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Joseph's (fka Citarella the Restaurant)


Pat Goldberg
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I'm still reluctant to believe it's open, after something like 32 years of false alarms! I'll try to swing by there in the next couple of weeks or so and give a little report if nobody else gets there first.

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)

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It is indeed open. I know because it happens to be downstairs from my office (I'm on the plaza side, Citarella is on 6th Ave, but it's the same building). A friend of my is the GC for Citarella and the reason it has taken so long to open is that when the building formerly known as Hurley's was gutted for the remodel they found out that the structure was about to fall down. Basically, there wasn't anything holding the walls up. Anywho, that's why it has taken so long to open the place. I very rarely go to Citarella because the one on 3rd Avenue put David's Chicken out of business (boo hoo) and since I've moved further uptown I don't go past it as often as I did when I lived on  E75th. Also their check-out traffic pattern is not fat friendly, especially when one is already carrying packages.  That being said the things I have bought there have been top quality and I have no reason to believe the mid-town location will be of any lesser quality. If I head down there for lunch, I'll let you all know how it is.

Adam

(Edited by abbeynormal at 9:42 am on Aug. 23, 2001)

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Quote: from abbeynormal on 9:40 am on Aug. 23, 2001

they found out that the structure was about to fall down. Basically, there wasn't anything holding the walls up.

That appears to be the primary excuse they've settled into using lately. But we could start a long thread: "Excuses Citarella has made for its 497-year delayed restaurant opening."

I think they must have hired the same guys that did the renovation on my tiny apartment, which took two years and the apartment still looks pretty much the same.

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)

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Retitle this thread - "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Restaurant/Cafe/Market"

No really, the in-house person at Citarella used to have my office at my old firm (which was in the Credit Mayonnaise building). Often when she was on-site, meeting with the builders, she'd stop my old firm and we'd ask her "when already?"  I have no reason to doubt her credibility. You, however, have every reason to doubt mine. LOL.

In any case it's open now and no one has gone hungry in the interim, so who gives a fig what the reason was.

It's open, let's eat.

Adam

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Quote: from Fat Guy on 12:08 pm on Aug. 23, 2001

You would deprive me of the ability to harbor a grudge for no good reason? :)

The ability to harbor a grudge without regard for good reason, shall not be denied without due process of lunch.  :wink:

Gee, I don't know? I'm carrying a grudge against them 'cause they put a chicken place out of business and I don't like their labyrinthine check out line.

Adam

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The checkout line is a serious enough flaw that I wouldn't call you crazy for objecting to it. Indeed, I find it tremendously annoying because my fat ass barely fits between the handrails.

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)

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Yes, Pat, I saw yesterday (but thanks for reminding me today) that Brain Young (formerly of Le Bernardin and Pop) is now at Citarella. At Pop he showed that he can do wondrous things with fish. I guess it's time to venture outside of the Village. I'll be going to Queens next!

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Glad to see pompano again. It seemed all the craze around 10 years ago, but I've not seen it much in the interim. Vicuria (sp?) on West Broadway (no longer unfortunately) did a lovely grilled pompano that I still remember fondly.

So I will be going to Citarella, but dinner is obviously quite pricey. Cost of entrees goes up to ี.

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I ate at Citarella for dinner this week--on the night that the NY Times photographer was in taking pictures for the Diner's Journal column that ran Friday.  In my opinion, Grimes' preview was "spot on" as chefs like to say.  He apparently ate there the day after they opened the doors to the public.

As far as the food is concerned, it is already at an extremely high level.  My guess is that they did 60 covers that night in "preview mode."

I sampled 4 apps--2 were wondrous: shaved geoduck clam with chive and chili oil and a mackerel tartare with scallion. The other 2 were just excellent:  a pureed corn and vidalia soup with crab and arugula oil made with incredibly sweet and flavorful corn grown on the North Fork;  the heirloom tomato and bread salad was presented less elegantly than the others--but had rich flavor.

For dinner we had the layered Pompano, oxtail and potato and an assortment of sushi and sashimi that re-inforced the value of vertical integration--at least when it comes to procuring incredibly fresh and flavorful seafood.

Bill Yosses, formerly of Bouley Bakery, is the pastry chef (both a colleague and friend.) Here his desserts are delicate and refined in flavor and presentation--and they follow the food in spirit.  My favs:  the elderflower parfait, the chocolate jasmine napoleon, the candy cane rhubarb with yogurt cream, and the fig napoleon with tangerine.

Most of the diners around us ordered the same 2 desserts--the two that are the most clearly accessible:  the apple "conversation" and the warm vanilla cake with 12 bean vanilla ice cream (Bill calls this informally "Death by Vanilla" and the cake is baked a la minute.)

Granted, these two are delicious, but if you are the least bit adventurous, you will be rewarded by going beyond.

