missing something important or maybe Sam Sifton will circle back and give this restaurant the review it deserves. As for me, I will be visiting this restaurant as often as I can make the trek down to the FiDi.

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I guess it's possible to get used to any restaurant name. I no longer cringe when saying "Per Se," at least not most of the time. But these sorts of naming gaffes really shake my faith in my fellow man. I mean, who was sitting around in the executive offices of this major development saying, "Hey, you know what would be a great name for a restaurant? SHO Shaun Hergatt!" And nobody said, "That name sucks"? They all just said, "Great name! We love it!"?

I totally agree. At least "Per Se" is relatively easy to spell and pronounce. For the record, "SH" are the chef's initials, and "O" is the logo for the Setai, where it is located. This is just hopelessly unintuitive. I mean, even if the chef had been Daniel Boulud and the name "DBO", it would have been a dumb name. They compound the problem by calling the place "SHO Shaun Hergatt," in essence using the chef's name twice. I'm a fan of this place and impressed with every decision they made BUT this one.

As far as the reviews go, I can't believe this restaurant has been relegated to the dining briefs section. I don't understand how the Standard Grill can receive a full review at the same time as this gets a brief mention. Maybe it's because I'm new to this and I'm missing something important or maybe Sam Sifton will circle back and give this restaurant the review it deserves.

I think the "Dining Briefs" decision was the Times's way of saying, "Let's wait and see." It's clear that if Wells had posted a full review, he would not have given it three stars, and for a restaurant of this kind, anything less would have been a condemnation. The Standard Grill, on the other hand, is probably as good as it will ever be, so nothing would be gained by waiting to review it later.

It was reasonably predictable that none of the pro critics in this town was going to love this place. There's just no one writing pro criticism these days with the background or temperament to appreciate this type of restaurant. The Setai people were either not aware of this, or forged ahead because they believed strongly in what they were doing. The Michelin people gave them proper recognition, and I see it has a 29 food rating in the new Zagat.

As for Sifton, I have no idea if the city finally has the well rounded critic it deserves, but we'll start finding out next week.

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It was reasonably predictable that none of the pro critics in this town was going to love this place. There's just no one writing pro criticism these days with the background or temperament to appreciate this type of restaurant. The Setai people were either not aware of this, or forged ahead because they believed strongly in what they were doing. The Michelin people gave them proper recognition, and I see it has a 29 food rating in the new Zagat.

As for Sifton, I have no idea if the city finally has the well rounded critic it deserves, but we'll start finding out next week.

I completely agree with this. I, like you, was also very impressed with this place and hope that it doesn't go the way of ADNY and sticks around for a while despite critics not really being able to appreciate it.

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I guess it's possible to get used to any restaurant name. I no longer cringe when saying "Per Se," at least not most of the time. But these sorts of naming gaffes really shake my faith in my fellow man. I mean, who was sitting around in the executive offices of this major development saying, "Hey, you know what would be a great name for a restaurant? SHO Shaun Hergatt!" And nobody said, "That name sucks"? They all just said, "Great name! We love it!"?

I totally agree. At least "Per Se" is relatively easy to spell and pronounce. For the record, "SH" are the chef's initials, and "O" is the logo for the Setai, where it is located. This is just hopelessly unintuitive. I mean, even if the chef had been Daniel Boulud and the name "DBO", it would have been a dumb name. They compound the problem by calling the place "SHO Shaun Hergatt," in essence using the chef's name twice. I'm a fan of this place and impressed with every decision they made BUT this one.

The hostesses also seem to compound the problem by pronouncing SHO as a word and not an acronym which kind of confused me since I read earlier that SHO was supposed to be his name plus the Setai.

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You're not missing anything.

The critical establishment in New York now has a very decided bias against "fancy" restaurants. This is perhaps the most egregious example of a tendency that has been apparent for a few years. The treatment SHO has gotten is scandalous.

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What is a Setai?

Anyway, as for the name, I don't have any problem with pronouncing "SHO" like Southerners pronounce "sure."


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I just went to SHO two nights in a row, first to try it out and then because my first meal was so superb. I don't have time at this point to give a full review of each of my 3-course meals, but I will lend my voice to those who praise the restaurant highly.

There are very very few places like this working at the same level in NYC today: Per Se and 11 Madison Park come to mind (I've been recently disappointed, again, by meals at Daniel and Le Bernardin). Most competitors are far more expensive, too. At this point, I feel we may be dealing with an endangered species: high art cuisine is languishing, or at least you'd think so based on the newspaper critics' responses to these restaurants.

