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Patrick_O

Four days, seven meals

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Hi all,

My bro and I are in the restaurant business in Ireland and take a trip each year for a few days to get ideas from restaurants that are at the top of their game in other countries. We've found this to be an invaluable source of inspiration on previous trips to London, Paris, San Sebastian and Barcelona.

We'll be in NYC for four nights in January and want to take in some of the places that are really on top form. It doesn't have to be high end ( although one lunch will be Jean Georges...looks like the best bargain the city?) but should have passion and a drive for quality.

I would really appreciate some local knowledge and a heads up for some hidden gems.We eat everything and are open to any suggestions but as we work long hours would probably not have the type of time required to try get a reservation at the likes of Momofuku Ko.

Thank you.

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Hi all,

My bro and I are in the restaurant business in Ireland and take a trip each year for a few days to get ideas from restaurants that are at the top of their game in other countries. We've found this to be an invaluable source of inspiration on previous trips to London, Paris, San Sebastian and Barcelona.

We'll be in NYC for four nights in January and want to take in some of the places that are really on top form. It doesn't have to be high end ( although one lunch will be Jean Georges...looks like the best bargain the city?) but should have passion and a drive for quality.

I would really appreciate some local knowledge and a heads up for some hidden gems.We eat everything and are open to any suggestions but as we work long hours would probably not have the type of time required to try get a reservation at the likes of Momofuku Ko.

Thank you.

There are too many to try in that number of days, obviously, but a few to consider are Corton, Brooklyn Fare, WD-50 and Momofuku Ssam Bar (so you'll get a sense of what Chang is doing if you can't get into Ko). They all will provide food for thought as well as eating. There may be some disagreement, but I'd also say that EMP, L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, Soto, Annisa and Degustation will be great spots to try. And certainly the lunch at Jean Georges is a great place to start. Definitely one of the best foodie bargains in town. Also, if you have time, you may want to get out to Blue Hill at Stone Barns to see what Dan Barber is doing out there. I'm sure others will chime in with dozens more, so focusing down on seven may be the tough part.

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We're just back from a trip to NY, and had great meals at a few places;

- Eleven Madison lunch; really innovative food and nice concept. Service was excellent.

- Momofuku Noodle bar lunch; had the fried chicken (very tasty; I preferred the Southern, my wife preferred Korean), the pork Ramen and and pork buns. All excellent.

- Per Se; excellent as always

- Matsugen dinner; very good Japanese food. Excellent Soba. great value prix fixe option.

- Aldea dinner; great food, good service, relaxed atmosphere. We went to the Flatiron loung cocktail bar beforehand; very old school.

- Spice Market (lunch) and SHO Shaun Hergatt (dinner); Both good, but nothing stellar. Although a bit unfair to judge as we ate there on Thanksgiving

- Gramercy Tavern for Sunday lunch; very good traditional food.

We also had lunch at Jean George and were really disappointed.The pasta was too thick, the prawns were over cooked to the point of being chewy, the ginger sauce on the Tuna was really overpowering, the crab too much mustardy, the sauce on the veal scallopine too salty (had to be sent back) and chicken too salty (eaten only after taking off the crust). They gave us free dessert to make up but that was terrible too; the chambord macerated fennel overpowered the rest of the dessert. The service was excellent throughout though, particularly the Sommelier.


'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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I would really appreciate some local knowledge and a heads up for some hidden gems.We eat everything and are open to any suggestions but as we work long hours would probably not have the type of time required to try get a reservation at the likes of Momofuku Ko.

Thank you.

If you don't have the time to play with the Momofuku Ko reservation system, I highly recommend Ma Peche (one of the other David Chang restaurants). I go there very often (I also go to Ko very often too). The food at Ma Peche is very creative and delicious. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner, with the dinner menu being more expansive.

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I would really appreciate some local knowledge and a heads up for some hidden gems.We eat everything and are open to any suggestions but as we work long hours would probably not have the type of time required to try get a reservation at the likes of Momofuku Ko.

Thank you.

If you don't have the time to play with the Momofuku Ko reservation system, I highly recommend Ma Peche (one of the other David Chang restaurants). I go there very often (I also go to Ko very often too). The food at Ma Peche is very creative and delicious. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner, with the dinner menu being more expansive.

I would second the Ma Peche recommendation. I've had some great stuff on their lunch menu. I particularly remember the fried chicken they had as being really good. Also, for dinner the pork chop for two was terrific with a great side of peas (when I had it).


Edited by Ochowie (log)

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Speaking of seconding, I second the mention of Aldea, above. Forgot to include that on my list, but have had several very good meals there.

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Thank you all for the great suggestions. Some of them were on my radar but plenty there that I hadn't been aware of. I will report back after the trip.

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All great recs but I don’t know that your exploration would be complete without a foray into Italian hi-end and/or regional authentic which is all the rage right now. At the forefront is chef Michael White who’s opened several places in the last couple years. Morea, Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori the most recent and getting much attention. Osteria Morini might be good for you. -Casual, adventurous and reasonably priced. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/dining/25White.html

On the hi end, recently opened Lincoln under Chef Benno formerly of Per Se might interest you.

