Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Mix (with Doug Psaltis as chef de cuisine)


Fat Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

5 courses in 90 minutes sound rushed to me. Is that typical or was it because you let the servers know you were going to the theater?

Edited by sammy (log)

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 courses in 90 minutes sound rushed to me. Is that typical or was it because you let the servers know you were going to the theater?

It's because we let them know we had to finished by 7:30 pm to make an 8pm curtain. We arrived just before 6 and signed the check at 7:30. The timing was perfect for our schedule, though we probably would have lingered a bit longer had we not had opera tickets. The food and beverage service couldn't have been better. There any moment you needed them, but not obtrusive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Psaltis has been holding out on me, that bastard!

How so?

By the way, the waiter mentioned that they are in the process of making a bunch of changes to the menu. I think this was the first night Doug's offered a venison dish. Nothing I had last night was a repeat from any of my previous 5 (or is it 6?) visits.

Damn, just thinking about that food makes me want to run over there for lunch!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's what I meant. All those new dishes and I've never tasted a single one of them. :angry:

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had lunch in Mix yesterday. I agree that Mix serves great food, or at least food that's very very good. Some of it really makes you sit up and notice, but some of the presentation also sits up and takes away from the pleasure of the food. I didn't sense that great a difference in the ages of the clientele between Mix and AD/NY. Mostly businessmen in ties and tourists. The difference in price alone would have accounted for the age difference, in my mind. I don't think the decor was bringing many people in, or keeping them out. I didn't like a lot about the design, but it wouldn't be enough to keep me from returning.

It was a quick 90 minute lunch because my brother-in-law had a plane to catch. He likes to fly on a full stomach to best avoid any temptation of eating airline food. I got to eat three courses and taste a little bit of the other six courses on the table. I also got to see all five of the cold appetizers. I'll get to the good part--the food--later.

The room, at lunch, is wonderfully bright. I like that in a restaurant. I like to see my food and I like to see the other diners. Two walls and the ceiling are lined with glass panels suspended or set in front of the actual side walls. It's an intriguing sculptural concept that plays with one's perception of the actual boundaries of the room. It may not be what those who want a cosseted environment will enjoy, but it's elegantly playful. Unfortunately, it's also bound to produce a loud room when the room is full. Lucky for us, the room was far from full when we were there.

We were shown to a booth at the rear. The table was comfortably sized for four, but the banquettes were far too close to the table for comfortable eating and the backs of the banquettes are too high for many hairdos, including Mrs. B's bun. I was particularly glad to leave the banquette behind because not only was it uncomfortable, but there were several noticeable stains on the high fabric back of the seat across from me. The other banquettes may have offered better seating distance, as we were offered those next, but we chose a table. The chairs were not nearly as comfortable as I would have liked in that they didn't offer the back support we'd look for when choosing a dining chair. None of this is my idea of fun. Just as I like to read reviews by critics who enjoy dining out, I like my restaurants designed by architects who enjoy eating in restaurants.

I'm not a fan of a lot of the Mix esthetic reminiscent of the fifties. That didn't endear the plastic and chrome stand on which the salads of the day are carried to each table for presentation. The whole idea of the presentation is not bad however. Upon seeing the raw tuna, I decided it wasn't the same old tired raw tuna and that it was worth ordering. On eating it, I thought that maybe it was overworked in a direction too far from plain old raw tuna. Perhaps is had just a few too many elelments in the bowl for my taste, but I enjoyed it very much. On an objective level it was excellent and Mrs. B loved her duck ham and lentils. She wasn't fond of the straight sided bowls in which these dishes were served. I didn't mind them. I don't recall the dish my brother-in-law had and didn't taste it.

He had the buffalo for a main course and absolutely loved it. Mrs. B had the pork dish which was a melange of loin, barbeque, grits and I don't know what else, but it was absolutely delicious in pieces and as a whole according to Mrs. B who was very pleased with the design and execution of this dish. It was a large portion and I got to try it enough of it to concur, although my own dish was too rich for me to try too much of the pork. Since we weren't paying, my wife and I stuck to the prix fixe items and I ordered the chicken pot pie. At first I just passed over it on the menu, then the idea that I hadn't had a chicken pot pie in I don't know how long, got to me. Most of the chicken pot pies I've had had chunks of chicken and vegetables. The chicken here was subject to far longer cooking. I'd guess many would find it overcooked. It reminded me of some stewed dishes we've had in more traditional restaurants in Spain where the meat and sauce become almost one. Other connections were with long braised ox tail or short ribs in a complex dish or ravioli. I'm not sure if I'm getting across the nature and depth of flavor in this dish.

