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Joseph's (fka Citarella the Restaurant)


Pat Goldberg
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I lunched at Citarella too.  The service was extra-pleasant.  I don't eat much at lunchtime, but what I had was fine - I recall an enjoyable rock shrimp salad.  My companion turned out to be a non-fish easter, as well as a vegetarian (like, thanks for telling me), but they made her a big pasta dish which she liked.  It's not cheap.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Below is a description of Brian Bistrong from the current James Beard newsletter:

Bistrong "cooked for us [beard House] just last January, showcasing the self-styled coastal cuisine that he expertly prepared at Navio, the luxe restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. . . . After graduating from both Boston University and the CIA, he took a position at Lespinasse under Gary Kunz. Then he moved on to work for David Bouley at Bouley and Bouley Bakery, where he was named chef de cuisine. While he was at the latter, the restaurant earned a rare four stars from the New York Times."

On Monday, July 8, at 7pm, Bistrong is offering a soft shell crab dinner at the Beard House.

Tuna Tartare with sesame; Softshell crab tempura rolls; Softshell crab sandwiches, with Schramsberg Sparkling Blanc de Noirs NV

Heirloom Tomato Terrine with Crayfish and Softshell Crab Vinaigrette, with Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2001

Sand Dabs and Softshell Crab with Oven-Dried Artichokes and Sparkling Reduction, Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2001

Bouillabaisse of Softshell Crab, with Domaine Tempier Rose Bandol 2001

Elderflower-Champagne Soup with Cherimoya Sorbet

Warm Vanilla Cake with 12-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream, with Della Lippari Malvasia

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I had dinner there in early January (3rd floor). The fish was cooked to perfection - I had Mediterranean Sea Bass. The service was excellent and the wine list was outstanding.

The only minor flaw was the sauce - it was supposed to be ginger based and seemed to lack intensity and depth.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Sorry, should have mentioned that the restaurant has a great ambiance and the bar is lively.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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:biggrin: I've only been there once and sat at the bar. We had "snacks" and drinks and I was very very very impressed with the bartender. In a city like NY where you could stand at any given bar for ten to fifteen minutes when it is crowded you learn to be patient... and maybe lower your expectations for what you're paying for because this is the standard.

The bartender was running around trying to fill a customer's unusual request (she really put herself out) and so she was slower coming to get our drink order than she normally would have been. When she got to us she apologized profusely and then gave us our drinks for free.

The service was impeccable, she was friendly and wonderful and her drinks were great.

I'll definitely go back for a real meal.

Akiko

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Another reason to visit Citarella is that Bill Yosses is the patissier there :laugh:

Below is an indicative dessert menu:

http://www.citarella.com/Rest_Product.asp?...5&Department=17

(including Toasted Lemon Pound Cake with Plum Compote and Lemon Ice Cream)

In the section on the chefs, the Citarella website contains the following:

"'As restaurants are becoming more chef-oriented, dessert becomes a key factor in their success. Meals are now telling an entire story – from appetizer through dessert – with the last course needing to be the most enticing – after all, very few people are actually hungry for dessert.' . . . .The menu at Citarella the Restaurant reflects their commitment to special ingredients and unique combinations with confections such as Lemon Raspberry Soufflé with Verbena Sauce and Strawberry Sorbet – a warm mousse with and exotic emerald green lemon verbena syrup and organic Tri-Star New York State strawberry sorbet (the berries are grown specifically for Citarella), Elderflower Parfait with Bing Cherry Sauce – emphasizing the honey-apricot notes of the summery and fragrant elderflower, and Fig Napoleon with Tangerine Sauce and Fig Molasses – a layered work of art uniting paper thin wafers with a fig puree, tangerines and fig molasses from Spain."

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Equally intriguing are the desserts that Yosses has constructed for the sushi bar portion of Citarella. Below is an excerpt from the Citarella website:

"SUSHI BAR DESSERTS

*Macha* Green Tea Sorbet with *White Chocolate Green Tea Truffles* 9

Kyoto Kake: Bamboo-Wrapped Lotus Root Jelly 9

Sorbets in Sesame Cones Cavaillon Melon, Azuki Bean, Litchie 7

Kinutofu: Silken Bean Curd With Seeds, Molasses and Juice of Pomegranate 7

Kanten Fruits: Peach, Loquat and Strawberry 8

Wagash: Traditional Red Bean Cake 7

Black Sesame Seed Pudding 8

Pastry Chef, William Yosses"

It would be potentially interesting to see how Yosses executes "Japanese" desserts. :laugh:

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I did in fact confirm Yosses' longtime affiliation with Bouley. Both Bistrong and Yosses appear to have pretty amazing credentials.

http://www.citarella.com/Rest_Product.asp?...4&Department=17

I didn't see any apparent Japanese influence in his resume- but the sushi bar dessert menu appears well informed and interesting. I happen to share his view on dessert's context within a meal, and it is nice to see a restaurant (or at least what I can glean from the menus) that demonstrates some dialog between chef and pastry chef.