He's even created a line of interesting desserts for the downstairs sushi bar that is traditional and atypical--several wagashi, tofu with pomegranate seeds and molasses that was much better than it sounds, and alot of stuff with fruit and agar-agar.  The jiggly black sesame pudding was to die for (if not necessarily to look at.)

I was really envious of his white chocolate ganache infused with green tea, too.  Killer.

If you want to try any of these--and are not seated at the sushi bar--Bill told me you can request them upstairs.

Wine list is not deep, but is as diverse as it is interesting and reasonably priced.  (Reasonably priced wine list in NYC?) We drank two bottles that were bargains--ศ and ฮ respectively:  a Chenin blanc by Chappellet (Napa) and a 1997 Mourvedre by Jade Mountain (Mt. Veeder.)

Design elements are stylish, sleek and timeless--rather than over-wrought.  While the restaurant is in "preview" mode, you might even have a chance to snag the most amazing table in the restaurant--on the 2nd floor dining room, nestled in the corner windows, overlooking 49th and 6th Ave.

And kudos to a design that is entirely wheelchair accessible, with an elevator opening to every floor.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Citarella update:  they are doing 180 covers now, on average, and plan to open for lunch on the 17th.  Rumor also has it that a certain NY Times food writer, prone to dine with her "boyfriend," will be profiling Bill Yosses's killer vanilla cake that I told this board about first.

Enjoy it now while you can or be prepared to wait a long time.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Citarella takes you to the sea. Up and down elevators like plunging the depths, quiet small rooms with portholes. You look into these little spaces and see the sea, in changing colors. I’m going on a bit, but I’d go there even if there were no fish to eat.

Amuse was tuna with a little apple (beat the apple thing I had elsewhere earlier. More later). Succulent eel with a little cube of avocado and some watercress. This was superb. Without care, eel skin a can be rubbery. This quickly dissolved. I also tried the shrimp with a little basil in pastry. This was one of Young’s signature dishes at Pop. Now the pastries are bigger.

Pompano…what a fine fish. Grilled with little crisps of sweet potato. I tried the pink snapper, and this was equally good. No room for desserts.

贡 (for 2) incl a bottle of Lalou sancerre.

You get 15% off during the preview period. This is terrific value. The place was not full. Slump is a reality?

I give it 9/10. One point off b/c their tonic and seltzer are flat. The barman was very kind and took back our drinks, no q’s asked.

I'll be back. Soon.

[Now the apple thing. Beforehand, I met my chum at the Algonquin Hotel for drinks. I had the apple martini. What an abomination. Then, I went for a g&t and their tonic was flat too. What is it with NY bar-staff. You can’t have tonic without some fizziness.]

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Yvonne--how often do you eat out at restaurants and not save room for dessert?  I realize this might warrant a thread of its own, but I'm curious:  how much of this do you think is cultural, caloric or economic?  Is it that dessert is not seen as an essential part of a meal here as in Europe, that many diners have dietary concerns or the fact that you've had so many bad desserts--desserts not integrated with the meal preceeding them--that it seems a waste of money to pay for them?  something else?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Steve. Good question.

Some thoughts. As for last night, I was simply too full.

No, I don’t consciously leave room for desserts, tho’I did when I was younger. As an adolescent I'd read the menu backwards. Now,  the idea of ordering soufflé before I’ve had my app feels odd.

In NY, I find  a lot of desserts too sweet, too chocolate-y. That’s one of the reasons I liked HW Brachman’s (another thread) desserts

“cultural, caloric or economic?”  I was brought up on crumbles/cobblers and I like them.

I’m not counting calories when I eat out, and money doesn’t come into it.  I’m just full at the end of the main course. Maybe pastry chefs shoukd be telling their colleagues not to serve so much!

Maybe worth creating a new thread on this. It’s interesting, b/c I (and no doubt others) have been neglecting desserts.

Btw: I concur with Bux who said earlier that the level of discussion is high here.  I’ve really appreciated your writing. And I'm not one for "afters".

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Let me be the third to agree "Room for Dessert" deserves its own thread. I've started a thread in General Issues. Go here to read and participate.

(Edited by Bux at 11:45 pm on Sep. 9, 2001)

(Edited by Bux at 2:04 pm on Sep. 10, 2001)

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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  • 9 months later...

I was there in May for lunch

The service was excellent and it has been everytime ( 3 ) I have visited.

The fish was wonderfully fresh and provided the perfect light meal.  I had some excellent soft shell crab and a grilled something or other which escapes my mind, but it was good

They had a good list of wines by the glass

All in all for a lunchtime meal, a good selection.

The bar area downstairs was packed but there were only three tables taken in the main dining room

I didn't know about the link with Bouley.  I had one of the more disappointing meals there

S

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