I encourage anyone who still believes that there is an art of cooking to rush to SHO to prove that such places are valued in NYC. Otherwise, I'm afraid we may have to kiss the best of the best goodbye!

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sho shaun is part of nyc rest week but for lunch only i believe. fortunately i have off from work the 12th so I will be dining there for lunch.

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There are very very few places like this working at the same level in NYC today: Per Se and 11 Madison Park come to mind (I've been recently disappointed, again, by meals at Daniel and Le Bernardin). Most competitors are far more expensive, too. At this point, I feel we may be dealing with an endangered species: high art cuisine is languishing, or at least you'd think so based on the newspaper critics' responses to these restaurants.

I encourage anyone who still believes that there is an art of cooking to rush to SHO to prove that such places are valued in NYC. Otherwise, I'm afraid we may have to kiss the best of the best goodbye!

I am more sanguine about the future of fine dining. There will always be a market for a luxury product. It waxes and wanes with the economy, but the economy never stays down forever. Obviously, you're not going to see any new places in that category RIGHT NOW, but at some point the tide will turn, as it always does.

SHO Shaun Hergatt is an unusual case. It's part of an ultra-luxury development, the Setai, where its presence is part of the overall value proposition. Had it been a stand-alone restaurant, it surely would have been scaled back (if not canceled altogether) when the recession hit.

I worry more about the lack of critics willing, or even capable, of appreciating such a place. When the Times gives the identical two-star rating to this place and Torrisi Italian Specialties, it is not exactly encouraging chefs or investors who might otherwise be inclined to open a high-end restaurant. If SHO Shaun Hergatt isn't a three-star restaurant, then no place is.

SHO is even more remarkable at its price point, which is a good 30 to 50 percent lower than it deserves to be.

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There are very very few places like this working at the same level in NYC today: Per Se and 11 Madison Park come to mind (I've been recently disappointed, again, by meals at Daniel and Le Bernardin). Most competitors are far more expensive, too. At this point, I feel we may be dealing with an endangered species: high art cuisine is languishing, or at least you'd think so based on the newspaper critics' responses to these restaurants.

I encourage anyone who still believes that there is an art of cooking to rush to SHO to prove that such places are valued in NYC. Otherwise, I'm afraid we may have to kiss the best of the best goodbye!

I am more sanguine about the future of fine dining. There will always be a market for a luxury product. It waxes and wanes with the economy, but the economy never stays down forever. Obviously, you're not going to see any new places in that category RIGHT NOW, but at some point the tide will turn, as it always does.

SHO Shaun Hergatt is an unusual case. It's part of an ultra-luxury development, the Setai, where its presence is part of the overall value proposition. Had it been a stand-alone restaurant, it surely would have been scaled back (if not canceled altogether) when the recession hit.

I worry more about the lack of critics willing, or even capable, of appreciating such a place. When the Times gives the identical two-star rating to this place and Torrisi Italian Specialties, it is not exactly encouraging chefs or investors who might otherwise be inclined to open a high-end restaurant. If SHO Shaun Hergatt isn't a three-star restaurant, then no place is.

SHO is even more remarkable at its price point, which is a good 30 to 50 percent lower than it deserves to be.

I was going to make a post that addressed several points, but it seems Marc has just said everything I was going to say. So put me down for agreement with all of the above.

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Agree w/ all said in last few posts about SHO. It's a bargain, it's interesting, it's usually delicious, it's comfortably elegant (no shouting over ironic or not Guns-n-Roses or sitting in your neighbor's laps). I've eaten there twice in the past 10 months, once very recently, and wish I went there more often. It deserves patronage. (The location depresses me and isn't near home, work or where any of my friends live -- otherwise I would go there more often).

I'm equally tired of comfort food as fetish item served in uncomfortable surroundings(think Meatball Shop or Mile End or 1 zillion pizza places) and of pious nose to tail/farm to table that is so caught up in letting the base (locally grown seasonally harvest) ingredients shine that they forget about seasoning and technique (think Northern Spy Company among many other offenders). SHO delightfully bucks both trends -- leading to charges that it is anachronistic or a "throw back". But being delicious and being an experience that grown ups can enjoy should not be a matter of era...


Edited by snutteplutten (log)

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