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About jca76

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  1. i believe we've discussed this in the past, but little serow exceeds the bib gourmand price cap and is therefore ineligible (although i think that it should have a star anyway, and komi more than one). the omission of 2 amys from the bib gourmand list is ridiculous.
  2. Don: I'm not sure what the convention is when a thread covers two locations of a restaurant and then one restaurant changes name, but can you edit this thread title or let Anju have its own thread?
  3. i'm pretty sure the pizzas are in addition to everything else, although i'm not entirely sure how they're doled out. my impression is that they lack the capacity to make them a standard part of the menu for everyone, unfortunately.
  4. second the rave for happy gyro! i've never been to chicago diner or fare well, but to me it's basically vegetarian greek little serow. (if johnny and anne want to open this concept as a third restaurant, i am so there for it.) as washingtony notes, the mini black walnut taco is playing on some serious childhood nostalgia vibes. think ground beef texture -- how do they do that with walnut?! -- shredded iceberg lettuce, crunchy shells, old el paso seasoning. the souvlaki was two bites of excellent umami, layers of crispy-edged mushroom with a bit of chew in the center. the beet "morcilla'" was probably my least favorite dish of the night -- which is still a pretty decent floor -- because while i loved the sweet corn puree accompanying it, i found the crunchy, fried beet fritter to be a bit dry. greek salad (tomato, cucumber, onion, caper) was elevated by a delicious whipped feta. two outstanding cold salads came at the same time: the first a mix of white and green asparagus, baby potatoes, and dried olive bits that were almost bacon bits-y in their salty umami. in the second, roasted summer squash and really crispy halloumi were dressed in a lovely herby green sauce. both had excellent acidity. mini belgian waffles topped with tzatziki, radish, and tiny purple allium flowers was as beautiful as it was tasty -- a balance of carby crunch, creaminess, brightness, acidity, and something sweet. the tofu gyro was fantastic; they manage to get an amazing texture out of the thinly sliced tofu (compressed? tofu skin? not sure), and of course anyone who has done the normal menu knows how great the tzatziki and especially the pillowly komi pita are. but the chicory cheese steak was a sleeper hit for me; i'm not usually a bitter vegetable fan, but the bitterness was mellowed by cooking and balanced by the gooey cheesiness, while still having a nice char. strawberry ice cream had vivid berry flavor, and the sweet-salty-crunchy polenta topping provided a great contrast. an excellent meal and really great value, especially for the quantity of food. i'm definitely going to return before the end of the month!
  5. it's been about five years since the bf and i went to the inn, but our impression of the ambiance was that it wasn't to our taste. it's a bit too ornate/stuffy/like the home of my fictional very-rich-and-slightly-eccentric spinster great-aunt. perhaps unsurprisingly, we also aren't fans of the old school european service/ambiance that michelin seems to favor; our tastes run much more to the komi/copenhagen model of fine dining, where the service is warm, the decor is minimalist, and the (interesting!) food is the star of the experience. (not only do i not care about a white tablecloth, i actively prefer to see a gorgeous bare wood table.) we've debated going back to the inn for years, especially as it continues to rack up accolades/stars (although we don't really put much stock in michelin's comparative rankings), but newlywed friends on a mini-moon just had a "we're not rushing back" experience this month. as mtureck observes, my impression of the food was that it was very good but nothing was spectacular. my strongest memory of the experience is how much i disliked that mooing cow cheese course performance; i couldn't now tell you a single dish that we ate. so for those with more experience with the inn than i have: what are we missing? i don't mean to sound snarky; i'm genuinely interested in understanding what it is that makes the inn so beloved. (is it possibly a bit of a generational thing? i don't mean that to sound age-ist. my friends and i are in our mid- to late thirties. we're not your stereotypical dinner-instagramming millennials, but nor do the guys want to be required to wear suits to experience dinner. i can't imagine ever wanting to go back to a restaurant where the actual food was secondary to the ambiance.)
  6. apparently jaleo is a finalist for the "outstanding restaurant" beard award, which strikes me as . . . a publicity coup for the brand? an appreciative nod for jose andres's humanitarian efforts? i like jaleo well enough, and i realize that this award turns into a bit of a process of elimination as truly great restaurants are weeded out by winning (or great new restaurants wait to hit the ten-year mark), but come on.
