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Jimmy Chandler

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  1. I was scheduled to meet with a friend who's a foodie and wine enthusiast Monday for drinks; he lives on the Lower East Side so when I saw weinoo's post, we changed our plans and decided to try Wassail. Between us we ordered 5 ciders and can recommend this spot to anyone who likes or wants to try out some good ciders. They definitely have a wide variety, including some with a funky smell (Spanish ciders I believe). The one revelation "” and realize I only know a smidgeon about cider "” was the existence of ice ciders. If you like ice wine, you will enjoy ice cider. I preferred the Eden 2012. We did not eat anything, but got confirmation that it's mostly vegetarian. The mushroom entree has a dashi broth (I didn't ask, but traditionally that's made with dried fish shavings), and one dish had a duck egg. So "mostly." The service was pleasant and professional; it appears they have trained the staff well in ciders, knowing that many of not most customers will know very little to be able to choose the correct cider. Our waiter was very patient and precise with his descriptions. We also spoke with the co-owner Ben briefly; he was curious to know what we had told NY Times cocktail columnist Robert Simonson, who had asked to interview us about why we came and what we thought. The decor is modern with sleek, black wood surfaces. The place was quiet but not empty when we arrived around 5:30 PM, almost full and fairly noisy when we left before 7 PM. I imagine like weinoo that this place will continue to be packed on weekends, and probably very busy even on weeknights. I plan to return soon to try the food and more ciders.
  2. "The Ur-Deli: How Katz's Stays In Business Against The Odds" by Jordan Weissman on slate.com
  3. This is true I believe with all GAR restaurants. Their philosophy, as I understand it, is that people prefer booths, so they max out the amount of booths they can place within each location. Plus I have a hunch that big parties are more hassle than they're worth for many restaurants. I don't have data to back that up, and I'd love to hear restauranteurs on the subject.
  4. Jimmy Chandler

    Sushi in New York City - East Side

    And as I've written about before, I love the sushi bar at 15 East. If you want a combination of sushi and fresh soba noodles, you can eat in the dining room there and not break the bank. They have also a price fixe lunch for $32. It's off of Union Square, but that's only 20 minutes from Midtown East, a little longer from the UES.
  5. Jimmy Chandler

    Sushi in New York City - East Side

    I haven't been, but from many reports I trust your best bet for sushi Midtown East is Sushi Ann: To quote New York Magazine "Sushi-Ann, an East Side Notre Dame of raw fish." Menu looks reasonable: dinner chef's selection sushi, 10 pieces + 1 roll = $55-$65. Other options aplenty, including a-la-carte. In NYC that's reasonable pricing. http://www.sushiann.net/ There are of course many other sushi options in NYC if you're willing to travel outside that area. On the Upper West Side is Sushi Yasaka. I went there once for dinner before a show at the Beacon Theater, was impressed with the quality and service, prices very reasonable. Also on the Upper East Side, for Japanese but not sushi, and recommended by Cizuka Seki of DC's Izakaya Seki, is Torishin. That is at the very top of my list of NYC restaurants to try that I haven't gotten to yet.
  6. I know the link looks the same, but this should work (the trailing slash is visible, but not in the actual link): http://menus.nypl.org/
  7. Met a friend here for lunch today at her recommendation, she visits regularly. I had the linguine with mushrooms and light cream sauce, plus I tried my friend's side of roasted cauliflower. Also ordered a lemonade which was how I like it -- very lemony/tart. The food was tasty, though I felt the pasta could use a little pepper or spice to it. If they had a pepper grinder I would've been happier. My friend was happy with her food (besides the cauliflower she ordered polenta and mushrooms with gorgonzola, which I didn't taste). Unfortunately one hiccup with the food combined with slow service and an inadequate response (IMO) to my complaint ruined the meal for me and I doubt I will ever return. Whomever cooked my pasta left a bay leaf in there by mistake, of which I believe I swallowed a part. I believe this because I swallowed something that didn't feel right, like prickly. A few minutes later I found a partially torn (or chewed?) bay leaf. When I brought this to our server's attention, he didn't seem to care one bit. I asked him to tell the chef, and never heard another word about this. In addition, we were dining outside, our waiter was also the bartender and slow to respond to our requests at the end of the meal for the check, which IMO is quite unacceptable at lunch time.
  8. Walked over to this renovated West side diner near the High Line last night with the wife. The outdoor seating was packed but there were plenty of empty tables inside. Service was friendly and professional and enthusiastic if not always prompt. We weren't that hungry so we shared a matzoh ball soup with bone marrow, The Wife had a grilled cheese and I had the burger, medium rare. All was good, not sure if anything was great. I would recommend if you're nearby, not sure if it's worth a trip. According to the diner's website they plan on being open 24 hours a day in the future. The soup was full of root veggies (carrot, celery, parsnip) and a bone with marrow and a little marrow spoon. (Actually, it was just a small spoon for the marrow, not one of these.) The matzoh ball was a dense consistency, the waiter told me the chef uses a little horseradish in it. The grilled cheese is a mix of fontina and cheddar with tomato, The Wife dipped some of the pieces into my side of burger special sauce. She reports it was pretty good, not great. The burger was quite good, the side of fries were ok. I had ordered the sauce on the side as I wasn't sure based on the waiter's description. Now that I've had it, I would order it again on the side as it's great for a dipping sauce for the fries as well as the grilled cheese. Price wise, the grilled cheese at $13 and the burger at $18 are probably a little high given the quality, but not outrageously so. Our check without any drinks including tax and 25% tip was approximately $51. I could easily see coming here for lunch and just getting the soup, maybe with a side veggie or salad.
  9. When I was in my early teens I went to Manhattan on a trip from NoVa and we ate at the Carnegie Deli. At the time it may have been my favorite meal of my life -- a revelatory hot pastrami on rye. And I was a huge Woody Allen fan so eating at a spot immortalized in one of his films was thrilling. When The Tysons Carnegie opened my parents took me there for a birthday dinner. As far as I can recall the quality of the pastrami was equal to that of the NY original. At some point we stopped going, presumably due to the quality falling. I haven't been back to the original since the 80s, and based on reports, I have no desire to.
  10. You know I got this reaction at 2nd Ave on my last visit there -- several years ago but after they moved to the new location. I ordered a pound of tongue to go and the guy behind the counter tried to talk me into ordering pastrami instead, as if I didn't know what I was doing. I guess he didn't know I had been eating tongue since I was a kid and still love it for an occasional indulgence. Other than 2nd Ave, any opinions on where to get tongue? It's been a few years since I've had any.
  11. Jimmy Chandler

