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August


NY News Team
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The month of March will usher in the opening of August, a new European restaurant in the West Village. If you are into real authenticity, August boasts a hand built wood burning oven, where most dishes will be finished. Those who couldn't be bothered hopping across the pond will find regional European offerings such as swiss chard malfatti and ricotta salata. If you are really into tradition, there is a Tarte Flambe on the menu, which may well be worth the trip to the restaurant, since it's one of those things that I haven't seen in a New York City restaurant for ages.--by Y. Yang

August

359 Bleecker Street (between 10th & Charles Street)

New York, NY 10014

Phone: 212-929-4774

source: press release from KB Network News

Admin: Topics merged by jogoode

eGullet.com NY News Team

nynews@egullet.org with press releases, news reports, and food-biz gossip

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  • 2 months later...

Pascale Le Draoulec reviews August in today's New York Daily News, awarding two stars:

For such a tiny place, August thinks big. The menu, printed on the kind of paper usually reserved for treasure maps, spans most of Western Europe, from Athens to Alsace to the Alhambra. You may think "Continental cuisine" and run. But nothing about this charming West Village lair smacks of crass or mass appeal.

Eric Asimov also had generally favorable comments in his April 28 "$25 and Under" column. The Asimov column retains that quaint moniker almost two decades after he started it, although at August you're highly unlikely stay under $25 unless you order just a main course and soft drinks. Even then you might not make it, as August's entrées top out at $24, just barely clearing the bar for Asimov's column. With a new reviewer coming in next month, is it time for a re-think?

The main rap against August is that it doesn't take reservations, and it has "fewer seats than August has days." Perhaps it's best to wait till later this month, when an outdoor garden will open, doubling the restaurant's capacity. Until the buzz dies down, I suspect you're in for a long wait unless you show up very early or very late.

August is at 359 Bleecker St, between Charles and W. 10th.

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My girlfriend and I were walking by August a couple nights ago on our way to Joe's for some pizza, when we noticed that there was a free table, so we decided to check it out.

The place was noisy and crowded. It did smell really good - like burning leaves or a fireplace. The food that we had was like comfort food - generous portions, very flavorful, simple preparations that are just a joy to eat. I had the carbinade - beer braised beef w/ mustard, onions, topped with spaetzle. My girlfriend had mussels - plump, fresh, flavorful, in some type of a cream sauce.

The prices are reasonable enough, and the food definitely good enough, to warrant checking this place out, in spite of noise or crowd.

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I had a very happy experience with August last night. Eric Asimov was absolutely right about the heavenly smell.

Arriving at 6:30pm for a pre-theater dinner, I had my choice of tables. When I left an hour later, they had started to fill up but still had two tables free. By 8:30pm, you would definitely have a wait. An outdoor garden is to open within the next couple of weeks. It will have a retractable roof, allowing it to be used year-round. This will double the capacity of the restaurant.

I ordered a Ramp Vichysoisse soup to start, which misfired. It is supposed to be served cold. If this were a blind taste test, you'd have trouble deciding whether it was a hot soup that had been left at room temperature too long, or a cold soup that had been allowed to warm up.

Things improved markedly with Softshell Crabs Grenobloise, served over a bed of haricots verts. The crabs, served whole, were done to perfect crispness, and an explosion of flavor greeted the tongue as I bit inside. Incidentally, the dish appears on the menu as "Skate Grenobloise," but for now softshell crabs have replaced the skate. (This was fully disclosed before I ordered.)

I finished with the daily selection of artisinal cheeses, a selection of three very flavorful and contrasting chesses that the manager informed me he had selected and purchased himself. He recommended a glass of Castilla y Lyon Rioja that perfectly complemented the cheeses without overwhelming them.

Service was friendly and prompt, although I thought it took a tad too long for the cheese course to arrive. However, I had left plenty of time to finish dinner, and the Rioja kept me amused. One minor complaint is that the dessert menu had no prices. Silly me, I assumed the desserts would be priced in proportion to the rest of the menu, and didn't bother to ask. Turns out the cheese course was $15, which was only $2 less than my entrée. Although I've no regrets about the evening, I really had no clue that I was selecting a $15 dessert.