  7. apparently (per an equally distressed friend, who called the restaurant to ask) they will be relocating somewhere close to their current location.
  8. Thank you! This is extremely helpful.
  9. I’ve been tasked with organizing a friend’s bachelorette party in late April, and the plan is to spend the weekend at a house in The Plains and do some nearby wine tasting. (We are not looking for a stereotypical let’s-get-trashed party; we are all in our mid- to late thirties and many of us, the bride included, enjoy good wine. Ideally we would like someplace that offers a not-to-crowded experience, but there will be ten of us, so that rules out Linden and some of the others.). Does anyone have any recommendations? (I will certainly look at many of the suggestions on this thread, but figured the potential options may have changed significantly since 2010.). Thanks!
  10. four people was a good size given that a number of the dishes were too small to be shared with a larger group, and we did get to try a number of things. however, if you wanted to do a larger group, i'm sure a server could advise on the dishes for which you'd need to order more than one. many of the larger plates (like the broccoli) would be fine to share with a few more people.
  11. four of us had dinner last night at punjab grill. service wasn't great, but the service kinks seem like the newly opened kind that hopefully will be worked out. dinner came out to around $90/person, which was definitely expensive but not quite as brutal as i'd feared from a maharaja-inspired restaurant that offers "market price" caviar and truffle supplements. while we agreed that the food is more interesting than rasika's and most of it quite good, the overall experience wasn't one that will have any of us rushing back. i'm guessing this place will live or die based on the amount of expense account business it draws. the first dish that i tried was the adraki tuna tartare (sago crisps), which was . . . adequate, at best. a small cylinder of ring-molded fish atop under-seasoned, possibly underripe avocado, with one crisp on top (which i didn't try, because only one). no distinguishing flavors stood out. (my internal monologue is concerned that i'm about to sit through an entire disappointing dinner.) luckily, the chana masala “hummus” (amritsari kulcha, radish achar) was much better, albeit quite small: a quenelle of spiced, creamy dip was accompanied by an airy round of kulcha that was no more than four inches in diameter, with a nice pop of acid from the pickled radishes. (luckily the four of us are all pretty close friends, as we tore apart the little disk with our fingers so that everyone got a bit.) our carnivorous friends got a meaty small plate that they seemed to really like, but i have no recollection of what it was. the rest of our food came out basically all at once, crowding the table. the tandoori tiger prawns (moilee sauce, curry leaf, tomato jam) came two medium-sized prawns to an order (heads on, but surprisingly dry inside -- nothing to suck out). i like tandoori seasoning and the prawns weren't overcooked, so i enjoyed my half-prawn bite, but be warned that this is another small one. in contrast, the malai broccoli (amul cheese fondue, spiced churma) was basically an entire head of broccoli. childhood favorite broccoli with cheese sauce grew up and studied abroad: char on the brassica, the richly cheesy sauce given texture by the breadcrumb-like churma, all with a spicy kick. probably my favorite dish of the night, for nostalgic deliciousness. i've read for ages that jackfruit is a serviceable vegetarian substitution, but i'm not sure that i'd ever had it before the kathal kofta (jackfruit dumpling, lebabdar sauce, cilantro cress). the dumpling did have a satisfyingly dense (but not too dense, just enough to be meat-adjacent) texture, and i was sad to realize that the bowl of delicious brown sauce was cleared before i got at it with my naan. (with only four chocolate truffle-sized dumplings in the order, the ratio of sauce to dumpling had to anticipate side carbs, but with table space at a premium, the busboys were quick to clear even the not-quite-empty plates, so i see why this one got away.) at our server's urging, we ordered the burani palak paneer (spinach, tandoori cottage cheese, olive tapenade, garlic), which he assured us was different than the palak paneer with which we would be familiar. a pre-sliced (mostly -- the very bottom wasn't cut through, presumably to keep the slices together) block of paneer sat in a pureed green pool, a bit deeper and more cooked-down in flavor than i'm used to from palak. i appreciated the starring cheese; i'm that person who is constantly wondering how many cubes she can dig out of the shared dish of palak paneer before friends get annoyed. the mushroom khichdi (morels, exotic achari mushrooms, yogurt, lentil) felt more southern than