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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C--Here's part of what I posted on eGullet the first week of September in our first Citarella thread:

"Bill Yosses, formerly of Bouley Bakery, is the pastry chef at Citarella (and 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."

Three weeks later, we had a thread about his use of vanilla, after Amanda Hesser discovered Bill's cake and wrote a column about it, here:

http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...&hl=bill+yosses

I haven't had anything of Bill's since November, but I feel safe saying he remains one of the very best dessert destinations in the city.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I had dinner at the 6-seat sushi bar at Citarella recently. The sushi was poor. Apparently, only certain shrimp and salmon are sourced through Citarella; other fish remains ordered through applicable market(s) in Japan. A good many of the pieces served to me had been pre-cut (i.e., cut prior to my having ordered them), which is not necessarily desirable as a general matter.

The Bill Yosses desserts were fairly good, although Yosses remains no Herme. :wink: I ordered the Toasted Lemon Pound Cake with Plum Compote and Lemon Ice Cream. A fairly good pound cake and lemon ice cream that ended up being served to me with a cherry/rasperry compote/saucing. However, this dessert was nothing outstanding. I liked the superficial simplicity of this dessert, which to me made it seem less deliberately forward-pushing in the way that certain Herme creations might be. The maitre d' gifted me Warm Vanilla Cake with 12-Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Beautiful molten center to the vanilla cake, and fair ice cream. The vanilla cake might be worth another sampling at a subsequent point in time for me.

The clientele of the restaurant as a whole (including the portion where one would sample Bistrong's cuisine) was younger and less cuisine-driven, at least to me, than that I would have expected. Relatively loud music was being played.

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Bill remains no Herme. Interesting statement that. I'm not sure what you mean by it, however, and I find it somewhat problematic depending on how you try to flesh it out.

Cabrales--which Herme restaurant "plated" desserts have you had and what type of cuisine did they follow? Or is this an assessment outside of the context of a restaurant meal? Desserts in a restaurant context--after taking a full meal and palate stimulation--ordered off a menu rather than seen visually beforehand--and with greater expectation of hot and cold contrasts--have to be judged differently than desserts in a takeaway patisserie/chocolaterie context. To use your terminology--restaurant desserts are much more cuisine-driven.

Or are you making a larger comparison of Herme with Bill's previous desserts and bakery items from the Bouley Bakery days, years ago?

Were there other elements to your dinner besides sushi? Were any of Bill's sushi bar desserts sampled or just the desserts off the dining room menu? Have you ever sampled Herme's plated desserts after a meal of mediocre sushi?

And an aside--in either a restaurant or patisserie context--are you more prone to call forward-pushing desserts "outstanding" or view them as more interesting rather than traditional, classic or safe flavor combinations? Does the "form" of a dessert--apart from flavor--influence your sense of whether a dessert is forward-pushing or outstanding?

As I've read your posts elsewhere, you're not a fan of dark chocolate--does that extend to Herme and dark chocolate desserts as well?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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  • 3 months later...

Fat Guy's report on Citarella in his (free) newsletter http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fat-guy/ made me ask, Why haven't I been back to this superb restaurant? I must go back. Brian Young has left (and no-one, even staff at Citarella (I just called up), appears to know where he's gone), and now another Brian (Bistrong) has taken over, and, from what Fat Guy describes, the fish remains first rate. (The restaurant gets fish delivered twice a day! I didn't try Bill Yosses's desserts when I went, but I must leave room the next time.

Another thread on C: http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...21&hl=citarella

Restaurant's web site http://www.citarella.com/cit_Restaurant.as...ment=17--photos do not do the restaurant justice.

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I just tried to post this on a year-old thread http://forums.egullet.org/ibf/index.php?s=...t=0#entry127388, which worked in one sense--my post is on the thread, but I failed to bring the thread up to the the current NY board--oh, well, probably something to do with up-grades over a yeat ago. I now attach my post to younger thread.

