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weinoo

"Limited Time Only" Pops Up on Lower East Side

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From April 27th - May 8th, 2011, Beard award winning chef R. J. Cooper, late of D.C.'s Vidalia restaurant, will be cooking at the space formerly known as Broadway East. Others will evidently follow in his footsteps, as Broadway East becomes reinvented yet again.

I liked R. J.'s food at Vidalia the few times we ate there while he was still in the kitchen. He's got a new restaurant opening up sometime later this spring, called Rogue 24, and I'm looking forward to that as well.

Reservations are being accepted for the tasting menus but it looks like the bar is going to be first come/first serve, and one of D.C.'s well-known mixologists, Gina Chersevani, will be behind the stick.

More info here.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Going Sunday with a group. They're doing tasting menus of 16 or 24 courses, and the beverage pairing involves cocktails, beer and madeira in addition to several wines. Will report back...

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went last night at 8:30 for the 24-course tasting and experienced quite the pronounced opening jitters that tested our patience. we were informed that a course would come out every 8 minutes. the first course came out about 45 minutes in. the next course, 20-25 minutes later. we had to inquire several times as to when the next course would hit the table. by 10pm, we were served our third course. we were served 2 more dishes over the next 45 minutes. not wanting to be there until 8am, we asked for the check for what we've had. the dining room was 2/3 full when we sat down but thinned out rather quickly, so the other diners must have pressed the eject button as well. as we waited for the check, we were hit with two additional courses, one that was supposed to be served much later in the journey. it was chaos.

in the end the check was very fair, and the staff was apologetic about the jitters. the pacing might have been smoother had they offered two seating times; 7pm for 16 courses then 9pm for 24 courses. the menus are too ambitious to pace properly otherwise.

there's no doubt that chef cooper is extremely talented and innovative. the courses were sophisticated yet playful. had it been a better paced dinner, it would've been one of the most memorable dinners of the year. i may still give it another chance. the dishes are that promising. however for such an ephemeral concept, i'm not sure if they'll have enough time to iron out some glaring kinks before moving on. would love to hear a more positive report before making another reservation.

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I wonder if it's a combo; of the chef biting off more than he could chew for this concept (LTO) and the owner still unable to run a restaurant. Lest we forget, he went through countless chefs in his Broadway East concept, including one that left before the place even opened.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I had a great dinner last night at LTO. No problems with pacing of the courses. I had the 24 course dinner, and finished in about 3 hours which was perfect timing. Food was very delicious and creative. Only course that didn't "wow" me was the olive course--I hate olives! I had the non-alcoholic beverage pairings and they were delicious! Service was friendly and attentive. When I left the restaurant (at about 9:30) almost every table was taken. Too bad Chef Cooper isn't opening his restaurant in NYC. Look forward to see which other chefs will be at LTO. I think it's a great concept; you need to visit quickly otherwise the chef will be gone. I believe Chef Cooper is in the kitchen only through next week. Highly recommend you make a reservation quickly!

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We stopped in at the bar before dinner on Saturday night. We were nicely welcomed and Gina's cocktails were great. Didn't have any food as the bar menu wasn't calling out to us, but it was early.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Had the 24-course meal with a group of friends on Sunday night. Most of the previously mentioned jitters seem to be working themselves out. Service certainly wasn't perfect, and the servers aren't as expert about food or wine as those in the best places in town. But overall, everyone was friendly, and the pacing wasn't bad at all. There was a lag between a couple of the courses somewhere about midway through the meal, but as soon as we said something, the food started coming out much faster again. The food itself was mostly fairly innovative and very good, with a few minor misses and a few really delicious surprises. Standout dishes included a chawanmushi-inspired egg custard with "langoustine" (I think it was actually crayfish), a croquette with a liquid chicken center, and a great little piece of wagyu beef. Overall, I'd say it's well worth going, but maybe not quite offering the same level as the very best tasting menus in town at that price level ($120-$130), such as Brooklyn Fare or Ko. It's certainly much more ambitious (and better) than its pop-up competition, such as What Happens When.

The main complaint relative to the price point would be the service, not because there were any specific problems (apart from the aforementioned temporary lag), but because it just wasn't as polished as one expects at restaurants with those price points. Some servers were hard to understand, a few didn't know much about the food, ingredients or wines, and some cleared plates while others at the table were still eating the course. Still, all were friendly, and trying to please.

Although 24 courses sounds like a lot, it really wasn't overwhelming at all, and we left feeling quite satisfied but certainly not as stuffed as after some of the big tasting dinners I've had. The beverage pairing was fun, in that it included cocktails and beer as well as just wines. However, since there was one beverage paired with each group of three or so dishes, with the variety of flavors involved, there were a few matchups that didn't totally work. Obviously, it's tough to make 8 drinks match 24 very different tastes, but with time (which they don't really have), I think that could be smoothed out. They seem to be making small improvements every day, though, based on what they learn.

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Hide the children. The next chef to be cooking at LTO is none other than Eddie Huang, self-professed bad boy of the bun. As Eater reports:

From June 3-9, he'll be doing blue crab dinners "inspired by the Chinese South."

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Hide the children. The next chef to be cooking at LTO is none other than Eddie Huang, self-professed bad boy of the bun. As Eater reports:

From June 3-9, he'll be doing blue crab dinners "inspired by the Chinese South."

Apparently, the previous chef in there was Leah Cohen of Top Chef fame, although I didn't hear from anyone who went during her installation.

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Apparently, the previous chef in there was Leah Cohen of Top Chef fame, although I didn't hear from anyone who went during her installation.

Actually, I think she's in there as we speak.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Apparently, the previous chef in there was Leah Cohen of Top Chef fame, although I didn't hear from anyone who went during her installation.

Actually, I think she's in there as we speak.

Yes, sorry...got my dates wrong. Today is actually supposed to be her last day.


Edited by LPShanet (log)

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