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Everything posted by RWBooneJr

  1. I'm deeply saddened to learn of Dave's passing. He was one of the few here that I have actually met in person and we shared beers of a few occasions. He was also one of the most passionate people I've ever known, seemingly about everything. I haven't spoken with Dave directly in a few years, but through his frequent posts I somehow feel as though I had. He will be sorely missed.
  2. Don't use Invision for the dining guides. Code them as HTML pages and link to them from the board (they can still have the root donrockwell.com). You can link to them from the board a number of different ways. The best looking may be as a sidebar on the home page, with a graphic link for each city.
  3. I'm guessing that none of you advocating for the bus are 6'3". If you are, it sucks. And you can get a ticket for the train, the last humane mode of transportation, for $50 if you plan at least a month in advance. That said, if I have to get to DC on very short notice, I often drive or take the bus. But I definitely prefer the train, even at the non-discounted rate of about $130 (it jumps up to like $300 if you book right before the trip, which is ridiculous). And if I'm not paying, I take the Acela. Flying has always struck me as kinda stupid, but I'll probably try it eventually.
  4. Le Bernardin and Aldo Sohm are very different animals. The latter would be kind of pointless if that were not the case, but I can see how someone might be disappointed by the differences. They aren't really aimed at the same audience.
  5. This is almost always incorrect. Your insurer generally has the right to settle whether you want to or not. Liability obviously factors into the insurer's valuation of a case, but it is only one consideration. Often, litigation costs factor in more. Even at insurance defense rates, this type of litigation will cost the insurer anywhere between $200k to over seven figures to get to a defense verdict. The insurer wants to discourage nuisance suits and plaintiffs always start out with an overly optimistic idea of what a case is worth, so most cases will get pretty far along before settlement is even a possibility. But, after a point, if the insurer knows that the remainder of the litigation will cost more than the plaintiff wants to settle the case, it will settle. And that settlement is nothing more than a business transaction.
  6. Despite the name, in the end Cafe Istanbul was primarily a pizza place, at least in terms of menu space and what most people appeared to be ordering at lunch. Pizzaro also has a remarkably similar Turkish menu to this archived one for Cafe Istanbul and nearly all of the dishes in common have identical names. However, the first Yelp review for Pizzaro is dated 5/12/2012, which is before Cafe Istanbul's closing (and my original post). Cafe Istanbul's first Yelp review is 9/27/2010. I would bet it has, or at some point had, the same or closely related ownership.
  7. Mole literally means "sauce," so there's no real definition. Olvera's mole doesn't have chocolate in it, so it's not mole poblano. But that duck dish is definitely good.
  8. Caviar is the best delivery service there is, but it's not cheap. The prices are higher than what's on the menu and they charge you a fairly large ($5-10) delivery fee on top. However, in NYC it has all of the good restaurants and almost no restrictions on delivery. Basically, if the restaurant is in Manhattan and you're in Manhattan, they'll bring it to you. Does anyone know if it's the same in DC?
  9. Torishin is definitely worthy of the three stars Wells gives it. Here is a slideshow from last year of the smaller omakase, which was a lot of food.
  10. The NoMad isn't terribly far. It's not like Corduroy, but it would probably work.
  11. Once, nobody really spoke about restaurants, at least not in the way they do now. Nobody debated the merits of each dish, no one cared what farm their steak came from, and restaurants were more about hospitality than cuisine. That time is long gone, but shards of it remain. One is a few short blocks from my front door, and I'm sure to go every chance I get. Some restaurants transport you to a different place. This one promises a different time. Martin Donohue opened Donohue's Steak House in 1950 on Lexington Avenue near 64th, where it still is today. His son Michael took over a few years later and ran it until his death in 2000. The restaurant then passed to Michael's daughter, Maureen Donohue-Peters, who still owns Donohue's and is there almost every night. None of them ever changed the place. Not one bit. Why would they? Donohue's is a single room paneled in brown wood with a checkerboard floor. The front is dominated by an Art Deco bar. Beyond it is the dining room, which has three small tables at its center and five tall black booths along each of the side walls. The back wall has a "specials" board which almost never changes, and probably never has. I can't attest to the authenticity of everything in the place. But I'd wager it all looks almost exactly as it has for nearly seven decades. The button-tufted booths are flanked with coat racks and a few age-tarnished paintings hang above. The tables are covered in red tablecloths with paper Donohue's mats at each seat. Instead of a rollup, the silverware is still laid out on each mat with a white cloth napkin folded between. Nearly all of the menu dates to the Eisenhower administration as well. Steaks are all familiar cuts like NY Strip or filet, with gentle prices that betray a lack of pedigree. The fish would have been equally familiar decades ago, when baked salmon or scrod were in fashion. Everything else -- hand carved turkey, baked chicken, shepherds pie -- is straight from grandma's house. I typically go for the burger, which is first rate in an "old school" kind of way and served with decent steak fries. I like the meatloaf and gravy too -- one of the permanent specials -- which, with sides of mashed potatoes and peas and carrots, reminds me in a good way of the Salisbury steak TV Dinners of my youth. I also always sit at the bar, over which Tom the affable bartender quietly presides most nights. Tom seems like he's been there 30 years, though I strangely haven't the courage to ask. Regardless, he's certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel. Aside from a handful of flavored vodkas, if you couldn't get it 60 years ago, you can't get it now. In this regard, a Maker's Manhattan is occasionally nice, but bottled Budweiser usually does the trick. After all, you're not here for fancy cocktails. Or amazing food, for that matter. It's good, but that's not really the point. What you're here for is the history and the perspective that comes with it. Donohue's is a living museum. Most patrons know the staff by name because they've been coming for 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years. One even left his two favorite servers a $100,000 tip in his will. The old guard mostly stay in the dining room where they seem to know everyone already. Still, a "newcomer" can usually find a few regulars at the bar to chat with. Often, whether you want to or not. Either way, there's always a good story to be told. There aren't many places like Donohue's left. Places from a time and a city that disappeared before most of us were born. I'm glad to have this small piece of it.
