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Did anyone eat out for Thanksgiving in NYC?


Pan
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If you ate out for Thanksgiving, please post your report here. How was the service? Was it a special meal for the holiday? Would you recommend that others consider going to that restaurant next Thanksgiving? Why or why not? I'm sure many of us would be interested in reading about your experiences.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Yes. Second Ave. Deli. They had a $30 Thanksgiving dinner special, turkey, yams, stuffing. Didn't try it -- had the hamburger deluxe instead, which was quite good. I'm not a big turkey fan, so this was a pleasure.

The service was a little on the slow side because the deli was quite full and they were doing a booming takout business (pies! pies! pies!)...but (as usual) the waitress was attentive and friendly when she could get to our table.

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HWOE, Bond Girl, and I went to Bayard's. The meal was lovely, and the service, while having a few glitches, was pretty good, considering that we had a 6:30 reservation, spent a long time chatting before sitting down, and they were only serving until 7 or so :blush:. Let's get the glitches out of the way: 1) my place setting lacked a soup spoon, and HWOE's lacked a bread plate. 2) The butter for the (Northern style sweet) cornbread was ice cold and rock hard. 3) Because the kitchen was closing, they brought out the entrees before I had quite finished my app; but then I'm a slow eater, and I felt bad for them so it wasn't that terrible really. 4) If there had been any ice cream or sorbet at the dessert buffet, it was gone by the time we got there. Bond Girl of the super-sweet tooth was disappointed, but I didn't really miss it. 5) I ordered a double espresso, received a single; they fixed that without a word. In other words, nothing was a real service screwup.

The food was mostly pretty simple, but excellent. Remember that the exec chef at Bayard's is Eberhard Mueller, who with his wife Paulette Satur owns Satur Farms.

First course: Chestnut Soup, Black Truffle Creme Fraiche. Could have been hotter, but was very nice. Soup was velvety puree, tasting of chicken stock and celery along with the chestnuts; a chunk or two of chestnut meat; a swirl of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of black truffle and chives.

Appetizers: One of each offering, since there were three possibilities and three of us:

Frisee salad with apples and blue cheese, hazelnut vinaigrette. A real winner. The apples and BACON were in tiny, thin matchsticks; the cheese was finely crumbled, and nuts very finely chopped; vinaigrette nicely tangy; and the whole thing was topped with incredibly finely cut matchstick potatoes. Great contrasts in flavors and textures.

Vegetable Terrine with Mesclun Greens -- Also delicious. Layers of eggplant, red peppers, and I'm not sure what else, with a surprise kick of anchovy, accompanied by basil pureed in oil, and a lightly dressed salad. A portent of things to come later.

Warm mushroom salad, sherry vinaigrette. So much flavor that even only 1/3 of the portion was highly satisfying. I'm not sure which the mushrooms were, partly because they were diced fairly small. But they yelled MUSHROOM!!!!!!

Entrees: I bent everyone to my will and made us order all three, again. Not a disappointment, but maybe HWOE was right and we could have skipped the turkey (but I like turkey.)

Roasted Holiday Turkey with Sausage and Sage stuffing. This is where restaurants have it all over home cooks: they can cook the turkey IN PARTS so that both the dark AND light meats are perfect. This was. Simple and juicy, with a good plain gravy. And yeah, it really was dressing, not technically stuffing :rolleyes: and it was delicious: very buttery, with pretty big chunks of fennel sausage.

Sauteed Striped Bass. HWOE said we should order 2 of this, and maybe we should have. Excellent. Perfect crisp skin, succulent flesh. I didn't taste the sauce (looked like a red-wine sauce) but they both loved it.

Roasted Filet of Beef. A surprising amount of beefy flavor for that cut. Actually, it was cooked as an individual steak, and exactly rare as requested. More of that "stuffing" and a bordelaise (?) sauce. Very satisfying.