August doesn't take reservations, but apparently there are exceptions if you get to know them. While I was there, a lady came in and booked a table for 8pm on Sunday for her mother's 91st birthday. "We don't take reservations, but call me at 6pm Sunday to remind me, and I'll set aside a table for you." It was obvious from the conversation that the lady had been in before. I overheard a couple of other conversations along similar lines.

It really is time to rename the Asimov column. The arrival of a new critic starting June 1st may provide the occasion to do so. My 3-course meal, with two glasses of wine, ran to $73 including tax and tip. By no rational definition can this be considered a "$25-and-under" restaurant, unless you eat a one-course meal and drink sodas, which is probably not what most people have in mind. Nor is August the first restaurant the Asimov column has covered that stretched the $25 ceiling way beyond plausibility. The name hasn't changed for about 20 years. Thanks to inflation, restaurants that realistically fall within that range, and yet are still worth reviewing, are a vanishing breed. Perhaps "Informal Dining," although less catchy, would be a more sensible title.

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I live several blocks from August and passed by on a recent weekend. The brunch menu looked delicous, creative takes on old classics. anyways, i plan to check it out soon and i ll report back!

"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

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Thanks to inflation, restaurants that realistically fall within that range, and yet are still worth reviewing, are a vanishing breed.

Vanishing, eventually, but not vanished as of yet.

The Times will need to decide just how money-driven everything in the newspaper is. "Informal dining" for $73/person is expensive - nay, unaffordable, if you ask me! (And it sounds like without the wine, it still would have been about $50, which - sometimes pushed to $60 - is about the most I'd normally spend on a restaurant - once every couple of months or so.) But this is probably not the best thread to pursue that particular tangent further, so we'll all have to wait and see what happens in the near term and react accordingly.

More importantly, thanks for the report!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The Times will need to decide just how money-driven everything in the newspaper is. "Informal dining" for $73/person is expensive - nay, unaffordable, if you ask me!

I think I spent more than the typical meal at August. My point was not so much that this is a $73 restaurant, but that by no stretch of the imagination is it a $25 restaurant. Entrées at August are in the $14-$24 range, and appetizers are $7-$11. You can't really call that "expensive" these days, but you will most likely spend above $25 - even before dessert, beverages, taxes and tip.

I haven't followed the Asimov column assiduously since its founding, but my understanding is that it's been called "$25-and-under" for about two decades. Given inflation, it simply stands to reason that the column can no longer cover the range of restaurants it originally did, while remaining believably within the $25 range. So I'm suggesting it's time for a new name. I admit that "Informal Dining" is imperfect, for while Asimov's restaurants, including August, are invariably "informal," the main critic doesn't always limit herself to restaurants that are "formal."

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I suppose one of the parameters would be what constitutes an actual meal. I generally don't like desserts and generally don't eat large quantities of food so I'm usually happy with splitting an appetizer and then one entree (I will do a full tasting menu when I'm prepared for it). Thus, in theory on the food side of things I could presumably do August for under $25. Since I drink relatively copiously that side of the equation is dubious for me anywhere.

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  • 1 month later...

I took a friend to August tonight. We were both very pleased with the restaurant and consider it excellent.

We started by sharing two appetizers: Spinach Malfatti with Brown Butter & Marjoram and Arugula Salad with fennel, lemon & Ricotta Salata. The malfatti were very cheesy in a good way and had been baked in a small pan. The arugula salad was very lemony (a good thing in my opinion) and made with high-quality arugula (I didn't notice the fennel as much) and a good helping of cheese shavings.

I don't see the mains we got on the MenuPages.com listing for August, so I'll do my best by memory after having had a couple of post-fireworks drinks. My friend got skirt steak with beurre charente, I think, accompanied by watercress. I didn't get a taste, but she loved it. I had squab with dates, polenta, and almonds. It was delicious! The squab was cooked medium, I guess, and was red in the middle. It had clearly been sprinkled with salt and was a bit salty in parts, so that's a slight criticism (very slight). The dish also had some vinegar in it, I think. The almonds were dried but of very high quality and, therefore, really fresh tasting. Truly an interesting and lovely dish.

Having had such good food for two courses, we both wanted dessert. The desserts aren't listed on menupages.com either, but I remember them well. Mine was truly interesting and unusual: Fresh strawberries with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, 12-year-aged balsamico, and some freshly-grated pepper. It was like having a salad for dessert, and it was definitely worth the $3 supplement (it cost $9, as opposed to the $6 price tag for all other desserts). My friend got a cherry clafoutis which was more of a usual dessert but quite well executed.