As well, you should definitely visit the massive Eataly (markets, prepared foods and dining complex) in connection with the Turin original, Slow Food and brought to you by Batali and co). It’s captured the attn of everyone who eats in NY. http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2010/restaurants/67639/


That wasn't chicken

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All great recs but I don’t know that your exploration would be complete without a foray into Italian hi-end and/or regional authentic which is all the rage right now. At the forefront is chef Michael White who’s opened several places in the last couple years. Morea, Osteria Morini and Ai Fiori the most recent and getting much attention. Osteria Morini might be good for you. -Casual, adventurous and reasonably priced. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/dining/25White.html

On the hi end, recently opened Lincoln under Chef Benno formerly of Per Se might interest you.

As well, you should definitely visit the massive Eataly (markets, prepared foods and dining complex) in connection with the Turin original, Slow Food and brought to you by Batali and co). It’s captured the attn of everyone who eats in NY. http://nymag.com/guides/fallpreview/2010/restaurants/67639/

If we're talking about high end Italian, we should also include Del Posto in the conversation, although it's quite pricey. But since it's the first Italian restaurant to get four stars from the Times since the 70's, and they've recently upped their game, it's very much worthy of consideration, especially if you're also talking about Lincoln (which in my personal recent experience was just as expensive and not nearly as good).

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If we're talking about high end Italian, we should also include Del Posto in the conversation, although it's quite pricey. But since it's the first Italian restaurant to get four stars from the Times since the 70's, and they've recently upped their game, it's very much worthy of consideration, especially if you're also talking about Lincoln (which in my personal recent experience was just as expensive and not nearly as good).

Absolutely. I mentioned Lincoln more so for being the latest of the genre and a hot topic in the press and food boards.

They might even be more interested in Mailano or Locande Verde. Better yet Torrisi Italian Specialties might be a good call (not so much for the food but the concept which has made it a big hit)


That wasn't chicken

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If we're talking about high end Italian, we should also include Del Posto in the conversation, although it's quite pricey. But since it's the first Italian restaurant to get four stars from the Times since the 70's, and they've recently upped their game, it's very much worthy of consideration, especially if you're also talking about Lincoln (which in my personal recent experience was just as expensive and not nearly as good).

Absolutely. I mentioned Lincoln more so for being the latest of the genre and a hot topic in the press and food boards.

They might even be more interested in Mailano or Locande Verde. Better yet Torrisi Italian Specialties might be a good call (not so much for the food but the concept which has made it a big hit)

Good calls. Also Ciano is another one in that category.

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Thanks again, these places look great. How is Lupa these days? I'd an excellent casual Italian lunch there a few years ago.

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How is Lupa these days?

I haven’t been there in years. I assume they’ve maintained the same good standards that have kept them busy and relevant. But really with the few meals you have and all the recent Italian openings (as listed above) why bother?

If I was curious about an old guard Batali place (for my budget) I wouldn’t mind getting back to Casa Mono. Had fantastic meals there years ago. Tapas with a creative edge incorping shell fish, game, offal, really good pork.

Chk out their menu http://www.casamononyc.com/lunch_dinner.cfm and tell me you wouldn't have a hard time choosing. Tripe, rabbit, oxtail, sweetbreads, duck hearts, cod cheeks, bone marrow, pig face....all seem like a good start. :raz:


That wasn't chicken

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I still love Lupa.

If you want new I'd do Maialino or Osteria Morini or Locanda Verde if you can get in (they also have an excellent brunch). I had high hopes for Ciano but my first visit was such a disaster that it'll be a while before I go back - maybe they can work out those kinks. Meatballs were good though.

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I still love Lupa.

If you want new I'd do Maialino or Osteria Morini or Locanda Verde if you can get in (they also have an excellent brunch). I had high hopes for Ciano but my first visit was such a disaster that it'll be a while before I go back - maybe they can work out those kinks. Meatballs were good though.

Sounds worth starting a Ciano thread with a review of your visit if you have time.

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I still love Lupa.

If you want new I'd do Maialino or Osteria Morini or Locanda Verde if you can get in (they also have an excellent brunch). I had high hopes for Ciano but my first visit was such a disaster that it'll be a while before I go back - maybe they can work out those kinks. Meatballs were good though.

Sounds worth starting a Ciano thread with a review of your visit if you have time.

I'll probably go back before I do that - it would feel unfair to not.

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A meal that I had with some friends two weeks ago at Lupa was fantastic. I'd say it's still a relevant place with a new chef making his mark. After all, what's not relevant about as fine a casual Italian meal as you're gonna get, at this price level, in NYC?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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The itinerary is starting to take shape. Lunch in Jean Georges and EMP are booked, as are dinners in Aldea and WD50. I reckon we will also definitely visit MaPeche ( I don't think it's possible to book?) and one of the casual Italians-probably Osteria Morini. After that we'll play it by ear.