  12. The New Yorker's brief take rings true. I guess I was wrong about when it reopened, which was in March 2015. This is funny because I was there that night.
  13. Laundry is one of my favorite things to do. I don't really like washing clothes, though I don't mind. And a load is pretty expensive in Manhattan - my part of the island, anyway. But my laundromat happens to be next door to the reincarnation of the Subway Inn. Previously, the bar was right at an entrance for the 59th Street subway station on the Lexington Avenue line (the 4, 5, 6), hence the name. It was a regular date spot for Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. The years since were perhaps unkind to Subway Inn. By the time it closed, it was a straight-up dive. And not necessarily in a good way. Just a bar with a storied history that lived off of cheap drinks and the clientele that comes with it. Beloved by those that knew it, for sure. But far removed from its heyday. And then came the end. Not because of money, but instead, like so much of "old New York," at the hands of a developer. The whole block is scheduled for redevelopment, into something taller, grander, and in any event, not an ancient, dingy bar. And so it moved, much too far from the subway for the name to be even remotely appropriate. It's actually directly across the street from the Roosevelt Island tram, though I'm guessing "Tram Inn" was never seriously considered. It may again be next to the subway, but that would require the city to actually build the Second Avenue "T" line, which has been in the works for almost 100 years. So don't hold your breath. Anyway, the new bar is kind of like the old, minus the grime. But without that "patina," it lacked most of the personality of the original. And the new crowd is a lot different. It's kind of a "Star Wars bar" - everyone seems like a different kind of alien, and it isn't clear that most even speak the same language. But the owners did a lot right when they built the place. The beer selection is unremarkable, but good and varied enough to please just about anyone (my particular poison is Brooklyn Lager). And the menu is just Sysco bar food, but it's prepared well enough that you won't mind. I mostly go for the wings, which are sometimes undersized and always a bit spicier than you order them. And now that the Subway Inn has been in its current location for a year, a funny thing has happened. This nondescript bar with a disparate crowd has developed a community, of which I'm indirectly a part (the occasional "laundry guy," I suspect). And the bartenders - younger, but holdovers from the old location - are great. Most importantly, the place knows what it is, and does that well. Which brings me back to laundry. There's nothing better than throwing in a few loads and heading next door for a couple of pints. Returning to put everything in the dryer, then back for a few more beers and some wings. And all the while being surrounded by people of every race, creed, and age, not just coexisting, but enjoying each others company. Occasionally, you even make some friends. I love laundry day.
  14. By the time my train to DC got in on Thursday night, it was already 10:00 and I was pretty hungry. But rather than delay the trip out to Fairfax, I decided to order Seamless from the Metro so it would arrive at my destination shortly after I did. I picked Saba somewhat randomly and placed an order for Lamb Mandi as soon as the train was out of the tunnels. The plan worked perfectly, as did Seamless, so I had food less than five minutes after arrival. At that point, I probably would have been happy with anything, but my $15.95 lamb dish was good. Really good -- with tender braised meat and cardamom scented rice. It was also a substantial portion, easily enough for two people. Given this thread, I obviously can't say I discovered Saba. But I'm happy to know about the restaurant and would definitely recommend it.
  15. I didn't get the sense that the article was blaming anyone, so much as it is pointing out that paying for "decency" increases the barriers to entry and decreases the margin for error. That, coupled with an over-saturated marketplace necessarily leads to a contraction. Ultimately, what you wind up with is more chains, or at least more "corporate" restaurants like NRG that can pool their resources. The "independent" restaurants that do survive will ultimately be better, but there will be fewer and they'll be more expensive.
  16. For years, I have stayed at this hotel while in Philadelphia, almost exclusively. Last weekend, I got an "executive suite" in a corner room on the 14th floor, which was a nice upgrade from the regular rooms. If you're the type that thinks a mile is a "nice walk," this is the perfect location and you'll likely never need a taxi.
  17. Sadly, one of my favorite spots in the city closed on Wednesday. Le Train Bleu was the not-so-secret "secret" restaurant in Bloomingdale's. It was designed to look like an old rail dining car and was named for the famous train of the same name (not the restaurant in the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris). In a lot of ways, it was one of those restaurants that time apparently forgot -- the experience was probably the same a month ago as it was when it opened in 1979, and the same people likely still worked there. About half of the patrons were tourists, but the regular clientele -- now in their 70's and 80's -- were probably the same too. And the food was always good, though not spectacular. Still, it was just one of those places that you love to be. While it was only a block from my apartment, I didn't go often because it was seemingly never open (it closed at 5:00 every day). But it will nonetheless be greatly missed, and I'm glad I got one last lunch on its final day. It was as good as it ever was until the end. [Originally posted on NYDiningGuide.com]
  18. Those pizzas were great, at a time when there weren't nearly as many good pizza options in the area. I lived nearby and probably had like one a week for about a year straight.
  19. Now that the original is closed, it's also the oldest Palm restaurant.
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