The stairs down to the basement, where the bathroom is, are steep and narrow, and that would probably affect the restaurant's star rating if it were given such a rating by the Times. I think it's ridiculous that August was reviewed as a "$25-and-under," as our meal cost $78 and change without any beverages, and also because this fine restaurant deserves a star rating - 2 stars, I'd say.

The space is attractive and relaxing (even though the wallpaper is just a bit weird to me), the menus look hand-printed (probably copied really well) on beautiful paper, and service was good.

The place is a splurge for me, but I definitely plan on returning some time.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I went to August a couple of days ago and had a superb meal there as well. In the two times i've been there, every dish my dining companions and I have gotten have been uniformly excellent. Baked spring onions is highly worthwhile appetizer. So is the guinea fowl special entree.

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  • 3 months later...

No, this is not a report on what to do while your shrink is on vacation, although now that I think of that, a meal here could go far in making you feel pretty mellow. :biggrin:

Bond Girl and I had dinner there last night, and without exception, every dish was excellent. Service was very attentive and helpful, and probably not just because we busted the waiter's chops asking questions like "Is the skate today's?" The walls in the back room where we sat under a full-room-size skylight are exposed brick, and the front room is highlighted by an open wood-burning oven. Perfect as the weather gets cold. The only problem with the ambience --no, not music, nor any other extraneous loud noise (if you've ever spent time with Bond Girl, you know she can be rather quiet, but we never had to shout at each other) -- is that the tables are small and close together. Next to us, three people were crammed into a two-top, and we all could have eaten off each others' plates.

Not that I would have minded tasting their food. Ours was excellent. We started off with the grilled octopus (one of my "gold standard" dishes) and the "Coco Catalana" -- the octopus tentacles very tender, just crisp at the ends, the right degree of smokiness, and well-complemented by chickpeas, pickled red onion rings and the slightest kick of red pepper flakes. The Coco turned out to be a six-inch-diameter flatbread topped with tomato confit, spinach, and quartered artichoke hearts, with a sprinkling of plumped currants and pine nuts. Just enough char on the bread and the vegs, and the flavors all worked very well together.

Entrees: the aforementioned skate (yes, it had indeed come in that morning) and a roasted orata. The skate was done classically Grenobloise, with brown butter, lemon, and capers, and came with haricots verts. It was one of the best I've tasted -- a very plump piece, sauteed to a lovely gold (wonder if they do the milk-and-Wondra dip that Artisanal uses?), sweet against the tart/salty/nutty flavors. The orata, roasted whole, was perfectly cooked in the oven -- crisp skin, soft flesh. The whole olives that topped it were rather superfluous, though (and please do NOT serve them that way with the pits still in them). The fish itself was so good that I was almost done before I remembered the sauce that came with it in a tiny pitcher -- oil and dried Sicilian oregano -- unnecessary for moisture but a good flavor boost. (When we asked the waiter about it at first, he generously offered to fillet it for us, since Bond Girl was not thrilled with having to do so. He probably would have done a better job than I did, but it's the thought that counts.) One more thing: the seasoning was dead on, neither too much nor too little salt. Rare to find that these days.

In his $25 and Under review, Asimov complained lightly about the waiters pushing the sides; ours had no chance, because we jumped to order some: grilled asparagus, and a dish of green and yellow beans topped with tomato and crumbs (also from the oven). The asparagus, like everything else grilled/roasted, had just the right amount of smoky flavor to contrast their sweetness (normally I would not order asparagus at this time of year, but these were sooooooo good.) The beans in the Diavola were cooked soft and sweet under the crunchy top, making for contrasts in both texture and flavor. Don't order this if you like crunchy green beans, but do if you like well-flavored food.

In the interests of research :wink: , we each ordered a dessert. Profiteroles for Bond Girl, a plum galette for me. The profiteroles were filled with gelato tasting of just cream and vanilla (I assume from Il Laboratorio di Gelato, listed as a source); while we agreed that we prefer vanilla ice cream with eggs, this was good, and balanced with the chocolate sauce (and ?creme anglaise underneath?). The galette had a very buttery cookie crust sprinkled with crunchy sugar, and the plums were nicely tart, but the overall effect was that it was slightly underbaked, and so a bit pasty inside. Good flavor, though.