If we have any notches left on our belts, we may fit in a cocktail or two. We plan to visit the Flatiron Lounge when we go to Aldea, but any other suggestions for good bars?

Thanks again for all of the excellent advice.

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2nd the Del Posto lunch deal. With the fresh bread and lardo/butter, amuses, two savories, palette cleanser, dessert, and petit fours, it's a steal.

You can book Ma Peche here:

http://www.momofuku.com/ma-peche/

Ma Peche also has an excellent cocktail list.

But do still try to get into Ko. Perhaps lunch?

For cocktails:

- PDT (no standing, first come, first served at the bar, reservations for tables taken at 3pm same day) - show up at 6pm for two bar seats, hard to get in nearly every day of the week

- Death & Co (no standing, no reservations) - show up before 7pm to even get in, earlier Thurs-Sat, try to sit at the bar

- Mayahuel (no standing but a bit larger than PDT and Death & Co) - a tequila/mezcal specialist, sister bar to Death & Co, a must visit if your enjoy either

- El Cobre/Cienfuegos - Mayahuel's sister bar focused on rum, Cienfuegos is more about various rum punches

- Pegu Club (allows standing, gets rather loud/crowded) - easier to get into but they do have a line later on in the night

- Lani Kai (modern 'tropical' but not tiki, also done by Julie of Flatiron) - upstairs has a small bar but the tables are more for people eating dinner, downstairs there's a lounge with a bar

- Painkiller - tiki bar from the Milk & Honey family, bar can be a bit uncomfortable though as the stools are nailed into the ground, but try to sit at the bar

- Little Branch - from the Milk & Honey family, go downstairs, there's a a bunch of tables and booths and a small waiting area inside, give your name to the hostess for a table, you can't sit at the bar

For chefs, I'd say PDT, Death & Co, and Pegu Club are all must visits because they do infused liquors in their drinks.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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Thanks again for the great advice, it's a huge advantage to visit any city when you're armed with such fantastic information.

If Del Posto is a must for lunch then should I cancel EMP or Jean Georges? I'm trying to balance the itinerary so we're not overloaded to the point we don't enjoy it. I'm sure there are hundreds of great places that we haven't even mentioned but we've such a short time we have to pick a few and stick with them.

We will definitely be back later in the year too...probably October..so we can take care of any unfinished business then!

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Thanks again for the great advice, it's a huge advantage to visit any city when you're armed with such fantastic information.

If Del Posto is a must for lunch then should I cancel EMP or Jean Georges? I'm trying to balance the itinerary so we're not overloaded to the point we don't enjoy it. I'm sure there are hundreds of great places that we haven't even mentioned but we've such a short time we have to pick a few and stick with them.

We will definitely be back later in the year too...probably October..so we can take care of any unfinished business then!

Personally, I would cancel EMP for lunch and see if I could get in there for dinner.

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Just back from a very enjoyable few days in NYC and although we didn't get to eat everywhere on our wish list, we sampled a good cross section and got plenty of good ideas. The less fussy food we ate was definitely the most memorable and a few random thoughts were as follows:

Lupa- Probably the most memorable lunch of the trip. Excellent ingredients served simply with good home made pastas and a well chosen wine list. Simple yet superb.

Jean Georges- All the classic Michelin formality and technically excellent food. Every dish was perfectly cooked and seasoned yet presentation let some of them down ( A veal escalope on the plate with just some clumsily chopped broccoli on top sticks in my mind). Overall, hard to fault the technical aspects of the meal but no wow factor. Hard to reconcile with the 3* restaurants in Spain for example but I guess that's a whole other conversation.

Aldea - The least enjoyable experience of the trip. We found it to be a case of style over substance. Lots of sous vide cooking and superfluous foams yet surprising bland. The place looks great and was very busy yet the food we are was very average and the staff showed little knowledge of the menu or ingredients.

Ma Peche - Very interesting mix of classic French techniques with vibrant Aisan flavours. Beef tartare and pork cheeks were bursting with flavour and very enjoyable. Very cool atmosphere and complimentary Wagyu taster from the chef was delicious.

Morini - Really good homemade pasta and simple regional Italian dishes done very well. Extremely well organised FOH team. Great spot to chill out at Sunday lunch and do a spot of people watching.

EatalyWe spent a ridculous amount of time here. Every time we passed, we dropped in for an espresso or something to eat and ended up buying more produce than we could take home! What a fantastic place. The attention to detail is staggering and I could happliy lose myself in there for a whole day. I only wish we had somewhere like this in Ireland.

Overall it was a great trip and we ejoyed some excellent cocktails in the Flatiron lounge and Death & Co. We never made it to so many other places but will definitely head back towards the end of the year and fill in the gaps.

Thanks again to everyone who gave us such great recommendations. We learned something from each and every meal and have been inspired which was the purpose of the visit.

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Nice itinerary Patrick. Congrats on making it to as many as you did. Disappointing to hear about your Aldea meal. I’ve heard such great things.

What type of restaurant do you and your brother work/operate in Ireland? (Is there a website or any info you care to share?) Thx


That wasn't chicken

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