The real highlight of the meal, to me, was the vegetables, served family-style: velvety puree of sweet potato; creamed spinach that was really just spinach with a hint of cream; brussels sprouts and chestnuts, which even the brussels sprouts-hating HWOE enjoyed; boiled cippoline onions (touched with a bit of bacon fat, perhaps? :raz: ); and the most beautiful deep red and yellow carrots dripping with butter. The vegetables all came from Satur Farms, and the flavor was what vegetables should taste like. Yummmmmmmmm.

As mentioned, dessert was a buffet. We finally chose carrot cake, pecan pie, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin mousse cake, pumpkin cheesecake, a cream puff coated with caramel, and bread pudding stuffed into a miniature pumpkin. We skipped the chocolate cakes (regular and mousse), apple crumb pie, miniature coffee eclairs and mince pies, and probably a couple of others I can't remember. The carrot cake was the best I've ever tasted, because instead of being heavy and oily it was light and well-flavored with orange. Pecan pie was a bit odd -- seemed to have a layer of very moist cake or something similar to a British-style boiled pudding between the crust and the pecans; not bad, just unexpected. The bread pudding was good, if unexciting (of course, that's always true of bread pudding, I think); the bourbon whipped cream with it helped a lot. My favorites were the p. mousse cake and p. cheesecake. Both were nicely spiced, and the cheesecake was etherally fluffy, so it didn't seem like too much after a big meal. The spice cake reminded me of my grandmother's honey cake (HWOE loved it). For the record, Eric Bedoucha is the pastry chef there.

We also had a fairly young red Burgundy, something Germaine (? we forgot to write it down) -- nicely fruity, went well with everything.

I definitely recommend it for T-Day, and for any other day, too. :biggrin: This meal was much simpler than our previous visit (too bad, no foie gras wrapped in kataifa :sad: ), but everything was delicious. And even though we were there at the tail end of service, and they had been quite busy all day, the staff was still in good humor and fairly efficient. Finally, at $68 a head (food only), it seemed like good value to me. :smile:

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but (as usual) the waitress was attentive and friendly when she could get to our table.

The 2nd Ave Deli has friendly waitresses? :shock: Wow, and here I thought they had the requisite surly old waiters. Times sure change. :laugh:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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i didn't go out for thanksgiving, but i believe Daniel held a thanksgiving dinner thing for $110 per head...it was a regular thanksgiving dinner with a french twist.  where there any other restaurants like Daniel that held a thanksgiving dinner?

My mom and I went out to Cafe des Artistes for Thanksgiving a couple of years back. It was OK. I remember the soup was really good - a mushroom broth. I don't think the meal was CdA's normal fare. Everything was enjoyable but nothing really struck us saying WOW we have to come back.

I'd love to go to Rolf's one day for the holidays. That's a restaurant that's made for dinners like this.

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i didn't go out for thanksgiving, but i believe Daniel held a thanksgiving dinner thing for $110 per head...it was a regular thanksgiving dinner with a french twist.  where there any other restaurants like Daniel that held a thanksgiving dinner?

My mom and I went out to Cafe des Artistes for Thanksgiving a couple of years back. It was OK. I remember the soup was really good - a mushroom broth. I don't think the meal was CdA's normal fare. Everything was enjoyable but nothing really struck us saying WOW we have to come back.

I'd love to go to Rolf's one day for the holidays. That's a restaurant that's made for dinners like this.

Phatlouie07: Open Table always has a separate list of their member-restaurants which are open on specific holidays. While not 100% comprehensive -- not every resto in every city is a member -- it offers a very good number of choices.

DanaT: Isn't Rolf's sort of like a holiday 365 days a year with the decorations and all? :wink: But then their food is better for winter holidays, I guess.