Wine: we both prefer reds -- yes, even with fish -- and at first took the suggestion of a Mercurey over a Fleurie. But they were out of both, so we ended up with a 2001 Morgon Potel-Aviron, which worked just fine. Another example of the intelligent service.

A few more random notes: August does not take reservations, but there is a tiny area inside opposite the bar with a good view of the oven and a couple of tables at which to have a glass of wine while waiting. We both though the prices very reasonable: all that food, plus a coffee and an espresso, came to $131 before tax and tip (oops, just noticed they forgot to charge us for our pre-dinner glasses of Dolcetto d'Alba and Beaumes-de-Venise :blush:) The menu is not large -- and, hey, the two cooking areas put together are only about the size of my bathroom -- but it works. We both definitely want to go back.

August, 359 Bleecker at Charles.

Thank you to the host who put this in its rightful place; oddly enough, when I did a search for August, this thread did not show up, or if it did, it was way down on the list. Maybe I need to play with the search function more?

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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  • 5 months later...

Doing some shopping along Bleeker today, my friends and I were pleased to find August was now open for lunch. I had enjoyed dinner there in the past, where I had a lovely roasted mushroom salad and the mussels (quite good though I'm not one for cream sauces) so I was happy to be able to try it again.

Today we had a quiet lunch in the back covered patio, starting with a nibble of crab remoulade. One friend had a burger with fries, which while good, came sandwiched between some sort of flatbread, so he basically took the thing apart and ate it with a knife and fork.

The other friend ordered the chicken salad, which was a bunch of greens topped with a chicken breast accompanied by some flatbread and veges. While he said it was very good and flavorful, it was a tiny portion, almost insultingly so. More like a breast of cornish hen.

Luckily, my entree was big enough to share. I forget what the dish was called, but it was basically a pizza topped with wonderful roasted cherry tomatoes, basil, and mussels. I devoured it, it was excellent.

They had beers and the service was a bit slow.

I would still rate August really highly. The space is great, the food is satisfying and a good value in general, with clean flavors and fresh ingredients. The comfort of the food and the great atmosphere will make this place a standby in that area.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been to August twice. I went the first time because I had walked by it and it looked nice. I went the second time because the first time I went was one of the most pleasant meals I've ever had. Service, great. Food, incredibly well executed. Atmosphere, warm and welcoming. It is the restaurant I recomend to anyone who is looking for a restaurant. The food is honest more than anything. Unpretentious to a fault. I don't think that their menu has much originality in it despite the uncomfortable spacing of the font. I don't go there expecting to learn something new about food, I go to eat well.

Snozberry. Who ever heard of a snozberry.

-Veruca Salt

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  • 2 months later...

I wasn't sure where to post this (kind hosts please move as needed) but we just posted an interview with August's executive chef, Tony Liu. The interview was written for readers in Hawaii (Tony's a local boy) but I thought it might be interesting to those who are fortunate enough to dine at August. Tony's View

"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

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My wife and I went to August last night. We ate:

crab salad

turkish watermelon and bread salad with feta

calamari bruschetta on flat bread

hanger steak (called bavette) mache or watercress with shallots poached in red wine

vitello tonnato made with veal skirt steak

To my mouth, the food at August is often risky. Seasonings are out there with some pretty strange juxtapositions that are usually successful. The best example of this during our experience was the watermelon salad. It matches the sweetness of watermelon with (we guessed) champagne vinegar, fresh oregano, creamy feta and liberal salt and pepper. The flavors bounce around inside the mouth. . . I think the chef achieved balance but I didn't really enjoy it while my wife has eaten the dish twice in a week. She loves it.

The hanger was cooked perfectly. It costs 22 dollars. The waiter asked if I wanted a side as the steak came out kind of bare. I looked at the sides and chose something with beans and potatos and aioli for 7 dollars. Couldn't help remarking that the author of the menu was not a little devious in creating a sneaky way to charge 29 dollars for a hanger. When it arrived, the advertised shallot and red wine sauce was actually as I represented above, lots of shallot (or was it regular onion? In any case an interesting take on shallot and red wine sauce, I'm bemused but not convinced) poached in red wine and red wine vinegar. And on top of that, a fistful of watercress. A fully garnished plate. No need for sides.