The chocolate dessert pizza is fun and pretty good, but not all that much of a dessert. The desserts didn't send me. I'm not a baba or savarin fan and I can't put my finger on why I didn't enjoy the pots de creme as much as I expected, but a brioche isn't really a good accompaniment.

Felonious is correct when he suggested the "facilities" could be more user friendly, but this sort of thing is not likely to ruin the meal and may be considered "fun" by many. My brother-in-law is an architect and insisted I go see the men's rooms.

The plastic enclosed menus are cheesy. The vinyl enccased wine list smells strongly and unpleasantly of vinyl.

"I see you've ordered champagne. You might like some caviar or foie gras to go with that," or something equally as weird was said to us as a card was dropped on the table with prices. That was fun(ny).

For whatever my reasons were, I ordered something from the short list of wines. These have a place on a wine list and it should, in a reputable restaurant, be a list of recommended and reasonably priced wines. Thus when I ordered a $55 bottle from that list, I don't expect the sommelier to tell me about $75 and $95 bottles on the full list.

A rack of good toast is brought out along with a bizarre rack of butter, peanut butter and jelly in little crocks. Spreaders that are disproportionately tall are then inserted in each crock. It looks unbalanced and feels unbalanced. Worse yet, when I actually go for the butter I remove the spreader and the pot of butter comes with it like a popsicle.

The cast iron creuset pot whose sides tower over the pork dish is also raised from the table with a trivet. It is not a presentation designed for the comfort of a diner, not even one much taller than Mrs. B. It's also a situation that ensures you hold onto your knife and fork at all times, even when sipping your wine. I suspect Mrs. B, who said she loved her dish, stopped eating at a certain point because she was tired of eating that way more than because she was full. Sorry, not a fun way to dine. Ducasse recently invested in a Paris bistro. There the calves' liver is served in a frying pan, but the pan has much the same shape as a plate and is rather user friendly.

The Madeleines that are presented at the end of the meal are neither as warm or as fine as those at Cafe Boulud. They are served with Nutella which blows my image of Ducasse as procurer of fine ingredients.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am in agreement with Bux on many of his impressions of Mix. I still have yet to try a dessert (and I've tried them all) that comes close to matching the caliber of the savory courses. I don't understand why this is the case, as I'm sure that Ducasse has the resources to bring the desserts up to par. I've had lunch at Jean-Georges several times in the last month, and I would say that Iuzinni's (spelling?) dessert creations there are in a whole different universe in terms of creativity and interest than those at Mix.

I had the pork BBQ entree the other day, and thought it quite good, if not as refined as other items on the menu. My date was a fellow Southerner, and she loved it. The fact that a guy from Long Island can create a Southern BBQ dish that pleased us both is pretty amazing.

The stains on the banquettes at the back of the room need to be removed. My dad commented on these when we dined there a month ago. I don't know if the material can't be cleaned properly or what, but when one is spending the dollars required at Mix, it is rather disconcerting to sit on a banquette splotched with large red wine stains. Why don't they fix this? Odd, really.

The dishware and cutlery are unique. Some may hate this and/or dismiss it as unecessary showmanship, but I like the fact that they've put so much thought into every aspect of the dining experience. For example, the steak knives are all handmade by some guy in Arkansas (or was it Tennessee?), and are completely unlike any steak knife I've seen in restaurant before. To me it's part of the whole experience, just as the unique service items used at Jewel Bako bring an additional artistic element to the meal.

I think Doug Psaltis and the crew at Mix are working hard to continually improve the menu and the service. As I said before, every time I've dined there I think the experience has been better than the last visit. A few dishes I've had have been a bit too ambitious for my taste, trying to blend too many flavors or do too many things at one time. In my opinion, Jean Georges falls prey to this as well at times. Then again, I tend to be more conservative in my food tastes than some, which is probably why I'd rather eat at Cafe Boulud on a regular basis than Jean-Georges (caveat here that I'm a lucky bastard to get to eat at either).