Also, special holiday meals are never the best way to judge the overall merit of a restaurant, imnsho. The dishes on the "holiday menu" are often completely different from the normal fare; the staff may be the B-list (or the A-list wishing they didn't have to work); etc. And as has been discussed here already, some holidays (Valentine's in particular) bring out the WORST customers, who never otherwise dine out and have no idea how to behave. :rolleyes:

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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DanaT: Isn't Rolf's sort of like a holiday 365 days a year with the decorations and all?  :wink:  But then their food is better for winter holidays, I guess.

Suzanne, you've got a point. :biggrin: Just curious to see what they'd do with the holiday. Like going to Sushi Yasuda to see what he'll do with eel and toro.

In fall and winter Rolf's specializes in wildfleisch and I've heard its very good. :wub:

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Also, special holiday meals are never the best way to judge the overall merit of a restaurant, imnsho. The dishes on the "holiday menu" are often completely different from the normal fare; the staff may be the B-list (or the A-list wishing they didn't have to work); etc. And as has been discussed here already, some holidays (Valentine's in particular) bring out the WORST customers, who never otherwise dine out and have no idea how to behave.  :rolleyes:

Suzanne, I think these two points are related. Why bring out your best staff and food if the clientele is unrefined, unappreciative and doesn't know how to behave?

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I think you guys might be right for the most part as far as days like Valentine's Day go. But the restaurant that I work(highly rated new american midtown place) that was open on Thanksgiving kept around the better crew for that day and there didn't seem to be any complaints or send backs for the most part. There were a few picky eaters who requested all white meat or all dark meat for their turkeys, but nothing was out of hand.

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I think you guys might be right for the most part as far as days like Valentine's Day go.  But the restaurant that I work(highly rated new american midtown place) that was open on Thanksgiving kept around the better crew for that day and there didn't seem to be any complaints or send backs for the most part.  There were a few picky eaters who requested all white meat or all dark meat for their turkeys, but nothing was out of hand.

insectrights, I may have been a bit hasty. Do you find the restaurants have to change their approach for first time diners (for this type of establishment) during the holidays?

Edited by DanaT (log)
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. . .

And for the most part, I'm still in the dark with first time diners.  Although I have noticed that on special days like Valentine's or Mother's Day are horrible for special requests and control obsessed middle aged men who just want everything to go perfectly or else they're going to make a scene in front of the entire family.  Anyways, that's my opinion.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

The places I worked at (always BOH) tended not to be open on T-Day, Xmas, or Sundays in general, and I mostly worked lunch anyway. So I missed having to deal with that craziness.

I did have to hang around for dinner service one New Year's Eve, but since we were serving mostly the regular menu with only a couple of specials it was no hassle. And anyway, we were done with service before the customers had imbibed too much "holiday cheer" to start getting surly. :wacko:

As a customer, I have to say the worst experience I ever had at an otherwise-fine restaurant was one Mothers' Day. By the time we arrived for dinner at what was a normal time to me (around 8pm), the servers were totally frazzled and the kitchen had just about given up trying to put out a decent meal.

And to bring it all back to my experience at Bayard's just now: the bartender on duty was definitely A-list. :wub:

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Sounds cool chopjwu, where's your restaurant?

Suzanne, I'm guessing that bartender was a real Hottie. Going back anytime soon? :smile:

insectrights, control freaks are a pain. A business colleague embarassed me by giving the waitstaff detailed instructions on making an iced cappucino every time we had a business lunch.

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David: 400? COOL!!! :cool: Sorry, I'd have come but Bayard's was more in my price range. :wink: But I'll bet yours definitely was worth it!

DanaT: Yeah, he was kind of cute, but HWOE (aka my husband :wub: ) was with me, so I couldn't really do anything. :raz: In any case, it was his rapier wit that attracted me. :rolleyes: Besides, during the normal cocktail hour, the place is overrun with Wall Street types (can you say, SUPER control freak?) :laugh:

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David: 400? COOL!!!  :cool:  Sorry, I'd have come but Bayard's was more in my price range.  :wink:  But I'll bet yours definitely was worth it!