I don't like that when I go to restaurants in this category, I can expect to be upsold at every moment. My waiter can be expected to rush me through wine in hopes that I'll be compelled to buy more. At August, the waiter has been trained to pour the wine for his charges but not trained that, when he removes a bottle from a container of iced water, he shouldn't hold it over a plate of food as he did with my wife. She ended up with a watery vitello tonnato.

Maybe dining out should involve doing battle over these things. . . .the waiter fakes taking care of you while wringing out your wallet. All I know is that I don't like it. And clearly I take those feelings with me, right next to memories of food prepared by a kitchen that is working at a very high level.

Edited by ned (log)

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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A lot of what we pay for a really expensive meal must go to the salaries of the many who serve us, not to mention the fact that a percentage tip gets bigger as the tab increases. I really enjoy those meals where wine glasses are touched up dozens of times before the bottle is finished. It's not just that glasses are never allowed to go empty while there's wine in the bottle or that all the glasses are kept filled at the optimum level, but there's an awareness of who's drinking more and who's not drinking. A pox on waiters who fill everyone's glass with another ounce or two so that those who don't drink much wine are left with a glass that's more full at the end of the course, than at the beginning. At the opposite end of the scale are those restaurants where the bottle is left on the table for the diners to handle. I can deal with both approaches and some of my best meals have been at those ends of the scale.

What restaurateurs, and waiters who have never dined out themselves, don't enjoy wine, or have never picked up the tab, don't understand is that there's very little safe ground between the two extremes. The other night we ate in a little place in the Village. My opinion of the place is lower than most people's, but it has its strengths and weaknesses, all of which is beside the point. Above all else, it's a place where it would be most appropriate for the waiter to just leave the inexpensive bottle of wine on the table and let us deal with it. Unfortunately towards the final moments of the meal, when I'm pretty much finished eating and drinking with a third of a glass of wine and my wife has more food and less wine in her glass, the waiter fills her glass to almost half full and then unceremoniously dumps the rest in my glass leaving me with two thirds of a glassful of wine. This leads me to another grip, although it's my wife who has the bigger gripe. It seems that many waiters assume the man will drink most of the wine. My guess is that my wife will drink 55% of the average bottle of wine.

None of this necessarily touches on the practice of dumping the wine in the diner's glass early in the meal in hopes of selling another bottle. I wonder if it's even a ploy to sell more wine or just that a waiter is trying to do more than he can in the way of "serving" the diner and trying to get the wine service out of the way while he has time. It's a disservice, but it will continue to be a practice because I don't think most people see it as poor service. They certainly don't complain.

So much for my rant. I also wanted to note that this:

The best example of this during our experience was the watermelon salad. It matches the sweetness of watermelon with (we guessed) champagne vinegar, fresh oregano, creamy feta and liberal salt and pepper. The flavors bounce around inside the mouth. . . I think the chef achieved balance but I didn't really enjoy it while my wife has eaten the dish twice in a week. She loves it.
is wonderful because it avoids the assumption that good or bad is a matter of the reviewer's taste. It's not always easy to be objective about food, but it raises the level of discussion when appreciation of a dish over rides the concept of liking or disliking it.

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.

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At August, the waiter has been trained to pour the wine for his charges but not trained that, when he removes a bottle from a container of iced water, he shouldn't hold it over a plate of food as he did with my wife.  She ended up with a watery vitello tonnato. 

Or trained to carefully wipe down the bottle with a napkin before serving...This is blatantly ignoring the very basics of wine service.

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
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On further consideration I must add that I took up the question of the upsold potatoes with the waiter. After a moment's pause he suggested that he take it off the bill. I said I thought it was the right thing to do and then tipped him as if it were on the bill. All in all, a very civilized exchange. Whatever training they lack reagrding the handling of wine, they make up for in the handling of disgruntled diners.

There was a thread over in California about a fellow who had a quibble with some service at the French Laundry.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=68447

In it, the UK forum host Andy Lynes had this to say:

"I don't think anyone has the right to criticise a restaurant in public over a service issue without having approached the establishment first."

Rereading the thread, I realise that the situations aren't exactly parallel, but I will say this: Andy's directive squatting in the back of my head led me to address the waiter directly AND THEN go off on an immature rant on egullet rather than going over his head to the manager, or saying nothing at all, going home and posting on egullet.