Anyway, what I want to say is:

Fat Guy's report on Citarella in his (free) newsletter http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fat-guy/ made me ask, Why haven't I been back to this superb restaurant? I must go back. Brian Young has left (and no-one, even staff at Citarella (I just called up), appears to know where he's gone), and now another Brian (Bistrong) has taken over, and, from what Fat Guy describes, the fish remains first rate. (The restaurant gets fish delivered twice a day!) I didn't try Bill Yosses's desserts when I went, but I must leave room the next time.

Restaurant's web site http://www.citarella.com/cit_Restaurant.as...ment=17--photos do not do the restaurant justice.

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Yvonne, it was the same problem we had awhile back with an apostrophe in the thread title. Not a problem with new threads but somehow old threads -- ones we imported from our old database when we upgraded in June -- with apostrophes aren't updating properly. I changed the thread title and now it's fine. So now we have two active threads on the restaurant. I'm going to lock this one.

Anybody who wants to subscribe to my newsletter can do so in the right margin of the Fat-Guy.com home page. As the issue Yvonne has referenced has already been distributed, however, a subscription won't get it for you -- it will get you the next one. For past issues, you have to go to the Yahoo Groups address she specified above.

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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I was lucky enough to be in on the meal Fat Guy reviewed...it was a pleasure to meet SS and to enjoy a lovely meal. The chef is truly charming, and is armed with talent and a lack of ego that was very pleasant. Since FG's review was so perfect all I can add is I agree across the board with assessments...I will look forward to going again!

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What exactly does it mean that the fish gets delivered twice a day? Moved from one place to another or what? All I know is that I buy my fish at Rosedale because half the fish at Citarella looks like someone should have already disposed of it. Also the two times the butchers made recent mistakes-once the wrong cut and the other charging me for sirloin instead of loin of pork-and I brought it to the attention of customer service after i arrived at my house, their reaction was one of transferring blame; i.e. it was your fault because you didb't notice it at the store. They ofered to make good if I brought both the cashier's ticket and the label from the package. But to tell you the truth, I haven't gone back to see if I would get my money back, no questions asked. I only shop there under duress. It's such an unfriendly, mercenary place. It kills me to see how much longer their checkout lines are than the more civilized stores.

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Robert, I'm not sure why deliveries twice a day should urk you. I can see you were not pleased with Citarella the store (and I sympathize), but I can confirm that the fish I had at Citarella, the restaurant, was fantastic.

Southern Girl, as quite a few eGulletarians may not subscribe to FG's newsletter, could you elaborate on the dishes you had?

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Don't do it, Southern! The newsletter is free, people! Follow the link!

The point of the twice-a-day deliveries, as the chef explained it to me, is that it allows for very precise ordering based on the restaurant's needs at each meal service. Thus fish doesn't need to be held over to the next day, and the next day, and the day after that. Of course it would be theoretically possible to deliver crap twice a day, but the fish at the restaurant is superb. Thus I take the twice-a-day claim at face value. As to the quality of the fish at the Citarella retail stores, clearly there is some mediocre product on offer. The restaurant, however, clearly gets the pick of the litter and that -- combined with the chef's good judgment and Citarella's immense purchasing power -- creates formidable supply lines.

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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  • 2 months later...

For those who like the chef to choose their meal and cook for them, I can advise you that Citarella are pushing this option very strongly in their upstairs dining room. I haven't tried it, but it looks like you get to discuss your preferences with the chef who will then direct your meal.

Sounds good.

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I had lunch at Citarella just before Christmas and the meal made very little impression, competent but not memorable. The service was professional, but rushed and impersonal. I started with the scallop appetizer, the scallops were good, but lacked the intense sweetness with a hint of brine, that the best have. The main dish was striped bass on a bed of spinach and potatoes. The vegetables made no statement at all. The fish was very good and well prepared, certainly much better than I had at Chez Panisse, but didn't have the luminous freshness of just caught. I would normally not order a desert at lunch, but did because of the pastry chef's reputation. I have no recollection of what it was, which says alot by itself, but I do remember being very unimpressed. It was overly complex and striving, but didn't achieve. This is not a restaurant that I would go back to.

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Another point re Citarella as a fish market, and I do agree with Robert Brown that their fish doesn't have the best appearance, and in my judgment, the ratio of fillets to whole fish is too high. My understanding is that Citarella is a wholesaler as well as a retailer. Even though they undoubtedly deal in higher end and better quality fish, they are still drawing their supply from commercial sources. These come from boats that spend long periods of time at sea, so the fish is not extremely fresh, and then it is trucked in from New Bedford and further, there is no commercial fishing fleet any closer. If this is the source of supply for the restaurant, then it can't be the best obtainable. Restaurants such as Le Bernardin obtain their supply from artisanal sources such as day boats, which yields much superior product.

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