I agree that the madeleines at Mix aren't nearly as good as those at Cafe Boulud. They're much heavier in texture and don't seem to be served hot right out of the oven as they are at CB.

Always interesting to hear other people's impressions of a restaurant. Thanks Bux for your thoughtful post.

Bux, I'm curious to know how you'd rate Mix versus other NYC restaurants you've dined at lately.

Edited by Felonius (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They definitely need a new madeleine recipe, and it's odd that they'd go to all that trouble to engineer a house recipe for peanut butter but would then resort to Nutella out of a jar instead of creating a high-quality chocolate-hazelnut spread in house. I suppose it's some sort of light-hearted social commentary to use Nutella, but I confess I don't really get it. That being said, Nutella is in my opinion a very good product; the ingredients list doesn't include a whole bunch of crap, and I like the taste.

The steak knives are made by Al Dipold, in Missouri. The handles are maple and apparently the design is based on the first-ever created-in-America knife.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That being said, Nutella is in my opinion a very good product; the ingredients list doesn't include a whole bunch of crap,

The ingredients list partially hydrogenated oil. Trans fats are my latest avoid group of foods. Avoiding them allows me to feel good about eating foie gras, bacon and even butter and cream. :biggrin: In truth partially hydrogenated peanut oil is way down the list, but it's probably what makes the stuff spreadable at cold temperatures and maybe even coalesce at high temperatures. The largest ingredient is sugar, followed by peanut oil. Then comes hazelnuts and cocoa. There's no cocoa butter, just the hydrogenated fat.

There's a chocolatier in northeastern France that makes a product out of dark chocolate and nut butter that's excellent. It comes in a little yellow can like shoe polish. It is really good on brioches or croissants. My opinion of Nutella is that it's the Velveeta of the chocolate world.

Their FAQ page is very interesting. They note that there's a touch of cocoa to give it that chocolaly taste. They also note that the peanut oil goes through a hot-solvent extraction process. Yeah, I know, it's not a health food item, but with all the play chocolate and nuts are getting in terms of offering health benefits it seems there's a big difference between Nutella and what might be.

For what it's worth, I've been told that Nutella is manufactured to a different formula in different countries. I can't vouch for the veracity of that. Both my links are to the USA Nutella site.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bux, I'm curious to know how you'd rate Mix versus other NYC restaurants you've dined at lately.

I haven't been eating out all that well lately. We've been grabbing meals and meeting friends who don't care to spend that kind of money lately. So I don't know how well I can rank it. At $45 dollars for the prix fixe it's a good deal, I think. It's obvious that there's talent in the kitchen. It should also be obvious that I have to look around things like being offered peanut butter and jelly as an amuse with my flute. If I'm going to be tempted by peanut butter and jelly it's going to have to come out plated or in an irresistable canapé. If I didn't know Ducasse was behind it and I hadn't heard good things about Psaltis from people in the industry, I'm not sure I'd have been able to focus on how good most of the food was. Unless of course, the service and ambience kept my expectation so low that the food would have seemed shockingly good.

I know nothing about barbeque and couldn't begin to tell if what was presented as barbeque was anything that would please a devotee and connoisseur, but it struck me as deeply and broadly flavored. I thought it had it's own refinement and was a great contribution to the pork dish. By the way, I never really got a good look at that dish as it was hiding deep down inside that pot. That's another strike. I like brightly lit restaurants because I not only like to see what I'm eating, but I like to see what others are eating, especially at my table.

The a la carte prices made me think of Cafe Boulud and my feeling was that Cafe Boulud was a better buy all around. I just checked Oceana's lunch menu and it's also prix fixe at $45. That might be my first recommendation for lunch. I've had dinner there. Lunch sounds as if it's a great buy and I like David Carmichael's desserts. Potentially Mix could have the best food, but from start to finish, the three course meal is not as even as it should be and there's too much distraction--call it pretension and not ready for prime time service. For all my bitching, I favor Fat Guy's review to that of the Times, if only because I think it's a restaurant to be recommended and not one to be dismissed, but I'm also conscious that my remarks may seem more like Grimes'.