Also Bux, for my own self, I'd always pour my own wine. I know who at my table wants it and when because I'm at the table for the whole dinner. Call me a control freak. It's just not something I want help with. I can think of a few exceptions, all at restaurants that would, do or will soon rate two michelin stars or higher. Incidentally, the wine we drank at August for 44 bucks was spectacular. An ever-so slightly frizzante Basque wine. Txo. . . something or other but definitely more x's and a t or two. Bright, very acidic, a touch sweet, imported by somebody in New Rochelle. Mind like a steel trap, I have.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Ned, I'm glad the waiter acted properly after you had a word with him, and I'm glad you did talk to him. What he did would have bugged me a lot, but I would feel fine about returning to the restaurant after the side dish was comped, and I, too, would have reflected the comping in the tip.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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An ever-so slightly frizzante Basque wine.  Txo. . . something or other but definitely more x's and a t or two.  Bright, very acidic, a touch sweet, imported by somebody in New Rochelle.  Mind like a steel trap, I have.

Txakoli maybe?

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
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I'd just as soon pour my own wine as well, except perhaps in those very fine places where I don't want to be responsible for wine stains on the linen. All that bleaching shortens the life of the tablecloths. I don't want the rising cost of luxury dining to be on my head. What I won't do is grab the bottle from the waiter's hands for reasons similar to not wanting the waiter to come running over to grab the bottle from my hands as I've had happen a number of times. I'll add that if a restaurant decides to keep the bottle on a sideboard, they really owe it to the diner to have a staff capable of handling the service impeccably. I once had a wonderful meal in a two star restaurant in France ruined because I was forced to chose between eating hot food without my wine or waiting for my wine and eating cold food.

One of the reasons I'll rant a bit on eGullet is that I've come to learn how many chefs and restaurant owners read the forums. The idea of chewing out an individual for a perceived slur, or even a clear and definite offense, is not appealing to me on a public site, especially when the offense is years old, but general comments about annoying service practices may actually serve to focus restaurant owners and managers on the problem areas.

There are inherent problems in this as well. We don't all have the same expectations. In fact, diners across the country have differing ideas of what's proper and what's correct. I'm unhappy to see a waiter clear one plate before the entire table is finished eating, but apparently, many parts of the country feel the opposite way on this. I'm also unhappy to hear a waiter ask if anyone is finished. It should be clear from the position of a diner's tableware, but I've dined with very well brought up people who are clueless about the diner's responsibility in the matter. Some of them have even been French. Perhaps I should quit before everyone jumps on the bandwagon calling me a snob.

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.

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I'm with you on the "postion of one's tableware" issue, it's actually been a longstanding gripe of my wife's - she is meticulous about where she puts it, to send the right signal to the waitstaff, and nothing pisses her off more than a waitstaff who doesn't know what it means. Which happens a lot, actually. In nice restaurants. That should know better...

I want pancakes! God, do you people understand every language except English? Yo quiero pancakes! Donnez moi pancakes! Click click bloody click pancakes!

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At the risk of furthering misperceptions of xenophobia:

Some of them have even been French. . . Hilarious.

Do you know why it's bad manners for a Frenchman to put his unused hand in his lap while he dines?

It should be clear from the position of a diner's tableware, but I've dined with very well brought up people who are clueless about the diner's responsibility in the matter. Some of them have even been French. Perhaps I should quit before everyone jumps on the bandwagon calling me a snob.

You can't call a guy a snob just because his momma raised him right.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Txakoli maybe?

No extra t's or x's but I think Txakoli is the one.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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  • 9 months later...

AUGUST

August’s wood-fire burning oven acts not only as a device in delivering the best of regional European fare in Manhattan, but also as a parable of character, projected through the warmth of an idyllic ambiance and the integrity of Chef Tony Liu himself.

Many a chefs have told me that Chef Liu’s tart flambé is not only the best they’ve ever had, but their favorite dish in New York as well. With blistered peppers as prologue, and the great hearten in having a cast-iron filled with seasonal riches, not only merits the wait, but enthralls you to prolong your meal ad infinitum.

Techniques based in tradition and exemplified in Liu’s talent, make for one of the best dining experiences I’ve had. The reminiscence is timeless ... with little wait to recall.

Michael Harlan Turkell, PHOTOGRAPHER

"BACK OF THE HOUSE" Project, www.harlanturk.com , PLOG: harlanturk.blogspot.com

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