indian, weirdly enough; a friend pointed out that the lentils almost had the texture of grits. along with the broccoli, this was the dish that i just kept eating: roasty mushrooms and starch are addictive in any cuisine. (i swear the lentils tasted cheesy, but i'm not sure whether that's the grits association playing tricks.) given how i usually make a meal out of rasika's sides, the baigan bharta (charred eggplant, desi ghee) and the brussels sprouts thoran (fresh coconut, mustard seed, curry leaf) were both a bit disappointing. the eggplant was a one-note mush of very cooked eggplant. the brussels sprouts were much better, the shaved sprouts warm but otherwise almost raw. the almost-salad was a light counterpoint to the rest of the tablescape, though. naan (both garlic and sundreid tomato, olive & basil) tasted nicely of its respective toppings, although the bread was a bit more crisp and less fluffy than i'd probably prefer (personal preference, not a flaw). a side of the raita never made it to the table (which i did not realize until just now, as i am looking over the menu to recall everything that we ordered). the cocktails we tried ranged from pretty to very good; we all tried each other's. my first drink, the chaiwala (masala chai infused scotch, spiced cordial, lemon, ginger) was probably my favorite, a classic-ish, penicillin-adjacent cocktail. a friend seemed happy with her king alphonso (gosling’s dark rum, mango, pomegranate, lemongrass, mint), although such fruit-forward drinks tend not to be my favorite (unless i'm on a tropical vacation and the setting calls for it). in retrospect, i'm fairly sure my order of the kasauli 1820 (rittenhouse rye, saffron & spiced sugar, orange, smoke) was mixed up with a friend's order of the akbari (old monk rum, dry vermouth, ginger, cloves, aromatic bitters), as his smelled of smoke and mine didn't. (not sure what it says about our palates or the drinks that we couldn't be sure from the other flavors, but his drink was half gone by the time mine arrived.) both were enjoyable, although the one i drank (so probably the akbari) was a tad on the sweet side. (and i think that sweetness is what confused me as to which drink i got, as "saffron & spiced sugar" sounded likely to make a sweeter drink.) the bf's rikki-tikki-tavi (pyrat xo rum, tullamore dew whiskey, pineapple, coconut, egg white, cardamom keora water) was described as a not-too-sweet take on a pina colada, which was a pretty good description (served up but with a frothy head), although the drink could have used acid (maybe some lime) to add another note. the gt&t (mango, ginger, lemongrass & cardamom infused gin, house-made turmeric tonic) was also a bit flat and could have used acid; i think the addition of all the other flavors (especially the turmeric in the vivid orange tonic) muted the brightness that i associate with a more classic g&t. we were seated in a little side room across from the bar, which was quite loud (although possibly less so than the main room); they seem to be going for a scene-y atmosphere with the music. service was surprisingly slow. everyone was perfectly nice when they did come by, but there were lots of noticeable lags throughout the night. i arrived earlier than the rest of my party and was immediately seated, which i appreciated, but no one asked whether i wanted a drink while i waited, which i did. two of my friends joined about ten minutes later, and we only managed to order cocktails after awkwardly calling back a somm (i'm assuming -- he stopped by to draw our attention to the wine list but walked away before asking if we wanted anything). even more awkwardly, i went to a bathroom in the back of the room where we were seated only to discover after i had a handful of soap that the sink wasn't working! (there was an out-of-order sign on a second bathroom, but the one i entered had no indication.) when i asked someone where there was another bathroom, explaining that the water wasn't working in the one, the guy's initial response was something to the effect of "yes, those aren't working, wasn't it locked?," which put me on the defensive. i was led through the main dining room to another set of bathrooms, feeling very uncomfortable the entire time as i avoided touching anything or dripping soap. ugh.
  12. we had our first meal at 701 in october, and based on that experience, it would likely have been our last regardless of the closure. i always enjoy reading when this community has fond memories of a restaurant over the years. sounds like 701 filled an important niche in its time, but at our dinner it felt like a restaurant past its prime. nothing horrendous, but an unexciting, unmemorable meal on all levels -- food, service, and decor. but it's a rare, impressive feat to have stayed in business for this long in an ever-evolving restaurant scene.
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