    Please Introduce Yourselves

    BTW on Twitter I'm @uxprinciples.
  12. I haven't eaten at Little Serow and don't have plans to -- The Wife and I tend not to eat tasting menus due to certain dietary restrictions. Are there *any* suburban strip mall restaurants at BG's price point that can do better than "good but not great" with such a setup? It would be interesting to see what Chef Seng could do in a tasting-menu only environment. But again that wouldn't be for me or The Wife.
  13. Here's the story (there's play button, kinda hidden, above the photo of the shrimp salad): "Laotian Chef Helps Diners Feel The Burn Of Her Native Cuisine" by Emily Berman on wamu.org And here's the transcript. The interview indirectly answers Don's question about the split -- Chef Seng bought the Seven Corners restaurant in 2010, which I assume is when the split happened.
  14. I realize now I've never posted about this restaurant, which is a grave error on my behalf. From last July until this June, I was splitting my time about 50-50 between Arlington and Brooklyn NY. When in Arlington and eating out during that period, I easily ate at BG more than any other establishment. I think it is the best value restaurant in NoVA right now. The staff is always friendly and generous. I've chatted with Chef Seng twice and she was quite gracious and enlightening -- she wants me to try the one Laotian restaurant in NY -- Khe Yo (website) -- and compare for her (she notes that her cooking is more home style than Khe Yo). I love visiting here with friends, especially people who've never been there before. One problem I have with BG is I always want the crispy rice salad, so if I'm dining alone I will only order one other item. When dining with a group of four or more I love to order a whole variety of dishes. Like Zora I love the crispy watercress salad. Other favorites include the fried chicken wings, larb duck, tomp pho soup, grilled chicken, grilled pork, pork sausage, and the lemonade (which is a little effervescent to me, different from other lemonades I've had). I almost never order Thai here, but when I have I think it does rate as some of the better Thai food in the area. But I like the Lao better.
  15. From Chef Seng's website: Our new Laotian restaurant will be in DC and can hold more guests as well as have outdoor seating. The grand opening will also be an opportunity for patrons to see the new menu items, and taste more of my original creations. There will be a soft opening prior to the grand opening for a limited number of guests. The restaurant will feature mostly Laotian Food at this event. We are working diligently to get everything in order and share the restaurant location and the grand opening date. Until then, we greatly appreciate your patience and your interest in our new restaurant.