If I could include my meals in San Sebastian, that might be another story. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bux, I went to the toilet (unisex) at Mix last night: a most memorable visit, as it turned out. I went to lift the toilet seat only to have it come off its moorings, so to speak, in that the assembly at the back of it had become unscrewed. I placed it along side the toilet bowl for safe keeping. Before that, I was unable to lock the door because when I turned the latch, the bar would not go into the hole in the molding. As I was leaving, however, I got the jist of it for what that was worth. Also, I think this was the first WC in my memory in America in which you started the water coming out of the faucet by stepping on a pedal. It must be confusing for anyone who hasn't traveled abroad, although the loos in a few of the fancy hotels here may have this.

I had the bison, too. All I can think of is those signs on the French toll roads in summertime that say "Bison Fute" with an accent aigue over the "e". It always makes me think of fleeing buffalos. However, when I just now tried to find out what it means, the only definition I could find for "bison" was bison. Does anyone know what the autoroute signs mean. I think it has to do wiith warning drivers of periods of heavy vacation traffic.

Oh yes, I found Mix an interesting venture. It's tough to add anything distinctive to these pages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert, maybe you can decipher this:

http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr/

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven, apparently you have been exonerated on Mix, because even though human beings should never be allowed to have too much fun, Grimes declares Mix "Best Value" of all New York restaurants in his year-end Bon Appetit write up.

Oh and best casual? Otto. One thing you can say about Grimes is that he may be a miserable SOB who's time may have come, but he isn't dumb.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fat Guy, good work coming up with that. I never would have thought to find an internet reference. "Fute" means "crafty". "Bison Fute" then is a French government cartoon character (crafty bison) adopted to inform drivers about traffic jams, heavy traffic, etc. that one should be aware of in certain areas at certain times of the year; i.e. the February school holiday period in the Alpes during the ski season. I guess what I see are signs signifying a potential area of heavy traffic during a certain period. I do recall seeing a range of dates that are on the sign as well.

This doesn't have much to do with the bison at Mix, which I enjoyed. Nonetheless, my wife and I thought the clam chowder and the chocolate pizza were really good. The chocolate pizza has a good chance of rivalling in popularity the chocolate biscuit with the liquid chocolate interior, which has become one of the most ubiquitous baked desserts in the world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a good friend who is a regular at ADNY and a very serious patron of many of the top NYC restaurants. Each time he goes to Ducasse, he asks about Mix. Should he go there? Would they make as reservation for him? Each time the answer has been - no! "They aren't ready yet." They don't want him to go and get the wrong impression. I take that to mean that whatever Mix's goals are, they haven't yet been attained. It sounds a lot like ADNY itself, when the initial impressions were mixed at best. Now it is unquestionably one of the best restaurants in the city, if not the world.

Porkpa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"They aren't ready yet."

I would say, for the perfectionist, that's correct especially on the service front. At the same time, by that reasoning one would never visit any restaurant that's less than a year old. I think any experienced restaurantgoer will understand, either overtly or intuitively, that new restaurants are a special phenomenon: some of what you evaluate is potential.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

The tasting menu isn't listed, but they'll do a tasting menu for anyone who asks. Dinner tasting menus are $100 or $125 per person depending on how far you want to go -- either way it's a ton of good food, but you'll get a few more shavings of truffle and maybe an extra course at $125. Those are chef's choice/surprise menus, though you can of course specify dietary restrictions and preferences. Of course the $72 menu is also a full and satisfying meal, but if budget and time allow I'd definitely upgrade to a tasting menu. My suggestion would be to ask to speak to Doug Psaltis directly, either on the phone beforehand or in the kitchen right before the meal, and tell him exactly what you'd like to do. (Tell him you read about Mix on eGullet; he'll be amused by that.) For a first visit, you'd probably be wise to request a mix (hehe) of Mix signatures plus whatever Doug thinks is best from the currently available crop of ingredients.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright, we didn't work up the courage to talk to Doug Psaltis, but we did get a tasting menu, and were, for the most part, extremely pleased.