DanaT: Yeah, he was kind of cute, but HWOE (aka my husband :wub: ) was with me, so I couldn't really do anything. :raz: In any case, it was his rapier wit that attracted me.  :rolleyes: Besides, during the normal cocktail hour, the place is overrun with Wall Street types (can you say, SUPER control freak?)  :laugh:

LOL :laugh: I just changed jobs from consumer goods to Wall Street and the consumer goods people were worse. But I work in sales training and salespeople are control freaks no matter what the industry. :wacko:

Edited by DanaT (log)
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  • 11 months later...

Seems like a good time to revive this thread. If you ate out for Thanksgiving, please let us know where you ate and how your food, drink, and service was.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I went out to Flushing to visit my great-aunt. All the Asian places were open, and the streets were very busy.

We had dim sum in a place near the Flushing Center Mall (sorry, can't remember the name of it). Solid, as always.

For dinner we went to Minnie's Shabu Shabu, my favorite hot-pot place in New York. Food and service was fine. I love their grilled Taiwanese sausage.

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Thanks for the report, cchen. I'd love to get locations for those places, especially the dim sum place (was it Prince Seafood Restaurant?).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks for the report, cchen. I'd love to get locations for those places, especially the dim sum place (was it Prince Seafood Restaurant?).

Hey Pan,

Here's the address to Minni's:

136-17 38 Avenue, Flushing, NY

Phone: 718-762-6277

It is is near the World Journal Bookstore, towards Northern Boulevard, off of Main St.

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We had dinner at City Hall for Thanksgiving. I guess the best way to describe it is dissapointing.

The menu was a four course TG menu. First course was a chestnut soup (cup), no other choice as a first course. The second course was an appetizer consisting of a choice of three different salads, one was a Waldorf salad, the other greens with red beets and gorgonzola, and the third choice was another composed salad but I can not remember what.

The main courses were a brisket of beef, turkey with trimmings (stufing brussel sprouts) and a fish which I cannot remember.

So obviously a poorly planned menu, I can only assume that it was done intentionally to keep the kitchen staff to a minumn and food cost real low. Nothing about the offerings were choosen with the guest in mind. The turkey was tender but bland, the brussel sprouts were roasted plain, the sweet potato puree was unnaturally too sweet and two of us that ate this dish found the stuffing inedible. I guess brisket does qualify as a beef dish, but again nothing special and not much effort or thought put behind it.

Two choices for dessert..a pumpkin pie or apple strudle. I had the strudle, the apples were not cooked long enough and the strudle did not have the required number of layered fylo. When one of us ordered tea we were informed that Lipton was included but herbal would cost extra.

Dinner for three with one ice tea, one glass of champagne and one glass of red wine was $335.00. To my suprise the gratuity was added to the bill automatically, we were only a party of three. If this is not a normal pratice at City Hall 12 months of the year, I am baffled why they add it on a holiday.

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My girlfriend and I had a great meal at Mombar, an Egyptian restaurant on Steinway street just a few blocks away from the Astoria Blvd. Stop on the N train. We had a delicious five course meal (second helpings were free) that came to $44 dollars (for two people) before tip. The owner, artist, chef was so hospitable, I left a generous tip. There was only one other couple in the place. I think the chefs family, a party of twelve, was also dining.

I brought a bottle of Vouvray and was not charged a corkage fee.

the breakdown was:

Squash soup; spiced ground lamb in phillo, Turkey-loaf with spices, walnuts, and dates drizzled with a tangy (tamarind?) gravy; a large thick, moist cut of turkey breast with a side of stuffed baby portobella mushrooms, an Egyptian version of Greek Pasticio (sp?), and Pumpkin Pie drizzeld with a sauce that somewhat tasted like aromatic prune.

The decor was very interesting, distictive, and charmingly cluttered in a way. Very warm, colorful and energetic. the large family gathering gave it a nice domestic feel.

All in all, it was a very pleasant holiday meal and an exceptional value.

Edited by mascarpone (log)
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