Here's what we ate. I apologize in advance for not knowing the proper names of many if any of these dishes:

Amuse: Duck Salad: Basically a tiny salad with lettuce, some kind of classical emulsion-based sauce, a bit of duck meat, some crispy duck skin, and a poached quail egg. This was one of the most successful dishes in a night full of great ones -- the taste was unique, the quail egg was memorable and divine, the ingredients were perfectly proportioned, and the everything tasted great on its own or in combination with the other ingredients. A great way to start the mean

First appetizer: "North Carolina Style" Crab Bisque with a Deep-Fried Crab "Finger:" I've only recently started eating shellfish, so I can't say very much about how unique this dish was, but I can say that it was divine. The flavor was perfect, the soup creamy and tasty with a subtle taste, and the dish was a perfect for winter -- a fact that was particularly poignant on the 8-or-so degree evening on which we visited Mix.

Second appetizer: French-Style Macaroni and Cheese: This dish was fantastic. I thought I remembered reading some comments in this thread about how it was somewhat "ho-hum," but I can't find them -- anyway, it's decidedly not. It's basically fresh elbow macaroni (slightly smaller than Kraft's) with a bit of beef jus, some sauce bechamel, tiny cubes of ham, and a generous amount (at least on the tasting there was a generous amount) of black truffle shavings. The dish, for me, was a knockout. The taste and scent of truffles unify the dish and make it luxurious and addictive -- our portions were generous, particularly for a tasting menu, but I couldn't bring myself to leave even one tiny piece of elbow macaroni. An extremely satisfying, unique, and good-tasting dish.

Fish course: Scallops: This item was the only part of our tasting menu that wasn't on the "real" menu, and the waiter did not really know what it was, so my description of it is something of a guess. Basically, it was 3 or 4 scallops cooked simply srived over some kind of thin tomato sauce/broth with "mashed" calliflour and tiny croutons (I'm talking like less than a centimeter square). The scallops were fantastic -- again, I'm not really a veteran of shellfish-eating, but my girlfriend and frequent dining companion is, and she pronounced them "good, but not as good as the scallops at Jean-Georges." Nevertheless, I was pleased, even if this item was a bit less "Mix-y" than anything else we were served.

Meat course: Bison "Wellington" Style: Much bandwith has been spilled in this thread praising the bison -- I'll contribute a bit more. It was almost absurdly tender -- a fantastic piece of meat, really -- served in a brioche accompanied by a small piece of foie gras, a diced mushroom preparation, and a truffle sauce. Everything was obscenely good -- I don't know much about beef wellington (being only 20, I think I missed its heyday), but I loved this dish. I'm also not the biggest foie gras fan around, but I enjoyed it very much with the bison. An excellent entree.

Some general observations before dessert: There is an almost obscene attention to detail at work at Mix: every single dish was served at a perfect temperature and the service worked flawlessly, both when we arrived and the restaurant was half-full, and by the time we left when it was packed. From the miniscule, perfectly-cubic croutons to the unique holder for the toast that comes at the beginning of your meal, it is obvious that a lot of thought and tinkering went into creating the Mix formula, which works spectacularly. Despite nearly obsessive microscopic thinking, nothing at Mix feels forced or mannered -- it remains a fun restaurant and one that I would go to regularly if my budget allowed.

Dessert: For dessert, they brought the two of us four full-sized desserts to share:

  • Chocolate Pizza with a Caramel Dessert: The chocolate pizza, basically a flaky, thin chocolate pastry with nutella on top is neat and addictive if unspectacular. The caramel pastry was dense, filled with caramel, and extremely rich.
  • Some kind of reconstructed apple pie a la mode: Decent but again unspectacular. The ice cream was fresh, but not more interesting than homemade iced cream from home or some other restaurant, and the "heirloom" apples were top-quality and great. This dessert was pretty good
  • Chocolate Cake: Pretty much inedibly chocolatey. I was somewhat confused that this was even on the menu, as neither my girlfriend nor myself could have more than a bite or two of it.
  • Some kind of Hazelnut Ice Cream/Pear dessert: Served with a cognac sauce, this dessert was pretty good too, if a bit similar to the apple pie dessert

The desserts were, as others have mentioned, the low point of the meal. After dessert, they brought a small freestanding spoonful of candied almonds of some sort, which were, of course, better than anything availible at one of the city's hundred street vendors.

Mix is a fantastic restaurant, and our tasting menu was perfect, with generous portions and nearly everything I was dying to try from the regular menu. I will go back to Mix again, and I highly recommend that others go as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aside from this:

This item was the only part of our tasting menu that wasn't on the "real" menu, and the waiter did not really know what it was, so my description of it is something of a guess.

how was the service?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...